Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hand Carding Revisited

For Christmas this year my husband gave me a pair of Schacht hand carders. They curve and are made for fine wool. I did a low-water immersion dye pot with the Targhee that he gave me for my birthday. Then I carded the fiber and pulled it into these little balls. This is the first time in years that I have hand carded. I'm such a fan of the drum carder and have been afraid of hand carding since I had wrist surgery in 2006. Those were the pre-blogging years so I have never mentioned how I injured my thumb/wrist while hand carding obsessively and incorrectly. I had deQuervain's Tendonitis. I just googled it to get the spelling right and I found: "The cause of deQuevain's Tendonitis is an irritation of the tendon at the base of the thumb, usually from taking up a new, repetitive activity." Yup, that's about it. I tried every alternative treatment, but eventually had surgery that fixed it immediately and permanently.
I have learned all my fiber related skills from books, spin-off mag, and youtube videos. Somewhere along the way I remember reading (or hearing?) that you should hand card with the same gentleness as brushing a child's hair. Now that I approach it with that in mind, hopefully I will have no more injuries.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

ahhhhh...sun light...for about five minutes!

Our family just spent three days on Whidbey Island. I had plenty of time to spin so I spun up some of the top/roving that I dyed on my birthday. This morning I went out on the beach and took photos in the natural light. That's right, NATURAL LIGHT. Being that it was the winter solstice, the days of course were short. But I'll take what I can get. The skein above was mostly orange and purples, which sounds like a bad idea. The roving looked a little strange but it spun into a complex rosy brown.
I spun the second skein of the light blue with spots of red.
The roving that became this yarn was quite unappealing. I try to steer away from mixing pink with blue. Again, the yarn turned out better than I had expected. All these Merino skeins are very soft and will probably get knitted into little items like mittens or hats one day.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Spinning and Knitting

I have been spending some time spinning and knitting, but not writing about it or putting up photos. Again, I have to blame the lack of light. There are only a few hours a day that the natural light comes though the window in a way that works for photographs.

Now that I have all that newly dyed Merino top and Shetland roving, I have plenty of interesting fiber to spin. I also was given some Alpaca for my birthday and I'm hoping to card some of that during the holidays. I've been knitting this orange shawl for weeks now, but I'm taking a break for a while. I'm so happy that the Christmas holiday is here because it always leaves me with more time to spin and knit.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


My Grandma passed away yesterday at the age of 94. She was a lifetime knitter and stashed before stashing was cool. Sadly, I only kept these stockings that she knitted. They have been brought out for the holidays so I thought I'd put this photo up. My stocking was knitted in the late 60's I think. It's wool. My husband's and kid's were done in the 90's. Of course my grandma was a huge influence on me in many ways and I am sad. That's all I can say now.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Best Day Ever

Today was my birthday and before we went to Cupcake Royale (yum) I opened presents from my family. My husband gave me about 5 pounds of Targhee and the book Teach Yourself Visually - Hand-Dyeing. The kids gave me wonderful non-fiber-related gifts. I received these gifts after spending the whole day dyeing. It was awesome just to listen to pod casts all day and dye roving/top in my kitchen.

I started with about 3 pounds of different types of top.

I tried several types of space dyeing. I heated some in the oven in tin casserole pans with tin foil lids.
I steamed some of the roving/top in the canning pot.

And now it's all drying on the rack. I can't wait to spin up these samples and see how they come out. Once the roving is dry I'll take more photos. Today was the best day ever!