Happy Yarn is Happy

I’ve spun up most of the sad rovings at this point. The only ones I made into batts were the red, orange, and yellow ones. The rest I just infinitely pre-drafted. Here are some pictures.

February Princess:

Anger Management Rainbow (yes, I actually named it that):

Harlequin Circus:

Not on Fire (this is the one from the batt in my last post):

I have one more bag of pre-drafted sad roving to get through, and then I’m done. Though right now I’m taking a break to spin alpaca.

Overall, it wasn’t as bad an experience as I thought it would be. The pre-drafting was annoying, but it spun up just fine. But I’m happy to be moving back to nice fiber.

Sad roving becomes happy batt

(xposted from my blog, slightly modified for redundancy’s sake.)

So an update. I found out two things since my previous post on the sad roving:

1. The felting wasn’t really my fault. Our house has 2 washing machines, and apparently they leak heat from one to the other. Someone was washing a load of laundry while I was spin-cycling my roving. The heat is what did it, and not my stupidity.

2. There’s a better solution for dealing with the wool. At least for me. I have a drum carder! It can deal with stuff like this. So last night I tried feeding the wool to the drum carder. I learned the hard way that you still need to pre-draft it a bit before the carder will accept the wool. However, once you do, it works really well.

So here’s what you do.

1. Do some predrafting. Yeah, it still has to happen.

2. Feed the stuff into the carder. Be sure to adhere to the safety warnings it comes with. Like keeping your hands clear. Look at me, choosing wisely!

3. Once you feed it in, start cranking. The small drum will take up the stuff and put it onto the big drum.

Whee, your carder is starting to fill up. Yay!

4. Take it off the carder. You could end here, and have a batt that looks like this:


Or you could

5. put it through again for more blended colors and get this:

So I have one of each now so I can compare how they spin. I think I like the less carded one better, but if the other spins dramatically better, I’ll have more blended batts in the future. Also, my batts go really well with Dominion Seaside:

So the reason why this is so exciting is that now I can sell them as batts instead of having to spin them all. They probably won’t all be done in time for the show (where I should focus on getting as much yarn spun as I can) but could later go on Etsy. And if I do spin them, they’ll be much easier to deal with than just a big bag of pre-drafted roving. Plus, I can draft from the fold, which I like a lot better.

Sad roving is sad, but fixable

For once, I’m posting about something I made that is less than awesome.

As you may or may not know, I’m selling my wool and yarn at a craft fair on June 27. (If you’re in the Boston area, you should totally come!) As such, I’ve been spinning up a storm. My 3 boxes of alpaca fleece finally arrived mid-May, and since I returned from Europe, I’ve been doing a bunch of carding. I also have been dyeing a bunch of merino rovings, most of which are up on my Etsy store.

I also bought 16 drop spindles, so I could sell them to people interested in spinning:

Last night I went on a dyeing spree. The first batch came out lovely. The second batch not so much. It was my own fault. Usually I’ll send the wool through the spin cycle of my washing machine to get out the excess water, and it works just fine. But I did it a second time for these rovings, and they felted:

There were 8 total that suffered this fate. I was pretty upset. They’re salvageable as yarn, but I can’t sell them as roving, unless it was to someone who knew what they were getting into and at a heavily discounted price; just enough to recoup my losses. Better to have it be yarn, where no one will know I messed up.

How does one salvage sad, sad wool?

By pre-drafting!

Drafting is the process of drawing out fibers in order to spin them. Usually I’ll do this as I’m spinning. But when wool is felted or otherwise uncooperative, I’ll pre-draft. It’s also useful if you want to keep the repeats of colors.

I pull off strips of the felted wool, separating it until I have strips that are small enough to spin and are no longer felted. Here is me splitting some wool

(As you can sorta see, my fingers are still discolored from the dyeing spree.)

In the end, you get a pile of small strips, and you can no longer tell that they were originally felted:

Yay!

And it helps to have housemates who like pulling things apart. This way I don’t need to do all the pre-drafting myself.

Shawl!

There’s this shawl that I was working on since November. I finished it last weekend.
And then I blocked it.

Shawl, soaking in water:

Shawl, out for blocking, next to my housemate’s shawl, which was the same pattern as mine:

Close up:


I also have a very empty yarn desk right now. Instead, there’s a laundry rack full of wool, which is currently living in the Vericon art show. Which is nice, since it means I get to show it off to everyone, and it looks very pretty there. And I’m coming home with less yarn & wool than I came with, which means less carrying. (Which is definitely a good thing when you are a hobbit.)
Though the yarn desk is sad in its emptiness.

Laundry rack of shiny:


Also, I finally ran out of undyed wool, so I went ahead and ordered the 27 lbs of wool on the internets, and it came on Thursday (while I was out doing stuff for aforementioned Vericon). 27lbs! This is a LOT of wool. I had to unwind some of it and wind it into smaller balls in order to be able to fit the darn thing in the craft cabinet, but it’s there now. I’ll post a picture of that after I take it.

And I’m also getting a bunch of alpaca fleece next weekend when I go and visit my friend’s alpaca farm.

Yay, wool!

Yarn Desk

I have a yarn desk. Or perhaps I should call it a yarn/roving desk:

(More pictures here.)

It started out innocently enough. I have a very small bedroom with no space for a desk. The people who lived in this unit before me had a big desk that they left. It was intended to be my workspace for desk-y things.

And then I started leaving yarn on it. First a few skeins, then more. Then I started dyeing the rovings, and I started keeping them there, too. It created a really nice rainbow effect, so I decided that this desk is meant to be a yarn desk and not a work desk, unless you consider my dyeing “work.”

Also, I dyed a few more rovings a few weeks ago. The pictures are big so I’ll just link them (this is just a selection):
Treasure Map
Sunshine and Lollipops
Cotton Candy

Now that I’ve started school again, I have less time for dyeing. But even if I did have time, I’d probably hold off on another dyeing spree until I sold/used some of the roving I currently have.

And I’m almost out of wool to dye! I’ve used up more than 6 of the 7lbs I had ordered in August/September/a long time ago and I forget exactly when. 7lbs of wool is a lot of wool. Though it’s not as much as 27lbs (which is the amount I’d need to order if I wanted free shipping).

More Leaves!!!

Once upon a time, my housemate Riv and I painted a mural on my wall. It looks likes this:

From hobbit room

and this:

From hobbit room

and also this:

From hobbit room

This was the beginning of August, and I completely forgot to blog about it. Probably because I was then moving into the new room, and that took a lot of time and energy.

Anyways, as we were painting the mural, we decided that if we messed up, say, the trunk or branches, we could always put more leaves over it. “More Leaves!!!” we said, and this was the solution to everything, clearly.

A couple of months later, or rather last week, I dyed a bunch more roving in fall colors. And of course, I had to name the colorway after the mural, “More Leaves!”

Here’s all of them hanging out:

From roving

Here’s a close-up of the roving, pre-braiding:

From roving

The braided roving looks like this:

From roving

Also, the batch previous to this one that I put in the Etsy shop is dry and braided and looks pretty. I even named one of them after HRSFA, since it was purple and green:

From roving

So yay for roving. Now I just need to learn how to not get my hands dyed in the process.

Also, yay for having a cool mural on my wall. It made the room infinitely cooler than it had been (it had sad fake wood paneling on the side and the slanty roof, and the walls were white and boring, and the room is small, so this makes it look bigger). Also, it’s a show piece for when I have people over. And I get to say that I live in a forest!

And I dyed a bunch of roving for myself on Thursday, so I might post those when I take photographs of them. They are green and blue and purple, and are very pretty and soft.

More HRSFA Yarn

This yarn isn’t actually HRSFA-related, other than its recipient is a HRSFAn. I have a big box of wool (I’ll post pictures of my stash at some point, I’m very proud of it) and I wanted to spin something. I’ll eventually be spinning ridiculous amounts of alpaca from my friend’s alpaca farm, and since they’re selling the yarn, I want it to be professional quality. While I was waiting for the wool to be carded I decided to practice on my stash. After all, I have infinite wool, so there’s no reason not to spin.

But for some reason I couldn’t make myself start something. So I IMed Silkspinner, who does, in fact, spin, and asked her if she could use more yarn. She said sure, and she was working with thinner stuff at the moment, like around sport weight. So I took out a pretty thing of blue and purple merino roving. I filled two bobbins and plied it together, and this was the result:

Yarn on the jumbo bobbin

Yarn on the jumbo bobbin

Close up of skein

Close up of skein

I’m very pleased with how it turned out. Though I did run into a problem where there was significantly more yarn on the first bobbin than on the second. I fixed it by winding some onto the other and doing some yarn gymnastics around it, but I learned my lesson: always separate the roving before you spin it up.

There might be a sequel to this post, if Silkspinner makes something shiny out of it and wants to share it with us.