Tuesday, June 22, 2010

FO: My First Handspun!

OMG! My first handspun is done!
Wheel: Spun on my Ashford Kiwi, using the 8:1 ratio for both spinning and plying
Fiber Used I used the navy roving that came out of my Louet Drop Spindling kit, which they list as generic "wool". Not sure of the actual content, other than it is actually 100% wool with no kooky stuff
WPI: between 3-14 wpi, it goes all the way through fingering weight to bulky.
TPI: the singles had an average tpi of about 6 tpi, and the plied yarn is about 3-4 tpi
Drafting:The thinner portions used the modified long draw/woolen technique, the thicker portions used a short forward draw/worsted method
Finishing: Gave the plied yarn a hot bath for about 15 minutes and then thwacked it to finish. It only had to dry overnight. No, I did not rewind the singles onto different bobbins before plying. Yes, I ended up with one bobbin running out before the other during plying.

All in all, this was just me messing with and getting to know my wheel. I learned a lot about predrafting, and how to control the spin. It was fun to learn, and I have a better understanding of how to get my wheel to do what I want it to.

Next up on the spinning jag? Clown Roving! (rav link). I decided that since I am still practicing, I am going to try to spin this BFL into something more closely resembling an even fingering weight. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Pines Farm, Maple Valley

I went on a field trip today with my mother. A few days ago, I started an email conversation with the lovely owners of The Pines Farm based in Maple Valley, Washington.

They are registered pure bred dealers of Romney sheep. Can you tell why this is exciting? Let me give you a hint.....ZOMG SHEEPIES!!!!! Did you see the sheepies?! *Squeee*

The field trip began as a quest to procure about 1000g of Romney roving in order for me to spin a sweater's worth of yarn, with plenty left over to play with. I was greeted at the door by Al, who is the nicest sheep farmer I've ever met, and his grandson. Both were eager to share their knowledge, and I can tell you, I was just as excited to learn!

Next, after talking for a few minutes, Al offered to take me on a tour of the farm. I think I nearly squee-ed with excitement at the prospect. :D He explained that they also raise Angora goats (one of which looked about ready to pop out a kid!) and then took us on a tour of the barn, birthing chambers, and around the fields. I got to see the rams, the yearlings, and also the ewes, which are kept separate in the pastures. Al even showed me the crazy accurate notes that they take during breeding season.

It was great! And then it got better. I got to see where they skirt the fleeces (yes, Al does his own shearing. You've gotta respect that!), keep the raw fleeces, for those spinners who like to spin in the grease, and also where the picking and drum carding take place. The best thing ever was seeing all the ribbons that these prize Romneys have collected over the years. Including those that were upstairs, there were hundreds posted on the walls where the washed fleeces are stored. I was blown away!

Not only do the lovely farmers at The Pines Farm deal in whole fleeces and roving, they even make blends of colors, dyeing in house, and creating beautiful colors for our handspinning pleasure. I am told that once they get it all photographed and uploaded, you will be able to see the different blends that they are capable of making, on the website!

All in all, I came home with 35.7 ounces of roving, and a whole new appreciation for those people who are amazing enough to provide us handspinners/knitters/weavers with the glory that is wool. Please, visit the farm, or visit the website, and show The Pines Farm that you appreciate what they do.

Spinnerly Question

All you spinners out there:
In Alden Amos' Big Book of Handspinning, he instructs you to mark your hand cards as L and R and then use them that way forever, but does not explain why. Other spinners in many other books have also said this, without explanation.

WHY?! Why should we do this? What benefit is gained?

In my mind, because my cards are made out of soft wood, it would seem that using it in the same hand all the time would create specialized wear and tear on the handles. Is it because one hand is more dominant than the other? Is there a particular reason why we would like to have specific wear on the cards?

I, being a curious kitty, really want to know!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What to do...

See that? That's my all time COOLEST find from the LYS Tour 2010. Got it from Oak Harbor Knits, as a commemorative bit of fluff. Honestly, I won't be spinning possum any time soon, but it was just so cool, that I couldn't resist!

I have the week off. What have I chosen to do? Clean the apartment. Oh, and troll Etsy to find spinning fiber. I've bought 3 things: 4 oz Targhee/Lincoln cross locks (already washed), 4 oz of Polwarth roving, and 4 oz of Polypay dyed in Pumpkin Orange, all from really nice sellers.

I have played a bit with my spinning wheel. Then I decided that I HAD to clean the apartment up. The clutter was getting to me.

Summer School starts on Monday. I start work again on Sunday. Weeeeeee. On the bright side, I have hopefully been able to move on to the last prerequisite before Business School. (I haven't received my last grade, and that determines if I can move on or not...)

I was hoping to have something incredibly interesting to say, but I feel that might need to wait until I have been properly caffeinated...Sorry.