Getting there: Carding

Had I known how many years it would take to completion, I might never have accepted those first 5 dorset/suffolk fleeces, but here we are closer to completion than not, at last.

Every time I do a post about these, I also look for the original post, the very beginning of the project, and once again realize that it’s nonexistent. I got the first 3 fleeces before the blog began in 2012, so I never recorded the scouring etc. in here, the next two landed the year after, where I probably thought I’d already recorded it so thought nothing of it. Continue reading “Getting there: Carding”

DIY wool picker

While chugging away at my suffolk/dorset roving, I was thinking of the many plant dyed kilos of ditto upstairs, which has to be fluffed and handpicked to loosen most of the tiny plant particles embedded, before it can be carded into batts/rolags. And decided I needed help with that. If you don’t make that effort, the VM just stays in there or on the drumcarder, forever polluting the next fibers and the next.

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Continue reading “DIY wool picker”

Late dye harvest

Eager to try drum carding my Dorset fleeces (with a bit of Suffolk mixed in, they had not been separated) I decided last weekend to make a final raid on the dye garden to make it more fun than just white (I do still have a bag of white from last year of what I think is Suffolk). I know I said I was done, but I got two more fleeces, didn’t I. Same sheep – this time I only kept the best bit, perhaps a third of what I was given rather than 2 thirds. I haven’t weighed it though.

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And it turned out both the weld and the woad were still fine to use, green and fresh. I had dried some bundles of tansy hanging them from the stable ceiling – and left them there, so they are now covered in “dust” – mold spores. I decided to boil one bundle anyway and put some fleece in. Giving out colour just fine, but I’m chucking the other three bundles.

The last batch went in with some onion skins that were sitting on the kitchen counter anyway and a few cochineal sprinkles on one side, which oddly enough didn’t do much besides turn the water red.

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I used rather a lot of fleece in the woad vat, so apart from the green that didn’t turn out too interesting. But I can always dye the yarn again, or, if we don’t have any frost, go look for more plants in a few weeks.

Earlier this year I handcarded the part of the fleeces that I had acid dyed, and it took me FOREVER. My test bat on the drum carder last week took no time at all, no effort, no tired hands – so I’m very optimistic I can get spinnable fiber relatively easy. I’ll first card each shade on its own to straighten it out a bit, then I may blend.

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Sen farvehøstdanish

Jeg har jo længe gerne ville karte alle mine gratishamme, som jeg har plantefarvet gennem de sidste par år i bundter, både fordi de fylder ret meget og fordi det er en stor opgave når de er så fyldt med fnidder og knuder. Og så sagde jeg ja til to hamme mere i år, dog blev de sorteret med ret kræsen hånd.

Det sidste uld ville jeg ogsÃ¥ lige have farvet, sÃ¥ det er lidt sjovere at arbejde med, sÃ¥ en tur i haven og hente bÃ¥de vaid og vau, som stÃ¥r fine, friske og grønne endnu. Jeg havde hængt bundter af rejnfan under staldloftet til tørring – og derefter ladet dem hænge sÃ¥ de nu i det fugtige vejr er blevet helt dækket af et fint lag støv, eller rettere mugsporer. Jeg proppede det ende bundt i en gryde, og det farver fint, men de andre ryger ud. Og en bunke uld røg i en gryde med gÃ¥rsdagens løgskaller.

Jeg fik proppet lige lidt rigeligt i gryden med vaid, sÃ¥ bortset fra de grønne nuancer blev det lidt kedeligt – men enten kan jeg jo overfarve garnet eller ogsÃ¥ venter jeg med at karte den bunke og ser om det evt. holder frostfrit en mÃ¥neds tid endnu og mÃ¥ske jeg kan finde flere planter? Ellers har jeg faktisk en spandfuld blÃ¥ farve stÃ¥ende fra sidst.

Tidligere på året håndkartede jeg jo den del af hammene som jeg havde pulverfarvet, og det tog en evighed. Men det testbat jeg kartede på maskine sidste uge gik som en leg, så håber på jeg kan få de her kødfår i hæderlig stand rimelig nemt og hurtigt. Jeg tror jeg først karter hver nuance for sig og så kan jeg blande i anden omgang.

Carding not weaving

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Been so busy picking, carding and spinning the first of three fleeces I was given last year, that I haven’t had time to paint the tapestry sketches that are floating around in my head (they just keep marching in), nor weave the small samplers for learning the process.

I’m finally done, although only with the dyed part. Still 900 g of white (from the one fleece) to deal with…. I must say, the spinning goes super fast from rolags, but picking out plant bits and hand carding was murder. Only 550 g of yarn to show for a whole month’s work, and there’s in total 2500 g left of those fleeces to process. In the meantime, I’m not doing any fun spinning, hardly any knitting, no weaving, no painting… in other words

NOT WORTH IT.

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Now I’ve been there, done it and not even a t-shirt to prove it. Yes, buying a collection of many colours of yarns to weave with (gotta have a proper palette) requires a budget, but really, in hours each of my skeins here are worth a fortune compared. If I compare a paid job for the same number of hours I could have gotten several looms as well as a ton of yarn. If I did of course I wouldn’t have the time or energy to play with my hobbies, which is why I opted for free fleece in the first place. I still have an ambition to spin yarn for tapestry, BUT I’m also working on simplifying and destressing my daily life and this is not how you do it.

Using the plant dyed yarns however are an entirely different matter, at the moment the colour schemes I seem to come up with for designs are not very consistent with this intention, but I can work with that. If nothing else, my not plant-yellowish sketches can become paintings I suppose! So, carding is put on the back burner and more instantly gratifying projects are back in business. (and OMG is carding also boring!)

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Kartehelvede

Så er månedens udfordring erklæret slut, jeg fik ikke spundet de hvide totter som håbet, kun de farvede. Og det er HELT ok.

Ideen gik ud på at endelig få onduleret den ene af de gratishamme jeg fik sidste år og gik og sjatfarvede hele sommeren. Spindingen tager ingen tid overhovedet, men pille, pille, pille små stumper strå ud og derefter karte, gab!

Og hvad har jeg efter en hel mÃ¥ned uden anden (sjovere) spinding, uden læsning, maling osv? Blot 550 g garn. Omregner jeg det til et almindeligt job, kunne jeg have købt det pÃ¥ blot et par timer… Det er vist ikke sÃ¥dan man afstresser og simplificerer sit liv, men nu er det da gjort og jeg er tilfreds med at have ordnet dette delmÃ¥l. Resten fÃ¥r pænt lov at ligge til en kedelig vinterdag hvor der ikke skal luges, sÃ¥s spinat, fotograferes forÃ¥rsskov (nÃ¥nej, mit kamera er jo ved at opgive ævred), males skabeloner til at væve efter sÃ¥, ideerne vælter ind og hober sig op mens jeg karter og karter! Der var vist ogsÃ¥ lige noget sommerstrik der skulle være færdigt.

Fibery stuff this week

Pincushion progress:

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First one felted and stitched up ready to fill, but I want to add icord loops or something to have the option of hanging them from a hook. (if I can find a suitable location away from cat paws) I decided to try out the dye with regular laundry detergent, twice. Original yarn included in the photo. It turned out rather larger than I expected after my blanket adventure, but I liked the fabric the way it was, so didn’t want to give it another go at a higher temp.

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Second one felted and ready to be stitched. Yarn is dyed with madder exhaust and Dyer’s Chamomile. Also washed with the clothes and detergent.

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Third one – yarn chosen but the shape hasn’t presented itself to me yet. Possibly a cube. Originally all three were going to be like the first, but then the second wanted to be different and I obliged. Apparently my inner self does not want to be classy, and for now I’m listening – as long as it’s actually saying something, fine! Even if it means the house will look like a cirkus… Skeins are dyed with Dyer’s Chamomile and Weld (the lighter one).

Suffolk preparation started:

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I’ve decided to just finger pick everything to get rid of the tiny bits of vegetable matter, then loosely blend on hand cards, which I hate but really doesn’t take such a long time as I imagined. To be spun into yarn for the tapestry testing, and when I’m done I have a huge box of Dorset that I’ve plant dyed which needs the same treatment. I thought I said something about not production spinning?!

Sample loom 1 done:

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Seems to be working fairly well, I’ll be testing various widths of warp, how many meters of yarn go into xx cm of weaving etc. I tried at first without nails, just wrapping around, but I think it will work better with nails on the front. Possibly because the frame is so small, pulling the warp up from the back really makes it very taut. As well as being fiddly to adjust the gaps.
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danishUgens fiberprojekter

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Nålepuder af plantefarvet garn undervejs: Første er klar til at blive fyldt, og så skal jeg lige have lavet en løkke i toppen til at hænge den op, inden jeg kan sy den sidste kant. Garnet er farvet med vaid.

Nr. 2 er filtet og klar til at blive syet sammen (kraprod og gåseurt), den sidste er der fundet garn frem til (gåseurt og vau). Jeg har vasket det sammen med tøjet og almindeligt vaskepulver, noget plantefarve kan ikke lide den behandling, men jeg ville lige prøve at se hvordan disse, normalt ret farveægte typer holdt sig.

Jeg er endelig gÃ¥et i gang med den sidste klargøring af min Suffolk ham som jeg gik og sjatfarvede i sommer. Det bliver pillet fra hinanden med fingrene for at blive fri for plantefnuller og hÃ¥ndkartet løseligt (hvilket jeg er herredÃ¥rlig til, men det gÃ¥r faktisk hurtigere end antaget.) Ja, og sÃ¥ er der naturligvis den kæmpe kasse Dorset jeg har plantefarvet, som skal samme vej…

Og så har jeg lavet en miniature væveramme til at lave lidt garn- og tekniktest på.