Friday, October 9, 2009

I've gone 'batt'y

I've spent time in the last couple of weeks washing alpaca fleeces. It's been a learning experience. ;-) I figured out why the Gypsy Rose fleece a lovely rose-grey color (meaning its mainly grey but has some reddish brown tips or reddish brown patches) was so freaking dirty. I mean a half inch mark of dirt that looks like it showed up after last year's shearing. What I originally was passing off as a black seed or grass seed were in actual fact upon closer inspection fleas. Poor girl was flea ridden. Luckily by the time I was dealing with the fleece they were all well and truly dead. There was a lot of time spent picking their bodies as well as real black seeds, pine needles, grass seeds and hay out of the fleece. Then trying to get it cleaned. For some reason I thought my SOAK would get it clean along with the hot water. It did after about four or five wash cycles through my kitchen sink. Then I figured out that I could add Borax - the 20 Mule version, not harsh to the wash water and things cleaned up much faster! I still ended up with some that could have used a good wash cycle more, but I'll have to deal with it in the finished yarn.

So I had the Magnolia fleece (coal black - huacayas ) from World Wide Spin in Public day purchase, Gypsy Rose (rose-grey - huacayas) and Quiet Legend (red-brown - suri) from working the Parking Lot Sale at OFFF. All had to be washed, dried, fluffed, picked. All in preparation for the electric drum carder that a group of us rented for a week.

I'm still new to the whole drum carder concept and got a late start on it Thursday. Plan was to hand it off to the next person on Friday. In hindsight I may have wanted to pass it along to her on Saturday. No big deal though. I ended up with eleven batts of Gypsy Rose's fleece -  started out with two pounds and ended up with 20.25 ounces cleaned and batted. There are eight batts of Quiet Legend fleece. It was like drum carding my own hair.
Gypsy Rose batts

Quiet Legend batt (others in bag below it)

I have twelve batts of a combined Magnolia fleece, four ounces of silk and eight ounces of merino. This is where I could have used more time with the drum carder. I only did one pass of the blending and I think if I had run the batts through a couple more times they could have become more blended. I'm sure it shouldn't effect the end product too much.

Black is so difficult to photograph and show just how saturated the color.

I'm still in the process of spinning of some cormo/silk that I bought at last year's OFFF. I really truly hope to finish up the roving tomorrow at the next Portland Spinnerati meeting. Then it will get a rest and I'll ply it to the other single. This really has very little silk content, its been hard to pick it out of the roving and is a bit of a disappointment. I think though that this will end up being dyed, what color I'm not sure right now.

Lots of knitting that needs to happen. I had hoped to have Flaxen Kernel all ready to be delivered to Knit-Purl, but due to a death in the family and all of the above work. I'm 75% done but won't be able to finish it today and drop off tomorrow. Need to wrap up Kaisha's gift, get one done for Corbin and also another for Bailey. The last two are both spider related. One will be a knitted toy spider and the other will have spiders on fingerless gloves. Then its on to some serious holiday knitting. Still a number of projects that I'd like to get done and some that are changing from knit items to sewn or handmade things.

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