Saturday, 27 December 2014

Fibre Processing Comparison

Way back in October, I had a bunch of Merino and some lovely fawn alpaca.  I was playing with the blending board and pulled off a bunch of rolags.  Because the Merino and Alpaca were of similar staple lengths and about 3-4 inches long, I decided to practice the long draw.   
The last skein in the photo is the first that I spun.   I used a traditional English type long draw or double drafting.  The rolags spun easily though you can see the uneveness in the blending.  It was a really nice skein and relatively consistent. 

 However, I realized then that I had more than enough fibre to do a bit of an experiment.  I divided up the rest of the rolags.  I ran one set through the drum carder a single time and the second set through the drum carder twice.   I rolled up each batt and attenuated the fibres from the centre.   I then spun the resulting roving with a similar long draw technique to the first skein.  

The first skein, directly from the blending board rolags is fairly consistent in grist and there are distinct areas of Alpaca and Merino.   The skein made from the drum carded batt carded only once, was much more difficult to keep consistent in grist.  There were still patchy areas which just wouldn't behave the way I wanted them too.  The third skein, which was from the twice drumcarded fibre, was much more consistent win grist, well blended and uniform.  

The skeins are all nice.  They are all close enough in grist to be used in a single project.  There are differences though, which show that you really do need to take fibre preparation into consideration as one of the factors in spinning yarn.  It was a fun little experiment.

I started knitting a pair of mittens with the fibre.  It knit up easily and is very soft.   I just got the tails sewn into this mitten.   I went to grab the second skein and I can't find it anywhere.  It seems that in the pre-holiday rush, my skeins were put in a safe place.   Now I have a single mitten that I cannot wet finish or block because I need it for a pattern for it's mate, whenever I find the missing skeins.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Kevin update

The other day, my friend Christiana asked about Kevin.   He's doing okay, grown up and maturing into a daddy's boy.  He knows what time his papa should be home from work and waits by the door and if he's home early, he'll run to the door as soon as he hears the truck drive up.  He whines incessantly if his papa is late and comes to him when he's called, just like a puppy.  When Kevin is home with me though, he spends much of his time like this.
 He loves to sleep on the rocking chair.  We think it's because when he was little, he was always falling off the back of the sofa or the chairs when he slept.  However, the rocking chair has a backward slope and it kept him from tumbling while he slept.  He must feel secure there.
When he's not sleeping, he likes to sit by the side window on his little bench and watch whatever is out there, birds, chickens, bunnies and even the neighbour's dogs. 

He loves to sit on my loom and catch the views from the front window as well. 

In the mornings you'll find him and my cat in my bedroom, snuggled on the plush blankie.  There are two cats in this photo!  Kevin sleeps on top but right in front of him, snuggled under the blanket is my cat.  They are often snuggled together this way.

 That being said, Kevin still likes to explore.   He was thrilled when we got our Christmas tree. It's a lovely, fragrant Balsam Fir, which Kevin seems to enjoy sniffing.  He seems to do that a lot.  We used a galvanized pail, with bricks and a drainage tile for a stand.  It's always been plenty sturdy for whatever tree we've had in the past.
A few minutes after Kevin's first tree sniffing session, I heard a crash and found him sitting innocently behind the tree, watching the drama unfold.   We spent the evening picking up ornaments, and mopping up about 8 litres of water from the rug!   I was thankful the vintage ornaments weren't on the tree yet, although a little ticked off that an awful lot of the glass ornaments on the tree were smashed in the fall.  However, that is a risk one takes when you use glass instead of plastic ornaments.  We have a new, larger, more secure stand now too.  

It's a good thing hubby thinks Kevin is cute!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Colours of December

It's early December.  We've had snow and it's melted.  We've had more snow and it melted.  Yesterday they changed the longterm weather forecast from another cold, snowy winter, dominated by a polar vortex, to hey, the El Nino will moderate things, so who knows what sort of weather we'll get.  Today the temperature is hoving a few degrees below freezing.  We're getting small bursts of sunshine once in a while, which is a lovely change to our normally dreary, grey days.   We get a lot of overcast days during the winter.

 One of the girls was brave enough to wander around outside.  These chooks aren't that fond of any snow on the ground.   We used to have some which would stoically head outside until the snow was so deep that they couldn't travel in it without bogging down.  These girls are wusses in comparison.

 View from behind the back fenceline. 

 Across the road.  Sometimes you can see the cows wandering through the trees and back field this time of year.  When winter sets in properly, they'll be housed in a nice warm barn, but until then, they are fun to watch.

The nice thing about being with the Carolinian Forest area is the variety of deciduous trees.  We have several nice oaks, which hold their leaves through most of the winter winds.   Interestingly Carolinian Forest is a Canadian term and it's U.S. counterpart is something like Eastern Woodlands.