Archive for the ‘Fiber preperation’ Category

Poor Fleece Choice

Yup, I went and done it. I pulled a nubbie trick, getting a fleece off of Ebay without any information.  I should have know when the ad said “BARGAIN Prices” to just keep on surfing around the fleece ads. But NO, I went ahead and ordered not one but two of this persons fleeces.  Just because he shears sheep doesn’t mean he knows fleeces.   Got them a few days ago and what a dissapointment.  One was totally unusable, completely full of vegetable matter with a staple length of one half to one inch.  Not worth the effort so it went into the garbage.  The other one I was able to get a small usable amount out of it to blend with other fibers.  Here are some pictures of the tunis fleece, I certainly can’t judge the breed by this fleece.

Majority of the fleece was 1/2 “.

A very small amout of 1″ length, but too dirty to evan attempt to clean.

I have bought other fleeces off of E-bay and they have been pretty good.  I guess I was willing to gamble and got skunked. So much for the pity party, I know there are some really good fleece sellers on E-bay and will try again only after a little more research into the seller.





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This was the fifth year that we had attended the festival, we only stayed for the Friday show though, needed to get home inorder to get rested up for the new week. It takes us five and a half hours to get there and none of us really travel well.  I had a chance to visit with some of the vendors this year, which is something that I hadn’t been able to do in the past because we have usually gone on Saturdays and they are sooo busy.  I have some pictures of the three of the vendors that I had a chance to visit with.

Sharon Lawson with her husband have a fiber processing business in Wapello, IA. I got some of her beautiful blended merino rovings.  She does all kinds of fibers from the merinos to exotics, including dehairing.

100% Merino with blended colors

100% Merino

Merino with Silk Noil

Black Merino with silk noils blended in.

East Friesian Cross Dairy Sheep

Deb Bender from “East Friesian Cross Dairy Sheep” had some very lovely fleeces.  This is fleece is an  E.Friesian X Polypay.  I couldn’t wait to get it washed up and ready for spinning.  It will make great socks and other outer wear clothing.  I love the natural varigation in color with this fleece.

Raw fleece

Staple length

 Washed Fleece

Washed and out to dry.

 I had the opportunity  to visit with Tracy Schuh from “Interlacements Yarns” at the motel we were both staying at.  Wish I have of signed up for her dye class, maybe next time.  I stopped by her table and picked up some dyed roving pieces, she was busy with her classes so I got a  picture of  a couple of her helpers. 

Interlacement Yarns


So beautiful, I have no sense of color at all and I am in awe of anyone that does.

 All the people pictured here gave me their verbal approval to be shown in this blog and I’m so happy they did.  All in all we had a lot fun.

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This spring I have been learning how to prepare silk cocoons that have been damaged and aren’t any good for reeling.  I don’t have a frame for pulling the cocoons into hankies, so I made a wire frame and pulled the cocoons into caps.  I’m in the process of spinning these caps up on an antique Norwegian slant wheel.

Simmering the cocoons in a pot of backing soda water, used approximately a half of a tablespoon of baking soda and simmered about 35-40 minutes and then rinsed in a bowl warm water, dumped out the water and added new water and then stretched the cocoons onto the wire frame. Started the stretching under the water and finished over the frame.

Predrafted the caps before starting to spin.

Eventually I will have enough silk thread/yarn to make something with.

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This weekend has been great, the weather has been perfect. Beautiful blue sky and warm enough to be outside without any coats or jackets, but cool enough to be comfortable.  We have been waiting months for a weekend like this.  Yesterday we spent the day with my mother,  we had a nice dinner and a good visit with my sister and her husband.  I had a chance to dig some horseradish, boy it’s potent this year, my eyes were burning just digging it up.

Today I got up and out early, dug up and preparred a couple of my flower gardens, planted some horseradish crowns that I brought back from Mom’s place.  I hope it grows.  The best part of the day was being able to get out my Louett junior carder and sit in the backyard and card up some wool.  It was gorgeous, light wind with the smell of the lilacs wofting through the air and the wool carding without problems, just couldn’t get any better.

Shetland wool

 Shetland fleece from Wassila, Alaska.  My sister that is in Eagle River was kind enough to get me three shetland fleeces a couple of years ago and I’m still working on getting them carded.  These fleeces are very soft but so full of hay shatter and a pain to try and get it all out.

Iowa Suffolk/Hampshire cross

My son has a friend that gave me a ton of their suffolk  fleeces, but I was only able to salvage about 10 pounds,  I won’t even attempt to process fleeces that are less than an inch long and so dirty and smelling of fly spray.  They just weren’t worth the time and effort and cost in water to try and process.

The guys were busy working on son’s pick-up, I just stayed out of their way. 

Father and Son project.

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Demon Kitties

The cats were wanting their supper too!!

They are almost kind of scarry.

Not much going on this week, so far, I have been spinning up some BFL.  It  has a beautiful handle, nice at soft, but I sure don’t like combing it.  This fleece has  a short staple and very tight curl and I’m not enjoying combing this one at all.  I got the fleece off of Ebay so I don’t know if this is typical of the BFL breed or just one of those oops fleeces.  I would need to see other BFL fleeces and if they are the same way I know I won’t be doing any more of them.  Once I  get it all spun I’ll put up some pictures of the completed skeins.  Merino is another fleece I won’t work with, much easlier to buy  it already processed. I tried one fleece and got so frustrated with it that I threw it away.  Hugh amouts of grease and I just couldn’t get it clean, evan with using Orvis paste soap for animals, it just always felt sticky.  I have done merino crosses and have had very good luck with Cormo and Bond merino.

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So far this month I have carded a few batts of Ramboulliet/Columbia cross and finished another pair of socks and working on a pair of gloves using the Legare CSM.  Nothing very special going on just cold with some snow, we have been very lucky so far this month.  New Years weekend we had to fix vehicles, the gas filter on the Escape decided it was full and needed changing, I was glad to get home from work before the filter just wouldn’t let anymore gas through, plus the gas cap was cracked so the idiot  lights came on and stayed on until it was fixed and finally went off after 5 or 6 startups once the brain was reset.

Carded with Petite

 This fiber is like working with  a cloud, except for the sand burrs that are throughout the whole fleece.  OUCH!!!

First 2011 Socks

Here is just a generalized pattern for this sock:

Machine:  LeGare 400, cylinder 72 needle   

 Yarn: Hand Spun    Fiber content: Columbia, Shetland, Scotch  Mule   

Dye:  Kool aid Lemon-Lime, Berry blue, Grape     (Only used in the Green section) the rest is natural color

Toe and Heal: scotch mule was used to strengthen areas

Top(Hem): 15 rows of plain knitting,hung a hem

Cuff: 20 rows of a 1:2 Mock rib

Leg: 20 rows of green continued mock rib, replaced needles and did 20 rows of the Columbia plyed with Shetland yarn. Changed to scoth mule for the heal.

Set up for  the heal: Knit  decreasing needles down to 16 needles then adding needles until they are all into play.  Put all needles into play and continue knitting the foot.  First 30 rows of foot Columbia was used,  changed to Columbia/Shetland and knit 30 more rows.

Set up for the toe section: same as for heal.

Total rows knit: Cuff and Leg 15+20+20 +20= 75        Foot: 60 rows

Size of sock should fit a mans 8-11 foot easily.

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I’ve been carding up some bond merino to get ready for fall sock knitting.  I’m not a very big fan of merino but I really love the bond merino. I like to dye colored wools to see what color they come out as, the following picture shows the natural color (which to me it looks like a rosey grey), the middle one was dyed with Jaquard dye “gold ochre” and the right one was dyed with “fiery red”. Will add a picture of the yarn when I get it spun up.

Here are the gold and red spun up.

These came out really pretty.

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