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Posts Tagged ‘spinning’

Eskimimi Makes has some genius ideas for blogging…
At Wednesday Night Knitting, we played around with Day 3’s concept, photographing our projects in a totally different light.

knitted scarf

Cycling with Scarf

Ethel’s scarf, staged as blowing in the wind.

(Actually, Rachel was holding it up with a long crochet needle behind-the-scenes).

bike scene with scarf

behind-the-scenes view

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies on the side

re-sewing

Rachel ripping

Meanwhile, Rachel was busy with a seam ripper. All needlework welcome!

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I went to a fun-filled workshop at our LYS Yarnworks, dubbed a Fiber Blending Class and taught by Ginger Clark and Jane Dominguez of Ewephoric Fibers. It was offered through the Gainesville Handweavers Guild.

The aim of the class, which served 7 or 8 pupils, was to make a 2-ounce batt of blended fiber for spinning or felting. We discussed what our yarn would be used for–knitting, weaving, felting? What might be the final article, socks? A wall hanging? If spun into yarn, what weight will it be? Do you want the yarn to be self-striping? Tweedy? Do you want all the colors blended into one cloud of fiber, or a color mix “frosted” with another?

They brought a cache of all sorts of fibers–a yarn-addict’s dream come true–and let us plunder through it and choose the components of our own future batts. Merino, Blue-faced Leicester, alpaca, silk tussah, soy silk, nylon (called Fake Cashmere), bamboo, Tencel, they brought a treasure chest full. We tried not to get drool on the swatches as they were passed around.

I ended up with this mix:

1 oz BFL, .4 oz burgundy locks, .2 oz yellow locks, .4 oz read, white and blue silk hankie

1 oz BFL, .4 oz burgundy locks, .2 oz yellow locks, .4 oz red, white and blue silk hankie

Jane showed us a color wheel and talked about color relationships but summed up by saying all we really need to remember is “mostly, some, and a little” and that batts can be a mix of colors or one color made from many colors blended together.

Once the fibers were weighed, and we conferred with and deferred to Jane as to how we wanted the final product to look and behave, we then brought our fibers to Ginger, who was stationed outside with a picker to do a first-line pulling-apart and blending of them. The picker, as one student observed, resembled a medieval torturing device. Ginger spent quite a large percentage of the time talking about what could go wrong if you didn’t pay very close attention to safety protocol while being anywhere near the picker.

picker

picker

Ginger picking

Ginger picking

After the fibers were combed by the picker, then they went through one of several drum carders on the premises. Since my choice of fibers were all four fluffy, as opposed to some shiny or flaggy, I was privileged to use the only electric carder. I did have the silk hankie that was cut up and used for flags in some batts, but mine was all fluffed in the preliminary picking, so it wasn’t as choppy and therefore sent to the manual drum carders as others’ silk hankies were.

electric drum carder front left

electric drum carder front left

Jane helping a student

Jane helping a student

my final rolag

my final rolag

inside view of the batt

inside view of the batt

It was a blast! But not a breeze…you really work to get a batt you’re happy with. Thanks for a fun and fulfilling afternoon!

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PVC Loom

PVC Loom

It’s not that I have a burning desire to get a loom, something that will take up lots of space in my already limited crafting space and time. I do want to learn to weave some time, but right now I see a loom of any description and I think….how? Why? What? Weaving is the “final frontier” for me in the fiber arts galaxy.

And then there’s the Babe spinning wheel, also made from PVC pipe.

Babe Pinkie

Babe Pinkie

Some people think PVC pipe is an ugly interloper in fiber crafting, much inferior to turned and worked wood. I do love sumptuous wood and the wonderful Lendrum wheel. But to me PVC is flirty, like a firefighter centerfold. And the thought of being able to build something functional out of materials you can get at the hardware store? I think I want to give it a try sometime. And I can’t forget this DIY drum carder out of PVC pipe and other stuff.

These pics came from The Woolery website. The day’s blogging prompt is from Eskimimi Makes.

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I happened to be in Ocala visiting today, and stopped on the way home to check out the Florida Meat Sheep Alliance Festival. It was well worth the time and effort! I had a teenager and a pre-teen with me and they enjoyed it, too.

First off, we visited a sheep-shearing demonstration.

sheep pen

sheep pen

sheep to be sheared

sheep to be sheared

shearing

shearing

sheep shearing

sheep shearing

sheatring the big 'un

shearing the big ‘un

One lady brought in on a leash a sheep that was so big and tall, it looked like a woolly pony. While it was being sheared, she teared up, saying “that’s my baby! I can’t look!” But the shearer deftly handled the big animal and de-fleeced it with a quickness!

fleece of the Florida Cracker breed

fleece of the Florida Cracker breed

Fleece Judge

Fleece Judge

Dying fleece with Kool-aid

Dying fleece with Kool-aid

Doug from Meyer’s Sheep Farm (the guy in the orange shirt) explained to me that the fleeces on that table, all of them from local breeds, were awaiting judging, then they would go up for sale.

I saw a group of 6 or so spinners and one weaver at the Fiber Arts pavilion. A few vendors had booths and concessions, and the parking and hand-washing facilities were convenient. I recognized some Lakeland tags so I think some fellow ravelrers were present.

my score from the free pile in Ghana free-trade basket

my score from the free pile in Ghana free-trade basket

Piles of wool from the sheared sheep at the demo were cast into a bin with a sign that said “Free Wool, Donation of $1 per bag accepted” so I got a bag full, along with a basket and some beeswax sundries from vendor Caney Branch Farm out of Monticello, Florida. All the fleece in the pile was from the Florida Cracker breed, explained one of the shearers. He said the breed was previously called Florida Native, but “Cracker” was coined to differentiate from the Florida Gulf Coast Native breed. Needless to say, the cats loved the tangy aroma of the raw Florida Cracker fleece; they couldn’t get enough of it.
Bob and Grayzie having a flehman's response moment

Bob and Grayzie having a flehman’s response moment

The festival lasts until tomorrow at the Greater Ocala Dog Club Grounds on NW Gainesville Road.

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sigh, another week gone by without Knitting Group. Only because I was traveling and enjoying the holidays, and when I got back I was toast.

But I haven’t been completely un-knit. No sir, I’ve been a little busy at fiber-analyzing.

Playing with my new nostepinde

Playing with my new nostepinde

DH made me a couple of nostepinder for a fun gift. Thank you, Knitting Daily Blog, for the heads up on this nifty tool that a woodworker can turn on a lathe. With this ornate little pin, you can wind unruly yarn into a neat, tidy ball that pulls out from the middle, like the skeins you buy at Joann’s and Michael’s are supposed to do.

Winding, winding--there's an art to it!

Winding, winding–there’s an art to it!

Dh's 2nd try

Dh’s 2nd try

These two are made out of cherry wood, sanded with 600 grit paper, and finished with tung oil; very silky and smooth.

I also wandered around Four Purls in Winter Haven the day after Christmas, right when a bad storm was blowing over. It’s a wonderful shop. Friendly knitters, hanging around knitting, engaging you in conversation, complimenting you on your choices. some of the art yarns in there were just unspeakably gorgeous. Shuddering, recalling their shiny, glow-y strands! I got some great advice about spinning wheels: quite a few spinners love the Schacht Ladybug. I will keep watching You Tube to see what EVERYONE in the whole world of spinning thinks about this that and th’other wheels. Please feel free to give a comment about your wheel or your hope-to-be wheel.

Purls' Plunder

Purls’ Plunder

I tried to work on some mosaic knitting from Love of Knitting.

mosaic swatch in brown, gold and cream

mosaic swatch in brown, gold and cream

Finally settled down to work on a hat from Sock Yarn Studio, an October giveaway from Peacefully Knitting. I thought at first all the lovely projects were a bit beyond my capabilities, but here I go!

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We knitters expanded our minds and boundaries, embarking on a little adventure September 16 & 17. Starting with a Friday drive to Windermere, we made our way to a temple session and met with friends from Gainesville who were in Orlando for other events. We dined at the world-renowned (to our world, anyway) Pollo Tropicale, feasting upon black beans, rice, sweet plantains, fried yuca, with guava barbecue sauce and Caribbean condiments, and guava cheesecake for dessert. Drawn like magnets hurtling along West Colonial to the Ocoee Tuesday Morning store, we managed to squeeze in some major shopping before closing time. Savory yarns, packaged roving, felting supplies and half-price QVC clothing were a few of the spoils we won and stacked up in the luggage slot in back of Tina’s van.

Auracania Chilean baby alpaca/silk from Tuesday Morning


Back at the Radisson hotel on International Drive, some of us settled into our room and the rest ventured on to the opening session of the 2011 Florida Fiber In, which had kicked off a few hours earlier. Dazzled by the array of colorful fibers at the vending booths, spinning apparatus, knitted and crocheted items, and brightly-dressed people with big personalities, we browsed and befriended.

natural center of the event, the spinning circle

drop spindle and fiber from Ewephoric Fibers

Several booths were selling drop spindles–some of these were plastic, some unfinished wood, and the high-end ones in birds-eye maple and other exotic, beautifully grained, polished woods, were priced at $35 a piece. I bought a package from Ewephoric Fibers, a Gainesville vendor, which included an unfinished wooden drop spindle, a generous amount of alpaca/shetland/border leicester roving, and a free lesson, which I opted to fulfill the following day since we were getting tired. Jane Dominguez added a complimentary herbal sachet to my bag, because I had spent over $20. I have a feeling that the introduction of the drop spindle is going to be a life-style changer for me, like the invention of the wheel was to cave women!

Souvenir bag was a mite small


Next morning, we dug into the conference for real. Ethel may have gotten in on the end of the first workshop, which was all about dyeing fiber. I got a front-row seat in a workshop called “Ply on the Fly” in which the presenter showed how to make yarn from roving, using one of those fascinating drop spindles. Her preferred method, called Navajo Ply, used the single ply everyone else seemed to know how to do, but added a step where the single strand twisted back on itself and added another ply to the yarn. I watched very closely and have misty, unsure memories of the process as yet. She said she drop-spins riding in the car, watching TV, just whenever. She showed us earlier a sweater she designed and made from Cherry Tree Hill sock yarns, the awesome Technicolor Dream Coat. The next workshop was “Toe-up Socks”–but I didn’t nibble since the room was pretty full and the acoustics weren’t that great. Trish brought along her knitting, and got some pointers from friendly and helpful people there.

I got my drop-spin lesson from the excellent Jane Dominguez. Why are we wearing hats, you wonder? Oh, the theme of the Fiber In this year was England, and they asked us to wear hats. Plus, it was a game day; the gators were playing Tennessee in Gainesville. Although a few people complimented my gator hat, Tina said she might have heard a few dissenting murmurs as I and my hat passed by.

Drop-spinning lesson from Jane Dominguez of Ewephoric Fibers

Final result: yarn!

I found another yarn store in Winter Haven I didn’t know about, called Four Purls. They had a fabulous booth at the Fiber In.

leather purse handles & yarn from Four Purls

We watched Rebecca Bowen, from St. Augustine, spin on her wheel, and I bought a couple of hanks of luscious Long Dog handspun roving from her booth Sunshine Knit Designs.

Rebecca Bowen

Silver alpaca/silk and purple merino Long Dog handspun

Bowen was one of the presenters of the Continental vs English workshop that Ethel and her friend Dale attended. Ethel met Dale on the Knitting Paradise online forum, and talked her into coming from east central FL to the Orlando conference. Tina also mentioned the Fiber In to a co-worker Chelsea, and we were delighted to see her there at the seminar, too. Maybe she will come and join us at Wednesday Night Knitting as well.

One of my best experiences was hanging out at the Funny Face Farms booth, watching Billie card wool, and learning the names of some of the loose fibers from Brennan.

Billie of Funny Face Farms, carding

this carding apparatus is for longer fibers

Fibers from Funny Face Farms

Magical merino/angora/Romney/angelina fiber blend

In the Fibers pic, the green and blue at the top are from Romney sheep. The light gray fiber at the upper left is locally grown (they are in Brandon, FL) Angora. The seafoam green fibers at the right are from Shetland sheep. The taupe and brown fibers in the lower right are alpaca. The curly green and orange ones at the bottom are from Wensleydale sheep.
A Fuzzy Farm had the booth in the back of the room, with the plastic drop spindles, weaving looms, silk scarves and hankies to be felted as Make and Take projects, and many treasures in the form of kits and raw and carded pouches of fibers of all descriptions. Proprietor Lorie McCombie warned that her kids are in charge of her web site and don’t always have it up to speed.

Fibers from A Fuzzy Farm vendor

Ethel and her friend went to the Japanese Short Rows workshop, and we left soon after that one, missing the last two scheduled demo’s by Ginger from Ewephoric Fibers in Gainesville. Lois and Ethel did spend some time at the spinning wheel with Jane’s husband Allan.

Lois with Jane Dominguez's husband (Ewephoric Fibers)

Tina learned to spin on a wheel, and made herself a little ball of yarn. We found spinners to be very friendly, straightforward people! I heard that the Ewephoric Fibers folks in Gainesville teach intensive spinning classes, and will loan out wheels, with a deposit of course, to those who take the classes that come with a guarantee: you WILL learn to spin!

Tina and the wheel--beginning of a beautiful friendship?

Showing off a Gator Sock

close up of gator sock, see the little pocket just above the gator head?

Lendrum spinning wheel

The gator sock lady had a Lendrum wheel, which she bought about 10 years ago, with attachments she sometimes never uses, for about $600. She said she was told that the Lendrum is the best choice for Florida because it is solid maple, and does well with Florida’s humidity. She said the Kromski wheel, another good brand, is made of a composite wood. She said if you’re thinking of buying a wheel and you see one advertised somewhere, GET IT because once the workshops and seminars start this time of year, they all sell out fast, and there are only a few spinning wheel makers around. I found some good info about wheels on The Woolery site.

one of many spinning wheels on site

We saw wheels of all kinds, shapes, sizes and ages. Someone said you can find patterns online to make a spinning wheel from a bicycle tire.

Tina at Ewephoric Fibers' booth

What a wonderful weekend with friends and happy times. Glad to get a little extra fiber in my life! 🙂

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