Friday, June 29, 2012

Finished Fiber Arts Objects Friday, 6/29/2012

This week, I've been all kinds of all about spinning!

First, I finished all that rainbow and black spinning I've been doing!

Here's the last one, that I finished earlier this week:

Now I'm just working on picking out which skirt pattern I want to make. I don't actually have QUITE enough yarn (I ended up with about 550 yards of roughly worsted weight three ply) but I've got a couple other handspuns that I'm thinking about using as well (more next Wednesday).

Then, I did my first skein of spinning of that yarn I dyed last week!

136 yards, Navajo-ply, 4.7 ounces, added loads of Angelina...only downside is that it's REALLY hard to get the colors to show true. So, it's actually more blue than this:

But, it's more purple/green than this:

More next week, cause I've got loads more of this stuff to spin! Also, check back on Sunday: I'll be doing an entire post on just how I did this dyeing and got these colors!

Check out Fiber Arts Friday and Finished Object Friday!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday, 6/27/2012

This week has been pretty much all spinning, all the time. I finished a couple spinning projects - those I'll post on Friday - but my big time sink has been more fleece preparation stuff! Specifically, I finished combing my first pound of fiber, and then I dyed it and then started to spin it! It took a while, but it was great fun! I'm gonna do a whole post on this at some point, along with the "recipes" I used and such, but for now, just some shots of how the dyeing turned out...

I dyed my fiber in five batches, all using slightly different combinations of Wilton's food coloring. These were difficult to photograph in the light in my apartment; the purples didn't want to photograph true. But I did my best...Here they are!

Then, I started to spin it! I've actually done a fair bit more since I took this photograph yesterday, but it'll have to do. I'm hoping to have at least one complete skein done by Friday.

That's what I've been up to! See what everyone else has been working on over at Tami's Amis and Other Creations blog.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Finished Object Friday, 6/22/2012

So, I mentioned on Wednesday that even though I've been absentee, I have managed to make a FEW things in the last month or so. This is primarily been my spinning (and spinning and spinning) and a brief foray in to knitting - the majority of my crafting is actually still in progress, since so much of my time is going to prepping the fleece I talked about on Wednesday!

Dish Cloths
I've been trying to go green in whatever ways I can. For example, I bought two sort-of washcloths that I've been using and washing instead of paper towels for tasks like scrubbing the bathroom. This has been a raging success - the same two cloths have done the trick for several years now. Now, my dish sponges weren't quite as disposable as paper towels, but even so, the damn things fall apart within a few months, so I figured...I should give it a try! Make a couple dish cloths out of cotton and see if they last longer than sponges would have. And, because of Nerd Wars and my inestimable love for Supernatural, I made them aligned for the show.

The top one isn't too legible, so I'm gonna leave it that way, and the bottom one says "Jerk." (they are the two main characters nicknames for each other). Considering I've never done a chart like this before, I'm not at all unhappy with how they turned out. I didn't block them or weave in the ends; I figured they'd just get out of whack again when I used them. "Jerk" has been in service all week, and so far I'm pretty satisfied! In particular, they hold soap better than I thought they would. I'm being careful to extra-soak stuff, since of course I've lost all scouring ability. :)

Rainbow spinning
At Maryland Sheep and Wool I bought 16 ounces of black-base with rainbow colors in it to spin. I LOVE rainbows. My determination was to use this, once spun, to make myself a skirt (I'm aiming for around 600 yards). So far, I've done 12 ounces (but the last I only finished today, so no pictures yet). I also taught myself to Navajo ply in May, and have used this project to practice on. All in all I'm pretty happy with how it's going. Here are the two skeins that are done so far:

Oddly, even though the blend is supposedly the same, the top one (which is the one I did first) ended up way more orange, and the bottom one way more blue. So far the third one looks to be somewhere in between, which is good - if they look TOO different I'll end up with a pretty wonky looking skirt. Interesting, the close ups of the two skeins look so similar I can hardly tell them apart! Yet at a distance, they are clearly pretty different.

Either way, I'm more-or-less in love with how it's turning out, and looking forward to finishing the fourth skein so that I can make my skirt, probably in July. So far, I've got 180 yards in one skein and 120 yards in the other (yeah, I wasn't quite as consistent with thickness as I'd like) but both are hovering around DK (just one is kinda heavy DK and the other is pretty much right on...). I think the third is closer to DK, too, though I haven't checked yet.

So...that's me! Check out what everyone else is up to this Fabulous Friday! Finished Object Friday and Fiber Arts Friday are filled with awesome blogs!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday, 6/20/2012

Don't even get me started on depression. I've been AWOL from this blog for a while. Anyway, I'm still here, and I'm still crafting! I've been up to a lot, but one of the biggest things has been fiber prep of my fleece! So I wrote up a bit of a step by step for how I'm cleaning it - I'm doing all of this more-or-less every day since the beginning of the month!

I've learned a bit that makes this go better since I started.

When I first bought the fleece, a friend and I broke it in to clumps of from 3.5 - 6 ounces. This is a fairly typical clump:

Pre-wash: I stick my clump of fiber in a colander and rinse it. It's amazing how much dirt this removes, the water runs brown for the first 30 seconds or so. (note that there is no agitation involved in any step of this or in rinsing, just running water right through)

Soak: I soak the fiber in tap water for around 24 hours.

Clean: I drain the water, rinse the fiber in the colander again to get the dirty water out of it. I refill the pot with hot water, eyeball between a quarter and a third of a cup of plain dish soap (I've been using Green Way Eco-Friendly unscented dish soap). I let it soak while it's heating up to temperature (which takes about 15 minutes) and then for a further 30 minutes, and then let it cool a little in the pot. I use a candy thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature.

Rinse: I rinse it again to get the soap out.

Dry: I use a towel to squeeze out the excess water, and then put it on a cookie cooling rack to dry. It takes around 24 hours to dry completely, sometimes longer.

Weight: I now weigh it again to see how much I've lost.

Comb: I comb all the fiber. I line up all the locks in my hand before putting them on the comb, and I've been doing smaller clumps since I've discovered it goes a lot better. When I'm done, I end up with two piles of fiber. One is all set and ready to spin, though I haven't quite figured out how to not have any little clumps/knots of fiber in there:

And the other is the left overs and more or less useless (though I gather it can be used as doll stuffing, and I bet if I dyed it I could use it to make some fun effects in an art yarn):

So far, counting the fiber I pulled out for the top pic, which I'll be starting in about half an hour, I've processed the follow quantities (not counting my swatch):

Raw, uncleaned, chunks of fleece: 2 lbs. 4.1 ounces
Cleaned: 1 lb. 4.6 ounces (three fewer chunks are in this number than in the previous)
Combed: 8.8 ounces (I've combed four chunks)
Or, just looking at the completed bunches:
Raw: 1 lb. 4.1 ounces
Cleaned: 14.2 ounces (a loss of 5.9 ounces of gunk and lanolin - 29% reduction in weight)
Combed: 11.0 ounces (a loss of an additional 3.2 ounces of bits and pieces that aren't big enough to use - 23% reduction from cleaned total; loss of 45% of the original weight of the fleece)

...I really would like to have a pound ready to dye by the end of the month. I think this is pretty doable, but I've been lazy the last few days, until yesterday, when I discovered that after doing this most of the month I've reached a point that I can comb out almost 3 ounces of fiber in about an hour and a half (when I started it took me about an hour per ounce...). So, that's my progress. :)

Still, I'm definitely still learning. So, audience! Time for your participation! Do you know any great strategies for fiber prep? I spoke to one friend on Rav about this and it turns out how she does it is almost COMPLETELY different from how I was taught to do it, so now I'm trying to get a sense of just what people do. ;)

Check out all the Work in Progress Wednesday fun on Work in Progress Wednesday on Tami's Amis and Other Creations blog!