Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mohair Fiber/Shipshewana Wool

After getting back from Indiana I had the chance to vist a local Angora goat farm Mea Stone owns Stony Woods Farm in Keller, TX. Mea spent most of a Saturday with me showing me her goats and showing me how to process the fiber. I was able to purchase some lovely fiber from her. She was kind enough to label each bag with the name of the goat and then made sure I had met each goat so I could remember them as I spun and knit the fiber. I admit I was a little hesitant with the first batch but I had that lovely gray wool from Shipshewana and I wanted to make a great hat for my daughter, Katie. Katie had picked out a hat pattern in the yarn shop in Shipshewana for me to make.
This is just some of the lovely fiber I got from Mea. I'll have enough to keep me busy through the rest of the year I imagine.
Bags of mohair. Most of it needs washing and processing. She did inclulde 2 bags of fiber that is already processed and ready to spin. The first batch I tried was some very dark gray/black fiber from a goat named Lizzie. I picked it, washed it, dried it and then carded the locks into rolags to spin from.
Then I started spinning the rolags. I alternated between carding and spinning until it was all spun up.
I also spun the gray wool I had purchased in Shipshewana along with some gray Corridale wool I had purchased on the internet. It was gray but had some brown in it. It made for really lovely color variation.
After I had spun all the wool and the mohair I began to ply the singles together.
After plying I wound it off the bobbins into skeins using a niddy noddy and then washed it to set the twist. After washing and pressing out the water with a towel I hung the skeins on a hanger in the utility room to dry. I have about 6 oz. of yarn to make Katie's hat. The green roving I bought in Shipshewana also spun up like a dream. It was lovely and thin. Not sure what to do with it yet. Maybe try some fingerless gloves. I'm thinking I would like some for knitting in the winter.
A close up of the yarn, it had those bits of yellow and purple in the roving and look really nice in the yarn. Its very soft also.

Summer Vacation

In June my daughter Katie and I went to Indiana to visit my brother Louie and sister-in-law Teri. They live in Denver, Indiana and have a canoe rental business on the Eel River called Miller's Canoe. They have a lovely piece of property there and I love to visit. If you are ever in the area during canoe season take a trip on the river. Its great. I'll have to include those pictures in another post. One of my favorite places to go when we are there is Shipshewana, Indiana. Its about 2 hours north of Louie near the state line. Its an Amish town where you can take a buggy ride, shop for lovely hand made gifts and eat fantastic food. Of course I had to look for a yarn shop while I was there this time and found one with lovely gardens out back and on the side of it.
Katie took several pictures of the horse and buggys as we were walking through the town. Here we are outside the Blue Gate Cafe. The food there is plentiful and excellent. The gardens outside the cafe are lovely also.
While in the yarn shop I found some really nice gray wool and some lovely green roving with bits of purple and yellow in it. My follow up posts will have pictures of the handspun yarn and what I'm doing with it.

More Handspun Yarn and Dyeing

This is the white roving I ordered from Sheep Shed Studio back in May. I ordered it with the specific purpose of practicing with some dyeing.This is the result of one dye experiment. I used Kool Aid to handpaint the roving before spinning. I forgot to take pictures of what the roving looked like but you can see a tutorial here of the process using acid dyes. The site I found the details of Kool Aid instead of acid dyes is here. I found this using Google to search for Kool Aid Dyeing with roving. After dyeing the roving I spun it up getting singles that were variegated. I used 10 colors of dye ranging from light yellow (lemonade) to dark purple (grape). Because I had folded the roving each roving length spun up light to dark to light. When I plied the singles I made no effort to match colors up at all. My goal was to have as much multi color as possible. I'm going to use this yarn in part to make a scarf and hat for my step daughter Rachel. I'll post pics of them when they are done. This is more of the white roving dyed with Indigo dye. My spinning guild, North Texas Hand-Spinner and Weavers Guild had a demonstration of indigo dyeing done by Laura Easterling and her husband at our May meeting. The process is fascinating and certainly a lesson in chemistry. Before I try more than Kool Aid dyeing at home I need an outdoor set up. One the most amazing things about indigo dyeing is that the dye must be exposed to air to oxidize and get the final color. Extra care has to be taken with the dye pot not to introduce air (oxygen) to the liquid when putting items in or taking out. As you pull the yarn out and squeeze the liquid out at the surface of the dye pot the color begins to show. Laura instructed us to take the dyed objects out to an empty part of the parking lot and swing it around in the air to fully aerate the yarn and develop all the colors. The two skeins are an example of 1 dip in the dye pot and 2 dips in the dye pot. This lovely dark pink color came from Black Cherry Kool Aid in a traditional on the stove dye pot method. This is about 5 oz of fiber and I used 6 packages of kool aid. An interesting thing about Kool Aid dyeing (not sure if this applies to other types of dyes) is that you leave the fiber in until all the dye is exhausted or absorbed. After 20 minutes of the fiber being in the pot the water was completely clear. Some Kool Aid colors apparently leave a milky white liquid instead of clear but all the color is gone. I still have some Berry Blast and Black Cherry Kool Aid packets. Who knows what I will come up with next.

Friday, July 17, 2009

New Spinning Wheel!!!!

Ok, I realize that its been a few months since I got the wheel but I got it! For those of you who saw my earlier post the dark wheel was borrowed (thanks Emily). Now I have my own. I got my new Sonata in May and then ordered the Jumbo Flyer about 2 weeks later. I absolutely love my wheel. I feel as though I have been working my way through various crafts until I found the one I'm supposed to be doing. Not that I don't love working with fabric while sewing and quilting and yarn in knitting and crocheting and my jewelry making, but spinning feels like it completes me. I was born about 150 years too late I think! Anyway, my new wheel is here and my next few posts will be of the yarn I have spun on it.
If you remember from my previous posts I was working on the pound of brown tones roving from Sheep Shed Studio. I finished that and ordered some white roving to experiment with dyeing. Here is my brown tones. It spun up like a brown tweed. I have now ordered some more hoping to get enough to knit a cardigan for this winter. Stay tuned for more yarn. I also have to tell you about my visit to Stony Woods Farms in Keller, TX where I met Mea Stone and her lovely goats, and dogs, and donkey and llama, ducks, chickens and.... oh yeah, her husband too.