Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Change in Attitude

It has happened slowly over the last month or so.  It began when I read the post by Stephanie, the Yarn Harlot, on her blog by that same name.  In her post she was showing the way she was cleaning her new yummy fleece.  As soon as I finished it, I was in shock!  You mean to tell me that she is going to clean that fleece lock by lock!  Yep,  that is exactly what she said, and in a subsuquent post you can tell that she really did do it that way.  You mean to tell me that she is not forcing herself to clean the whole fleece in one day!  Yep, that is right, she may even start using some of the clean locks before she finishes the rest!  I was dumbfounded, mostly because it just never entered my mind to do it like that!  I mean really, lock by lock!  That would take forever!

Then I purchased the video download by Rita Buchanan, and she pretty much does a variation of the same thing, she lines her locks up on trays and  with an empty tray on top to stabilize them, she plunges them in soapy water a couple of times and then rinses the same way.  She also talked about how much she likes to handle the wool in all of it's stages.  Skirting, cleaning, combing,dyeing,combining colors on the drum carder, and finally spinning, and knitting or weaving.  It just got me thinking about my usual way of going from dirty fleece to clean fleece.  I always approched it as more of a full fleece project, and I was bound and determined to get it over with, and as fast as I could too!  The results were not always the best, and I have felted my fair share of fleece too!

In my Studio reorganization this week I decided that I had better find out just how many dirty fleeces I had stashed up there in need of attention.  I was pleased to see that I had only four.   Three of them came from a stash dispersal, and I got those for 5 dollars each.  They are of unknown age, so really the quicker I get to them the better.  So, boldly, I picked up the smallest bag of fleece and took it downstairs to have a look at it.

Dirty, very dirty, and smelling pleasently of sheep.  You can see the lock I picked out in the picture above.  Lots of lanolin, dirt and vegetable matter.  A wonderful fleece to test this new system!

I began by taking a couple of handfuls of locks over to the sink, filling a dishtub (not my dish, dish tub!) with hot water and adding a couple of drops of dawn dish detergent.  I seperated out a couple of locks, and held them by their butt end and plunged them into the hot soapy water.  I fiddled with the ends a bit with my free hand, and worked out some of the filth.  I then laid it aside in the sink and did the same to the rest of it.  I repeated that step once more, then rinsed them out using the same system.  I rolled the locks in a clean towel and then laid them out one by one on a sweater drying rack that I have upstairs.  They looked like drowned rats, but at least they were not felted!  The next day, I did another handful of fleece.  I don't think my husband even knows that it is happening!  Now that is saying something!  Usually there is fleece everywhere, stinking up the place.

Here are some of the first clean locks to finish drying.  That is a 4 inch leclerc bobbin in the middle for size comparison.  I think you can just see the luster radiating from these locks.

I am taking my time, lock by lock, just a few handfuls at a time, and I am liking what I am seeing!  It may just take forever, but I think I will enjoy the process this time.

Thanks Stephanie and Rita, I am a convert. 
On Friday I will post on the Tuesday Weavers blog about how this clean fleece compares with my ususal clean fleece.  I think you can guess who wins!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Panic Attack!

Easter lunch/dinner is going to be at our house this year, and my second floor studio looks very much like a working studio right now.  In fact it has spread into the guest room, in a very un- orderly fashion!

We always spread the menu workload amongest the family so I am not really worried about that, I have checked and I do have a turkey or two in the freezer, so all I have to do is remember to take them out on the appropriate day.  That means that I can consentrate on the upstairs, making it presentable, and the downstairs, making it uncluttered and clean, with a touch of homey.

The painting word has been mentioned, but I am going to try to ignore it until, say Thursday.  If I have uncluttered and clean under control, I will consider the painting word.

This week I discovered that I indeed have a fiber animal.

The fiber has a fairly short fiber, 2ish inches and really has a nice feel to it too.  If I was desperate for fiber, which I am not, I would consider keeping it.  The only problem would be if it were to rain while I was sporting this particular fiber, you see it comes from Scout, my Newfoundland mix!  She is shedding quite profusely right now.  I know there are those who would jump at the chance to use it, but I am drowning in fiber at the moment, both processed and unprocessed.  I don't need another thing that I have to find a place for!

 Well, I had better get back at it, you know how it looks worse before it looks better!  That is where I am right now...

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Monday, April 11, 2011

Skeins about the Place!

It has taken me much longer than I expected to spin up a skein of the Romeny that I had processed some time last year.  It is much finer than anything I have spun to date. 

The sheen is great, even though it is spun in woolen fashion. This skein is 4 oz. and has 396 yds! I have barely touched this fleece. I look forward to starting the next bobbin!

I also have a cache of skeins of treated colors in 8/4 cotton ready to weave.  Though I am chickening out just a little and weaving a bunch in some of the light colors I have.

The colors are actually brighter than the picture shows.  There are three skeins on most of the pegs.  I can't even begin to tell you how many boxes of salt that represents.  I do know that it is  1 1/2 cups of salt per skein.

I began to notice that  I could tell when the salt was gone from the skein as I was rinsing.  All of a sudden the excess color would begin to come out in the rinse water.  I then thought that maybe I should just rinse with plain cold water and skip the salt!

That is what I am doing with the bright pink , called Tulip.  I am also not spending hours any more standing at the sink rinsing skeins.  Instead, I put a couple of skeins in to soak overnight and then go to bed.  In the morning I wring them out and change the water, I do that several times throughout the day.  It seems to be easier on me, and I am not using as much water as before.

When the water is clear, I wring them out one last time, and hang them up to dry out on the porch.  I bring them in at night, and put them back out when the sun no longer hits the porch full on.

I have come to think of the dye that comes off of the skeins as truly excess, I am pleased to say that  it does not diminish the original color of the yarn. 

I am on lunch break right now, I am working on the 3rd Baby Blanket in Sage and hope to finish it today, and start number 4.  I am using the loom with the Cat Tracks and Snail Trails pattern on it for these two.  I will then switch colors, I think Pear will be my next choice, though there are a couple of yellows that really would be great!  I will then do 2 blankets in each pattern, and switch colors again and keep going.  Two of each color, in each pattern should get the inventory in good shape.

When I go thru the light colors I have on hand, I know I will need to turn to those colors that are hanging up.  I am such a chicken......

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Color!

Meet Sage!  I have been pretreating the red and blue colors with salt to keep them from bleeding into the natural background.  I thought I might start using some of the lighter colors that won't give me all that grief!  I think that this color will make a blanket that is good for a girl or a boy, don't you!

Several weeks ago, when we had the first load of stuff from the mountain weaver who died suddenly, I bought four 100 yd warps.  They are a fine white cotton.  They were also in garbage bags and not chained!  I chained up the first one while I was at the center in Norris.  I think there is a picture of me over on Loomy Tunes doing it.  Yesterday I began to chain up the other ones.

I opened up the garbage bag and found the end without the cross and I began to chain.  Here is what a 100yd warp looks like in the bin.  There are 196 ends to each warp, and I haven't really thought about what I will do with it.  I am hoping that in the next load there will be some cones of weft to match it.

Here are 3 tubs full, one chain per tote!  A couple of the totes are not full, I will pick up some smaller ones to transfer the chains to.
Here is the 4th tote. with the chaining in progress.  The chained part is on the left of course and the bag is on the right......... 
and in the middle is this mess!  This is exactly why I am chaining them up!  This is going to take a little time!  If I can just get thru this part the rest of the warp is lovely,  I keep saying it will be worth it!

I bought some seed potatoes yesterday and a few seeds as well,  I can't wait for things to dry out just a bit so that we can till the garden one more time! 

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina

Monday, April 4, 2011


I had an idea that I posted about a couple of weeks ago.  I was trying to use two colors in the same baby blanket.  The results were not exactly what I had wanted.  I wanted a flow between these two colors, and I didn't get it.

This first photo is of a one color blanket, and I am very pleased with it.
This second blanket is my experiement.  I really liked the parts where I used the two colors together, but I feel like the middle section is too bright!  I think I will stick with one color on these blankets or maybe even using two colors together the whole time.
I saw a very cute way to wrap a present in a book recently.  It was one of the books that has a million gift items you can knit in a few hours.  In the back of the book there were a couple of gift wrapping ideas that I really liked.  This one uses a button to anchor several threads of different dimensions and textures together.
Here is a close up of the button.  I burrito wrapped the rug in plain brown paper and then selected the yarn and ribbon from my stash, and just played with it a minute.  I think it is kind of cute don't you?

Today I am going to re-rinse all the skeins I have already soaked in salt water, just to make sure they are color fast.  I think that is probable just about all I will get done today, but you never know I may even get to some weaving.

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina