Jeweled – June 2015 Tiger Club

Sometimes, you just gotta go with what you love!  Instead of taking inspiration from a picture this month, I went with my favorite jeweled tones of Emerald, Sapphire, and Amethyst….with other semi-precious shades in between….for 10 shades in total.

Our fiber is Wensleydale, which lent the required sheen to our Jeweled theme.  This long wool likes to be spun fine and with just enough twist to hold it together.

Jeweled - June 2015 Tiger Club - Wensleydale wool

The yarn is a new one, Bengal Soft, which is a BFL 2 ply.  Blue Faced Leicester is one of the most fine long wools, and lends a nice little bit of shine, while being kitten soft.  I dyed this in a new method for a gradient effect, with the color sections increasing for a triangular shawl, or it would look great in a rectangle knitted the long way. Jeweled - June 2015 Tiger Club - Bengal Soft Yarn

To try the method, I made a skein of this in Hibiscus, and here is my shawl progress so far.  You can see that it does progress, but in a back and forth pooling kind of way.  I like the effect. Hibiscus Shawl in Bengal Soft

Tiger Club is closed for July so that I could rearrange my dyeing schedule around our activities.  There has been a fair amount of interest shown however….so stay tuned, I may open it up in August.

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Driftwood Shawl

I finished! Here is my shawl, knit from the Tiger Club yarn for February.

Driftwood Shawl

Driftwood Shawl

Driftwood Shawl

I hit a few bumps along the way….like the pattern not coming out even when I got to them…..but discovered it was my own silly fault….the first half of the shawl is YO, K2T. The other half is K2T, YO. So I would forget the last YO, and it would put me off for the next pattern row. Glad I finally figured it out. I also had a period of ‘forgetting’ how to knit….I was knitting through the front loop, thus twisting my stitches. In my defense, I’m a marginal knitter at best, and I had been watching some videos on speed knitting….one of them had a very strange technique, and I believe this is where I got it from. Or, I was just not paying attention. Whatever, it kind of gives a neat effect to the stockinette portion of the shawl.

I originally did not think I would like the shape of this shawl (it’s a modified version of Light and Up) when I went to block it….it curved around much more than I expected. I don’t care for the long curly tail of my Quaker Yarn Stretcher at all…it is awkward to wear.

Driftwood Shawl Back

However, once on, the shawl fits my shoulders and the curlie bits wind around and make a waterfall. I feel like it will stay in place more like a sweater, which is something I haven’t enjoyed about shawls….having to fuss with them.

Driftwood Shawl Front

I like this one so much, that I have cast on for another of the same shape. For now, I’m just doing stockinette, although I may dig around for a stitch pattern for the green part.

Hibiscus Gradient Shawl Yarn

For those in club….this is your teaser….this is the yarn you will receive….same idea, different colors.  (I wish I could wind them all into cakes like this for you….but time does not allow.)

Hibiscus Gradient Shawl Yarn

For those of you not in club, I hope to bring similar gradients to you soon!

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Fiber Friday – Targhee!!

Yes, it’s true….at long last I have more luscious cottony-soft Targhee!! Can’t wait to get your hands on them? Click here.

First up, we have some of my favorites from my striping sock yarns. These are dyed in a graduated progression….each color longer than the last, perfect for a triangular shawl. Remember my Forest Fractal Yarn? Yeah, these can do that!
Raspberry Mocha Targhee
Frozen Targhee
Forest Targhee

I have several gradients….

Burning Bright Targhee
Out of the Deep Targhee
Periwinkle to Petunia Targhee

And progression gradient rainbows…
Rainbow Targhee
Pastel Rainbow Targhee
Tropical Rainbow Targhee

And my favorite Autumn Splendor that doesn’t quite fit in any of these categories….
Autumn Splendor Targhee

And some variegated colors….
Black Tulip Targhee
Mississippi Mud Targhee
Northern Lights Targhee

 

Whew!  As you can see, it was a fun week at the dyepots.  I love my job, and hope you love what I’ve made for you!

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Mount Saint Helens – Tiger Club Reveal May 2015

The end of May is a perfect time for outdoor activities.  One of the few areas of the United States I haven’t explored (yet) is the Northwest.  I chose Mt. St. Helens as a landmark to portray in wool.

Clear blue skies, check. Rich greens and browns of plant life and earth. Check. All the subtle greys and texture? Hrm. But a solution was found!

Our wool is merino, but a blend of white, brown, and gray. I love how it turned out!
Mount Saint Helens - May Tiger Club - Mixed Merino Wool Top

And for the sock yarn, I turned to a favorite of mine that is Club exclusive….Tiger Tweed. Yum.
Mount Saint Helens - May Tiger Club - Tiger Tweed Sock Yarn

I’m gearing up for June Club, which will revisit a wool we haven’t had for a couple of years, and a brand new yarn….dyed for a shawl. Jump on in, Tiger Club is easy to try!

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How I Remove a Batt from a Drum Carder

There was some discussion on a Facebook fiber group yesterday about how to get a batt off the drum carder cleanly. I mentioned my method, but pictures are worth a thousand words, so I took some. (And I’ll probably still write a lot of words!)

This is actually an amalgam of two batts, as the first one came off perfectly cleanly, so I couldn’t show how to get the wispies up. Which leads to the best pointer……

How you put the batt on will determine how easy it is to get off again. You want that first layer to be a continuous and smooth one….this is not the time to feed small random bits to your carder….you want to be feeding it all the way across, and enough to cover the entire circumference. After that layer, you can go to town with add-ins. If you can’t get an even layer right now, just continue to work on it. You can always lift the odds and ends as you take the batt off, but I think it saves a lot of time to get that base layer on.

Here’s my nice smooth batt…. (this is my Fancy Kitty Big Tom drum carder)
Removing a batt from a drum carder

Looks great, eh? For demonstration purposes, I purposely put in some uneveness on the bottom layer.

Removing a batt from a drum carder

Ok, so now we have ourselves a batt. Let’s take it off. I have a doffing hook, but you can use anything strong and pointy. Just don’t take too big of a bite, that fiber is collectively strong and will bend knitting needles. Continue all the way across, gathering the loose fibers in your free hand, and being sure all the ends come up.

Removing a batt from a drum carder
Removing a batt from a drum carder
Removing a batt from a drum carder
Removing a batt from a drum carder
Removing a batt from a drum carder

Now, I like to roll the batt off. This method keeps the tension close and even, so you are pulling on the fibers, not drafting them, and they will be able to pull out of the carding cloth more cleanly. I’ve used a couple of dowels or knitting needles before, but I prefer this….

Removing a batt from a drum carder

That’s a roll from the middle of plastic wrap. It’s a sturdy tube, and just enough wider than my swift to give my hands a place to be. The other thing is a random large plastic bag. I usually have a long strip of brown paper, but this was handy. You could also use a strip of cloth, such as denim. You just want it wider than your drum, and a little longer than the circumference. Tuck the bag and tube under the loose end of fiber.  (In case it isn’t clear, I’m standing at the back of my carder.)

Removing a batt from a drum carder
Removing a batt from a drum carder

And start rolling, lifting the swift up when needed.

Removing a batt from a drum carder
Removing a batt from a drum carder

As you can see in that last one, there’s a nep or two left, I didn’t worry about those, I don’t want them in my batt.

But this…..I want in my batt, and if I kept rolling, more and more would be left on the drum instead of in my batt.

Removing a batt from a drum carder

So I stop, and grab something that will fit down in the teeth, and put these back on my roll.

Removing a batt from a drum carder
Removing a batt from a drum carder

Here’s another option, this is a cleaning brush. I can use it to snag up the end of the fiber. Any tool that is handy!

Removing a batt from a drum carder

Once you get all the way around, then you can unroll it, and voila!

Removing a batt from a drum carder

I hope that helps you with your drum carding! Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

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Shop Update – Falkland, Hankies, and More

I just did a fairly good sized shop update, I invite you to check it out!

First up are some Falkland Gradients:
Periwinkle to Petunia Falkland
The Long Winter Falkland
Hibiscus Falkland
Darner Dragonfly Falkland

And some variegated. The Rainbow and Koi Pond are discounted….they both are a little muddier than I like, although it will pull off the surface if you don’t want it.
Iris Falkland
Tropical Rainbow Falkland
Koi Pond Falkland

I have a Tiger Stripe sock yarn for you!
Tiger Stripe Journey

And a super soft Alpaca Marl.
Amazon Cracker Merino Alpaca

I have a few new sets of Mawata Silk Hankies…..Iris, and Globe Trotter.
Iris Mawata Silk
Globe Trotter Mawata Silk

And some miscellaneous fibers from Tiger Club….Shetland and Cheviot, and Merino Silk.
Falling Leaves Shetland
Globe Trotter Cheviot
Amazon Cracker Merino Silk

Stop by and check out all these and more! I’ve also been making Grand Old Flag like a crazy person to keep up with demand.  Thanks for dropping in!!
Grand Old Flag - Tiger Twist Sock Yarn

 

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Fleece Sampling

I thought I’d give you an update on the Corriedale/Friesian fleece I’ve been working on.  The washing is ongoing, but I encouraged myself by doing some sampling.

I started very simply, just a lock and a Golding ring spindle. I prepared it by breaking off the sunburnt tips, then grabbing an end of the lock in each hand and pulling it diagonally back and forth to straighten and loosen the fibers a bit. Then I spun from the fold, and plied the single with itself. Even within the single lock, the color variations took center stage, making a lovely complex yarn.

Corrie/Friesian Fleece Sampling

From L to R: Combed from end, 3 ply woolen from lock, 2 ply woolen from lock

I am thinking of a sweater for this yarn, so my next try was the same technique, but then I n-plyed the single. It is rounder and nicely bouncy, but it is quite fuzzy. I suppose I should expect that for a woolen technique, but it is quite a bit fuzzier than the 2 ply sample. I kinda like it.
Working on Samples of Corrie Friesian Fleece

Time to pull out some toys! My Valkyrie Mini Combs made quick work of a couple of locks, and I spun the resulting top from the end (not smoothing, but worsted-ish technique), then plied it to itself. I love the resulting yarn, however I am spying a potential problem. The lighter and darker color fibers separate somewhat with the combing, which could lead to a stripey yarn. In my ply-back, it isn’t over all noticeable, however looking at the extreme ends that are now plied together….they are distinctly different colors. I will have to try this again, combing two different batches and then spinning each, and plying them together, and swatching to see if I get a color change. This yarn would be fabulous for a woven project.

Corrie Friesian Sample

To combat the color change, and to switch back to my preferred longish-draw technique, I combed up two batches of locks, and blocked/stacked the resulting rovings tip to tail. Then I pulled off chunks of the doubled top and spun from the fold. I think this mitigated the color differences nicely, however my yarn was not as consistent as the combed top spun from the end. I’ll have to try again, paying attention to my combing so they finish in the directions I want them….I didn’t bother this time, and I think they were working against each other.

Corrie/Friesian Sampling

Overall, I’m pleased with all the samples, I’m sure I can use them all in some way and the yarn is pleasant in all the different forms. I will redo my samples on my wheel when I get closer to doing a project, as I’ll do the spinning on there, and I can more easily explore the effects of the amount of twist. Overall, I prefer the end-spun combed top, although the woolen spun 3 ply is a close second.

Corrie/Friesian Sampling

From L to R: Combed, blocked, then spun woolenish from fold and 2 plied; Combed, spun worstedish from end, 2 ply; Spun woolen from fold of lock, 3 ply; Spun woolen from fold of lock, 2 ply.

I have a lot more washing to do, but I’m on hold this week as I’m dyeing club. I’ll be back with more about this particular fleece as the story unfolds.

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