dyeing & carding


Nearly two months since my last post? They zipped by awfully quickly…

Well…

I finished Leaflet:

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…Just in time to wear it to NHSW. Which was wonderfully full of fiber people.

Spring has continued–it feels more like summer now–and there are lots of things growing in the garden and at the CSA farm.

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(a balloonflower in the front garden)

There has been some family and personal excitement, but things are mostly better now. Going forward, anyway. I’m continuing to look for a Real Job, but I have made some progress toward feeling more productive. I went to MAS&W (also a fantastic place to see fiber people), where Jennifer of Holiday Yarns let me use some of her booth space for my batts. That went quite well, and I have since set up an Etsy shop. Sooo… With the shop (which may soon contain things other than batts and yarn) and some freelance editing work, I at least have something to do that feels less like shouting into a void than the endless round of job applications.

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(one of my favorites of the batt sets. even though it’s merino.)

My hand and wrist are feeling much better, but I’ve been using my still-limited dexterity and strength on typing. (Mostly cover letters and venting about the job-hunt process.)

But TheGeorg on Ravelry had a spinning challenge for last week, and I was getting reeeeeally agitated without my usual calming activities (knitting, spinning, weaving, even most iPod games), so I decided to see how much I could spin without aggravating my hand.

I started with the skein on the right, on the Friday evening two weeks ago:

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And it zoooooomed. That, and all the other white yarn in this post, is from some mixed fleece I acquired in 2009 and sent off for washing and carding. It was just about perfect for real, unsupported long-draw. I had to make myself stop pulling out all the VM, and I definitely didn’t let myself care about making it even, but I kept going for about a week. With a break to ply up that Pond Scum once I worked out a setup for my ballwinder so I could use it comfortably, and not all-spinning-all-the-time, because that stuff did zoom along.  It only took a little over an hour per full bobbin of singles.

I ended up with this:

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It’s certainly more thick-and-thin than my usual yarn (and also a lot bulkier over all, but so fluffy!), but it’s remarkably consistent from skein to skein. I got between 115 and 135yds of 2ply from each of the eight bobbins I filled with singles.

But as much as I enjoyed spinning all that bright white yarn (I really did, which surprised me), I didn’t want a bright white object. One of the other Rav groups I’m in is running an ongoing SAL/KAL for sweaters, and someone linked to Leaflet, and I decided that this pile of yarn would be nice as a Leaflet with half-sleeves instead of cap sleeves. So…what color to dye it all? I went with the easiest option: onion skins. Which also has the side benefit of matching the cat, so his fur shouldn’t show up too much.

I ended up with this:

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Right now, I am waiting impatiently for it to finish drying (inside, now), and hoping that my hand will be recovered enough to swatch when the yarn is ready.

I’m still working on Bernhardt, hoping to be able to wear it at Rhinebeck.

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I’m still not certain about the sleeve cap shaping, so I’m working on the second sleeve for now.

And I’ve spun some of the yarn from the Spring Mix batch of fibers:

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I’ve also been carding more, some for projects and some for just playing around:

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Except when there’s construction or serious lawnmowing or something, carding (on the enclosed back porch) is really peaceful, so the just-for-fun batts are especially refreshing.

Nothing much else worth reporting on today…  So I should get back to the job-hunting and the apple-drying and the jamming.  And the knitting.

I’ve posted a bit of a destash on Ravelry.  It’s a mix of fiber and handspun and commercial yarn.  Prices are reasonably firm, but I am open to some negotiation, especially with cash-funded (cheaper) PayPal.

And for something pretty and not for sale, just bloggy:  I’ve been doing some more carding, with some of the stuff I dyed last week and various other things.

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This is mostly dorset and wool blend. It’s been sitting next to my chair as a bit of a talisman through the last few days of job-hunting. (Even if all it means is “if I make progress faster, I have more time for making more batts”.)

 

Well.  I’m still in Burlington, still looking for work, still enjoying some aspects of living in semi-suburbia.  Like this:

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I haven’t seen the orioles in a while, but the hummingbirds seem happy.  We’ve got at least three, probably four, near enough that they use our feeder regularly.  And now that we’ve brought out the other birdfeeder for fall, the woodpeckers are more visible, too.

I’ve also continued to work on Bernhardt:

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And I’ve been spinning, and carding, and doing some dyeing to have more stuff to card:

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That’s most of yesterday’s dyeing, drying in the sun.  Maybe I’ll go out and join it for a little while.

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Last week, my dad and I went on a walk along the forest-lined bike path near my grandma’s house. There weren’t a lot of flowers right along the path, but there were at least a dozen or so really impressive spiderwebs, several of them funnels. This one was particularly well lit.

This butterfly joined us in the blackberry patch at that orchard:
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…and then someone on Rav pointed out that my most recent batch of batts looked a lot like it.
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I wasn’t aiming for a particular color with them, just thinking that I had some bits and pieces that would look good together, but it is remarkably similar. I’m pleased with them.

Oh, and it’s not really an eye-candy shot, but I promised a sweater update:
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I’m now a few rows further along, but I haven’t hit the any-time-now color shift. Well, okay, it should be in about three more rows, since it’s in the yarn that’s on break right now. I’m knitting two rows with one yarn, then two rows with another, carrying the yarn up the side, but also switching balls of yarn every couple of inches. Current plan is to knit up to the bottom of the armscyes and then get the sleeves to the same point, so any major mods to the sleeve cap shaping will match the armscyes. (And so I can put off deciding exactly how I want to deal with that, and also so I can have the sleeves use some of the yarns I’ve been using for the bottom of the body.)

In other knitting-y news, I’m working on (choosing and pricing) a batch of stuff (some yarn, some fiber) for a destash.  When it’s ready, I’ll mention it here.

So… Somehow, I thought I was going to be better about blogging this month. Instead, it’s been a weird few weeks, with additional snow and shovelling, and lots of repacking and moving and reorganizing boxes. And carding, which brings us today’s eye candy.

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Red batts (made for Liz) are mill-ends from Brown Sheep plus bits of alpaca/silk, sari silk, mohair locks, wool blend, and icicle. Green batts (made for Jen) are my handpainted superwash merino (from a group dye-day way back in 2008) plus grey bamboo rayon and some gold angelina. (Both sets were swapped for other fiber.)

The three main things that are keeping me from doing more carding are 1. work-related stuff, 2. the poor, lonely cat who’s still afraid to come downstairs, and 3. the weather, since my lovely carding station on the (enclosed) back porch is pretty cold if it’s below 40ºF and not sunny. But it is very nice indeed to have the carder clamped to a bookcase rather than an end table, so I can card while standing instead of while sitting on a footstool. Good thing I wanted to get going on the swap batts before I cleared all the boxes off of the former carding table!

And, yes, he does get lonely when I spend time downstairs, but Mel is enjoying at least some aspects of the new living situation:

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He has a window that looks out on a tree and lots of birds! (Even though it’s not the window overlooking all the birdfeeders.)

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