Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Break: Week 2 - Fleecey Progress

So....this week I made a little progress with the Jacob fleece. Dear Friend Janice loaned me her drum carder, and I began the process of turning the locks of washed fleece into fluffy batts. Here are a few photos:
First, I spread apart the lock onto flat surface of the carder. Then, being very careful to keep hands, fingers, & kittens clear,
Bella Ballerina

I cranked the handle and watched as the locks were straightened and combed onto the drum barrel of the carder.
Carding begins

When I was done, I used a brush to smooth out the batt. Once removed this is what it looked like.
Firts batts

Then I gently divided the batt into fourths and put it through again. I currently have a pile that looks like this:
Pile o' batts
I'z excited!
The stuff I'm carding now is really short - second cuts I guess. Looking ahead, this is going to be hard to spin. I already know that I'm going to spin this on my wheel.
Loaded Merry
Problem is - I haven't spun on my wheel in a bit (been a little preoccupied with spindle prettiness!) so this week, I'll spend some time getting reacquainted with Merry. That way we'll both be ready when it's time to start spinning!

Pottery update: At last Monday's class, I learned how to trim the pots I'd made in previous classes and practice sessions. Trimming involves placing the "leather hard" pot upside down on a wheel and using a tool to trim away the excess clay. If you have a bowl, you can carve a base, or foot into the bottom to give it a more finished look. Even though I have not yet actually made bowls, some of my "cylinders" had a more bowl-like appearance, therefore, I learned to carve feet! By Thursday's practice session, I finally got a little height on my cylinders, and a more evenly distributed bottom.
Wednesday practice week 2
Thursday practice -week 2

Other fun happenings last week, Week 2 of Summer Break:
  • Got to have dinner w/ J & K not once, but TWICE! Lucky me!
  • I got a new toe
  • On Saturday, I attended the wedding of a wonderful school friend/colleague and got to spend the afternoon with some of my very favorite people-the folks I teach with! Love them so much!
  • This Regal Moth chose to wait out a rain shower under our ferns. Lucky me again! Gorgeous!!!
What's on tap for Week 3? Stay tuned to find out!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

First Fleece

DS#3 texted me on Friday night. He was visiting our neighbors who own a petting farm. His text said, "Barb wants to know if you want a fleece." Me: "What kind?" Him: "Jacob." Me: "YEEEESSS PLEEAASE!" So Saturday morning I went by and met Barb and she gave me a recently cut fleece.

After consulting the process as found in "Start Spinning", I decided that I should proceed.
Step 1 - Dumping the fleece out of the bag and skirting.
Big pile of yuck

The parts of the fleece were a little jumbled, making the skirting process a little more difficult.
Separating the good & Bad
Right or wrong, I went through the fleece in sections, taking away the dirty lumps, and leaving the soft, cleaner stuff in a separate pile.
Some of the Good

Step 2: Washing the darned stuff.

There were two hot water & detergent washes, followed by a hot water and white vinegar rinse, followed by a plain old hot water rinse. I was nervous, afraid that the fleece might felt.....that would've been very sad. :(
Bath time

Step 3: Putting it out to dry.

After the final rinse, I tipped the clothes basket up on its end to drain our as much water as possible.
All done
I found some old towels, and rolled the fleece up inside, gently pressing the excess water out. There was not a lot left.

Next, I spread it out on our screened porch table and turned on the ceiling fan.

Maybe it will be dry by Tuesday. Janice has reminded me that she has a drum carder, so I'll beg to borrow it, and after a quick tutorial, will begin the process of turning the fleece into roving, all ready to be spun up! Excitement! Kind of! ;)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summer So Far

We're one week into summer vacation and I'm having fun so far. That's no surprise, I know! Here's how I've been keeping myself occupied:
  • catching up on reading for pleasure via my ColorNook. I've read The Help, The Personal History of Rachel Dupree, Home to Holly Springs, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society so far. I am currently giving Smila's Sense of Snow a try.
  • I started a pottery class with Nan Rothwell, a friend and very talented local potter.
Nan's class space

I've made seven cylinder-like object so far. (mine are the fat ones on the right)
First fruits
It feels both weird and good to be learning how to use my hands in a new way. After playing the piano since age 9, and knitting and spinning all these years, shouldn't my hands just automatically do what I want them to do? Ummm no, they should not and DO NOT!
  • Cindy La. & I were invited to lunch with Cynthia H. in the southern parts of our fair county.
Cynthia's Hollyhocks.
We toured her Dad's art studio and enjoyed the river views. Nice!
  • The first week of vacation was blessedly cool. There was a good deal of porch sitting going on here. Thanks to our MiFi, I could take my Ravelry friends out on the porch too.
Friends on the porch
I also worked on spinning up the Coopworth I bought at MDSW - only 6 more ounces to go!
Coopworth on Dogwood
This process was slowed because Miss Priss, Bella, wanted to "help"
Bella June 2011.

  • At night, I've been working on my Moonfleet shawl.
Moonfleet updated
It involves lots of beads, so is not very portable, :( , but it's still pretty and a fairly easy knit. It's been zzzz-ing for exactly one year. Bad Cindy.
  • DH & I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary at a Washington Nationals' baseball game. Our DS#1 and his lovely gf, along with many of DH's siblings were there, too. Nice night!
Time for week 2 to begin - I already know there will be more pottery practice. And early morning walking. And dinner with friends, and a wedding. Goodness, but I LOVE SUMMER VACATION!