Sunday, May 23, 2010

Strut Your Mutt Fundraiser (Denise)

This fundraiser forStrut Your Mutt the Great Falls Animal Foundation went well, despite the rain. They raised over $8,800 towards a new animal shelter and the free spay and neuter clinic "Spay of the Falls." (Thanks to the SYM people for helping me set up my tent.)

Thanks to Susan, her husband Odin, Lisa, and Dawn, and Marilyn and her husband David to coming to the event to spin, and lend moral support on the cold, wet day. We had fun, ate well (quiche, oops egg pie, tomatoes and fresh bread), answered questions, and laughed.

I have one Tribune Photo (more event photos here) of me spinning Bouvier des Flandres and Shetland sheep blend. Lisa supplied the fiber. She flicked and carded. I spun. Susan spun up her sea green tencil/mohair blend.

Flicking helps clean out any vegetable matter and dirt. Carding helps organized the fibers so it is easier and faster to spin into a smooth yarn.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Shearing Day on Sunday (Lisa)

The shearer plans to come out on Sunday morning to shear my sheep and the goat. Then, perhaps we will be going down the road to shear my neighbor's Columbia sheep. Plans are still up in the air. I hope to have a few pictures to post afterwards, and maybe a few select fleeces to post for sale.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Handy Tool (Denise)

Here's a handy chart for converting simple fractions and decimals. I got tired trying to work the calculator and remember what fractions were what.

Whether knitting, crocheting, weaving, dyeing, woodworking, or anything else, this chart lays it all out for you.

Once there, you'll notice the patterns of repetition. It won't take a rocket scientist to realize the "Oh yeah, I knew that." But then again, Einstein never bothered to memorize his own home phone number because he knew where to look it up. Plus, he never called himself.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Getting My Money's Worth (Denise)

I am completely baffled. I wanted a plum color. I weighed my wool and yarn. I calculated twice to make sure I got the right numbers. I measured the dyestuff. I made the dyebath. It looked like the right color in the pot.

From the same dyebath I got:
1st batch: mallard blue green - pretty but not what I had in mind. It looks like the magenta didn't strike.

2nd batch: periwinkle - The dye wasn't used up, so I figured I could dye up anything. The leftover white bats were closer to the plum.

3rd batch: God knows. I'm leaving it to completely cool down, maybe overnight. It looks more magenta than plum. But now I'm curious, how will this turn out.

As you can see, below, the pale plum color is the one I wanted. My husband has a hard time with all these colors from one dye vat.

I'm certainly getting my money's worth. I wonder why the magenta didn't strike? Any ideas?

Does the magenta strike in the declining temperature as it sits in the cool down?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pickled Beet Dyeing (Denise)

This was my first foray into natural dyeing. While it worked well, just not quite what I had in mind. I had imagined a deeper color. I realize that if I wanted that, I should have used fresh beets rather than canned pickled beets. There just weren't enough beet pieces to make the colors I wanted.

Next time, I'm buying lots of fresh and chopping them up.

There's about 3-5/8 oz of superwash. I didn't use a premaordant. I did use vinegar in the beets to help set the color.
My steps:
  1. Open 2 cans of of pickled beets and dump into bucket. Simmer them for about 45 minutes. I probably didn't need to, but it gave the kids and me something to do.
  2. I added the pre-soaking roving and heated it all to simmering.
  3. I turned off the stove and left it to cool down. Since I don't like the smell, when it got cool enough, I moved it out to the porch.
  4. This morning, I drained, washed the roving. I set it out to dry.
  5. I decided I liked the color.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

More new projects (Lisa)

3 recently knitted caps. The first 2 are Merino X handspun, dyed with Cushing's dye (bright purple). A rolled brim with zigzag eyelet pattern and tassel (can't be seen in this picture), a 2X2 rib knit (same yarn and dye), and a felted cap in natural Shetland and Columbia X (onion dye) from the FiberTrends pattern "Bright Chapeau".
I'll be posting some items for sale at very soon.

New project (Lisa)

I dyed this handspun Columbia wool yarn with Cushing's Acid Dye (peacock). The pot wasn't big enough, but the resulting variegated yarn is quite attractive! I have a knitting pattern for a vest I want to try. It's called "Lattice and Cables" by Pegg Thomas at Twin Willows Farm.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Troubleshooting - Denise

Fighting your wheel and don’t know why? It may be you, it may be the wheel, it may be the fiber. Make sure your wheel is clean and oiled, and check for the following issues.

  • Remember to give the yarn to the wheel.
  • Tighten the tension slightly to increase the draw-in.
  • If your wheel has several drive-wheel ratios, change to a larger whorl to get less twist per treadle.
  • Make sure that your drive band hasn't slipped to a smaller whorl when you weren't looking.
  • Try drafting a little faster.
  • Try treadling more slowly.
  • Start the wheel with the footman in the one o'clock position, then make the first treadle firm and strong to develop momentum.
  • Loosen the tension on the drive band or brake band just slightly.
  • Loosen the tension on the brake band slightly.
  • Remember to give the yarn to the wheel. You are stronger than the wheel. You have to relax your grip so the yarn can wind onto the bobbin.
  • If the yarn becomes too twisted, it won't wind on. You will need to unwind some of the kinks before starting again. Stop treadling and draft those fibers out a little more to give the twist somewhere to go.
  • Yarn snagged on a hook or a guide.
  • Tighten the tension slightly to increase draw-in.
  • Make sure the brake or tension band is in the right place. If you have a double-drive wheel, make sure one part of the band is on the flyer and one part is on the bobbin.
  • If you are using a double- drive wheel, the flyer whorl should be bigger than the bobbin whorl so the yarn can wind on.
  • Check the leader. If it is not tied tightly enough to the bobbin shaft, it will slip, and you will get lots of twist.
  • Does the flyer rotate freely around the flyer shaft? If it doesn't, clean it out with a cotton swab or rag. If the bobbin is still tight, wrap a little sandpaper around a dowel and use it to clean out the bobbin shaft, or better yet, contact the wheel manufacturer for advice.
  • Check to see whether the bobbin ends are loose. If they are, re-glue them and let them dry overnight before using.
  • See whether any yarn has wrapped around the base of the flyer shaft. Unwind the yarn with your hand and wrap it back onto the bobbin.
  • Loosen the tension a little on your drive band.
  • Loosen the tension on your brake band.
  • Check your maidens and make sure they are perfectly parallel. If one is slightly askew it is like having another brake.
  • Increase the tension on the drive band slightly. Most wheels have a way to adjust the tension, a screw mechanism that increases the distance between the flyer and the drive wheel.
  • If your band has stretched out too much, you may need to replace it. On wheels with self-adjusting drive bands and no way to increase tension, you may have to buy a new drive band.
  • Loosen the tension slightly so the yarn won't pull on so quickly.
  • Go to a smaller whorl to get more twist per treadle.
  • Draft more slowly to allow more twist to enter the yarn.
  • Treadle faster.