Category: Blog

Life is like a pile of rolags…

Happy little pile-o-rolags

Success in the product is largely about the prep work.

(Maybe I’ll develop that metaphor more completely later on.)

These little rolags are carded seconds of a couple different wools.  Bits left over from my first time around flick carding the locks. Handcarding the rolags is more work than the flicking process, but it lets me make good use of the shorter fibers that get screened out in the first go-round. And it’s kind of a relaxing way to spend an evening.

I spin up the rolags using a long-(ish) draw  method, and it results in a really nice soft, lofty kind of yarn.  I do love the long draw and spin this style whenever I can. Of course, it works best when the fiber is well prepped and drafts easily and evenly.

But that can be said of most things  in spinning, and life, eh?

More Fun with Fleece

The new little fleece is all dry and ready to be played with:

Kitsap Romney Washed

It cleaned up beautifully, and is just dying to be spun up. So, we’ll go through a little bit of how I get it ready for spinning.

With something like this, I usually just grab a few locks at a time and use a flick carder (or dog brush) to open up the ends and remove any short or weak bits (any remaining veg falls out too) . In photos:

Flick Carding1Flick Carding2

Holding the locks by the butt end, I comb down through the tips of the fibers, opening them up.

Then I turn it aronfand do the same to the butt ends.

Flick Carding 3

And then you have a nice little cloud of loosened up fibers, all still going in the same direction. I usually spin right from this stage. I just make up a mountain of little fiber bundles and then get spinning.

But if you want to, you can easily make your own roving. Just tug out a small bunch of fibers fo the end of the bundle, and keep drafting them in a steady stream until you run out:

Drafting roving by hand

Then you can gently wrap them into a tidy little bun for spinning later.

Here is a short video demonstration:

I am Rich in Wool

Yes, indeed.

Today was knitting day at work (we meet at lunch), and we had quite a crowd show up after two weeks off over the holidays. Was neat to see what all people have been up to over that time.

And would you believe, I was gifted with another fleece!

Yep. I am becoming a wool magnet.

What’s especially cool about this one is that it still has it’s 4H blue ribbon with it. It’s a very nice bunch of wool- soft, crimpy, no veg, and pretty darn clean (compared to some things I’ve worked with). It’s been sitting in a basement for about a year or so now, so it’s got a bit of an orange-y cast from the lanolin, but I expect that it will wash right out.

And so, without further ado, here ’tis- the underside, and the outside, respectively.

Kitsap Romney Unwashed-undersideKitsap Romney Unwashed

Isn’t that a nice little fleece?

I’ll be washing about half of it up tonight so I can pass some of it off to another spinning friend. Gotta spread good wool (good will?) around.


New Pair-O-Dimes

Do you love hand knit socks?

Do you wish you had more than two feet so you could show off more than one style at a time?

I started another pair of nice, heavy wool socks a while back, and as I settled into the comfortable rhythm of my standard, 2×2 rib for the first 5 inches or so, I had a lot of time to contemplate what I like about knitting socks.

One Sock

I like deciding what the sock will be- for whom, what colors, what type of heel, what type of toe, etc. I don’t generally do fancy socks. I do boot socks. Probably because I like wearing boots. And having toasty feet.

The problem with socks is that it’s really two projects in one.

Traditionally, starting a sock carries with it the implied commitment to finish not only that one, but also another just like it. And it’s the “just like it” part that sometimes gets tricky. Especially if you’re like me and just making it up as you go along most of the time.

But you know what is neat about knitting? (well there are a lot of things that are neat about knitting, but we’ll get to them one at a time)

You can pretty much do whatever you want. If it works for you, keep doing it. There are no knitting police. If someone comes up to you and presents him or herself as a knitting police, ask to see their badge.

I’ve found that it is very liberating to throw out a deeply ingrained assumption-for instance, that socks must come in matched pairs.

And I’ve decided that each sock needs to be recognized as an individual object.

Therefore, I am happily working away at a sock that will never be a “matcher”. It might have friends that share a certain color or striping pattern, but it won’t ever have to deal with being identical.

And I won’t have to make another one just like it. Heh!