Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fiber projects

Now that the cooler weather has settled into our area, we are doing more inside stuff than outside stuff. Spring and summer is a great time for farm improvements. This past spring we added the girl's pasture back by our house to keep them separate from the boys. As fall set in, J stocked up on hay, that we now store in what used to be the boys' barn. The boys' moved into the main barn where the girls had been. We thought we were well stocked in hay for the winter, but we seem to be going through it faster than we anticipated. Thankfully we have a hay auction nearby, so if we do need more hay at any point, we can go and get some fairly easily.

This year, as the cold weather settles in, we have the opportunity to work on some inside projects. Last year it wasn't until after the new year that I even got my spinning wheel. Without a wheel we had no yarn. Other than practice knitting with store bought yarn, there wasn't much for us to do. I have since learned to spin yarn from raw fiber. What had us puzzled for awhile was that my yarn suddenly got thin and very elegant looking. We especially noticed it when I saw a ball of yarn I spun up for my mom just a couple months ago. It was much more bulky and nobby than a skein I recently spun up. We tried to figure out why some yarn was thin, some thick, some nobby, some not. I thought it might be due to micron count, then thought it might be due to primary vs secondary hairs (another day I will go into what the difference on that is, I'm not even sure at this point I completely understand). What we now figure has been going on is that our flicking method and my spinning skills have improved to the point I now spin fairly thin yarn. I had thought I would spin big bulky very natural looking yarn, so at first this thin elegant stuff sort of threw us.

One project J is doing is taking the coarser fiber, having it spun into a thick nobby yarn, for him to make either slipper soaks, or rugs. He attempted to spin the yarn himself, but quickly decided he didn't like that idea. I have no doubt he could spin quite well, but agreed to spin it up for him. I love spinning, so it took no arm twisting (and I wasn't sure about him using my wheel, I mean, then I can't use it ;) ). Since he wanted thick natural nobby yarn, and I've moved onto thin elegant yarn, it took some adjustment on my part to go back to the thick stuff. He also wanted a tweed combination of white and brown. I am quite impressed with my ability to spin up what he requested. I wasn't sure if I could do it. Up to this point, I let the wheel decide how thick the yarn is. This time I did adjustments and changed my way of doing things so that I could get the desired yarn.

He is also busy knitting up some scarves. Right now he is knitting a neat one out of Tucker's gray fiber. He has a box knit pattern that he designed into a scarf. I'll get picture to put up soon.

I am in the process of knitting a hat out of Victoria's fiber. I completed one already and am about half way through the second one. I am a bit worried I won't have enough yarn to finish. I happened to have a sample of a mix of Victoria's and Tehya's yarn. I decided to use that as a stripe in the hat. I love how this looks! Tehya's fawn color mixed in with Victoria's reddish brown is really neat. I am still keeping my fingers crossed that I have enough yarn to complete this hat. Otherwise I'll have to spin up some more. I usually have a knit project in process, that I take with me to work on during karate practice, and waiting for appointments and such. This stays in my car, so that it is ready whenever I have a spare minute.

I usually also have a project going on at home. My at home projects are the ones that aren't very portable. I would like to spin up some black yarn. I have Maddie's fiber washed and I am about half way through flicking it. It's been a pain to work with because this particular batch has a lot of second cuts. Second cuts are when the fiber is shorn, but it is done so twice, making the cuts short. I am struggling to flick this particular batch because of this. I hope this weekend to complete the flicking so that I can spin up the yarn.

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