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.

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where to start?

I’m having such a lazy summer. It’s a wonderful thing.

DH and I did an eastern NC fiber crawl last week, and I can report that Murfreesboro is charming, and so are the folks at the Woolery. This is Tim, and a glorious array of wheels and spindles.
Tim of the Woolery

loot! spinning toys, Yarn Meter with tensioner!! fiber, fiber, fiber. Oh joy. I was hoping to see a Schacht-Reeves saxony wheel set up, but no luck. Maybe there will be one at SAFF in the fall. I’m such a material girl. For shame. I never have enough toys.
Woolery loot

On to New Bern, where this guy is looking the very picture of serenity, in the midst of the chaos of construction. I suspect DH would rather have been hanging out with him than yarn crawling with me!
fishing in New Bern

A short stop at Weaver’s Webb, and more stash enhancement.

from weaver's webb

I’ll have some fun with that merino superwash in the dye pot. Don’t know what the Noro will become, but I just couldn’t resist the colorway.

A very late lunch at the Chelsea restaurant. I can’t recommend anything in particular, because I think it’s all particularly good. Nice history about the address, just don’t ask for a Coca-Cola.
the Chelsea restaurant

Since I’ve gotten home, I’ve been spinning a probably fingering, maybe sport weight 2-ply from (remember this?) a sheep named Ganache, a lovely chocolate color when spun. Singles on the bobbin, 2nd bobbin almost done, I’ll probably be plying tonight.
ganache singles

I’m still knitting on my peacock and plum feather and fan stole, (ravelry link)
peacock and plum shawl

which is more than halfway done. I’m ready for it, because I have these fancy thingies from the Wondermat outlet page to block it on. I bought 12 standard 2 ft tiles in latte, which lay out to 48 square feet total, one possible configuration being 6′ by 8′. That ought to be big enough for any lace object I might ever knit in my lifetime. There are no visible defects in any of them, and they were half price. They are the same product that the Yarn Harlot blogged about here, and I so agree with her that they are “freaking brilliant”. I have the blocking wires and pins, I’m ready to go. When I finish knitting the stole, I mean.
lace blocking mats

This is not my first blog entry dominated by shopping rather than actually using the products. I’m sure that says something about me, but I don’t want to think about that right now. I’ll think about that tomorrow.

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.

a ripping good yarn — at last!

Some photos of the polwarth/silk, at last plied, skeined, into a ball, swatched.

It knitted up at 6.75 st/in, which is 27 st/4 in and (according to the Craft Yarn Council of America) weight #1, sock, fingering, baby. At 23 to 26 st/4 in it would have been sport weight, so next I need to learn to spin evenly just a few more microns thick. Got to go pick up my furry boys from the beauty parlor now, maybe I’ll put an eye candy photo of them here later! . . . .

As promised:

They smell nice too! Too bad I can never get a good photo of Arthur’s face. No contrast. I’m just happy when I get them both in the same frame without too much blur!

spinning my wheels

2008 02 11_0004

I have adjusted my woolee winder to wind the bobbin more evenly by rotating the moving eye a bit. Looks better, doesn’t it? Used to look like this:
2008 01 29_0005

Can’t wait to give this next stuff a spin on my wheel:
2008 02 11_0002

My first go at handpainting roving! Or dyeing fiber of any kind, for that matter. This is Lanaset/Sabraset colors at far too high a depth of shade. Next time I’ll go a little easier. Now for the closeup:
2008 02 11_0003
I spent most of Sunday at this, and had great fun. I spent most of Monday recovering, as I was having far too much fun to notice that I was demonstrating very poor ergonomic behavior for someone with a spine in the shape mine is in. But ooh, pretty!

attention triad area spinners!

Mandy and I will be hosting the next meeting, on February 24th, 2 pm, at 910 N. Elm St., Greensboro NC, 27410, the office building of my DH and several other lawyers. It looks like this:

910 N Elm St

and here’s the sign in front:

sign at 910 N Elm St

and a link to a map

Come in at the right driveway; there is parking at the rear of the building.  Looking forward to seeing you there.