Sunday, January 10, 2010

Experimenting in Fiber

The last few days have been about experimenting with different things. Some techniques, some not. I love sharing the results of experiments, be they good or bad so here is a tiny glimpse into my laboratory. (Okay, no fancy lab but lots of fibers and tools sitting around looking for use.)


Knitting is hard enough for me without all the technical aspects creeping into my life. Sure I can knit and purl. Heck, I've even made a pair of socks... once. But cables, intarsia, entrelac... heck no. Yeah, I'll get there one day. Probably sooner rather than later to be honest but for now its a taboo knitting world once you pass Stockinette Avenue.

However, I did do a not so technical thing with knitting this past week. I took some left over yarns from an order I was working on and made swatches.

Okay... I haven't blocked them yet, but that's because I have one other yarn I intend to swatch. Once that is done I will block all three and take another photo. Not that I need another photo of yarn, spun, swatched or blocked on here. (Plus my blog seems to suffer from bad photos... my shop photos are better though not perfect... something to work on.)

My other experimental knit is based more on playing with technique and needles. It's just a simple garter stitch made with what I call my "Mugly" yarn. It's mugshot ugly. Really, its just a combination of samples and bits and bobs of handcarded fibers that I had laying around and decided to spin.

I've considered doing some coordinating fibers and spinning several more but haven't committed. For now I am working on this:

It doesn't look like much right now but when it is done it will span several types of yarn and consistencies and (as of this moment) 3 different needle sizes. The large needles I am starting with are a #19 and yes, the yarn is pretty laceweight if you ask me. (See ask me what I think, not for reality. It works best that way.) I plan to go from #19's to #13 to #10 (possibly eight for more dramatic effect... haven't decided yet.) Again, will update with pictures as we go.


On the spinning front, (as if you couldn't read the bold print that signifies a subject change instead of a normal and gradual verbal transition....) I was inspired by a thread on Ravelry's Fiber Prep group about gradient carding. I have seen people tackle this before but never gave it a second thought.

This time, however, I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with some wool that I dyed prior to selling off my drum carder. So I broke out the handcards (at which point I wish I had just broke the handcards) and went to blending the fibers together. (Yes, I miss having a carder... and a wheel that doesn't break when I use it more than two days at a time but... that's a whole other story.)

This picture may be a bit deceiving. I was working with cheviot dyed Mulberry (Gaywool acid dye) and Cormo dyed with Baby Blue (Cushings.) On one end is an all cheviot rolag, on the other end is three all cormo rolags. In between are various combinations that should represent a gradual change. Well, let me tell you... Cheviot and Cormo do not blend well together. Period. In all actuality, I had to place the purple on one end and the blue on the other just to make it look like there was more transition then there was.

That all said.... it was a great spin! Plus, the cheviot still had a little lanolin in it and with the cold winter my hands have been super dry but not after spinning that. (Well, at least for the rest of that day.)

This is the finished yarn on the bobbin. Since I ended with the cormo you can sort of see the bits and bobs that are present in the cheviot on the left side.

The yarn itself looks lovely to me as well. I quite like the striping and difference in colors. There is just one thing, and of course my husband pointed it out. I knew it was there... I just didn't notice it as much until he said it. Cormo and cheviot have two different textures. The cheviot is not course like Scottish Blackface but its not soft like merino. The cormo is soft.. maybe softer than merino. So put the two together and its a bit of a stark contrast.

But that's it. These are the fibery things I have been exploring. What about you? What explorations are underway in your world?

1 comment:

Alpaca Granny said...

This was fun to read. Thanks for sharing.