Thursday, January 3, 2013

moving to the main "house"


I will no longer be posting on this blog as of today
 There are still going to posts about my fiber journeys
...washing, dying, spinning and in general
 PLAYING with fiber. 
I will just be "moving" the posts to my main blog HERE
All the fiber related posts can be seen by clicking on the
 *Spin/Weave* tab
just below the banner of the main blog

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

what's on YOUR wheel....

This is a 4oz BFL roving that
I bought it last year when on a trip to Washington State.
I thought it would be fun because it was
dyed locally (there).

The fiber's are filling up the Jensen Tina II bobbin
...just right =)

...but, now I have to do a center pull ball to ply it. 
...not really my favorite thing.

...or, I can try to find another single ply that will play nicely
with this one.  Taking the easy way out,I'm gonna see if I can
 find a playmate...

 I could probably alleviate this problem next time. 
 What if?... the roving got divided into two halves?
Then, I could spin half roving on each of two bobbins.
It's sooo nice when the lights go on in meee ol' brain! 
Yeah...if it only happened a leeeetle more
often!  =P

What's on YOUR wheel? or spindle, or needles, or?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Got some sheep's wool to wash?

Oh..I didn't mean a whole  Merino sheep . 

 I'm thinking... more like this.
This is a raw Merino Fleece...but, it might be called a
 "spinner's" fleece.  It's not quite as dirty as a fleece
would be sheared right from a free roaming sheep.

The raw Merino fleece came off of a sheep that wore
 a jacket for the year while it's "fur" was growing out
after the previous shearing.
Jackets worn by sheep (like the one above)...keep the
fleece clean of vegetable matter, dirt and weather elements.

Also a spinner likes to buy a fleece that has been
"well skirted".
Nope...not this kind of skirted...

Skirting a Fleece is the process of trimming off
wool fleece
...the less desirable parts of the fleece.  If you look at
the above picture (used from the Spinderella website)
 you can see the orange colored areas is the higher quality
part of the fleece. 

It's really nice to start with a raw fleece that is
jacketed and well skirted.  The cleaner and higher quality
the fleece is...usually the more expensive it is.  The trick is
to find a good raw fleeces for the best price.

I've washed fleeces before.  But, most recently, I've washed
a couple of fleeces and they have come out REALLY dry.
One of the fleeces actually became really mushy/weak/brittle.
All of the fleeces started out as high quality soft, fine fibers.
I couldn't figure out what I was doing.  I was using DAWN
dishwashing soap and another "suggested" laundry soap. DAWN
has long been touted as one of the best soaps for washing a fleece
that is high in grease (lanolin).  Merino sheep fleeces are VERY high
in lanolin content.  So...I thought...I was using the best soap for the job.
Maybe the water was too hot?  But, I checked websites with washing
instructions for high grease content...and the water I was using wasn't
too hot.  What, on earth...happened then?

Yep...Enzymes happened...!  I started reading dishwashing
liquids and laundry detergent labels.  In the last several years,
Commercial soap makers have started creating ULTRA 
grease cutters and STAIN BOOSTERS...
Most of the "ultra" and super-duper words used for adding
extra strength to the soaps...are ENZYMES...
Well...enzymes break down proteins and guess what???

OOOPS....and UH-OH...
ya, know... I shudda...

Wool fibers are MADE of protein. 
This means that....
any dishsoap or laundry detergent could have enzymes
and you might not know it.  They don't have to actually list
any or all of the ingredients they use to make a soap that is not
used on humans.  Sometimes the bottle will advertise that
there are added enzymes (do not use on protein fibers).
You can find a partial list of some laundry detergents HERE 
But, also if ingredient lists aren't fairly recent, enzymes
could've been added after list was made and the product could
have the same name.

With all this "lab-chemistry" info, I was feeling a wee bit
over my head.  So, it was time for some simple kitchen-type
experiments, not too overly controlled.  I just wanted to try
a few different soaps with similar methods and see what

I tried 5 different soaps... with various results...from bad...
to (imho) GREAT! 

I wish you could feel feels like
a baby's soft, silky hair. 

This post has gotten...looooong.  So, I will
share my experiment process in the next couple
of days...
Meantime...I would like to ask YOU...
Have you ever washed a fleece(s)?  If so, what
soap(s) have YOU used?  Which ones did you like or not?

If you haven't washed a fleece, are there certain hand
dishwashing liquids that YOU might find to be nice
to your hands...or some that you've thought are really harsh?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Knit One...Kill Two... giveaway...

This is Maggie Sefton's first knitting mystery books and,
one of her most popular,

"Despite the fact that her aunt was an expert knitter,
Kelly Flynn never picked up a pair of knitting needles she liked
—until she strolled into House of Lambspun.
Now, in the first in a brand-new series, she learns
 how to knit one, purl two, and untangle the mystery behind
 her aunt's murder."   --excerpt form back of book

I'm listening to this on audio-book and am REALLY
enjoying it!

You can read more about the author and her other books...

enter to win* by doing...the following

 -ONE ENTRY to win-
 - Please, leave a you like (not like) to
knit? or have you never tried, but want to? Beginner"
or very accomplished knitter?

-THREE ENTRIES (more) to win-
 - if you blog about it and leave a separate comment
 that you did.

Giveaway Thursday November 24th midnight MT

*to win, must be a follower

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wasatch Woolpack Spinning Saturday

Last Saturday, about 10 of us got together for
some fun fiber chatter-ee and eats.
I wish I had taken more pictures!! I will have to
be more diligent behind the lens, next time.

There were 6 different spinning wheels, someone using
a drop spindle, a couple of people were knitting too.

We did show and tell...each object shared would
garner a ticket to win...there were 4 little goodie bags to win.

Here one of the ladies was sharing a knitted
purse/satchel that she was going to felt.

And, here are some very fun and whimsical
"thigh" high striped socks. 
(sorry the picture is so blurry)

We ate some yummy vegetable chili and
had chocolate dipped banana and apple slices.

I learned soooo much from all of the talented
knitters/spinners that shared that day!

====   ===   ===   ===   ====

This is some great fiber purchased at
Oregon Flock and Fiber this last September

4 oz of roving
50% Merino ~ 25% Bamboo ~ 25% Tussah Silk

spun single ply...eventually to be 2 ply.
I'll show the plied yarn... in a future post (hopefully!)
The thought is to make a small neck scarf.  It's
so soft and even tho, it will be light weight,
it will be very warm.

====   ===   ===   ===   ====

Did EWE know?

Sheep were domesticated 10,000 years ago in
Central Asia, but it wasn't until 3,500 B.C. that man
learned to spin wool.

Friday, November 11, 2011

spin...dye...stitch... Oh! My!

Oh...MY...this is one of my favorite fiber-eee books!

This is a grrrrr....reat book by Jennifer Claydon.
If you want to make your own one-of-a-kind yarn, then,
this is the book for YOU!
But, even if you don't want to dye your own fibers...
this is still a great book for the fundamentals of the
spinning wheel and spinning. 
The pictures are all wonderful. Instructions/explanations
of different aspects of spinning and creating yarn
can be clearly understood even for the beginner.

If you don't see this book at your local fiber shop...
check out Amazon...where you can look inside the book.

So...let me know with your comments...are you
a well "seasoned" spinner, a beginner, or have you never
spun on a spinning wheel?  If you've never you think
you would like to try someday?  What would need to happen
to get you on the road to starting to spin?
I LUV spinning!  It is one of the most relaxing hobbies
that I have ever encountered...and, I have met up with
MANY a crafty hobby...fur shore =P

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday's Fiber Play...Oct 28th

It started out looking like this...
It's a roving of Yak, Merino and Bamboo.
This combination is really soft and when spun it
has a kind of springy-ness.

To help you see where the fibers were "born"
read below.  =)

Yaks have a course outer coat that is used
for making things like rope.  It's the soft undercoat
that is mainly used for spinning. The softness
is often compared to cashmere.  But, the fiber
is short.  So, it is blended with other fibers
like wool and/or silk.

 is very fine and very the realm of sheepdom.
It is a wool used to make garments that will be next to
the skin.  It is quite greasy tho and can become matted
easily.  So, processing it into fiber to spin...takes extra
effort and care.  But, imho, it's truly worth it.  I will post
more about the wide range of wool/sheep, in the future.
  And, about the wonderful and unique properties of wool.

The bamboo content in the roving
I have pictured above - the one in the brown bucket,
...actually came from the bamboo plant.  Isn't that
amazing?  It's really hard for me to think that
the VERY soft shiney fiber comes from the stalk
of wooden-like bamboo.  This fiber has been
compared closely to silk.  But, it is less expensive,
a bit shinnier, and slippery-er.

Hanging around waiting for it's warm bath...

* two things learned*
I found out after the fiber was washed and
dried to set, that I tied the turquoise figure 8s,
that I tied too tight.  There were lines when
I took off the ties.  =( .  I think that if I rewash,
the lines might come out. I'll let you know.

Another thing learned from the last few
fiber-to-yarn experiences is that:
If I want to spin equal amounts onto the
bobbins, I need to divide the roving into
equal parts firsts BEFORE I start to spin.

Why would I need the bobbins to have equal
amounts of single ply yarn?  Well, when plying the
two single ply yarns...some would be left
on one bobbin, while the other would be empty.
Is that clear as mud? Or does it make any sense?