Dyeing, Fiber Prep, What Next?

I recently had a birthday, a landmark one, the kind with a zero in it.  DH likes to buy me toys, and this one is special.  A really landmark toy.  A Strauch finest double wide motorized drum carder (whew, that’s a mouthful, too).

Just this week he gave me the perfect accessory for it.  Sears.com sells a Bosch “gravity-rise wheeled table saw stand” that happens to be the perfect size for my extremely cool birthday present.  This gives me some very appreciated capabilities.  1) I can use the drum carder while seated.  No hunching over, reaching, wearing my back out.  2) I can move the drum carder from place to place myself.  3) Smaller footprint when folded, taking up less precious space.  It’s getting crowded around here, what with all the stash and toys.  I am NOT complaining about that!

folded for travel:
folded for travel

and set up for work:
set up for work

The drum carder is cleverly attached to the table by heavy duty cable ties, cheap, very effective, and won’t leave any marks on the wood.

I thought it appropriate that DH should have my first handblended on the new carder (with fiber I hand dyed) and also my first handspun FO, modeled here by a young friend, not DH:
handspun hat for Jay

Can you see the fuzzy little bit of halo?  There’s colonial top, corriedale, fawn alpaca, tussah silk and a wee bit of angora (halo).  It has a nice soft hand and should be very warm.

It’s a little bit more than 4 oz. total and looked like this before carding:
1st batt composition

and like this after carding:
1st batt take 2

and then pulled into a roving:

1st batt pulled roving

and like this after spinning:
1st batt 2-ply

Here’s another batt which consists of 1) corriedale dyed in the crockpot along with 2) some tussah silk, and 3) a hint of green/blue firestar.  I pulled the dyed roving apart and sorted by color, then did the three color sections separately.  I think it will be a 2-ply yarn, with the colors sequential, not mixed.

corrie, silk, firestar

Any suggestions would be appreciated.  I’m still so new to all this stuff!  And so obsessed.  And having so much fun.  I wonder if I would enjoy weaving?  Would the structure of my family unit survive yet another fiber craft?  I’d better not even think about it.  Forget I even brought it up.  No, really.


2008 Sedalia Spring Fiber Festival

took place last Saturday in Big Island, Virginia, at the Sedalia Center, which used to be an elementary school, was bought by the county, and now hosts various events. Not a large festival, very cozy and friendly. Look at this setting! at the foot of a few gorgeous peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

sedalia center fiber festival

My friend Denise and I drove up on a last minute whim, and had a wonderful fibery day. I’m still upset that I didn’t win the drawing for the Kromski 16″ Harp loom, but look at this loot!

Sedalia FF loot

Furthest left there is honest to goodness combed Cormo top from Overlook Manor Farm, so wonderfully soft, most likely spins like butter, though that sounds very messy, doesn’t it? Spins like a dream? Better. Then a pattern for a swirly shawl, and jojoland melody yarn to knit it in. Then the Holiday 2007 issue of IK, which is sold out everywhere, what a find! A beautiful skein of potential socks in colorway “cherry blossom” from rock creek yarns. A tool for making braid, and a book to learn how, from Lacis, by way of I See Spots Farm. Last, no photograph could do it justice, because you really have to stroke your face with it to appreciate it fully, and the colors are complex and beautifully blended, but that roving is 50% Polwarth, 50% angora from Woolybuns by way of Greenberry House, in Meadows of Dan, Virginia. What a glorious Stash Enhancement eXpedition (that’s yarn SEX to you). I’m so proud of my self-restraint in coming home without a new spinning wheel or drum carder. When I go to SAFF in the fall, an intervention may be in order.

Today’s flowers for you include:
1st hydrangea bloom

The first hydrangea mopheads of the year. This is an endless summer original, which bloomed pink it’s first year, and a beautiful light red-violet since, and:
clematis 1

white clematis henryi with flowers the size of dinner plates, and:
clematis 2

this lovely blue clematis on my front lamp post which might be variety rhapsody, but I never can remember. It has a profuse habit, and a long blooming season too.

I think I may have just topped my personal record for most links per post.

Fiber Fun Day at Little Meadows

I believe I’ll start with a recipe. I made tropical island slaw to share at a fabulous event which took place on a local fiber farm. This recipe is my own, and you may print it, wad it up, paper the bathroom wall, ignore it entirely or post it to your whole mailing list, as you choose.

Tropical Island Slaw

toss together in a large bowl:

2 bags tricolor slaw mix
2 cans pineapple tidbits, drained, juice reserved
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup dried cherries

mix together in a smaller bowl:

1/2 pt. non-fat sour cream
1/3 cup of the reserved pineapple juice
2 tb cider vinegar
2 tb sugar (optional)
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice

Pour the dressing mixture over the slaw mixture and toss lightly. Keep refrigerated.  Garnish with toasted walnut pieces just before serving.

There were many good things brought to Little Meadows yesterday, and many good things resident on the property as well. I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures of the animals. Liese has better pictures of them here, anyway.

I have some pictures of the visiting fiber folk:

fiber fun1

fiber fun 2

fiber fun 3

The two in the background there were both celebrating birthdays, and our charming hostess produced a heart-healthy and extremely yummy birthday cake:
birthday cake

carrot cake with coconut glaze. Nom nom nom. DH ( in tie-dye) was delightfully surprised and ate 2 very low guilt-index pieces.

The birthday girl made her very first wheel-spun yarn, and skeined it on a niddy-noddy. I’m such an airhead, or I’d have a picture of that too.

But I did catch:

a good hat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
a good hat

and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . a good batt:

a good batt

The rain came when it was just about time to fold up anyway, but I made off with some really excellent chevre (the origins of which I scrubbled about the ears) and some lovely scented goat’s milk soap (likewise the scrubbling — delightful.)

And I leave you with a visual treat currently starring in my yard:
magnolia grandiflora

magnolia grandiflora. Just grand.