Thursday, December 30, 2010

Resolution #1: Sell a loom

It's time to downsize my loom collection and let this one go.
What is the difference between enough and too much?  This really depends and I'm going to keep my discussion of this topic to the world of crafting.  With two closets crammed full of fleece, I think I can safely say that I have enough and probably too much fleece.  This I can remedy by using it up and by not buying any new fleece until then.

But what do I do about floor looms? I started with a 36 inch counterbalance loom until I a saw a 60 inch jack type loom that I couldn't live without.  So I purchased it and crammed it into my house.  At the time, I didn't have the heart yet to part with my original loom, pictured both above and on the front page of my website.  I was sure I could put both to use.

My personal assistant is helping me disassemble my loom.
Who was I kidding? There is only one me, and since I also like to spin and knit, how much time can I possibly spend weaving?  I realised I had to make a choice and since I'm not going to give up the dream of weaving throws that sparked my purchase of the wide room, I decided to sell the small one.  It is solid and sturdy and nicely weaves rugs as can be seen in the picture on my website.

This week, I went ahead and disassembled it.  One of the nice thing about Leclerc's is that they can be taken apart and can put back together.  It essentially becomes a pile of lumber making it easy to transport.  This was especially good since I decided to move my big loom upstairs.  We took that all apart too and right now, I'm putting it back together in the bright little room that held its predecessor.  I'll call that room my studio.  The table and carder that had been up there are being moved downstairs to what has become my workshop.  It makes a lot more sense, much better feng shui. I definitely don't feel so crowded.

The loom breaks down into a pile of pieces making it easy to move.
Stuff shouldn't crowd our lives.  Once we let that happen we've moved from enough to too much.  Now with my dedicated studio (loom room) and my uncrowded workshop I feel lighter, free.  I like sitting at my partially assembled loom and look at the peacefulness of the surrounding space.  I will be putting an ad up for it in a week or so on Ravelry's Warped Weavers Marketplace and probably on the Spinners and Weavers Housecleaning pages and some guild websites with all the details.

So what are you all doing for New Year's Resolutions?  Please let me know!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Beating the Stash?

The ceiling high double stack of stash buckets has been reduced to just two outside my downstairs closet. 
If you remember around this time last year, I posted a picture of my out-of-control stash pile.  I was able to get this all under control.  Not by some amazing feats of spinning, or by my ability to resist the lure of a new fleece.  I rearranged my closet.  Yep, that was it.  Apparently, my stash wasn't very well organized and now it is.  And it is posted on Ravelry.

Posting it all was itself an amazing feat.  I posted the 100th on a couple of days ago.  Above you can see the a photo of the two remaining buckets left outside the closet.  Yes, only two. And yes, I'm a little bit amazed myself.  But there is more to do.  I'm working on my resolutions for next year.  I'll be posting in a few days and I'm also curious to know what you my readers are thinking for your resolutions.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Wishes!

May this season be filled with peace and joy for you and all your loved ones!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Color blending for a heathered yarn

I used .4 ounces each of raspberry and elderberry dyed Cormo for each batt.
 Blending fibers is an enjoyable process for me, and there's nothing I like better than color blending.  I had a large Cormo fleece which I dyed raspberry and elderberry and then picked and teased to get ready for blending.  I wanted a heathered yarn and decided to do a 50/50 blend of these two rich colors.  You can use any ratio you want, and it is fun to play with ratios to see different affects.  I weighed out .4 ounces of each since I've found .8 ounces of fiber is a good amount to card on my particular carder.
I alternated running small teased bits of colored fiber on the first run through the carder.

For carding, I took the teased locks and fed them into the machine in alternate small bits to enhance the blending on the first round.  All the handwork preparing these fibers was delightful because this Cormo fleece was wonderfully soft.  I know some knitters who swoon over Malebrigo yarn because of its softness--if you really want to enjoy luxury, sink your hands in a bag of freshly teased Cormo.  It is wonderful!

For this project, I did a second pass through the carder, just enough carding to give a nice batt, but not blend the colors too much.  I wanted to be able to still see bits of the original color as I spun the fiber.  The more times through the carder, the more blended it is.   Below, I set one of my twice through batts (left) next to a three times through batt.  The color is much more blended in the one on the right, and the resulting yarn would be more uniform in terms of color.  I wouldn't get the splotches of color I want in the yarn.

I did a second pass by pulling thin strips off the first-run batt and sending them through again.

If you want to spin a yarn with the effect found from one pass through, you may want to card each color separately once before blending them to get a nicer batt. I should also note that I have a handheld tool I run over the large drum while carding that acts as a second drum, giving more nicely carded batt with only two passes then I would otherwise get.  I bought this tool on the recommendation of Susan at Susan's Fiber Shop in Wisconsin, from whom I purchased my Patrick Greene Deb's Delicate Deluxe.  She is very knowledgeable about carding and combing.

The batt to the left went through two times and the one on the right three. You can see the one on the right is more blended.

So that is a short course on creating a heathered yarn! Happy spinning!