focus

Playing with depth of field has to be one of my favorite things about taking photos. And ever since I found out how to use that super-macro function on the camera, I rarely use anything else. During Friday’s photo shoot I took two pictures of the same thing, one focusing on the yarn in the background and one focusing on the yarn at the foreground. I can’t decide which is easier to look at.

Which of these do you find more pleasing to the eye?

rays of light

rays of light

similarities

Ok, so Rich and I watch COPS kind of a lot. He says it makes him feel better about himself. I enjoy the old ones where everyone wears eyeglasses the size of saucers and the moustaches are large and robust. Nothing quite compares to an episode of COPS from 1987. To be honest, even some of the newer ones look dreadfully out of date.

But whenever they pull someone over and discover drugs in their car, certain things sound familiar. “We’ve got baggies, white stuff, and a scale in the trunk. There’s definitely an intent to sell.”

Hmm…

new fleeces

As I predicted, my fleeces arrived from Zeilinger’s this month. October to January seems to be a standard turn-around, about 2.5 months. And it’s perfect timing, since I’m getting geared up for winter/spring festival season. I had three fleeces processed this time. Each one is a different breed and came from a different place.

Shetland – I bought this fleece in May at the Great Lakes Fiber Show. The man who sold it to me has a small flock of Shetlands in Ohio and he is a skilled woodworker. All of his fleeces were beautiful. I decided on a very light grey and white fleece. When it went through the carding machine, the colors were blended quite uniformly. The overall color now is white with grey strands throughout. I’m curious to see it dyed. I’m not sure whether the grey is pronounced enough to impact the finished colors.

Shropshire – This one came from the fleece sale at the Lake Metroparks Woolfest in June. It was the first time I attended the event and the sale. They were selling fleeces from their own flock at the farm park. There was a wide range of breeds to choose from and I wanted to get something I’d never tried before. You could say I selected this one at random. It seems to be quite spongy! I am interested to see how it spins.

Columbia – This fleece was purchased at the Mahoning County Fair in September. Each year they have a fleece competition and certain fleeces are available for purchase. I had bought a Columbia there a few years ago and decided to try it again. It was a big fleece and it came from a farm in Ohio. In fact, the man who was in charge of the fleece sale owned that particular sheep. Unfortunately it came back to me with a bit more vegetable matter than I would like.

new roving!
They all came in that box, but they don't fit in there now.
three bags full
Left to right, Shetland, Columbia, Shropshire.

no front loading washer for me!

Realized that I had more unwashed wool than I had originally thought. Sunny day, nothing to do. Let’s wash us up some fleece. I wanted to get some of those large mesh laundry bags so I could do multiple fleeces without having them get mixed up. Unfortunately Target only had one. So I put the remaining BFL/Border Leicester in the bag and dumped the rest of the Columbia into the washer without a bag. Seems to be fine. I don’t understand why the tips of the Columbia are so yellow or how to get them washed. The cut ends are super clean!

dual fleece washing!

P.S.  It’s party time!! I’m making pompoms. Weee!

party time!

the same, but not

As you can probably guess, I’m very excited about my newly acquired spinning skills. For so long I was spinning all fibers and all preparations the same way and feeling very poorly about it. Then I met with Cosy and she shared her SOAR knowledge. Wow! I’ve been feverishly spinning worsted yarns like mad and I am loving the results.

I realized I had an excellent example of the differences between spinning techniques and preps. My Columbia fleece from the county fair was returned to me in excellent condition at the beginning of January. I love you Zeilinger’s!

Here are three yarns made from the same fleece. For each one I used a different combination of prep/spinning style. It’s quite interesting to visually see the differences between the yarns based on those two variables. These are in chronological order starting with the oldest. Neat, eh?

warm and savory
“Warm and Savory”. Flicked locks, spun woolen

lilac sprig
“Lilac Sprig”. Carded roving, spun woolen

raspberry truffle
“Raspberry Truffle”. Carded roving, spun worsted

christmas knitting and experiments

This year I’ve decided to knit my Christmas gifts. Yes, I suppose after 3 years of knitting it’s a bit shameful that I haven’t already been doing this. I have no excuse. Why now? Because I’m poor and I have a sizable yarn stash. I think it makes sense. Thus far I’ve decided what to make for my mom and my sister. April – the sister – lives in Florida and will be getting a bag, this one, in fact.

Mom lives in Ohio and will wear just about anything I make for her while telling everyone she meets that HER DAUGHTER made it (she’s my PR representative). For her I will make the Handspun Scarf (ravelry/nonravelry) by Monica Gomi. I printed the pattern quite some time ago and when I came across it yesterday while cleaning the Fiber Den, I thought it would be appropriate. For the scarf I will be using my handspun Strings of Jade, which ended up 220 yards – I think that’s my most yet out of 4 ounces. It could have been a little more even, but it’s acceptable. I’m excited to see the subtle color changes as I knit.

strings of jade

As for the experimenting, this two photos are the outcome of a lighting set-up that I tried this morning. Again, cleaning the room yesterday turned out to be a major boon. Some new space was made available that works well as a small photo-taking corner. I had a 300 watt bulb that really made a difference over the 60 W bulb. I’m pleased with the results. I knew that with winter quickly approaching, hours of good sunlight would become scarce. Cheers. Problem solved.

And the yarn is called Rhinos at the Disco. It’s my Columbia locks, handdyed and drumcarded. I also added a bit of Firestar while carding – also an experiment, actually. I spun it thick and then, then plied it with button thread and seed beads.

rhinos at the disco

usual assortment

Sharing some new yarns. As I mentioned before, I really have enjoyed the new Columbia fleece I bought at the county fair. I’m going to take out a few pounds so I can continue to process it myself, but the rest is going to Zeilinger’s to become roving. I love the texture in this! It’s almost so textural it morphs into a single clump.

P9260035

Here is a Corriedale yarn made from two separate colorways I had listed in the shop. They were each dyed only two colors, so not overly interesting when there are 400 other options available. I decided to take them down and spin them myself. I like the way the colors came together. I’ll probably list this on Etsy eventually.

on the boardwalk

grosgrain

Yesterday I bought some green ribbon to use as a reinforcement on the back of my cardigan’s button band. Whenever I buttoned it up, the knitting stretched quite a bit making it look like it was too small. I thought having green would be a fun little detail.
thomas bathing


giant clown wig

I’ve run out of commercially processed top. But I haven’t run out of dye. So I got out the washed Columbia locks that have been vacationing on the backporch for several days and separated them into 2 ounce bunches. It worked out quite evenly into 6 piles and I dyed them 3 at a time. Some of the colors blended more than others. Those that I did in the crockpot stayed more separate than those done on the stovetop. I bet you can guess which ones are which. These will eventually get flick-carded and then I’ll send them through the drumcarder. (I’m buying a real flick-carder at Rhinebeck!) I’m hoping to add batts to my etsy shop at some point.

clown wig

happy little surprises

1.) Apparently I’m going to “Rhinebeck” as all the cool kids call it. It’s the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. The story goes something like this: All summer I wanted to go on a vacation, but we were too busy getting ready for our vacation (Pennsic) to get away. Rich and I then decided to take a weekend in the fall to do something special but relatively close. I ordered a AAA tourbook for Maryland/DC/Delaware/Virginia and started to plot a course to Baltimore. Then I got my fall Spin-Off in the mail and found out Rhinebeck was taking place the SAME WEEKEND we were planning to be away! I informed Rich of this and he determined right then and there that we had to go. It’s only 2 additional hours drive than our original destination. I’m excited, as I’ve not been to a large scale wool festival before. Weee!

2.) I like my new fleece. A few days ago I dyed a couple ounces. Some of it went into the drumcarder on Sunday and made lovely heathered batts. I had used scarlet, turquoise, and gold with lots of black to achieve these colors. Quite pleased with the way it handled.

heathered plum

I also dyed some bright orange and yellow. Those I flick-carded on Tuesday with every intention of drumcarding them also. However, the color was too irresistible and I just couldn’t wait. They were spun as fluffed locks into an uneven single that will be plied once I dig out my nostepinne after the weekend. Additionally, Zeilinger Wool Co. will be accepting fleeces at the show, so I don’t have to wait until May to get the rest of this processed! Hoobah.

yarn on bobbin

3.) Not necessarily happy nor a surprise – I sort of realized beforehand that I won’t be home this weekend to select the winner of the giveaway because I’ll be at Saxon Summer in the rain. So, first thing Monday morning I will post the winner! Sorry ladies. I set it as a week later than the original entry and halfway through the week mentally acknowledged the lapse in thinking. Which also means you can still get in until Monday if you missed your chance the last few days.

So, yes. I’ll be camping this weekend in the 100% chance of rain. Come back Monday to find out who has been selected as Pieces of String too Small to Save’s First Giveaway Winner!

whiskers’ big day out

Sunday afternoon I got the bright idea that I would haul Whiskers (the drumcarder) out onto the back porch and revisit batts. All summer I’ve been staring at him feeling very guilty for not taking advantage of the awesome free machine that I was given. That plus my new fleece inspired me to go for it. This time I flick-carded the locks before sending them through the drumcarder and it made a huge difference. Mostly I worked with the Columbia fleece, adding bits of mohair into it as well (Heathered Plum). The other batts consist of mystery wool and mohair (Soda Fountain); Indiana wool and poodle (small pink batt). I realized that it’s best to always have things on hand and ready to go when you need them. Now I’ll dye more locks and flick-card them during my free time so they’ll be available.

Also, thanks to those you have taken part in the giveaway from my last post. The winner will be chosen next Saturday, so you still have time to get in!

carding in progress
1. Flick-carded, 2. ready for action!, 3. in progress, 4. in progress, 5. cranking, 6. in progress, 7. in progress, 8. exhausted, 9. finished batts, 10. heathered plum, 11. soda fountain, 12. batts

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