Monday, July 28, 2008

Fiber Fun Finally!

I've not knitted in so long that Abbie is now stalking me through the house. Also, I had to re-read the Jaywalker pattern last night when I picked it up as I couldn't remember where I was or what to do. lol. Pretty ironic considering how many times I've knit this sock. And I do mean this exact sock. Same yarn, same foot....hopefully this time, right size. ;) Thank goodness I still remember how to knit!

Well I've changed days off so now I have two in a row. All stand and say Woo hoo at the same time. Thank you! It's fab! Really it is. I've worked split days off long enough now that I'm sick of it. hehe. So now I'm catching up on stuff and things are starting to fall into place and I'm getting caught up on lots of stuff. Relaxing mainly. lol

Last Monday I caught up with a fiber friend who is setting up a fiber processing mill. We planned on a few hours of play to give her practice with her machines and give me some processed fiber. I was unaware up to that point that some of these set ups need more than one person to run. It must be frustrating to have the equipment and not always have the extra humans to run it. So yes! I volunteered!!!! And I will again! I came away with LOTS of clean fluffy fiber ready to spin and a definite reason to own a wool picker of my own.

I had already decided I wanted a wool picker and had ordered/received the plans for one, but I had not realized how truly wonderful this tool is. Its a HUGE time saver. So last Monday I took with me fiber I vacuum packed in 2006 to see if it is truly a viable method of fiber storage. Upon opening the 8oz of Border Leicester, I realized that it still had too much lanolin in it. Next time, I'll make sure it's cleaner. However, there were no bugs and no other problems! However you would need to pick the wool to make it card able, and some of it is not as clean as I would make it now. ;)
Here's a picture of some of the teeth on the picker.
So here it is in it's 4 oz vac packed glory!! I have to say it comes out of the package in pretty much the same shape it's in the package. Flat...... really flat.

Here's the laundry basket with this packet picked into it! WOW! It really fluffed up!!! This tool is going to take sooooo much work out of my life. Julie watched this fiber fluff up and said, "If you're gonna vac pac, you HAVE to have a picker!" We were both surprised how much this stuff fluffed up!

Here's the carder. I know, drool huh?

And the fiber coming out of the orifice on the carder.(mine all mine!)
Here's a shot of the carded roving going into the tub. (side shot...sorry. I was in a hurry as I was manning this end and if you don't watch it, it goes completely crazy for some unknown reason.)
This was so slick! Even with my sticky grabby not wanting to work nicely wool, it was still slick.
After this we ran my cleaner unknown brown through and it was much better.
Then we ran Julies color blend, really clean project through and it was to die for! I almost stole it!!! I have got to get some color blending projects together!!! I didn't get any pictures of this completed, but it was beautiful!
So I left with a better understanding of how pickers work and how larger commercial carder work and why wool has to be ultra clean going through them lol . Also I came home with 2lbs of (sticky) white roving and about 1 lb of brown roving. Ready to spin. I learned so much that day and it was all low key and fun. Just my style. lol Next time I'm taking colors to blend! She also loaned me her cd that has the plans for her picker on it so I could compare it to mine. Awesome tool. Can't say it enough! Thanks a bunch Julie!
Another thing I came home with was two Alpaca fleece, washed and dried ready to go. Julie wanted to try her hand at washing Alpaca, and I'm looking to have mine washed away from home as it's taking too much of my time up. So for a one on one exchange, she washed two of mine. The other mill that I've arranged to wash and dry for me is gonna charge me $4.00 a lb. which is not bad at all. During Summer months I'm still working through washing what I have from last year, but I have more coming from this years shearing and when it gets later in the fall I'll start paying to have it done. I want to focus on dyeing an blending this year. This means that I need to not spend so much time washing;) As I'm not paying for the fleece, I'm not complaining about the washing costs. lol
Yesterday I vac packed two Alpaca Fleece, and that's about all I can handle in a day. It's tedious to weigh it up and vac pac it, but it was nice to be able to reuse some of the bags that were hanging around here. Unfortunately, I have about 6 more fleece ready to vac pac as I've been washing off and on all summer and no bags left. lol. I'll be buying more bags next week.
I don't know if I posted on it, but I did receive something like 17 of the Jacquard Acid Dyes that I ordered and I'm quite excited for the cold weather to start so I can play with the It's a cold weather hobby of mine, so I can't take the time right now. I just look at them on the shelf and say, "OOoh pretty!". lol
Today I finally sat down and started spinning some of the white Border Leicester that was carded at Julies last week. I wish is was cleaner as it's pretty sticky with lanolin, so I'll rewash and dye before carding more. Great lesson for sure. It does spin up like a dream though so I'm not to unhappy. I keep thinking of socks as I spin, so maybe this will end up on the sock dyeing board. Wouldn't that make an interesting forward to this post. lol Maybe I can dye with the Jacqard dyes even!
Just want you to know that I miss you all even though I'm not around much and that I think of my online buddies all the time! The weather will change eventually and we'll be wishing we were busier sooner than we'd like, me thinks. I'm saving some of my nice weather stories to tell you then! ;) Love you all, even though I don't stay in touch!


Cindy said...

Good to hear from you. Sounds like you had a fabulous time!!! Give Tucker a hug for me and Grover, huh? You know the other "kids" are included in that, right?

Firefly Nights said...

Can you tell us more about the carder? I've never seen one where the fiber came out in roving, only in batts. Is this a huge commercial one? I couldn't tell from the photo.