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December 2022
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adventure (of the fiber variety)

So on Monday I had a little combing adventure. (I was lucky to get a few stitches knit on the sock yesterday between dinner, picking people up at the airport, and a run to the bookstore before they closed because Bear and I really wanted some good stuff to read. We were partially successful, but sometimes bad stuff to read is good too. Back to the combing adventure.)

I got the combs in the mail on Monday and that evening while Bear was taking his afternoon nap (these are regular things, it’s a hateful sleep pattern from my perspective, but after 5 years, I’ve given up on changing it.) I decided I’d go to the back porch and use the railing for my first little adventure in combing wool. In preparation for combing the alpaca fleeces when they get here.

So first I took out some of the dyed wool I bought… around a year ago?

Dyed Wool locks?

I had an idea that I could turn this blue and pink baby color looking bag of fleece that I bought into a very pretty, still baby color but definitely better, purple. Then I set up the combs.

First comb setup

I don’t have a picture of why this turned out to be a bad idea, but those railings aren’t exactly flat and pulling on the combs from the front made them rock a bit. I doubt I would have sent the whole thing crashing to the ground, but it made it difficult to comb. So I changed the setup and was able to move much more fluidly.

better combing setup

The grips on the back of the railing worked much better. So this is after the fiber has had a few passes. I was only able to comb for an hour and that was only combing just a little bit, but I have a couple of observations.

a) Maybe I lash the fiber on incorrectly and later I’ll read somewhere or realize what I was doing wrong, but usually that first pass of the free comb would yank off half the locks. And then I’d spend 10 minutes trying to get the rest of the fiber to transfer. I really hope that I get better at that because it really did make things kinda difficult.

b) It would take a around 6 (3 if you count from stationary to stationary as 1 transfer) transfers before I finally felt good about fiber on the stationary comb to pull it out. I think maybe I was wasting fiber because probably I could have stopped before that? It would get to the point where all of the obviously short pieces were pulled off, most of the VM was pulled off and I’ll do one more transfer and I noticed you can’t get all the fiber off the combs so you lose some every pass. So maybe I was wasting fiber…

c) I need a higher railing. I don’t like having to crouch and I really don’t want to sit and comb the fiber. So I might have to improvise. I even loved doing this outside. I think many people walking down the street who looked at the side of our house were mighty confused, but even though the breeze interfered at times, I loved it.

d) Make sure you have a diz ready before you start. Really. I improvised adn yanked the top off a spice bottle.

spice bottle diz

The little hole in the center of all the big holes worked pretty well. It was a little too big? I’m not sure. I might need to find something with a smaller hole. But every time I popped my head back in the house and left the combs on the railing I panicked that some annoying bratty kid (we have many of them that walk by the house: they like to crush my landlady’s flowers and plants and throw trash) would get curious and decide it was worth braving the jungle of bushes and trees and plants that make the sidewalk to the side of our house nearly impassable in the summer.

So the last observation is, grab water, one of the phone extensions, something to use as a diz, the grips, combs, pad, something to hold trash and something to hold little balls of fiber before setting up outside.

So in an hour I managed to make four little fluff balls of fiber from the mess in the first picture. Three were more blueish and the one in the top right corner is more purplish. The colors aren’t very true on my monitor, but they are close.

Balls of fiber

I can’t imagine that even all together they come up to an ounce. I have no idea how much they weigh because my little scale broke a while back and I haven’t replaced it. It broke rather strangely and now I’m wary that if I buy another one it too will break.

The mohair killed the adventure however. This completely grosses me out for reasons I can’t understand. I opened up the zip lock baggie with the dyed mohair locks and grabbed a piece.


WHAT ARE THOSE DOTS??????? And when I grabbed that I noticed a big black nasty looking glob mashed in with some fiber. I shoved the whole mess back in the bag and ran it all to the trash. I have no idea what was going on there. I don’t care. It felt gross and looked gross. Maybe if the whole nasty mess hadn’t been dyed and I had bought it expecting fecal matter and whatever those dots are then I wouldn’t have been grossed out. I mean, I can clean up after a dog and after kids and sick adults. Life happens. No big deal. But that. That. The problem with the picture is that you can’t feel the nasty nasty nasty texture. I grabbed the lock and at first it was so silky and then it was a little gritty and my skin started to shudder right off my body as I peered at that bit of fiber and …. I don’t know. *shudders* I went immediately back inside and washed my hands with hot water and antibacterial soap two or three times in a row and off and on again in the evening as the memory haunted me.

I think the bag of pink and blue Lincoln is probably ok, but considering I bought both from the same place I’m now scared to touch the bag. *sighs*

all over the place

I meant to have this posted yesterday, but since yesterday started at 6 am for me yesterday, it kinda threw the whole day off. I did play some though.

First off, wanna see what I got in the mail?

combs, pad, clamp

The little clamps I got at the local chain hardware store. I was worried they wouldn’t work because they weren’t really clamps, they’re grips. They do hold the pad secure , so I’m pretty happy. I’m worried they’ll only work out here on the railing, but more about that tomorrow.

Over the weekend I did no spinning. After the sock spinning, I think I was kinda burnt on the spinning front. I’m trying to decide what, if anything, I can do with the leftovers

sock leftovers

There’s quite a bit there. Two of the … wow, my mind just did a complete blank… BOBBINS! (I hate when my mind does that to me.) Two of the bobbins finished at the same time and many many yards left. I haven’t counted yet. Probably soon. It’d be good to get that wound, washed and put away instead of sitting on my coffee table. I’m sure Bear would like to see some stuff put away too. It also came to my attention that on some monitors that yarn looks pink… It’s red. Solid perfect shiny red. There’s some darker strands here and there and they give it a nice look, but it really should look red. Not pink.

But finally I started to get some spinning mojo back. I started spinning some laceweight

rambouillet laceweight

I found some Rambouillet wool under the guest bed. I don’t really remember buying it. I mean, I’m sure it was during one of those ebay things where you click buy and then you forget because you couldn’t possibly have just bought a pound of wool… Anyways, this stuff is sooooooo very nice. I almost hate spinning it. I just want to keep it there and pet it. I really hadn’t planned on spinning this next and I probably won’t spin that much before I ditch this and go for some Spunky FOTM fiber. It’s around 4 oz of Strawberry Fields (April fiber).

Ahh, here’s the picture

Strawberry Fields

That’s probably next. For some reason, I just haven’t had the urge to pick it up. Sadly, it might be a while before I do. Hot weather is coming and I don’t like spinning with sticky hands.

So that last post I made kinda hammered home how much I still have to learn about making yarn. I noticed that I was losing twist as I plied, but it wasn’t until I started reading Abby‘s plying video (that link is for the post, scroll to the bottom if you want just the video) and tutorials (Part 1, Finishing and Questions). The video goes between Part 1 and Finishing if someone cares about the order. I’m not upset with the sock yarn at all, but I’m definitely going to be a little more adventurous with my plying and finishing now.

Oh and a little note: Notice how there’s no pictures of the sock that I’m making with the red yarn? That’s because I got all the way to heel, turned it twice and hated it both times. I got so mad I completely ripped it out and have started over. Because this is rather plain sock, I was going to take pictures maybe after the heel turn, but now I have no pictures. I should have recorded how I went wrong on the first two attempts because I’m sure I’ve made these mistakes before. So lacking pictures, I’m going to just record make a note to future myself here:

a) You have broad, nonpointy toes. Stop making toes that are only 8 stitches across at the top. It doesn’t make sense. 12 is probably closer to what you want and 10 is cutting it close. Having a flat, unnatural shape at the tip of your foot might work for dress shoes, but not socks.

b) You’re feet are just over 10 inches. Not 11, not 9.5. 10″. Really. Promise. Both feet have been measured multiple times. One is a bit shorter than the other, but neither is 9.5″ and neither is 11″. Stop making the foot so long or so short. Baggy heels look just as bad as scrunched up toes.