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Carding and Blending

Carding and Blending

Over the break at New Year, I thought it’d be a good time to tidy up our supplies from the Well Being Centre. I mentioned at the beginning of the year I’d made a start on the fabrics tub. I also cleared out the equipment tub. Which inevitably led to clearing out the main wool tub! Not surprisingly we end up with lots of scrap bits of wool tops from the classes, from wisps left over from projects, to strips which have got clumped or matted from being in the bottom of the box or shoved around during searches. I thought it was easiest to just bring home all the wool to do a stock check. I sorted it all into piles, starting with single colours which had just become matted, or pulled all to bits:

Then I made piles of all the small left over bits, and grouped them according to colour. Reds, oranges and yellows Merino:

Red, orange and yellow textured tops (made from a previous scrap tidy up, some of these are probably 5th generation now!)

There were purples, blues and turquoise Merino shades:


And lots of Merino greens:

I started with carding the single colours which just needed refreshing or neatening up, then moved onto blending. We had a few other supplies I could add in, and plenty of my own to add a bit of brightness or contrast here and there. I tried not to overblend them so they had good shows of colour rather than just making a new shade. It’s not that easy to see with the blues though! This is one of the batts made from the mid blues:

The mid to dark blue one with a few flashes of purple refused to be photographed as a batt, but rolled up is fairly accurate:

I forgot to photograph one of the green ones, but this mid-greens looks nice:

The orange textured batt looked much the same as it did before, but is now useable again!

And the Red, orange and yellow batts always look good:

I think the blue blends I took in have already been used and half each of the reds/greens ūüôā

More Carding and a Surprise.

More Carding and a Surprise.

My friend Mary came over to get some mohair carded. We mixed it with some merino to make it easer for her to spin later.  I have never done mohair before. It was very fluffy. It added a lot of volume to the batts.

mary carding carding mohair

This is the batt.  It is not as compact as a straight merino batt. If you wanted it more blended you would split the batt into layers and put it through it again.

mohair batt

She also had some left over bits from other projects that we carded together.

mixed colour batt mixed colour batt 2

mixed colour batt 3

Now for the surprise. My son came in from feeding the bottle lambs there lunch with a very noisy bucket.

chicks in a bucket

We have a rogue chicken and she hatched 11 chicks in a hidden nest in the barn. They are now in a box with  water that they splashed everywhere and some food that tastes best if you stand in it.

chicks in a box 1

It will be interesting to see how they turn out. They will get a pen next to the older chicks today. They can’t be left with mom or they will not survive. Between the barn cats and the wild predators they all disappear when we have let them try to raise them.

Carding some Wool and Making some Felted Soap

Carding some Wool and Making some Felted Soap

After I dyed my wool last week I had to recard it into batts. I have to do this because it became slightly felted during the rinsing process after dying. I have to rinse a lot more than some people because I have hard water. It doesn’t matter if I use a little dye for soft muted colour or lots of dye for strong bright colours.¬† To recard the fiber, I strip it down into thin ropes. I feed the ropes into the carder. I have a large electric carder but you can do this with a small hand operated drum carder too. I have in the past. I am sorry to say that yesterday¬†I took a nice long video of the carder working but it has disappeared from my phone.¬† All I have are a¬†few still shots.

Carder This is the carder and infeed table. They are in my nice new studio space. It is all by itself at the moment until I can get the rest of my stuff sorted and my husband can finish the electrical work.

wool in strips carder batt end

Here are the strips on the infeed table and the batt coming off onto the storage drum. I do feed the wool through twice as the first time it is still a bit stripy in density . I separate the batt into thin layers and feed it in again.  I end up with very nice batts.

finnished batts These are all a little less than 100grams/3.5ounses. I used them to make some felted soaps. I tear off a piece of batt and wrap it around the soap. I add a wool stripe or a piece of silk hanky and then pop them into the toe of a nylon. When I have a bunch ready I sit with an audio book and wet felt them all.

soap felted 2

Here they are all ready to go in their nice bright spring/Easter colours.

I am starting to feel like spring with the longer day light hours we are getting. it puts me more in a mood to be felting. ¬†I would feel more¬† like spring if there wasn’t¬† still a couple¬†of feet of snow on my lawn. I am however thankful¬†I do not live in the Prince Edward Island on the east coast of Canada . They have had 16 feet of snow in the last two months the last being just a few days ago. I am sure they feel like spring will never come. Are you feeling like spring? Or perhaps you are in the southern hemisphere and are starting to feel like winter is coming?

Carding My Green Leftovers Together

Carding My Green Leftovers Together

When I have a lot of little bits I like to card them together. First I pull them all into small lengths. This pictures make the wool look very blue. I think maybe because the table is very yellow.

wool ready to card

I mixed up the colours in a big tub

IMG_2403 web IMG_2404 web

IMG_2405web

Next I feed it through the carder

first time trough the carder

This is what it looks like as it comes off onto the storage drum. This is what the batt looks like. It is about 7 feet long and 18 inches wide.

IMG_2409 web I want to blend it more so I peel of thin layers of the batt and feed it back through the carder.

IMG_2410 weband at the other end

second time through the carder You can see, at the top of the picture, how thin the web of wool is as comes off the carder to form the batt.

IMG_2424 web This is probably the closes to the real colour. It is more green but it is very blue green.

IMG_2420 webHere is a close up you can see some of the different colours. and how the wool is not as aligned as top but not as mixed as a bat made from wool that hasn’t been processed.

There is always some wool left on the drum take off drum and I let the carder run to clean out the last of the colour and get what looks like a rolag  as well. I ran it through the carder in a narrow stip.

IMG_2414 we IMG_2415 web

IMG_2421

I think I like the first time through the carder better than the second time through. I think it will make a nice hat. The small amount I will probably spin at a demo this summer.

Carding Batts

Carding Batts

This last weekend I did some carding. I was making Monet batts.

First my daughter and I pulled apart small bits of wool and mixed it up.

mixing colours

Then onto the table and spread out ready for a trip through the carder.

ready to card

This is after the first pass through the carder. I split the batt into layers and put it through again.

first time through

This after the second pass through

second time through

I made 3 mixed colour merino batts

Batts3

 

I recarded some over dyed brown and white Romney wool I had .

Batts2 batts1

 

And one mixed colour Romney batt

mixed batt

They are fun to do and great for felting or spinning textured yarn. I was thinking I didn’t do anything for Felt United¬†Day, October 4, but I guess I did. Did you do anything?

A Day in the Life of a Fiber Mill

A Day in the Life of a Fiber Mill

Last Friday, Cathy (Luvswool) and I took a lovely drive out to Belvidere, Illinois to tour the Illinois Wool and Fiber Mill.

Nestled in the midst of farmland, we were surprised to turn into a¬† homestead driveway. I guess we were expecting a huge factory, but it was a quaint store and small facility crammed with custom made machinery.¬† The idea for the mill started when Jane Zeien’s family purchased two ewes¬† for a 4 H project.¬† The family enjoyed working with the sheep and began raising Cheviot, Hampshire, Shetland and Cotswold sheep. They decided to expand their services to help promote the industry.

The Illinois Wool and Fiber Mill can handle everything from washing fiber, blending, picking, carding, pin drafting, custom dyeing, preparing batts and spinning.  All types of natural fiber are welcome  unwashed or washed.  And no order is too small and each fleece is processed individually.

Jane greeted us and led us into her workspace and into wool heaven.

We were surrounded by fleece waiting to be processed in a variety of  breeds and blends and piles of roving in a potpourri of colors and blends.

The picker has a big enclosed space behind it where the fleece piles up ready for the next step.

PickerThe carder dominated the center of the room.

front of carder carder back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batts can be made on the carder by changing out the parts on the back of this machine shown here making roving.

This is the pin drafting machine.

pin draftingDepending on the job finishing the wool can be done on the spinning machine, then the skeining machine.

Spinning Skeining machineWhen the tour was over we visited the shop where everything is related to sheep from skins to finished good by Pendleton and Woolrich along with handmade items, books, roving and yarn. If you want to learn more about the mill visit their website http://www.ilwoolfibermill.com/

Of course, we both bought some new wools to play with. One of my treasures was an English Merino wool batt.

Eng Merino batt

Here are Cathy’s new treasures —

Cathy treasures

 

What I am working on

What I am working on

I was sitting here wondering what the post would be today when I realised it was my turn to post.  So you might guess I am running a little behind. It has turned cold her so I thought  better make myself a hat. Normally I can make several hats in a day. Not this one. It is a never ending project. I started the hat on Friday. Now its Wednesday and its not done yet. First I made a larger template than usual because I wanted to make a scrunched up hat.Then I looked for colours. I have nothing I want in large enough quantity to make a hat. That means the first thing is to blend all the purples together to get enough wool to make my hat.

Before Carding
Before Carding
First time through the carder.
First time through the carder.
Third time through the carder
Third time through the carder

Here it is all the wool laid out on Friday.

layout top layout

The yarn on my spindle in the picture will end up on both parts. I also have a similar hand spun yarn in pinks that will go on the hat. I forgot to take pictures of that on Monday. Last night I sewed it up into tight scrunches ready to be steamed and ironed.

sewn up sewn up top

The part that is not sewn will be turned to the inside with the top attached to it.  The top was sewn towards the center. My hands were sore after the sewing do my plan is to do the ironing today and then I have to sew the top on and see if it looks any good on me. I will show you the finished hat in my next post. What have you or are you making for yourself ?

Carding Some Wool

Carding Some Wool

I dye most of my own wool. The problem is that I tend to felt my roving a bit when I am rinsing. That means I have to recard it. I had some not very pretty pink that I got bought cheap because it was a little felted. I recarded it with some other colours.

pink precarding

This is the wool combination I will put through the carder. the carder is big. There isn’t that much wool only about 150 grams, so¬†I only use part of the carder.

pink into the carder

This is the first run through.

pink out of the carder 1

After I take it off the drum I split the batt and flipped each section to run them through again.

pink out of the carder 2 pink finished

This is the second time through and the final ball of wool.

This is all the wool I did.

carded wool

There are a couple more blended wools in there too. Now I have to make them into something.

 

 

Demo at the Farm Show

Demo at the Farm Show

It was time for our spring farm show. It’s a trade show for Farmers. There is machinery , equipment, Information an animals and buildings and and just about anything you can think of that a farmer might be interested in. The best part to me is the antique display because¬†I get to be one. The guild I belong to, the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild helps out with a display and demonstration. On the day I was there, there were two of us. Neither of us are weavers so we did Carding, Spinning, and Felting. They were short of space in the room the antiques were in so we ended¬† up out in the hall to attract people in.

her are to pictures of our display. you can see some machinery outside.

Farm Show Demo Display

Here is Merilyn spinning on an spinning wheel that is a one of a kind home made,¬†she bought 3rd or 4 hand.¬†My ashford traveler is set beside her. you don’t get¬† a picture of me because¬†I had the camera.

Marilyn demonstrating spinning.

Across from us doing a different kind of spinning was the rope maker. he was so popular with the kids that he got blisters.  After spinning the rope onto the hooks he has someone turn the handle. This moves the grooved paddle slowly down the 4 ropes and it spins the rope behind.  Our rope was much softer.

Rope Maker
"spinning" the rope

Here is my piece of rope. The last piece he made that day.

Rope

The thing I wanted at the farm show was a sock knitting machine. This is a hand cranked affair. they were¬†fairly common at one time. you can make toes, heals and the ribbing for socks with it.¬† The lady that was demonstrating this one said she usually does the ribbing by hand because hers doesn’t work very well. I want one of theses because despite enjoying spinning wool¬†I can not knit.

circular sock knitting machine.
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