Monday, November 8, 2010

High Fiber--Fiber High!

Anyone recognize this fiber?

This is brown and black poodle hair, left over from Rocky and Sunny's last grooming appointment. I had Marcia, our groomer, collect it and give it to me. It's only a month's worth of growth, though, so I'm going to mix it with another fiber or fibers to make a ski hat for their 'Daddy." I had lots of white merino roving and some alpaca, but I wanted to save the alpaca I have for another blending project. DH wanted to pick up some alpaca "beans" at Linda and Mike's, so it provided an opportunity to see what they had in fiber I could mix with the poodle hair. (Alpaca beans = really good manure)

Gabriella, one of their alpaca crias (Cria = alpaca baby), lost her mother when she was a month old. Linda has been feeding her with a bottle. When we went out to see the animals, Gabriella nuzzled Linda, indicating she wanted to nurse, even though she had just had a bottle. Her hair is gorgeous and soft, so Linda and Mike plan to enter her first "blanket" (Blanket = alpaca fleece) in competition. They have five crias, and in spite of many setbacks, the herd is growing. (BTW, alpacas hummmmmm, and they don't spit unless they're really p___d! Like at shearing time, or if a boy wants to mate and they don't. During shearing, the alpacas often wear a sock on their noses in case of spitting. They are very friendly, though, and don't spit otherwise.)

We went to the barn, where I picked out this roving from Kimberly. It's really bay black--a very deep black--but I had to lighten up the photo so you could see the texture. It's very soft!

Linda and Mike have lots of roving and yarn available at their Etsy store, Free Spirit Fiber Arts.

In my stash at home, I have lots of white merino I bought from my spinning teacher. I decided to use it, but I didn't want to mix stark white with the "pacapoo" fiber, so I dyed it with Koolaid and black food coloring. I was aiming for a brownish color, but the black broke into it's component colors, so this is how it came out:

I don't know if it was the dyeing method or the fiber type that caused the black to break, but I think it will work out fine. (I will blend a sample first.) I dyed it in my sun tea jar. Here's how it looked when I first put the dye and roving out in the sun:

...and here's what it looked like after all the dye was exhausted:

I plan on using the drum carder to blend the fibers. After I do a sample to see how it looks together, I will weigh the poodle hair and combine it with about four ounces of alpaca and four ounces of the dyed merino.

Remember the Koolaid-dyed SW merino and nylon for a bigger BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket) for Daphne? Here is is, lounging in front of the fire, almost dry. I will do another WPI to see what the weight of the finished yarn is, and if I get the right weight, I will be doing my swatch for the BSJ. Then time to CO!

Speaking of casting on, I cast on the Penny/Willow alpaca yarn for the Irish Hiking Hat for DBIL.

Penny was the mother alpaca who died recently leaving Gabriella an orphan, and the yarn (spun by me) was in DSIL's stash, which DBIL brought to me after she passed away. Her UFO, an Aran cardi for him, which I promised to finish, isn't going to be done in time for Christmas because there isn't enough yarn, so this will make a nice gift in the meantime and will keep his head warm on the ski slopes and while using the snow blower on his driveway. The pattern for the hat is available for free here.

In quilting news, the two quilt tops I have been working on are finished. This one is "Promise of Spring." These fabrics came from my stash and are mostly '30s reproduction fabrics in blues, yellows and reds.

...and this is "Churro Blanket on a Wall." (The fabrics are mostly batiks, and all from Connecting Threads.)

My friend Julie quilts professionally, so I will give them to her at Vintage Stitchers this week.

Saturday, Joanie, Linda and I went to the Acorn Antique Show in Ogden, UT. We stopped at the Union Grill for lunch after leaving the show.

No trip to Ogden would be complete without stopping at The Needlepoint Joint, a great store that sells knitting and other fiber-fun supplies. I showed the nice ladies who work there DH's sleeveless Fair Isle Cardi, all finished, and returned five hanks of yarn for a credit. I asked them about DSIL's UFO, and they determined that there wasn't enough yarn to finish it. The closest thing they could offer to do the sleeves was three balls of Jamieson & Smith's jumper-weight wool held together, which would have cost $120 just for the sleeves. Yikes! I decided to check some places in Salt Lake City to see if they have some Aran weight yarn that will coordinate, maybe black. I didn't get to spend my credit, because Linda had to get back to feed Gabriella and do chores, but we will be back in February for the next antique show. They have spindles and spinning fiber, as well as a great selection of sock yarns, so it will be nice to look forward to spending the credit when we go back!

No blog of mine is really complete without a gratuitous baby photo, so here is Daphne in her Halloween costume:

And finally, since we have been talking about alpacas today and not so much about sheep, check this out.

Happy knitting, spinning, dyeing and quilting!

No comments:

Post a Comment