after making some adaptations to my flax wheel (mainly replacing the flyer hooks and smoothing the orifice), it spins a little better. i was able to spin up a pink batt i had made the other day; it reminds me mostly of raspberry sorbet.
i spun up two of the batts i carded at the workshop. the batt formerly known as clown vomit was plied with a white alpaca. it was a definite learning experience. i spun it on my ancient flax wheel (which is quite the finicky beast when it comes to spinning anything thicker than fingering, and you can just about forget spinning fat and thin singles) and it may have taken me a few hours. i try not to think of it. the plying was done on a drop spindle (again, the ancient ones' fault, as it absolutely refuses to spin counter-clockwise). not that i don't enjoy plying on a drop spindle, but it is a little awkward to try any fancy art plying. but, in the end, i really like the color play and softness of the yarn.
after borrowing my good friend's schacht matchless spinning wheel, i spun up the purple batt, plied it, and was skeining in about an hour. wee! it's quite lovely, and i really like the flashes of purple silk and amethyst corriedale locks. another lesson learnt; it is true that you shouldn't mix differing lengths of fiber when creating a batt, as the longer fibers all but disappear while spinning (much like a corespun, with the longer fibers acting the part of the core).
well, i managed to squeeze all of the alpaca on the drop spindle, and it doesn't look so much like a drop spindle as a softball with an antennae (or a jack in the box head). i wound it off, skeined it, and fulled it, and now have a lovely bundle of white alpaca laceweight.
i've been playing with the idea of dyeing it a soft aubergine with cochineal, but figured perhaps the white plainness may work in my favor. maybe. just guessing really. not going on any data to back this hypothesis up. we'll know in a month though, won't we?
the muslin sacks are all sewn up, corded, and tagged. it's a good thing i thought of labeling, as they're mostly indistinct from one another. i feel almost like a bank robber with sacks of money; hey, it's what they look like to me.
after picking up some color grown cotton roving yesterday, i'm down to two empty sacks. hmm. luckily i have enough cord and material for several more, and they're quick and easy to sew up.
getting ready for the fair, one of the categories which i am happy about is spindle spinning; which is a favorite pastime of mine. i have a mohair/silk and alpaca chunky yarn i've spun which i've entered; so for a little variety i decided to put my kuchulu to work and have been spinning a laceweight 2ply in white alpaca that i had helped shear.
one of the requirements is that the skein needs to be one to two ounces. which is fine, doesn't seem like a lot. but, when you're using a wee little drop spindle it sure seems like a ginormous amount to spin. each .20 ounce ball looks like little mochi, so cute!
i've borrowed my mothers delight spindle to ply, and i hope i can get it all on there. i have yet to master the joining of two separate 2ply strands (other than a knot). ah, well, something to aim for.
one thing that happens when you go to a fiber event is that you come home with a lot more fiber than you had. i purchased some yak/tussah, muga silk, red eri silk, and cotswold locks. my teacher was more than generous with fiber, and i was more than greedy accepting it, so i also acquired silk noil, bombyx silk roving, wool, more wool locks, dyed tussah, a couple of silk hankies, and some wool "junk".
today i was thinking i needed some way to organize all this treasure, so i went about making muslin sacks out of some heavy duty muslin i had leftover from a patternmaking workshop. i was able to make nine of them before i ran out of cloth. i also need to get some cotton twine to use as drawstrings. labeled metal and paper tags will go on the cords so that i know what each is when they become a pile of similar muslin puffs. now i'll have no excuse for not spinning, as i am more than amply supplied with fiber. dyeing all this fiber should keep me occupied for some time as well.
this past weekend i was in athens enjoying some time learning more about spinning at plying the arts 2011. it was rather nice to be amongst other fiber enthusiasts. the two workshops i took part in were a taste of silk and blending for fun.
i rather thought i knew a lot about silk, but it's so much more interesting when you learn more. overspinning isn't possible, bombyx comes in a brick form which is fluffier and spins more smoothly (sounds like an oxymoron huh?), and i still enjoy silk hankies. the little samples above are what i spun using my drop spindle.
the blending exercises using the drum carder were very fun! things learned; a new to me technique for feeding the drums (placing fiber parallel to drums), creating variegated batts, and obtaining three different batts just by blending the same batt once, twice, and three times.
this yellow green batt was the demo for seeing the effects of multiple blending. i spun up a segment taken from each time the batt was blended. the blockier colored skein went through once, and the heathered lime green skein was twice through. i rather like the more distinct colors on the first one. i haven't spun up any of the three times blended batt yet, above.
i mixed brown, white, purple, and blue into my second batt, blending it twice.
getting out of my comfort zone, i created a mishmash better known as clown vomit for my third attempt. i blended it three times, and the hot pink really didn't want to blend. i may ply it with a soft grey.
while glancing through a piecework magazine i came across some needlelace. i'm always entranced by needlelace when i see it; it's really pretty, with delicate webbing, curving arabesques, tiny areas of transparency. venetian rose point lace, italian reticella, 17th/18th century italian lace, coraline, 17th century gros point de venise, point de neige, punto in aria, are all gorgeous examples. i decided to try my hand at making some, and found it quite mesmerizing, with lots of possibilities (you can't get more travel easy, it's just a needle and thread). my first tries are a little wonky, but i find them charming anyways.
one of the pieces i wove awhile back needed something more; needlelace in green would be just the thing. i went for a bit of playful flora, and attached it with a small brad which i painted with nail polish. i find it strange that antique lace was mostly made in white thread (some exceptions being black lace for mourning, and spanish mantilla lace). it would make it easier to change between clothing, and it would be punchier against the rich hues of the fabric, but i think lace could be so much more modern if it were done in color.