Sunday, December 14, 2008

Adventures with the Drum Carder

In an effort to avoid the cocooning that we tend to do all too much of in the winter here, we had a very lovely dinner with Chelle and her family last night; it's always nice to get out of the house & spend some relaxing fun time with friends. After dinner, while the guys chatted, we (Chelle & I) couldn't resist some serious goofing around with fiber. She had a fabulous new drum carder from Fancy Kitty, but was still a bit tentative about using it. Now, I'm no expert on drum carders, but I used them a bit back at Yarn School, and the main lesson I came away with from that experience is this: Throw whatever you like into the carder, it's almost impossible to make a mistake. So, we started cranking away on the thing and made a couple of batts.
Brown & green battThe first batt was mostly brown wool with a little grey & green thrown in, and some bits of blue/green silk hankies just for fun. We didn't separate the silk nearly enough, which made it a bit difficult & clumpy to spin. I think next time I'll pull the silk into much thinner & shorter bits before feeding it into the carder. We just kept feeding this thing until it was quite fat and lofty; it weighed about half an ounce.
Burgundy battThe second batt we tried was burgundy and brown wools, and some burgundy silk bits that were smaller (but still a little too big.) This one was lovely, and a little smaller at 3/8 oz. We could have made it bigger but it was getting late.
Finished yarnChelle kindly gave me both batts to spin up, which I did... spinning from the batt is a bit different from spinning from a roving strip, but not significantly so. I had a couple of fat spots where it got away from me, but for the most part it came out to a nice worsted yarn when I plied the two singles together. The two colors, so different, worked together in a rather unexpected way! There's not a lot of it, but maybe enough to trim a collar or something. I like it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Spinning buddies

Spinning in the heartlandChelle and I went to a spinning class over at the Yarn Barn this weekend. We had a ton of fun! We got to test spin several wildly different fibers, some of which I loved (Chelle & I both liked spinning silk so much, we each bought a bag of silk hankies to take home) and some not so much (I'd be happy if I never had to touch cotton again.) Best of all, we got to hone some old techniques and practice some new ones. And we got to hang out with some very cool fiber artists for the afternoon. A great way to spend a Saturday!