Friday, June 25, 2010

The Next Chapter in Spinning

Well, the first week of summer has been somewhat relaxing.  I started an art class.  It's the first in the basic design series.  I figured since I teach at an art school, it was about time I learned what the kids were there for.  Anyway, the first two classes were fun.

On the fiber front, I finally spun up the yarn that I processed from one of my fleeces.  Here it is in all of its glory.  I'm a bit disappointed in the finished product.  I feel that the yarn is too inconsistent in its width.  It's not bad but I was hoping for a nice worsted weight all the way through.  It just means more practice on my part.

I also spent today dyeing roving for the first time.  I used Koolaid and I had a blast.  However, my hands smell a bit like grape drink.  I intend to card it into this grey fleece that I have and see how it spins up.

I'm off to New Orleans, city of my birth, for and NEA conference.  I lucked out and got first class going and coming back.  Since it's about a five hour flight, I'll be able to drink and knit to my heart's content.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Current Projects Now That School is Out.

OMG!  Thank the Universe that school is out.  This has been one of the hardest years for me in teaching.  Now begins ten weeks of rest and Fiber Projects.

I started a spinning class this month and that has opened many new doors.  The only problem now choosing between knitting or spinning.

My spinning teacher recommended that I go to Black Sheep Gathering, my first ever fiber festival. Of course, I did and ended up spending way too much money.  My goal is to go from fleece, to yarn, to finished product.  The problem I experienced when I was down there was which fleece and how much.  My instructor told me what to look for in a good fleece and what types were good for beginners.  Anyway, I couldn't make up my mind and several fleeces that I was interested in were nabbed.  I finally cornered a volunteer who knew her stuff and recommended a really nice fleece.  It's ten pounds of Romney Coopworth cross.  It's a fab charcoal grey.  Here it is in all of is stinky greasy glory.

Well, I then thought that I should get two different types of wool just in case.  So, I bought six pounds of Corriedale.  Here's a shot of it.

Well, then there came the issue of how the hell am I going to process all of this wool.  Enter the drum carder.  So, now I'm set.  However, I still have to clean all of this wool.

I was very worried about this process.  There is a ton of information out there about the "correct" way to clean fleece.  I decided on separating the locks and putting them into mesh bags and do all of the cleaning in the washing machine.  I was surprised at how easy this was.  Also, everyone was correct about sheep being really dirty.  This is a really clean fleece and the wash water was GROSS!

Anyway, here are the lovely clean locks drying.  Hopefully, they will be ready for the drum carder tomorrow.