Monday, June 07, 2004

A Weekend in Fiber

Friday: worked from home, and spent some of my time blocking Charlotte. The pattern called for edging, then blocking, but my crochet is less-than-stellar, and I think it'll be easier to crochet now that everything's stretched, and then reblock after edging. I'm amazed at how much she stretches when wet. I decided to wet-block, because it's the easiest for me. I dunked her in a (really) big bowl, let some of the water run out, squeezed gently, then laid her on the floor over a bunch of towels. I pinned her directly into the carpeting under the towels, first lengthwise, then along her wingspan, and then back to touching up the length and trying to get things reasonably even. Here's the final result:

Saturday: went to the Textile Museum Celebration of Fiber. It's too bad it was raining, since that meant the sheep shearing was canceled, and everything was stuck under tents. It's a cute little museum, with much of the focus on weaving, which is still relatively foreign to me. Someone was spinning on an Ashford Traveler, and it was nice to watch someone using the wheel that I'm trying to learn. I also got a better idea what the material on the drive band and brake band should be. I was most enthralled by the drum carder. How fun to be able to mix your own colors with such a toy! Much easier and more effective than my current method of ripping rovings apart and mashing them back together by hand. That's one that I'll have to save up for -- I don't think I can build my own reasonable alternative like I have a Lazy Kate.

I also finished the cotton Bucket hat, tried it on, found it was way too big, tried shrinking it to no avail, and ripped it back to the brim. Boo.

Sunday: Did some kool-aid dyeing in the morning. 2 parts Pink Lemonade and 3 parts Ice Blue Raspberry make a much nicer purple than Grape does.

Hung out at Paula's for much of the afternoon, knitting and spindling. Ellen came over with 1250 yards of luxurious alpaca yarn, all in one giant skein. In hindsight, we probably should have taken it to a yarn store and asked them to wind it on a swift and ballwinder. Instead, we decided to try to tackle it by hand, and ended up with a large, tangley mess. We made it through maybe 200 yards of untangling in two hours. Ugh. At least it gives her enough to start knitting, and taking breaks to continue untangling.

Stopped at Home Depot on the way home and bought some picture-hanging wire to serve as a brake band, and nylon cord to use for a drive band for the wheel. This seemed to appease it a bit, and I managed to make my first solid amount of yarn:

It's all kool-aid dyed roving. I don't think that I rinsed it enough, because it left my fingers a little sticky after doing a couple of ounces. The wheel's current owner is coming over Tuesday, and then I'll get a real idea of what I'm doing well and not so well. I'm starting to fall in love with the wheel already. Maybe if I make enough money at the yard sale this weekend...

I also worked on the hat while watching the Tony Awards (hooray for Avenue Q!). I stayed on size 6 needles, went down to 100 stitches on the body, and have made it to the middle of the top of the hat. And it fits this time.

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