Tweed Chronicles: Fiber Blending Recipe 3 – Carded

jenjoycedesign© carded mix rolags

Tweedy mossy wool sausages are the most recent in my string of obsessive experiments in color blending, and this time in which I am basically carding by using the blending board alone! I lay down the layers, and lifting the batt after teeth are full, section out the batt and with little pieces I pull down into the teeth again and again and again. This process doesn’t need hand carders, I am able to homogenize colors & fibers with the blending board as the only carding tool!

jenjoycedesign© carded rolags detal

The depth of color created from blending many colors together create a stunning result! Compare to the original solid dyed olive roving, to the tweedy rolags with a prism of colors hazing into each other, all together making a very similar green. (I will show spun yarn photos later, for I have notes on actual spinning that I want to go into a little depth about)

jenjoycedesign© carded mix with original olive roving

I am documenting my tweed yarn making process, hoping that I will arrive with a few tested methods which I can use as recipes in future to refine my own tweed color palette. I am inspired now, to do it all with only my blending board , because there is such freedom unfolding ahead of me, in discovering I can perfectly well make my own personal tweed colorway from an array of solids in the fiber of my choice  ~~ making the vertical hand-made experience all that much more in depth & customized.  I feel like I am my own micro wool mill, and I am unstoppable.  

Meanwhile, I hope all of this fiber tech stuff does not bore the socks off of you ~~ if so, I promise, this will be a string of a few more posts, then I will move on to my usual philosophical banter about life on the mountain.

jenjoycedesign© tweed 7

♣    ♣     ♣     ♣    ♣

Now back to the techy stuff…

Edit In: I have posted HERE a final best method of my Fiber Blending Recipe #3.

Notes on Blending Recipe 3: For the best homogenization of color I have used only wool fibers, they are: undyed fawn Shetland, olive Corriedale, mallard (dark teal) Corriedale, and amber corriedale.  Here is what I am doing , as illustrated by a photo slideshow at the bottom of the post.  In case you want to make more than one micro batch, a good idea to write down weights of each color, so you can repeat process.

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  1. Portion out the fiber I want to mix, weighing if possible.
  2. One at a time, ​thinly layer each color into the teeth of the blending board, combing down the fiber between each layer, until all the fiber is loaded onto the board and the teeth are full.
  3. ​With comb lift whole batt off of teeth.
  4. ​Divide batt now into small sections, and again thinly layer into teeth, pulling and drafting & “carding” as you thinly layer again. You are essentially carding using your hands to pull fiber along one carding surface.
  5.  Repeat this process until the fibers and colors are fully homogenized, or as desired.
  6. Draw fiber out into rolags!

You can find all of my experiments in blending & Fiber Blending Recipes HERE

Okay then, here’s the show!

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Tweed Chronicles: Carding & Blending

jenjoycedesign© rolags

I’ve been lured into somewhat of a trend. The trend is carding & blending boards!  Such a beautiful tool are the ones purchased by Ashford, etc, and I was so excited to buy one, but I resisted knowing that I was perfectly able to make my own. So with Jeff’s help, I did…

005I bought  24″ of  very expensive 12″ carding cloth, but still less expensive than a new 12×12″ board.  We cut some plywood to size, and after a quick glue & nailing down the carding cloth, added a footing to the head, and a handle, and ended up with double the size of the regular blending boards available. Not bad!  I then spent hours practicing on some old weedy raw fleece I had hidden away, found my old carders, and had a go with some alpaca.

jenjoycedesign© carding alpaca

Mixing first by hand, then carding three times on the board,

it eventually looked like this…

jenjoycedesign© carding alpaca 5

Then I drew the 3x carded alpaca back on to the board, caught the tips in between two dowels, then began to pull out, roll, pull out & drafted it rolling into rolags…

jenjoycedesign© making rolags

Eventually I got through all 240 grams of it and made finally into some nifty rolags ready to spin, after a heck of a lot of work …
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Honestly folks, do you have any idea how much work goes into making a simple 100g ball of yarn from raw fleece?   I’m sure there are some of you out there who do.

Which brings me back to the carding & blending board. I did say that it is a bit of a trend, I mean, just look at the process of making art rolags…

The video shows really what the blending board is all about.  I was actually using it in my above photos as a carding board for raw fleece, now I think I’ll go clean up the weeds and fluff that has spread all about my loft, because I am actually waiting for some combed top roving to show up in the mail.

Its such a strange modern era.  I feel that I have shifted from wanting to create from the roughest and unrefined of raw materials ~~ my old self ~~ into craving the ease of beautiful prepared combed top roving to spin from, or with which to create those beautiful blend rolags ~~ my new self.  I think I have worked something through here, and am considering offering to the wild all that old coarse wool from my earlier spinning days, and face a future of pleasure spinning clean exotic selection of fibers, as there is just so much available now.  I have definitely reaffirmed my respect for those who spin from animal-to-yarn, I just can’t seem to be one to run with the flock anymore, but that is okay.

I do feel the urge to spin yarn again, after a long hiatus.  I am very excited to come back and show off some really artful blended rolags from my plus size blending board, as well as the yarn spun from them!

Sweater Descent #2

jenjoycedesign-yarn-scape

I have gotten another package from Kilcar in Ireland,  a lovely bunch of Studio Donegal yarn ! Worsted-weight,  one-hundred percent merino wool, and aptly named …

“Soft Donegal”

jenjoycedesign-skeins-of-soft-donegal

In Sweater Descent #1  I wrote a sort of introduction for what is now my series Sweater Descent Project…

Descent is a word which takes many directions in meaning, most typically it means to ‘move down’ or ‘lower’ as in a physical place of going, as ‘down from a high place’ as from the peak of a mountain. It has metaphorical meaning to me as well, which I absolutely groove on, like ‘making easier’ and ‘moving into a secure low-ground of the known’.  Of course there is the meaning of ‘lineage’ or ‘clan’, and far-off distant cultures or bloodlines one may have come from.  But for me, primarily  the relationship of the word refers to mountains, and walking, and in my case knitting while walking about the mountain on which I live.

And now for Sweater Descent #2

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This post also being a yarn-tasting theme , I would like to show you my yarn acquisition, and I am watering at the mouth truly, envisioning this in my second very own  Calidez Cardigan !   A rich depth of color, explosion of tweedy flecks, I am totally smitten with the color range of Studio Donegal “Soft Donegal” and see great potential for using this yarn in future designs.  But for now all there is left to do, is cast on!

jenjoycedesign© casting on.JPG

ps. I thought I would mention too, that Emma is one-hundred percent better, and managing the stairs all by herself with new addition of rugs!  And thats us… off to the Knitting Track!

Sweater Descent

jenjoycedesign© sweater-descent-aran-tweed

Descent is a word which takes many directions in meaning, most typically it means to ‘move down’ or ‘lower’ as in a physical place of going, as ‘down from a high place’ as from the peak of a mountain. It has metaphorical meaning to me as well, which I absolutely groove on, like ‘making easier’ and ‘moving into a secure low-ground of the known’.  Of course there is the meaning of ‘lineage’ or ‘clan’, and far-off distant cultures or bloodlines one may have come from.  But for me, primarily  the relationship of the word refers to mountains, and walking, and in my case knitting while walking about the mountain on which I live.

Put it all together and I have myself a fun and meaningful project on hand to ~ finally ~ learn the knack of cardigan making, with focus on unique approaches and short-cuts, and designed for ease which one can actually knit-while-walking. My descent from a shaky high ground through the ‘scree field of mistakes’ into the known of a secure expanse of solid-ground of skill and know-how, to find place where the cardigan can be my ‘go to’ pattern when I want to throw something together and try a new kind of yarn.  (hint, hint… I’ve been wanting to try  Studio Donegal yarns from Donegal, Ireland… forever and a day, but more about that yarn and that place  is another subject for another post).  My favorite kind of clothing is a cardigan, so I am wondering why then is my wardrobe so cardigan-anorexic at this time in my life?

So as a picture tells a thousand words, I leave you fully introduced into my meaning & intent of Sweater Descent, and as there is now the first, that implies intention of a series.

Here forth the mystery will appear from the mist…

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The End Of Summer


My nieces came to visit and we migrated into the kitchen without a blink.

What do you do when you have to cram a lot of fun into a short 24-hour visit?


Have a lot of fun… a lot…. and do weird and crazy things.

Like make carrot ice-cream !!!


You know what? It was actually really good !

Here’s what we did:

In centrifugal juicer, we extracted juice from carrots until we had about 3/4 cups carrot juice, then  added about 1/4 cup sugar, and 1-1/2 cups cream, then churn in the icecream maker.

***   ***   ***

jenjoycedesign©contemplating-Autumn

The Autumnal equinox is approaching in a week, and it is my absolute favorite time of year.  When October comes along with the marine fog pouring over the ridge I always feel so cheerful.  And when the first soft rains wash the dust off of the parchment dry landscape, it comes back to life, and then I feel ecstatic.  Like a cougar ready to pounce I am anticipating earnest work ahead on the woodland knitting trail that I have been contemplating well over a year.  Autumn is my happiest time, and my most hard-laboring time.

Just that I will spend the next week, the end of summer, first finishing this…

jenjoycedesign©second-sleeve

(Not the cup of tea, but the sweater ) 😉  I am making good progress on the Autumn sweaters for my nieces, with the first one finished and the second more than half way done.  Soon I’ll be at the yoke joining sleeves to body, then it’s usually done pretty fast from there.

jenjoycedesign©knitting-progress

I am pretty well certain that I will be finished with both of the sweaters by the equinox, which is one week from today… and the photo shoot with nieces wearing them is scheduled for the first weekend in October ~~ so my fingers are crossed, and I’m so excited !  For this last week of summer I knit while the sounds of grape harvest surround us on the mountain , rattling gondolas towed behind tractors on the rugged dirt roads and chatter of jovial pickers are heard in the breeze.

 

Its Only Knitting

I’ve been busy as a bee working away on my designs, coming up with new ones and further test-knitting my existing ones.  Add now tutorials.  I have gotten to the point in the whole knitting Thing where I really don’t have time or energy to put into anything which is not my own design.  I really can’t regret this , because whether or not I endeavor to write the design into a pattern, I’ve just come to face the fact that I have to make up for lost time.  I’ve embraced Indie Design, and am committed to wear ‘all of the hats’ in the job, and I’m ready for a lot of hard work ahead. The more I tell myself this the more I want to work like an ox towards succeeding. However, the elusive truth often escapes me, and that is ” Its only knitting. ”   A quote of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s used by over-zealous knitters everywhere.  Although it is ‘only knitting’ ,  I am practically ‘only knitting’. I have little chalkboards I’ve made which I’ve placed in prominent places of my work space ,  with lists or sage messages to give me perspective, and I use them to keep my focus clear wherever I turn.  Today’s brilliant message . . .

jenjoycedesign©its-only-knitting

Tee Two

jenjoycedesign©Penny-Candy-Tee two Well knitters & friends out there… I am emerging from my knitting woodshed, now with not one, but two Spring Tees in my holster ! I am going to be doing a lot of (photo) shooting in Calistoga this coming weekend with my beautiful & adorable nieces modelling! A second knit of my latest design ~~ Penny Candy Tee ~~ prototype in  previous post, but this one is a little different. Not four colors , but three, and it is not shaped (for an eleven-year-old, c’mon…) and, I used up some left over stash Malabrigo Sock yarn for the lace, which is… um… quite a bit finer than the yarn of the rest. Not enough to get worried over.   And just like the original in last post, the lacework  is the feature of the design, an unlikely pairing with stripes, but hey, they get along wonderfully ! No fights in the playground yet . . . jenjoycedesign©ruffly

jenjoycedesign©detail Waiting patiently

now , for their girls to sweetly adorn,

I’ve got them folded away from distracting last-minute changes.

jenjoycedesign©ready&waiting

  This sign I have had propped up on my spinning wheel by my knitting loft door, well, I’m so pleased that what seemed a daunting task a month ago when I hadn’t even started them,  is now….

done & dusted !

jenjoycedesign©check! As I am presently working like a pair of oxen writing the pattern for Penny Candy Tee, that will be coming up next, for Spring knitting ! Details found on Ravelry HERE

Mossy Green Under The Blue Moon

 

Did you know that today is the Blue Moon ?  Progress on the mossy sweater pauses as I am in for a bit of a little break from knitting,  a little something non-knitting I’d like to bring to show you.   Occasionally I get all worked up in folksy crafty sorts of projects,  my latest making blackboards out of odd frames I find at thrift shops.  Here’s one of two identical, (two frames @ 25cents a piece), which I stained with espresso and sprayed with shellac , then mounted the matte-black-painted fiber-board.

my new ‘weekly menu’ board !

And the other twin,  has become my grocery shopping list . . .

A third,  which I painted red,

and which I am going to give to my girlfriend who has a birthday this month . . .
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And another which is made from an old frame (50cents )

 is now in my work space of my knitting loft, reminding me of upcoming

Knitterly Things To Do. . .

And just in case I’ve made Yarnings a bit ‘ Yawnings ‘ ,  it’s time for a bedtime story.

A totally nonsensical story about a bit of  Thingsy-ness.

Here goes :

Once upon a time there was a knitter who lived in the woods.  A Woodsy Knitter.

She had a few quirky obsessions. One in particular, (besides chalk-boards, which is rather random, and not really about knitting, unless it’s about listing Knitterly Things To Do)  is related to hand-made garments and such… well , sort of.

“Oh really? What is that?” asked Little Red Riding Hood, eyes as big as saucers, as she pulled back the hood to her red cape, and little golden locks of hair bounced around her face.

“I like to collect old wooden hangers.” Said the Woodsy Knitter, while accepting a too-hot bowl of porridge from Mama Bear.

“Oh I see.” Said Hansel, to Gretel, in a very thick German accent , with pastry crumbs falling out of his mouth as he spoke, landing on his sister.

“But now my collection has refined to the particular ones which have advertisements of old Cleaners and Dyers on them. ”  Said the Woodsy Knitter, and then added ” I just found these, only 25cents a piece, yesterday ! ”

“Oh, yes, very nice, very nice !!!” Said Gretel to Hansel, but very annoyed as she brushed crumbs off of her sleeve.

” Also other kinds of wooden hangers too, ”  said the Woodsy Knitter ” like these old beauties, and also the ones which are completely rounded. This one I found yesterday as well…odd how long the wire handle is…”

“How odd indeed ” Said the Three Piggies, all in unison !!!

And the Woodsy Knitter replied ” But now , the very  very strange thing about these advertisements stamped on them, is how I have collected them over the years, and of all the couple of dozen or so,  no two are alike . “

“Not any?” Howled the Big Bad Wolf, questioningly, and gruffly,  as his brows furrowed upon closer inspection.

“No, really, check them out ! You may have to click the photo and enlarge to notice the names, and old-as-the-hills three-digit phone numbers.  Also, most of them are from my home state of California, but not all.” Said the Woodsy Knitter

Then they all went on their merry way, into their own stories,  after looking at the Woodsy Knitter’s crafty chalkboards, mossy knitting, and wooden hangers.

The fog broke.

The sun shone through the trees in the woods,

and the Woodsy Knitter resumed with her knitting,

and they all lived happily ever after.

The End.