Thursday, November 17, 2011

Exciting news.. for me anyway.

Remember this post?

Well, that was all about this:

My mother received a nice sum of money that she didn't even know was owed her and was generous enough to share with several members of the family. After pondering long and hard I decided to use it like this.

Kaydessa Wool picker
Fancy Kitty drum carder
Card Weaver's Surf Board.

Can you see me doing The Dance Of Joy now?

The Kaydessa Wool picker is pretty neat in theory.
You put your compacted fiber in one end, drag the lid (containing multiple sharp nails) across the bottom (also containing multiple sharp nails), and as you do this you catch the fiber which opens it up to become nice fluffy mounds on the other end while all the vegetable matter (VM)is left in the bottom.
That's how it works in theory. The top picture is staged. You can't draw that much fiber through at one time. Also, that mohair was so compacted with tight curls that I had to pick it open with my fingers before sending it through so the picker didn't tear the fiber. The nice fluffy mound of fiber on the right hand side of the picker was hand picked once and sent through the picker twice after that. While it did help remove a lot of VM, there is so much of it in this fleece that I had to hand pick it once, send it through the picker twice, hand pick it again before drum carding it and still there was a pile of VM under the carder when I was done while the new bat contains too much VM for my liking. This is not the fault of the picker though. This fleece is terrible in it's amount of VM. So much so that I'm not buying from this local "award winning" shepherdess again.
Anyway, with a long fiber like mohair, the picker tends to pull and rip the fiber too much. I tried it with a small amount of merino/targhee x and it pilled terribly. I'm going to have to play around with this thing more to see what it likes to work with. I don't mind hand picking smaller amounts of fiber but, even with it's flaws, the Kaydessa wool picker will come in handy with 5 VM filled mohair fleeces to work with.

The Fancy Kitty 90/120 drum carder
This is what I thought I'd never be able to afford. It's taking some getting used to, and there's certainly more of a learning curve than when using combs, but it sure plows through large amounts of fiber in short order. In this picture I've carded some professional top, dyed by me, and some more of that mohair, also dyed by me. Orange and blue are not my usual colors but there's something about a drum carder that begs you to play outside your usual field.
I've carded two bats of this same blend and hope to knit some sock/slipper things with it.

My favorite purchase, by far, was the Card Weaver's Surf Board.
Please excuse the messy picture. It's sitting on top of my floor loom which was piled high with clothes sorted for an emergency trip out of state for a family funeral.
Anyway, I love this little thing. No more having to strap my work to my waist, or try to find a table or other surface that won't be needed for as long as it takes to finish a project. I LOVE this thing. There are a few things I would change about it but just the fact that it's light weight and oh-so portable makes it's well worth the money. There will be a lot more tablet woven bands around here now.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lose a crock pot - gain a dye pot

When the lid to my 7 quart crock pot bit the dust, I couldn't just throw the whole crock pot away. "Crock pot" doesn't sell replacement lids, and the way the handle broke off would mean super glue could potentially melt into our food if I tried to glue it back on.

This crock pot has been relegated to the basement as a dye pot and I'm having so much fun using it like this.

6oz total of merino/targhee x, finn/dorst/targhee x, and some cormo thrown in for good measure.
I pre-soaked the merino/targhee separately because that was the only fleece of this combination that wasn't coated and was full of VM (vegetable matter).
I used Country Classics dye in the Bluebonnet colorway.
I dyed it in two batches. I wouldn't want to try to dye more than 4oz at a time in this pot. Then I dried it on the sweater rack...
and when it was barely dry, spun up a tiny sample skein and plied it with some natural white finn/dorset/targhee x. I love this little yarn and have decided that I need to dye more of this color and ply it with more natural white because, this dye job has been slated for plying with more of Fiber Fancy's Weekend Enjoyment. Hopefully it will be a scarf that looks like just the light blue end of this one.
We both like the light blue end of this scarf better and now I have enough of the light blue to make a whole scarf like that.

By the way, if you've never tried dyeing your own fiber, it's very addictive.
This is more finn/dorset/targhee x in pine green. I have merino/targhee x in raven cooling down right now so I can dye the mohair that's been soaking over night to become what ever color strikes my fancy this morning.

eta: This is VERY addicting and if it keeps up, I'm going to have an excuse a reason for buying more fleece.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fiber play & Autumn fun

The "Enjoying the Weekend Blues Scarf" is finished!
It ended up being just over 7 feet long! I was going to knit until I ran out of yarn but it was getting ridiculously long so I cast off. It's nice and soft and warm though. I hope my sister likes it.

The only thing left I have to make for Christmas is the Plums and Olives scarf, which I'm spinning now. I'll block both scarves at the same time and make life a little easier on myself.

Fuggly is almost finished. He's the perfect size for sleeping on the couch so I'm keeping him long and narrow. He's about two and a half times the width of that picture but he's just more of the same ugly acrylic yarn so I'll wait to take a final/final picture. All I have left to do is crochet a boarder but I'm happy leaving him as is for now. What I really need to work on is my son's afghan in black, grey, and red. Not colors I'm looking forward to knitting, and I'm using Red Heart Super Save yarn (ick) but he needs some winter warmth. I've started knitting it in the same pattern I used for the Enjoying the Weekend Blues Scarf. It breaks up the monotony a little bit without making it so hard that I can't concentrate on it while I'm watching tv.

The weaving bug has bitten again and I've been weaving little squares with leftovers.
I'm really not happy with my little handmade looms though. I'm thinking I may just have to take all the junk that's accumulated on my floor loom (it's an automatic coat rack & table for taking pictures of my projects) and get someone to help me move my huge warping board to a place where I can use it and have a go at a larger weaving project.

Something totally unrelated:

Some of my kids still love the holiday. My daughter looks forward to it all month. This year she made adorable little cupcakes.
This one's my favorite.

She carved an awesome pumpkin
I just realized we didn't get a picture of my youngest son's pumpkin. I'll have to get one before it gets icky.

And, along with her sister-in-law became a Silent Hill nurse. That link will take you to a creepy/violent video. Be forewarned.
They both love the movie and games (as does my oldest son). I just find it very disturbing.

Last but not least, our walk in the park yesterday.

Credit: Cara took the last two pictures.