30 July 2011

Tour de fleece skein finally done. Way after the tour...

First Schacht Skein

This was a dual purpose skein.  Get to know my schacht, and participate in the tour.  LOVE my schacht in double drive!  It's so nice to finally understand the mechanics of this system, and to be able to spin such nice fine yarns with no adjusting halfway through the skein like in scotch.  LOVE IT!  I highly recommend the schacht matchless to anyone wanting a nice cadillac wheel. :)  The yarn is spun from hand dyed mill ends.  This was a spontaneous low immersion bath...  so no real repetition of colours.  I enjoy the way it turned out though.  340 metres of 30wpi 2 ply.  It's a good amount and weight for a nice shawlette. :)

Toffee Sky painted roving 3oz

First Schacht Skein

6 July 2011

The tour de fleece!

Day 4.  Experiments in double drive on my Schacht Matchless (fibre i dyed a while ago from an adobe kuler profile i liked. )

Tour De Fleece Day 4

Tour De Fleece Day 4

Toffee Sky painted roving 3oz

27 June 2011

OHS Master Spinner homework post (Blended orthogeneous and homogeneous)

2 ply graduated blended skein for OHS Master Spinner Homework

In our class with Wendy, she did some basic blending with us on handcarders, and for our homework, we have to do 2 skeins, one done orthogeneous (barber poled) and another done homogeneous, which would be any blend, but the 2 singles are the same.  For year one, we are spinning woolen only, so must spin a short or long draw in the woolen style.  Because of this, the blending I did was on handcards, in the form of rolags.

sequence of blended rolags in a graduated colour transition.  (2 rolags pre blend for 2 singles)
Blended Rolags for Master Spinner Homework

Blended Rolags for Master Spinner Homework

I have a slight hatred toward barberpoled yarn (yarn with plys of different colours, reminiscent of a barber pole), maybe it's because you see it all the time online because of spinners not really thinking about what they do with handpainted roving/tops, or maybe just because it's ugly.  I choose to think the latter.  I really do hate barber poled yarn.  So I didn't even take a picture of the orthogeneous skein I did.  I got really ugly colours too for the homework.  *(we are given fibre to use for the homework assignments, so don't get to choose colours)*.

hand blended gradation on hand carders. 9wpi plied.
2 ply graduated blended skein for OHS Master Spinner Homework

For the homogeneous skein, we just had to do some kind of a blend in which both the singles in the 2 ply would be the same.   So instead of just doing a 70/30 blend or some other ratio remaining consistent, I decided to work out all the ratio and maths for a graduated colour blend in 6 parts.  My final skein going from midnight blue (barf) to sea green (barf) and the 4 blends between being gradual ratios.  The 2 singles had to be as identical as possible, so I split the colours in two first off, and then just weighed the fibres out for the 6 different blends.  I then blended each grouping into two rolags on my handcards so it'd be nice and easy to just spin one of each rolag on one bobbin and then repeat!  It worked out very well, and I only had a few extra inches of one bobbin which I andean plied so there was no waste.  The blend was less segmented than I expected too.  If I was to do a bigger skein like this, which I am thinking about doing for my final woolen article, I'll do it on my drum carder.  But the handcards work very well and are quick too, so I'll have to decide at a later point.  Even if I want to spin from rolags, I can take the drum carded batt, split it lengthwise and roll lengthwise into mini rolags.  

2 ply graduated blended skein for OHS Master Spinner Homework

Another big challenge I took on for these skeins was the yarn weight.  It's so easy to spin even thin/lace yarns, and it's very easy to spin a varying weight bulkier yarn, but it's very hard to be consistent and spin a nice even bulky yarn, about wpi plied.   You see alot of this weight of yarn, but it's not very even.  So anyway, I did fairly well and am happy with this assignment overall.  except for the barf colour combination.  ;)

And here's my fatty bo batty resting on noodle's knee.  She's a reverse gremlin, and after you feed her she gets really cuddly.
Fatty Unicorn

22 June 2011

Quilting at the long arm quilter

Quilting on the Long Arm Quilt machine

King size quilt almost done

King size quilt almost done

King size quilt almost done

I've been working on a denyse schmidt quilt which I turned into a king size for a while now.   Each row of squares added, and each border sewed on added to the bulk of the quilt and exasperated the difficulty of working with such a large (102" x 93") size on my tiny little sewing table with my small machine.   I made an appointment a while back at a long arm quilter in kitchener where you pay 150$ to rent the machine for a day which includes a lesson.  The lady told me the day would be enough time to get a whole king size quilt done, and she was right!  I started at 10:30 am and was done by 3:30pm.  And from now on, the machine is only 50$ a day to rent, now that i've had my lesson.

King size quilt almost done

For machine quilting I had to sew on an extra border (a leader) of 8 inches which made the quilt even BIGGER!  I'm not completely certain my quilt was totally square after i put the leaders on, i think they were a little off.  The first thing you do on a machine quilter after you load all the layers onto their respective bars and pin everything is to lock in a horizontal, and since you pin your leaders on, they must be square as well.    I wanted to do just plain diagonal quilt lines, but not being completely sure if my leaders were square, i was afraid the lines would go super wonky, so i picked a more organic pattern and decided to do some freeform machine quilting in the spaces.

the long arm quilter doing it's thing:
Quilting on the Long Arm Quilt machine

The whole process was pretty fun, and encouraging as at the end of piecing the top i was getting pretty discouraged and frustrated with the size.  I love that you can machine quilt it in one day!  Now I have to do the binding, and the lady at the quilt shop suggested cutting, ironing and mitering the extra backing into binding which is a great idea!  First though I have to rip off all of the leader stitch by stich.  blah.

Spinning, spinning, spinning`

I though I knew how to handcard rolags pretty well before embarking in the Master Spinner's OHS certification.  I now know that I was not doing it correctly and that it's a skill, like spinning, that takes time to learn properly.  I'm getting much better in that my rolags now contain no neps and way less folded fibres.

rolags for blending assignment

So much homework to do for the OHS Master Spinner's cert.  I'm doing a bit every night, and soon my new awesome bud whom I met in the course will be getting together with me to have a homework day. :)  FUN!  Documenting these skeins so far is taking the longest,  longer than the spinning does!

I bought a nice new to me Schacht Matchless wheel which I should be receiving on the weekend.  I can't wait to spin on it.  I really want to have a double drive wheel to compliment my scotch tension lendrum.  The aura I think I might sell, which is why when I saw the matchless for sale I jumped on it.

here's Noodle eating some noodles. :)  Green curry goodness.
Noodle eating noodles

29 May 2011

Cocoons and Bulky Singles

This has nothing to do with OHS master spinner course work at all.  I was playing around with cocoons and more bulky singles before i left for the course, and am finally getting a nice solid, good shaped cocoon! None of those floofy wishy washy cocoons that'll fall apart with any movement!  I'm going to a jacey boggs spinning workshop in june on quadra island and i can't wait!

Bulky Balanced Singles with cocoons

Bulky Balanced Singles with cocoons

Bulky Balanced Singles with cocoons

bulky balanced singles

I also spun up a nice bulky single from my moonrover batts I ordered a while ago.  SO amazing!  What i did was unroll each batt, stack 'em up, and then stripped the batt into small strips.  The result is that I get ONE very long colour gradation instead of many short ones.  It turned out nice!  Now I just have to make something with it, i'm thinking cowl of course.  I'm very proud of these singles because they are fairly "balanced" if i may use the term in a relative manner.  They were only one twist off the bobbin and after washing and drying *without* tension, there is no extra twist in the hank at all!

Bulky Balanced Singles

Bulky Balanced Singles

Below is just some mish mash 2ply from a low immersion fast striking dye pot i did.  That's a fun technique actually if you want blobs of colour.  Soak fibre in acid soak and and a bit of acid to your dyes.  Simmer in water that *just* covers the fibre and blob the dye on when it comes to just below boil.   The colours I chose were kind of ridiculous and the yarn turned out like something from the 80's.  I call it Flash Dance!

2ply, 250 yards

26 May 2011

Master Spinner Level 1 complete! Quilt,... getting there. :)

more wheels again again
above:  Half of the 2011 Level 1 Class (26 in total)

I recently embarked on 6 year program to get my OHS Master Spinner's credentials.  I just completed year/level 1 which was a week of amazing instruction by instructors who've helped create the certificate over 30 years ago, and some other instructors who also have completed the program and have been spinning for many many years.  The course takes place through the Haliburton School of arts and I have to say how amazing not only the program and teachers but the building is as well.  I love Haliburton, such a cute town full of arts and artists.

my new lendrum.  Can't say enough good things about this wheel.:
Lendrum

Year one of the program is based on "woolen" techniques for spinning.  I learned A LOT.  ALOT. ALOT.  I think most of us who've taught ourselves to spin do a semi worsted inch-wormy D.I.Y style of spinning.  Not really woolen, no really worsted, not too much care on how the fibre prep affects the style of spinning you do, or vice versa.  No thinking about the final product and then working backwards to decide what's the best fibre, fibre prep, spinning style and finishing.  It was very hard to learn how to let the twist run past my first hand which is imperative for a woollen spin.  When you've taught yourself, you tend to go with the easiest way to make a nice even yarn, and for most people that means keeping the twist out of the area when you draft.  But that is worsted spinning. So to be forced to try new things like this was amazing and I feel like i didn't know anything before this, even with 6 years of spinning "experience". Since year one is woolen, I think most of us were really learning alot of new things, even though we thought we knew everything because we've read about it in a book.   True woolen techniques, short and long were taught, and I cannot express how much I learned even in just these techniques.  I LOVE long draw.  love love love.  I LOVE spinning from the fold for woolen, using either short or long draw.  I love spinning from rolags now.  I love attenuating the rolag out for the long draw, stretching it like gum.  We have alot of homework, and i've finished one skein already, but there's a tonne more.

I've really had a spinning awakening.  The program's instructors were so knowledgeable, being spinners themselves, some for over 40 years.  I'm even thinking about embarking on the Master Weaver's courses as well.  I figure might as well, since I have a big loom and I love learning so much.

I met alot of people, a few of whom I really can see myself keeping contact with after the course ends in 6 years.  I saw really neat wheels, most notably the Pocket Wheel the Stella brought.  I also have new visions of my future where I have property and can take in rescues and unwanted farm animals like sheep and alpaca who can live out their lives with no fear of forced breeding, no confinement and no slaughter.  It's a struggle to reconcile my views with the course, but to achieve master spinner, there's really no choice.  But I will have a choice in my own pursuits, and if I can watch over my own animals and take care of them myself, where I know they're not going to slaughter or getting violently sheared, then I trust myself to shear them when they need to be, and to lovingly use their fibre.

So aside from the spinning, I've been diligently working on the king size quilt.  It's now mostly pieced except for two edge borders.  I have the material for the backing, and an appointment with Creative Sewing Centre in Kitchener to use their long arm quilter in june.  It's neat actually, the first time you go you pay for a lesson and the day's use, which'll be enough to quilt a king sized quilt, and then after that, it's only 50$ per day to use the quilter there.  No real wait, way less money than getting it done.

Quilt mostly pieced

Quilt mostly pieced

12 March 2011

Fibre dyeing and carding!

Toffee Sky painted roving 3oz

I've been doing a fair bit of dyeing lately, trying to record everything making sure i can replicate my results if i like them.   I like both kettle dyeing in a pot, and painting roving, however, painting roving is much more wasteful in that you tend to use alot more dye and for steaming you have to roll it up in plastic wrap which is very hard to reuse.  However, The results are much more predictable and you can control where the colour is placed making really fun striping rovings.   The kettle dyeing process I use I learned from a workshop I took with Pat LeClair from dyeing for colour 3 years ago.  In filling the pot so the water *just* covers the  fibre and waiting until the water is almost boiling before you place the dyes in the pot allows you a fair bit of control, but it's harder to place the roving/fibre in a specific pattern in the pot.  Either way I end up with results i like.

Toffee Sky painted roving 3oz

Toffee Sky painted roving 3oz

I can't wait for some orders to come in.  I ordered a tonne of veggie fibres from a couple shops including mulberry silk, tencel, nylon, bamboo, soysilk, ramie, cotton, hemp and some others.   I've decided to go all vegan with my new etsy shop, and there really is alot of great choice of cellulose and synthetics out there.  I'm excited to try some weird blends.  I ordered a Pat Green carder that has a finer cloth to blend the finer fibres with like bamboo, and I also ordered a bunch of reactive dyes which work with the cellulose fibres.  I can't wait to get dyeing and carding in order to start building up an opening inventory.



Orange Party mixed batt 3oz

With the batt below, it was too big to fit into my lightbox for pictures! I'll have to make a bigger on I guess. It is 5.5oz so fairly large. I learned a couple different ways from Deb Menz's book to pull a batt into a roving to preserve the long stripes. This way the roving will go gradually from pink to white to brown. And I made 2 identical batts, so I can either spin a really long single with the pattern repeating twice, Or a nice two ply withe the pattern repeating only once.
Neopolitan long striping batt 5.5oz

8 March 2011

The Darkness II

It's been announced for a while, but I'm working the Darkness 2 sequel!  Fun!   Mike Patton's back as the voice of the darkness which is totally awesome.  I"m not really a gamer at all, minus Civilization and WoW, but D2 looks pretty fun in that there's crazy crazy gore. You can slash people in half and see spine and guts, or impale them up against a wall with a parking metre.

It's been fun to work on that's for sure. :)



Some articles to read. :)

weird, this is my first post about work.

4 March 2011

lightbox improvements

Green Bean navajo 3ply

I'm getting sick of posting the same yarn over and over, but I'm really just doing tests for the macro lightbox i made getting all the details ironed out, and i'm too much of a lazy pants to go up into my spun stash upstairs.  Plus these two work great for testing because they're so opposite. 

I stopped at the home depot apres work/gym and picked up two cheap clippy lights and proceeded to do some more white balance testing.  In the first test images from my last entry, I just had one tiny fluorescent but it was mixing with the regular lights in the room that are a completely different temperature.  So no matter what settings i used, the white would not balance.  So today I turned off all lights except the two new lamps, which bounce a surprising amount of light around in that box.  Then I took a picture of just the white poster board background and used that image as the base of the camera's white balance which worked great!  The colours are much more true to life. :)  So hopefully now all my macro shots will look much better.

Green Bean navajo 3ply

Green Bean navajo 3ply

The saturation of the orange really throws orange bloom around.  I'm not sure how to really prevent or adjust for the orange-ish tint of the background.
Orange Party art yarn singles

3 March 2011

Light box for macro shots... still needs some work

Green Bean navajo 3ply yarn

I found a cool tutorial online for a quick dirty lightbox setup for macro shots.  I followed the video that they had posted and didn't cut a diffusion window on the top flap but put a piece of white poster board to bounce light.  I think tomorrow I might cut a window like they suggested, or maybe not, not sure yet.   It worked fairly well with just the two sides cut for tracing paper, and the top with a bounce sheet.  I'll need to get two lamps at canadian tire or something, because the one i used was to concentrated and bright I think.  And of course I'll need to dig out the trip pod.  Some of the images of the orange wool could've benfited from a longer shutter time, but since I didn't have the tripod handy, I couldn't go below 1/40 without camera shake manifesting itself.  Still a fun thing to do though, and once I get the lighting setup perfected, I can take nice pictures of yarn, batts, fibre, warhammer miniatures.. etc. :)

light box with one lamp. Going to buy 2 lamps to be able to make a better lighting solution.
Lightbox macro setup

Orange Party singles

Green Bean navajo 3ply yarn

1 March 2011

Orange Party Fun Fun

Orange Party singles yarn

I bought a bunch of stuff at the fibre garden a while ago, and decided to have some fun on my carder.  I'm happy with the colour combinations.  I wanted to put a few beehive coils in but it's pretty much just a nice bulky single otherwise.  It came out very balaned, pretty much right off the wheel.  I'm going to finish this skein with a hot/cold dunk to stablize it, and maybe knit up a nice mobius cowl or something.  The colours came out so rich and saturated and clear.  5.5 oz = 150 yars..  woot!

Orange Party singles yarn

Orange Party singles yarn

Orange Party singles yarn

Blended on the Louet Drum Carder
Crazy orange batt!

Crazy orange batt!