Toys and Trees

As mentioned in the last post, I’ve recently acquired (added?) to my “toy”collection! Well, this is toys in the hobby accessory category, but nevertheless I’m super excited to add them to my clutter. I guess I don’t really consider this clutter as it is extremely helpful to one of my favorite things in the world (yarn/fiber) but nevertheless, I present to you my new wheel and swift!

During my final quarter (ever) of college, I decided to top out my units with a craft class which allowed me to work in the model shop. Having had experience with the tools, I decided to go for a yarn swift, as I had been pining for one for quite some time now. A spinning wheel seemed too daunting a task, but a yarn swift was perfect! Funny enough my teacher had never heard of one, nor anyone in the class, so I also exposed everyone to how awesome knitting culture is! These finished pictures show what it turned out to be, but surprisingly enough it started out with a block of wood, American Walnut. I loved how rich the color became after coating it with both a linseed oil and a polyurethane varnish.

Last summer, as some of you may remember, a desire was born to learn how to spin. I figured out how to use a drop spindle, but chose to wait on a spinning wheel til I graduated (YAY!). Well, now is the time I learn! I was so incredibly fortunate enough (thanks to the help of many ravelers-yay ravelry and awesome knitters!) to find one through craigslist at a STEAL of a price, with some minor maintenance required. I haven’t been able to try it out, as I’m waiting for my maintenance kit to come, but it is an Ashford Traditional, and according to the site’s timeline, I believe it’s from the 70s! I doubt it’s been used in at least 20 years, so some parts need replacing, oiling, etc. But the flyer and wheel are in great condition and I’m so stoked to begin to self-teach spinning on a wheel!

And last, but not least, hiking is in season! Well, in Southern California, I guess it’s always in season, but it’s not always in my season. Well it wasn’t, now it can be, thanks to the gift of TIME. I went to lower Arroyo Seco a couple of days ago, and it was absolutely splendid (though slightly hot for my taste).

I also have a pretty severe case of start-itis. Unfortunately, no WIP pictures quite yet. But not to fear, they too will come!

Happy knitting/spinning/living!

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Toys and Trees

Project Sheep to Sweater: Washing Wool

So after the joy of watching a sheep lose its coat, I had to begin the process of cleaning it. First off, the wool was pretty not well taken care of. There still is quite a bit of grass and organic bits in the wool; however it’s MUCH better now than before.

It took me four washes to get it to be somewhat clean and not barnyard smelling at all. But I’ll just have to comb out the rest of the bits with a metal dog hair comb, then either card or comb it from there to get it ready to spin. The staple length of the fibers is relatively short (approx. 3 inches) so I think I’ll just dye the yarn from there. I think it’ll be easier for me that way. I’ll (hopefully) spin a two ply sport weight-ish to create a sweater.

I also acquired a spinning wheel! And I made a yarn swift this past quarter. Pictures to be posted later on…but yay for new toys! After some maintenance, the wheel will be ready to go! Project sheep to sweater is really underway!

From top to bottom: Raw Fleece, First Wash & Water, Second Wash & Water,
Third Wash, Fourth Wash, Original Fleece, Clean Fleece, and Drying Fleece!

Project Sheep to Sweater: Washing Wool

Project Sheep to Sweater: Shearing

Hello again readers! I’ve returned from the depths of senior project to bring you my latest (and greatest) project, aptly titled Sheep to Sweater. Being fortunate enough to have gone to an agriculturally centered school, there are sheep on campus that are essentially raised by students. Unfortunately they’re not given the type of grooming one would hope to get to produce fine wool, so their wool is usually thrown out.

Enter Chrissie, the recent college grad: I contacted a professor and he helped me greatly by giving me a fleece! Free of charge! Unfortunately, there was plenty of dirt, vegetable matter, burrs, food, grease, etc in the fleece…so it was kind of gross. But see pictures below for a nevertheless awesome sheep shearing adventure! (Photos courtesy of Paul, my lovely, awesome, amazing boyfriend)

Project Sheep to Sweater: Shearing