Friday, April 17, 2015

How I Wash Curly Wool For Corespinning

Washing wool is one of my favorite activities! Yes, seriously.

I opened up a Wensleydale fleece that I had in my closet yesterday, and I decided to take photos of my washing method. I've posted a bit before about how I wash lock by lock, but this method is different (and easier). This is how I wash curly wool for corespinning, when I don't need to preserve individual locks but don't want to interfere with the curls. These platinum blonde locks will make a delightful yarn. I could have used a stronger detergent to get all the yellow out, but I wanted to keep this warm in color. First, a before and after shot.
Here is the raw fleece:
I grabbed clump of wool to sample this fleece:
This is my favorite pot for washing fleece. It's big enough to wash a bit of wool, but small enough to fit in my sink, and, most importantly, light weight enough for me to carry outside (more on that later) easily. I turned the faucet on as hot as it would go and filled the pot about three quarters full. I squirted in a bit of Dawn blue liquid.
I stirred gently to integrate the soap without making bubbles.
I placed the selected clump of fleece in the pot.
It started to go into the hot soapy water by itself and then I pushed it in gently with my hand. I let it soak for several minutes.
I moved the wool very gently to allow the lanolin to seep away from it.
I reached my hands in under the wool and lifted it out in one clump, setting it in the sink next to the pot.
I carried the pot outside and poured out the liquid. Lanolin won't hurt the grass, but it would clog the pipes! I filled it up again with hot water.
I put the wool in and swished it around gently to rinse.

After taking out the wool again and dumping the water outside again, I gave it one more rinse.
This was clean enough for me. I lifted the wool out of the pot and allowed it to drip for 10-15 seconds.
I put the clump of wool on a folded towel WITHOUT SQUEEZING AT ALL.
After about 20 minutes, the towel was soaking wet and the wool was just damp. I transferred the wool to a new towel and spread it out gently. I turned it over every couple of hours and allowed it to dry over night.
In the morning I transferred the almost dry wool to a new towel.
Here's the LOVELY (almost) dry wool. I could have used a more intense detergent if I wanted it whiter, and I could dye it at this point, but I love the warm shade of ivory.
I will likely spin it into a yarn like this:

:) Jessie

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Miniature Fiber Room - Maybe The Coolest Project I've Ever Done!

I am trying to wait until I have finished this project to blog about it, but I am so excited that I cannot wait! (There's an updated version at the bottom of this post.) I have been making the fiber miniatures for years, but I started this room and finished it in two days. I built it from a shadow box kit (pieces of plywood, actually), painted it, cut and installed floors and moldings (that I also painted), and I am ecstatic with the result. Seriously, I can't get over it. This is 1:12 scale. It is a small version of my own life-size fiber room. The blonde girl is similar to my 10yo daughter. We have two tonkinese cats, and there are models of them, too. I do have a doll to represent me, and though she is wearing a handspun, handknit sweater, no pants. So she isn't in the picture. I'm also waiting for a chair to arrive. I haven't filled the white cabinets or counter shelves yet. And I have to knit or crochet three hats for the hat stands but, oh my goodness...

Other than the two teddy bears on the top shelf of the corner shelving unit, I made all the miniature garments and stuffed objects myself - meaning I processed the wool and/or silk, spun the thread and knit or crocheted the objects.

The fiber in the back shelving unit comes from various sources. I washed and dyed the fleeces. The rainbow is from Zebisis Designs. The fiber in the top right compartment is from Corgi Hill Farms, as is the fiber I've used to make the golden and hot pink rolled braids in the middle shelf of the left column. The purple on the shelf under that is from Zebisis Designs, too. The yellow BFL fleece in the middle shelf of the middle column is from BohoKnitterChic Spins. All the rest was processed and dyed by me.

I spun all of the yarns in the yarn shelving unit except for the bright pink one, which was spun by my 10yo daughter. I knitted the sweaters that are hanging on the left.

I crocheted or knitted the three objects in the basket on the floor (a puffed heart, a tiny acorn and a bunny in a dress), all from fibers that I processed, dyed and spun. I wove the rug under the basket on a small square loom from yarn spun by my dear old friend Sonja, from cormo dyed by my friend Maeghan.

I love my fleece-washing station! It even has detergent. The corner shelving unit has thread, scissors, a niddy-noddy, hand cards, a full bobbin of handspun silk, and several tiny handspun, handknit garments. I crocheted the mandala on the wall above the cabinets from silk that I dyed and spun.

I can't even express how proud I am of this. I love it, love it, love it!!!

Here are some additional (process) photos:

Can you see it in the midst of my life-size fiber room?

UPDATE: I still don't have nice pants for the lady, but I have her in comfortable sweatpants for now.

I added a crocheted (by me) mandala to the top of the fiber shelves, and I stocked the cabinets and counter shelves.

What fun!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rainbow Nympheas Lace Shawl: A Collaboration

I am so excited about this collaborative project!

Silk hankies (like these, but not this exact lot) dyed by zebisisdesigns:

Spun and plied on spindles by my dear friend Sonja:
Knitted into this Nympheas Lace Shawl by me:


Tiny Bunny & Valentine for Linus

The birth of a tiny bunny, from raw fleece to finished:
I think the head looks a bit like Piglet.  Moving on...

I washed a Cormo/BFL lock, washed and dyed (with Kool-Aid) some Targhee cross fleece, spun thread from each and dyed the Cormo/BFL yarn with the used dye bath, and then I crocheted this Valentine for my 6yo son. :)

Mandala & Tiny Glove

I spun a few locks (that I had washed) on a Deerfield Creations acorn spindle. I seem to have a short attention span, so my cop didn’t get very big before I decided to ply. After plying, I ended up with 76 yards of 2-ply thread weight yarn. It weighs 3.7 grams (which would translate to 582 yards per ounce).

I knitted this mandala on size 5.5-0 needles (that's five and a half zeroes).
Then I knitted this little glove from the same thread, on size 6-0 needles.  :)
Hee hee.