Tag Archive: fleece

Fleeced Out

The week of fleece washing didn’t accomplish as much as I was hoping, but I did get a pretty sizeable pile of fleece washed. And while there is still a whole garbage bag full of dirty fleece, I think this will keep me busy for a while.


I actually got a pretty fair amount of this carded, but the carded got used in another project before I took any pictures of it and is now hanging out to dry. I did decide to break out of my usual “rolag” carding method and turn the carded fluff into these nice little balls of homemade roving. Not quite as smooth and buttery as store bought, but it’s fun to use and spins nicely.


The pink and purple are from cochineal dyed fleece. Yes, I still have that fleece laying around. Two nice chunks of it.

Something Called "Yarn Weight"?

Whew. It’s been a while since I’ve posted about any personal projects. And as a result, quite a few posts have racked up, so hold onto your hats!

I finished spinning these lovely skeins. They’re from the Iowa fleece (the same fleece I’m working on washing) and have a great feel to them. I spun them on the Walking Wheel.
The only problem is that I didn’t pay very close attention to the size of the singles as I spun. A little “weight shift” occurred between the skeins. Keen-eyed yarn lovers may notice I have one skein that is thin for the most part, and two that are mainly thick. (I say mostly and mainly because they were “fun” yarns. The kind I don’t grapple with tooth and nail to get the lumps and inconsistencies out.) I’m itching to get these into a dye pot of some kind, but I don’t know what for. Lately all my yarns have been spun and dyed with certain projects in mind. This lends itself well to the careful and responsible use of all and sundry fluff.

But I really just want to slap those babies into the kettle and have fun with them.

Natural Experiments, part two

At the end of the forty-five minute simmering of my natural dye experiments, the red was gorgeous and the goldenrod was a beautiful, glistening honey color. The hydrangea leaves, on the other hand, had tanked. It was kind of a pale gray with a tinge of yellow green. Not very exciting.

In the pot:

Natural Experiments

As I walked out on the back porch to drain yet another pot of wool I noticed these flowers. RedFlowersNot the “Oh, that’s pretty” sort of notice, nor the “I need to water or deadhead those” kind. It was the “Red = Color = Dye!” kind of notice. Eaten up by curiosity I ran back inside and grabbed a paper towel. Come to find out, rubbing the flower with the towel produces a shade of delightful pinky-red! Vivid and intense enough to make dyeing with it seem possible.

Needless to say I promptly forgot about wool washing (although I did get the next batch in the degreaser) and switched to natural dyeing. You can imagine my excitement. A whole new world of discovery opened up! In two minutes flat I was picturing myself discovering an as yet untried dye stuff and bursting on the natural dyeing scene on Ravelry with an amazing revelation. My blog stats would soar, I’d walk on air for days . . . and I was getting carried away. I reeled myself back in and did the obvious. I picked the flowers.

Fleece Flurries And A Crazy Knitter

I’ve started the races on wool washing. As of now I have a pretty good start. I’m being extra careful to not let the wool sit and be forgotten for too long, as that seems to make the final fiber coarser. I have a finished batch drying, another in the degrease stage, and a third in the preliminary soaking.

In the meantime, quick, take a guess. What new knitting project have I plunged into? Anyone? Anyone? DSCN9630

It is not a garden hose cozy. I haven’t quite gone off the deep end yet. I am merely dipping my toe in the water, so to speak. (Although I’m not doing it the toe-up way.) Behold the beginnings of a sock. And before you start pointing out that the yarn isn’t one of mine, let me explain. I was going to try to knit my first socks out of handspun, but the only handspun yarn I had was too thick. My knitting sister very kindly shared from her stash, so while you see before you a completely commercial yarn, it is still a nice yarn. Could I have waited to spin my own? Of course not! When you have the urge, you knit.

Renaissance Faire

Last Sunday I got to go to a wonderful Renaissance Faire which is held near the place I reside. In summary: it was absolutely fabulous. In fact, I’ll break tradition and show you a non-spinning-related picture. Here’s the costume I wore.

Actually, it turned out to be partially spinning-related because I made a felted pouch and belt to go with it. Believe it or not, the brown yarn I used was actually spun from some of the very first fiber I ever ordered online. My second ever fiber purchase. Ah, the memories. (I’ll get you some details on the belt and bag tomorrow.) The dress turned out just right. Not too hot, even though the sun was popping in and out of the clouds all day.

The Handspinning guild I went to late last year was there! And the wonderful lady who gave the talk on natural dyeing was doing an indigo pot. Wow. The colors she had sitting beside her. . . I think I’m going to faint. Gorgeous blues and blue-greens. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to actually hang around and watch her work, but we talked natural dyes for awhile. At the guild meeting she had mentioned getting things like goldenrod leaves at a shop at the Ren faire, so I decided to poke around and see if I could find it. I did, with the help of some friends, and here’s the result. A nice little bag of dried goldenrod leaves.


I really wish I had summoned up the courage to ask the shop keeper if she had any other natural dye stuffs. Fie upon me for a cowardly spinner.

A Long Tail

It’s been over a month in the making and now the last tail is woven in. I present to you, the finished tam! (That’s the “tail” part of the title.)


And here’s the “long.” I finally finished spinning the fall fleece.

What spurred this sudden completion? A new issue of Spin Off arrived and it mentioned a pattern I thought this fleece would look fabulous in.

Aussie Fur

Yes, you read that right. A very good friend (and fellow spinner!) sent me some fur from her dog for my birthday present. AussieFurclose

That stuff is so soft! It’s unwashed at the moment, which is driving my dog nuts. I can hardly wait to get started with it. I think I’ll spin it first, then wash it. That will help keep the fibers from felting or getting tangled. Which is pretty much the same thing, now that I think about it. (Unless you want to get into the molecular structure of felted fibers.)

I’m going to spin it on the Great Wheel as soon as I finish up the fall colored fleece. Talk about motivation! Let’s get that fleece done! She also sent some rescued cotton bits from pill bottles. I’m very curious to see how they will behave on the wheel.


Alright. So the question is, “Are you officially a knitter when you get a wee bit giggly, adrenalin rushy, and over-the-top over whether the gauge with turn out right?” If the answer is yes, I’m officially a knitter. So I really like the yarn and the pattern. I tell you, this tam might be the death of me. If I got that excited over the swatch? This doesn’t bode well.

Not to mention I’m suffering from a little beginning knitter’s naivety. On being told that my gauge was seven and a half stitches per inch instead of eight, I promptly thought I would have to knit more loosely. Because, as everyone knows, if you want seven and half to become eight, you have to add.

I’ll just leave that one alone for awhile.

Silk And Fleece

Okay, so I decided that I didn’t want to spend my last few days at home working away at the flax. The question was what should I spin instead. I finally settled on the silk hankie, which I planned to pair with the fall fleece. dscn8842
I must say, it’s a lot more fun than flax. Just very clingy. I thought silk roving was bad, but this tops it. It’s like when you’re hot gluing something, and you get one of those long strings of ultra thin stuff. Only there’s a lot more of them.

Setting that aside, I’m really enjoying the spinning process, and look at the gorgeous shine and color I’m getting! I am now skulking about on the internet, trying to find inexpensive silk hankies for dyeing.