Friday, August 5, 2016

Bert 2016

Bert is one of my Nigora boys, he is the only white one that I have, and he is also one of the first to shed out in the spring.  I finished getting fleeces of the goats months ago, but I am just now getting around to washing them.

Part of the hold up is that unlike wool, which you wash and then lay out to dry undisturbed, you have to fluff Nigora as it drys or you end up with a lump that stays that way.  Monday I decided that it was time to do at least one of the fleeces.  I picked the first one I came to, and that would be Bert.  It was a big fleece as Nigoras go, and I separated it out into 3 laundry mesh bags and set to work washing it, it isn't hard to do, I use my spin dryer between all the washes (2) and rinses (2) and it is quickly time to lay the fleece onto the drying rack.  About then I realized that I had washed way too much fleece for my time constraints!  What to do?

I ended up fluffing for several hours that day, leaving the bags in the last rinse water to stay wet.  I continued in this manner until over a period of 3 days, I was able to get all the fleece fluffed up to finish drying.

Then last afternoon evening, I went through the fleece again, making sure I had all or most of the vegetable matter out of it, then I put it all into a pillow case.  Would you believe the pillow case is only half full?

It really packs down into a seemingly small amount!  I am hoping to have enough fleece to send off to be de-haired this year, I have tried doing it by hand but even though it is easy, even pleasant to do, it takes a really long time!

I think I will wash a sheep fleece today!

Keep on Crafting. Tina

Friday, July 29, 2016

2 Extremes

 I took part in a Roving to Shawl competition a couple of weeks ago, and for the shawl that we made, I was required to spin much a thicker, lower twist single ply yarn than I had spun in a long, long time.  I was a little nervous about it, and I must say that even though we came in last place I was thrilled that I was able to make the yarn I set out to make, instead of putting up with making my usual yarn.  To celebrate this new found liberty, I have been spinning up the roving that we had left over from the competition, into nice thick low twist singles.

I plan to make more scarves along the lines of the competition shawl, well at least using the same colors.

This week I have also been putting my Grandmothers cotton carders to  good use and I have carded up almost all of the ginned cotton that I have on hand, and I have been spinning it on my small Indian book Charkha that I recently picked up on a Ravelry destash.

Cotton is spun much finer and at an incredibly high twist, the total opposite of the wool I have recently been spinning, it is fun to stretch my skills in opposite directions everyday.  Yesterday afternoon, I emptied the one bobbin on my Canadian Production Wheel, and I decided that was going to try to spin some commercially prepped cotton sliver on this, my fastest wheel.  Luckily, I have been practicing for the last 2 weeks or so on spindles and the charka, and gaining a lot of experience in how cotton likes to be spun.  I had to figure out how to do it on a wheel that has flyer and a bobbin, and that has a pull towards the bobbin, instead of a spindle that has no pull at all!  Once I got it, I didn't want to stop!  Zoom, Zoom as they say!

I found myself stopping to spin a few minutes through the evening, and early this morning I was again drawn to the wheel, like I haven't been in awhile.  I plan to use this handspun cotton as weft in some upcoming projects, so I need to get a lot of it spun while I am emptying the looms of current projects.

That is it for today's post, Until next time, Keep Crafting, Tina

Friday, July 22, 2016

Grandma's Cotton Cards

I have recently taken on the task of learning how to spin cotton, I posted about it last week on The Tuesday weavers blog, "Loomy Tunes".  After I posted I remembered that I had my Grandma's cotton carders in the Studio, and I went looking for them.

I found them easily, and I decided to use them to card some seed cotton that I had just finished ginning. (getting the seeds out!)

I charged one of the carders.

I carded the cotton lint until it was happy with it.

I unloaded the cards.

I used the knitting needle to compress the cotton lint into a puni, the cotton version of a rolag.

This orange thread 20/2 size is my spinning guide,  I would like to use this handspun cotton as weft on an upcoming weaving project.

I love using these cards for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost they have family history, my Mom can remember using them to make cotton batts to put in the many quilts my Grandmother made, and they work a lot better than the newer ones I had borrowed from the Weavers at Norris.

Until next time, Keep on Crafting, Tina

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Little Progress

I have made a very small amount of progress this week on the rug loom.  There are just too many other things screaming for my attention.

I have here all of the treadles, the front beam and the little treadle spacers, they have been sanded once.  My plan is to get everything thru the first sanding then move on from there.  I am cleaning the nuts and bolts as I go with Krud Kutters product.  (I like it!)

It is really hard for me to not just slap the loom together and get weaving, but I am going to stay strong, it is a bit like growing out bangs.   After months of managing the grow out phase, they irritate you for just a second and bam, you cut off 6 months growth in a nano second, then beat yourself up because you gave in.  (I am doing that too, the growing not the cutting!)

Today, I ran errands and one of those was to get some 1x6's to build a compost bin.  I have a lot of barn waste to deal with in the winter time.  In the past I have put it in piles and it was assimilated into the surrounding landscape.  This year I thought I would do things differently,  I went to the Lee Valley Hardware website, and I ordered, over the last month or two, 3 sets of compost brackets.  Once you have your brackets, you purchase 10, 8ft boards that are 1x6in, I had the friends in the big box store cut them all in half.

Once home, you construct the bins by placing the boards in the brackets and you end up with a really nice looking compost bin that is only lacking a cover, which I plan to get to sometime soon.  It looks really nice and it does a wonderful job of keeping it all contained.  I bought the 3rd and finally one today, and I went ahead and got the lumber.  Once the brackets arrive I am all set to put it together and turn some compost!

This time of year, I don't feed any hay, so that I only have goat berries to rake up in the morning, some mornings, like yesterday morning, there are 5 gallons worth!  I have started bagging it up in 2 gallon increments and I will take it along to the weaving center for some lucky gardeners to use.

That is about it for today, I hope all is well in your house, keep on crafting, Tina

Friday, July 8, 2016

Land of No Return

The last week has been full of visiting with out of town Children and Grandchildren, so not a whole lot of Studio work got done.  But, I did manage to wash that old loom down, and decide how much I was going to do to refurbish it.  I had a choice,  I could have just left it cleaned from dust and dirt, cleaned off the rust and set it up to weave. (That is my normal MO!)  But this time the finish on the  front half of the loom was totally ruined, so I made the decision to go down to bare wood.  EEEK!

I worked on it a little bit today, I started with the front treadle beam and treadles and the breast beam.  I had already gotten rid of the dust and dirt, but the wood was almost grey, and when I had put a little of the Danish oil on it to see what it looked like, it was not going to look good at all, so I went out and bought some sand new paper and some fresh Danish oil.

 I am in the process of taking off the treadle eye bolts so that I can get to that beautiful wood.  They will be freed from rust, and put back to good use.  This is going to take awhile, but I think it will be well worth it!

You may be able to see that the treadle on the far left has been sanded.   I used coarse paper, and it will get 2 more passes, one with medium paper and one with fine paper.  I can't wait to get the Danish oil on it, but I am trying to be patient.

I did just a bit on the breast beam, and then it was time to fix our lunch and take the rest of the day off.
Next week I hope to take down the little Cambridge loom that is in the weaving studio, I ran out of steam last week and just couldn't do it.  Once it has gone back to the Annex at the Center, I will have room to move the new Cambridge in, as each piece is finally refinished.

I will continue to post updates on this loom restoration project as it progresses.  I am in the middle of fleece washing too, this month 4 shetland, 1 Jacobs and some of this years 8 Nigora fleeces.

Until next time, Happy Crafting, Tina

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

On the Porch

Early this morning, I was sipping my coffee, and following my usual morning couch reading, when I looked out the window at first light.

I wasn't sure what I was seeing, so I got up and turned the light off in the family room, and I tried to sneak over to the door to get a better view to confirm my suspicions.

No doubt about it, Mouse, the black cat was snoozing on the fleece drying racks surrounded by white fleece.

It becomes apparent to me that until we get the porch screens up, the fleeces will have to be dried indoors!

Until next time, Happy Crafting, Tina

Monday, June 27, 2016

Oh the Dust, oh the Rust, oh the Dry, Dry Wood!

Yesterday, I was looking at my week and it was going to be full of grandchildren, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  By the evening however, the week had substantially changed.  Cousins visiting cousins elsewhere, kids doing overnights at friends houses, chores getting done earlier than expected. All these things worked together to have only Monday evening and Friday afternoon with the kiddos.   That is quite a change, and it sometimes leaves me wondering what I am going to do, since I had not planned anything.

I quickly of course came up with a plan.  I washed a bit of one of the Museum of Appalachia's fleeces, and when I had gotten it done and my drying racks were full, I decided that I wanted to go on an errand that has been at least 1 year in the making, possible 2 years.

Very near the Appalachian Arts Crafts Center there is an antique store, one of the big ones!  More than a year ago, I saw a 4 harness Cambridge floor loom out on the front stoop, exposed to the weather.  At the time I was not interested in it,  I had more than enough looms, one of which was a 4 harness Cambridge,  so I passed it by, wondering how it was going to make it out in the elements.

Several months later I went thru a period of loom removal, for some reason I did not want any loom in my house that did not belong to me.  I may also be because I had 7 floor looms of all shapes and sizes.  I quickly got down to a reasonable 3 floor looms and I was happy.
I would still see that loom now and again and be so sad to see it in the heat and rain, fading, drying out and rusting, but I did not need a rug loom.

Notice the crank on the back beam!

Then about 2 or 3 months ago, I read a blog about a weaver who wove these really nice rugs, and I started to get interested in rag rug weaving again.  I thought about that loom, but I thought that it would be in really bad shape by now, just in case though, my friend Lou Ann and I went by to look at it.  It was rusty and dusty and dried out.  However, there was nothing warped and it was strong and sturdy, it was also 4 harness with the treadles mounted in the front, which is how I like them to be.  Still I thought, this rug thing might be short lived, I'll just borrow the "tiny" Cambridge we have at the Center in the annex, and take care of this silly rug weaving notion.

I did that the very next Tuesday, and I had that little loom up and running within a day or two.  It needed some adjustments, but all in all it is a nice little loom.  I rummaged through my stash of t-shirts and came up with several color combinations, and I basically had so much fun, I was sad when the warp was finished!

The Small Cambridge is a nice little loom, but that's just it, it's little.  It is too narrow to weave any wider than a 27/28 inch width.  So, I thought again about the full size Cambridge at the Antique store, and I made up my mind.

I texted Lou Ann this morning and I said, IF the loom is not in terrible irreparable condition and IF the seller will come down to my price, I would go get that loom today.  Those are 2 pretty big ifs, and I was not sure at all how it was going to go.

Long story shortened just a bit, the loom is not in terrible irreparable condition, and the seller did come down to my price!  I took the poor loom apart and loaded it into the pickup truck I had brought just in case, and raced home to beat the possible rain this afternoon.

Dear One was home when I got there and he laughed when he saw the loom, and then he helped me move it onto the front porch to get it out of the sun and rain.

Rusty heddles and bars

12 dent reed
Here are the rusty heddles and and there are rusty nuts and bolts too, but they are not badly pitted.

I was sure this was going to be a 15 dent reed, they always are when I get a loom, but this one is a 12 dent!

 The breast and back beam really need some attention.  I will wash off all the dust, lightly sand and then slather on the Danish oil.

This is one of the uprights, dry and cracked.

Here is the underside of the treadles, and this is where I get a glimmer of hope, I know that  once I have washed, sanded and Danish oiled, all this dry wood, it is going to gleam!

I have heard of a product at Home Depot that is supposed to work wonders on rusty metal, you can be sure I will be checking that out later on this week.  All of the cords of course will need replacing after their months in the sun, and I will be double checking cord lengths all around.

This afternoon, I will be taking apart the small Cambridge loom that is up in the Studio and bringing it down to go to the Center tomorrow.   I will then be moving the big Cambridge up there, with a little bit of shuffling of looms of course, to take it's place.

Looks like my week will be busy after all!

Until next time, Happy Crafting, Tina