Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Craft of Bust!!! - 2/23

Well, I have definitely been a busy gal over the past day and night. Yesterday I finished spinning a bobbin of Chris's alpaca, Canty, fleece.

I was ready to ply and wouldn't you know it I had all bobbins on the Louet Victoria with singles of some sort or another on them. The first bobbin was about 1/2 full with a merino, silk, camel, firestar, glitz batt I am taking my time with. The second had just a smidgen of a 'fine wool and mohair blend' I purchased online because the colors were so lovely in the picture. I don't really care much for it as the wool is rather a little on the coarse side and in person it definitely does not look like the picture. The third bobbin is of course full of the alpaca single.

What to do, what to do? Should I start on my taking-my-time-in-between-other-projects bobbin or bite the bullet and finish spinning the 'not so fine wool and mohair blend'. In the spirit of my goals with the Craft or Bust project, to finish UFO's, I opted to finish spinning the stuff I don't really care for at all. The end result was 128 yards of Plain-Jane yarn with muted hints of color here and there that is not so soft even after washing.

I stood up for just a second to stretch my legs after plying when Little Kitty who is not quite so little any more decided to take a go at the wheel or at least pretend like he was spinning. Silly kitty, doesn't he know that spinning is just for Momma?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Alpaca VS 46 TPI

Well, I thought it was time to put it to the test. Put what to the test you say? Well, the whole idea that you need a higher TPI, Teeth Per Inch, to card alpaca using a drum carder.

It all started with a request from one of my customers over at LunabudKnits. She has alpacas and was wondering about how well alpaca could be carder with the Louet's 72 TPI. I had finally saved enough money that I could get one of the Louet Classic Drum Carders which has a 46 TPI. So off to the carder I went.

Here are the results. I picked the alpaca yearling fleece prior to carding and then sent it through the carder about 3 times. I have found that sending raw fleece through the carder a minimum of three times will properly open the fibers regardless of whether I am using the old 120 TPI carder or the new 46 TPI carder. As you can see from the photos, it turned out rather well!

Puni & Craftiness or Bust Post

In the last post I said I would show you how to make a puni with a drum carder. In the event you are unfamiliar with what a 'puni or punis' is.... It is a hand carding preparation traditionally used with cotton fibers prior to spinning in which the cotton is rolled off the carder using 1-2 sticks to make a tube of fibers.

I use two large knitting needles and one of the drum carding herd (yep, I have a herd of carding tools:) to accomplish this with alpaca and wool. Sometimes I will spin directly from the puni, but for the larger part I prefer to pull it out into roving prior to spinning. My favorite thing about using punis is that you can really cut down on storage space for your batts as it compacts the fibers. Secondly, it helps the fibers come off the drum much more cleanly. And last but not least, you don't have to spin from the puni or pull it into roving. It is very simple to find the end of the batt and unroll it for big batt spinning.

Here are the steps laid out: And PS.... The fiber I am using is from Chris's alpaca so it is technically part of the Craft or Bust 2010;)

#1 After carding your batt stop here and go get your sticks or needles.

#2 Sandwich the batt between the needles like so.

#3 Start to roll the batt off the drum using the needles

Not really as step, but I wanted to show you how cleanly the batt comes off the drum.

#4 Before reaching the end of the batt drop your doffer on top of the tightly rolled puni. This helps to lay the fibers down and keep the puni in formation. Give it a few extra turns under the doffer. Don't worry if you do not have a doffer brush, here is what you do: Continue to roll the puni along the carding cloth surface after all the fiber has been picked up. Check it periodically to see if the roll is tight. Also note, you can do this for too long, so roll it just enough so that when you set the puni down it does not automatically want to unroll.

#5 See how tight. Now pull out the needles or sticks.
The end result.
Here I have pulled a bit of the puni into roving to show you.

This is not part of the puni demo. But, it is apart of my Craft or Bust Challenge. The three white balls on the Louet carder are more of the BFL from Sylvia's sheep now carded and ready to be spun. I have about one ounce on the wheel so far and these three weigh in a little bit over 4 ounces. I should be able to fill up my fiber hungry Louet S17's bobbin with a little room to spare;)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Craft of Bust!!! - 2/19

A super quick and short note. So far so good w/ the 'Craft or Bust' challenge. I have one skein down and a multitude to go:) This skein has 230 yards and I rather like how it turned out. I have a second skein hanging to dry right now.

I am making progress on the turquoise shawl. Although it really doesn't seem like I've done too much as I'm in turning the curve right before the final stretch so to speak...lol

Spent a bit of time the other day picking the alpaca fleece so that it can be carded prior to spinning. I'm hoping to have that done by this week end and have a nice little stack of alpaca punis to spin from. Yes, in case you are wondering, I did say punis. After this week end, I will show you what I mean via some pictures and explain a little bit more about why I like to roll tight punis to spin from:) Until then, happy knitting and happy spinning!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Spin Span & Spun

Just a few clips of finished spinning projects:) The first two are results from my Wacky Batty Club at Lunabudknits. I always like to card up an extra batch for myself and these are the results.

Merino, flax, sari silk, firestar, glitz, alpaca and sequins.

I slightly fulled the finished yarn so that the twist would even out and not skew any knitting job it is destined to be.

This yarn is from the roving I bought from Sylvia at the Spinning Retreat. The purple/green skein is 148yards, blue-green skein is 192 yards and the four peachy/green/purple skeins total 810 yards. All rovings were spun with a long draw to make a nice bulky & fluffy woolen style yarn.

I must apologize for the poor picture quality of this one. It is the spinning samples I did of the fleece I am about to spin and knit into a sweater. All samples are spun Woolen. From left to right : Spun from the lock, Spun from drum carded wool, Spun from drum carded wool with drop spindle. I have decided to go with the drum carded version of the fleece for the finished sweater. I've decided to go with the middle sample for the sweater:) The fleece is one I bought a year or so ago from the same Sylvia who I bought the roving for the yarn in the pic above. Guess you could say I am addicted to her lovely wool!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Craft of Bust!!!

I think this is just what I need to get kick started into no holds barred, full force Craftiness. Craft or Bust 2010!

The synopsis of the rules are:

I hereby challenge myself:
  • to work on at least one craft project per week in 2010;
  • to capture photographic evidence of said work;
  • to post a weekly blog update containing the above evidence and written testimony as to What Has Been Crafted.

Want to read more about the Craft or Bust Challenge? Check it out here: Quicksilver Crafter

My goals thus far:

1. To finish all UFO's. For those of you who don't knit a UFO is an UnFinished Object.
2. To clean a fleece I bought last year, card it, spin it and knit it into a sweater.
3. To finish Spinning my friend Chris's alpaca fleeces for her.

I am repeating to myself: I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!

And here are the beginnings of the Craft or Bust projects:

UFO #1 Want to see what it turns into? Follow the blog:)

UFO# 2 Fiber Trends Flower Basket Shawl using LunabudKnits Lace Wool
Part of the fleece I bought last year from Sylvia's BFL ewe. It is from the same flock that I bought the roving from at the Spinner's Retreat a few posts back:)

Separating the locks from the fleece for flicking. I carded a sample batch and spun a bit from that and will flick a sample batch and spin from that to decide which preparation I like better. Yarn will be spun bulky woolen.

Two skeins already for Chris's sis.

Junk in the Trunk

All new Junk in the Trunk batts are up at LunabudKnits!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival

Not sure if you have hear or not, but there is a new Fiber Festival on the circuit. This will be the first year for the festival, but there is plenty on the ticket from sheep dog trials to competitions to classes to vendors. A Ravelry group has just now been set up: click here Or you can check out the website: click here

Other Fun Facts..................

I taught myself to knit by watching a woman while on a flight from Scotland to the USA in 1996.

I taught myself how to spin yarn Feb 15th, 2007. I think I've done fairly well:)

'Lunabud' is a combination of two dogs' names I was loved by, Buddy and Luna:)