Monday, October 12, 2009

NCS Guild Project

Today I began to turn washed CVM fleece into usable fiber. First I used the great digital scale my sister gave me for my birthday last year and divided both the white and colored fleece into equal parts. That way I can spin two spools of each without guessing how much is half!
I set aside 1g of both so I could experiment to find out whether I should card or comb or do something else. I pulled some of the locks apart. It's lovely, soft and very fine. And only a little vm. The brown is a little neppy, tho'. Carding is not my favorite fiber prep -- I've never really grown fully adept. Nevertheless, it's less painstaking and wasteful than coming so I tried that first. I made a little rolad [photo]. Then I took out my mini combs and tried some. I love the way all the little ends stick out together. If it worked with the mini combs, I thought it might work with the double combs. And , it did -- beautifully. I do hate the waste but I'll put it in the "to-be-carded" bag and see. It can always be stuffing for pillows.
I combed all the brown/red today. It's lots of different shades, which will be fun.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Seaman's Scarf and Hat

Last year my boss popped into my office with a plastic bag containing the contents of his mother's stash. The 3 acrylic yarns were red heart and the needles the good old aluminum #7 double points (bits of two sets; did she lose one, as I have, on the bus?). I decided to use these yarns for charity knitting. At work we have a Sunday Lunch program which gives out bags of lunch to at least 100 people. In 2007/8 they decided to involve the "Stitch 'n' Time" charity knitting group to make hats and scarves to hand out with the lunch. I started mine last February but I've spent a lot of time this year not really able to knit much so I'm only now just finished. But, I made sure to start another scarf right away with the third skein.
The white in the hat was actually a fairly stiff aran weight which I used I saw I wouldn't have enough to knit the whole hat. But, I rather like the striped top and hope the recipient does!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Washing Fleece in a City Apartment

The North Country Spinner's "guild challenge" this year involves CVM (California Variegated Mutant)/ Romeldale fleece. Interweave's Spin-Off Magazine is featuring (or featured?) skeins made from unprocessed, raw fleece. Our programs chair ran out of the fleece before each member received the bag she was entitled to so I was without my fleece for a few months. Very kindly and generously Mary M., who owns some Romeldale, gave me a present of some raw fleece. Finally I got my bag from the guild! So, I did end up with a fair amount. And, in the photo you can see the trusty aforesaid mesh bag on the drying rack!

Although I love the way raw fleece smells, I confess I did bag it up in plastic for the trip back to town. There isn't any vegetable matter, which is very nice.

My apartment has a lovely, old (1941) double sink. One side is deep enough to wash a toddler, as my children will attest. In the 40's some people actually did their own laundry by hand so I 'spose that's why that sink was installed. Anyway, it's wonderful for crafters. I zippered the greasy, wonderfully sheep-smelly fleece into a fine-mesh laundry bag, put a big bucket in the sink and filled it with 1/8 c. original Dawn dish detergent and filled it with the hottest water possible. Thank goodness for apartment building water heaters! Then I dunked the bag into the water, pushed it down and swished it very gently to make sure the fiber was getting soaked through. But, I was very gentle and careful not to cause it to felt. Immediately the water turned brown. I let the fleece soak for a while, pulled it out and refilled the bucket with a little Dawn and equally hot water. Then, I rinsed it in several buckets of water at the same temperature. The bag makes the whole process so much easier -- I wish I'd thought of it years ago. After spinning the bag in my salad spinner to get the excess water out I spread out clumps of fiber on a sweater rack on the wooden clothes rack, dividing the white from the brown. It took about 24 hours to dry thoroughly but it's just lovely and I can't wait to spin it. Thank you, Mary!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Two More Bathmats

Not only am I finishing up a huge addition made to the stash in August of kitchen cotton, but I am providing the D.B. with two more bathmats that she loves! There will be about six ounces of the colors left over and they will become charming Swiffer cozies! These are wonderfully quick to make and very satisfactory all around.