Friday, May 25, 2012

Fiber Friday - Time to Get Batty!

As I promised a quick look at drum carding process for my sweater yarn on my  Kitten drum carder. I flick carded and drum carded to get very clean smooth batts.  The fleece was dirty and the flick carding helped remove the dirt and vegetable matter that didn't come out with washing.

Maggie Casey's Start Spinning book and video has good information about flick carding locks. A video here is good. Carol Rhoades has a free article on Spinning Daily here.

I took small bits of washed locks and carded both ends of the lock to open up the fiber and remove bits I didn't want.    I like to flick card against my leg over a cut off bit of denim from an old pair of jeans.  Then I collect the flick carded locks into a basket to box to card later.  You can spin right away from flicked locks.  

I've been saving the better flick carding waste to make some not so perfect batts at a later time.

I start by weighing out 15 grams of dark and light gray flick carded locks.


Then take a small bit of flick carded fiber.


Spread that bit out so it's very thin.  So thin I can almost see through it.


I did two more rows of the same, overlapping just a bit as I go. Some carders don't have much of a tray so adjust as needed for your carder.


Then I crank the carder and it looks like the photo above.  I started with the light gray then repeat the same steps with the dark gray then the light gray again.


Every so often I use my burnishing brush to smooth down the batt.  I hold the brush in my left hand the way the picture shows and crank the carder to the right.  I gently move the brush across the drum of the carder as I crank.

I'm only running the fiber though the carder once.  The flick carding has opens the fiber up so well that's all this needs.


Friday, May 18, 2012

FIber Friday - Fleece to Sweater Saga

So I've been busing making samples, dyeing some of locks, flick carding and finally started spinning on my single drive Ashford Traveller.

I spun up several different samples to decide what looked best to me.  All of it was flick carded then carded on the drum carder with only one pass.  Carding up no more than 30 grams / about 1 ounce at a time.  Then spinning that batt.  Then all was spun over the fold long draw.  Both the drafting style, over the fold long drawn, and the carded prep ration helps make a good woolen yarn.  One good sign I've succeeded is high yards per pound because a good woollen yarn is 90% air. Goal is underspun singles and overplyed yarn.


I spun a first sample but decided to test knit the second, third etc samples.

Second  Sample:
2ply yarn - comparable to a light worsted commercial yarn
Ratio: 5:1
Ply Ratio: 7.5:1

Weight: .46oz, .029 lbs
Yardage: 33.2 yards
Yards per pound: 1144 ypp
wpi: 11-12

Knit Sample
US 7 - 4.5mm Needles
Cast on 40 sts
5.25 sts/inch
7 rows/inch


Third Sample:

2ply yarn - comparable to a light worsted commercial yarn
Ratio: 5:1
Ply Ratio: 7.5:1

Weight: .68 oz, .0425 lbs
Yardage: 50 yards
Yards per pound: 1176 ypp
wpi: 11-12

Knit Sample
US 7 - 4.5mm Needles
Cast on 40 sts
5.25 sts/inch
7 rows/inch


Fourth Sample:
3ply yarn - comparable to a commercial bulky yarn
Ratio: 3.5:1 Jumbo Flyer, over the fold, gentle twist
Weight: .64 ounces, .04lbs
Yardage: 30 yards
Yards per pound:  750 ypp 

Knit Sample:
Cast on 30 sts
US 9 5.5mm
Did a 3 sts cable

Liked the 3rd and 4th samples the best. I liked the 3rd sample best for a sweater and the 4th sample would be great for a hat or mittens. The 3rd sample seemed a bit smoother than the 2nd sample because there are three plys instead of two. It will make a more hard wearing yet still light sweater. All the yarn is finished hot then cold then hung to dry.


A nice comparison of the samples from left to right: 2nd sample, 3rd sample, and 4th sample.


Now that all samples are knit up and the fiber has been flick carded  I've dicied to blend the two differecnt colors that are in the fleece.  I add a thin layer of light gray then a thin layer of dark gray.  Making batts that are about 30 grams/1 ounce.   Running it through the carder once. I'll do a post later with some basic photos to get an idea what I'm doing.



Batt laid out flat. Split the batts down into thirds and pull off small chunks to spin over the fold.


Section of the batt.


Bit pulled off to spin over the fold.


Each bobbin will get about 30 grams of fiber then I will ply that together.


Using the little sample bit to make sure I'm spinning the singles as thin as I need to get the yarn I want. Little card has the sample and the larger card is what I've been getting which is close.

Just for the fun of it I dyed some locks.


Left to right: Purple but that separated to a blue and red in the fleece, Teal, and Burgundy




All flick carded and ready to card on the drum carder.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fiber Friday - If you give a spinner some wool...

...She will get the crazy idea to make a sweater.


So not the best picture.  What I think it a Lincoln Cross.  It's a CVM cross of some sort.  You can't tell in the fleece photo above but it's a lovely mixed gray with dark gray and light gray. There is about 8 pounds of fiber.  I skirted it brutally. So after the skirting maybe only 6 pounds of wool.


A few of the locks.  About 4 inches or more long.

 I cut off the bleached tips on most of the fleece to make it easier to wash and card.  Sorting the fleece and washing it only took about 4 plus days.   I got about 3 pounds of really good usable wool.  I have another a pound of wool I washed although it had some vegetable matter in it. When I was finally finished washing the wool my husband asked, "Should I get you another fleece?"   I smartly responded, "Do you want anything else to get done?"  Now that the fleece is washed I have at least 3 pounds of fiber to spin up.  I may put the other pound in the compost.

"I thought you said you 6 pounds?"  tI lost some weight in washing out the lanolin and the dirt.  I lost more since I cut off the tips. Some I discarded as I was sorting because of excessive vegetable matter.   This fleece wasn't coated so it wasn't pretty dirty.  It's amazing how a good washing can show off the beauty underneath.


Upper left corner washed locks, in the middle flick carded locks ready for the drum carder, lower right some samples of  the fiber spun.  This is spinning up even better than I expected.  My longdraw spinning is getting better and better.

I better get to it. I've got lots to do.