Flax field

Flax field

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Spinning, Knitting and Some Weaving

I feel like I have not got anything done.  Then I look at the things around me.  

I have been having fun spinning.  It started with the dehairing of some qiviut.  I had about 4 and a half ounces of down, I think it was partially dehaired.  
After the dehairing machine
A friend has a dehairing machine and I ran it through five times.  It got out almost all the really coarse hair and the dandruff.  And I had three ounces left to be able to spin.  That should make a nice project...should I ply it on itself or with silk?

Waste from machine

I wanted to spin it quite fine, so I decided to practice on some other fiber first.  I bought some roving that was dyed to give a gradiance of color from green to rust-red.  I got two rovings to spin for a shawl.  I wanted to keep the color change, so Navajo three ply is needed and I need to spin it very fine to get a fingering or light sport weight yarn.
You can see some of the color change of green to red
It was good practice and I finished both rovings.  Above you can see the singles on the first roving.  Below is the first bobbin three plyed  As you can see, I am auditioning for needle size.  (When did we start saying "auditioning" instead of sampling?)
Here you can see the green
I wound the ball with the red in the center, it will be fun to knit and see the color change.  I want the shawl to have green on the two ends and the red in the center.  It will be a rectangular shawl, with some lace stripes in it.  

This served as a good practice for the qiviut.  But I had a small bag, about 2 ounces of an alpaca and flash blend.  Since the spinning wheel was out and available and since it was such a small amount...I spun it up.  I wound it in a center pull ball and plyed it, but it looks like I did not ply it enough...maybe I will run it through the plying wheel again.  I will spend some time with that wheel, because I need to 3 ply the second bobbin of the gradiance dyed roving also.
not plyed enough, and what will I use it for
So now I have practiced and am ready to spin the qiviut.  I tried carding it on cotton carders, but I found that just taking a handful from the bag of down spun as well and as easily as the carded down.
Getting started with the yarn
As I was spinning, I noticed a few dark hairs, so I decided to start the spinning process by first taking out any the additional hairs by hand.  This is a job for early in the day and over a white surface so that I can see the hairs.
Here's what I took out of the first handful
There are several types of hair, the really heavy long ones, about 6 to 10 inches long.  A couple of them are here and most of them came out in the dehairing machine.  Then the heavy short hairs, they are darker than the down and straighter, so they show up well.  Then there are the finer more kinky hairs.  These are harder to find, I take out as much of them as I can easily see and just try to forget about the rest.  I place the remaining down in a bag for spinning later in the day.  I am sure that the yarn will be soft and I will enjoy it.  I am really not sure what I want to make out of it.  It probably is best for knitting, and three ounces gives me some possibilities.

I have also been doing some knitting.  I had a couple of ounces of fine cobweb weight yarn that Jim at Spinderella did.  It is wonderful...I think a cashmere, wool, maybe silk blend.
Here is the yarn
Since I only had a small amount, I started a triangle shawl.  I decided I would just knit until I ran out of yarn.  I figured I would have a small shoulder shawl for those cool evenings.  The pictures show it before and after blocking, you can see the yard stick for comparison. 
I knit it up on size 5 needles and it is very light and airy.  I am really pleased with it and now I can start the handspun 3 ply above.
Yes, delicate as morning dew

My weaving at home is at a stand still.  I have done nothing...maybe since we are not traveling for the holiday week-end, I can kick start it and get something done again.

I have been getting some weaving done at the looms at The Pioneer Craft House.  I put on a 12 yard warp for some cotton/rayon scarves on the Gilmore X.  I think they will work great for summer.  They are light and airy.  (Is that the code word for this blog today?)  
Plain weave with a twill inlay
I only have the two colors and this is a mill end yarn that I bought some time ago and just found during a cleaning.  (You know, "what is in this box, and why am I holding on to it?)  I think that I want to do a blue series, too.  These are fun to weave and they also weave up pretty fast.  I wound the full 12 yards on the loom without paper to test the length that I could put on this loom.  Yeah, 12 yards is too long.  I need to either find the pegs that were taken out of the sectional beam or add paper when I put on a warp this long.  I had no trouble when I put on a linen warp five yards long, but 12 yards, even with this open sett, builds up too much.  Oh well, I will weave the scarves, and I have learned another trick to remember with this loom.

I also put a small warp on the Hammett for some rag bags.  It looks like I should have allowed more for take-up and shrink.  The next warp will be an inch wider.  I got some more practice with the AVL warping wheel though.
How do you like my peg covers?

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