Saturday, January 19, 2013

Back at it

During the week I have so little time to get fiber things done other than feed critters.

So, I am back at getting the yarn made up for my '100 likes' on my face book farm page.

The Icelandic and Mohair dried beautifully! I could just sit and play with washed mohair all day long!! It is just so soft!!

The following are several different charts. When I wash a fleece I always try and get the raw weight and the washed weight and see how much was lost.

Fiber                      Raw weight        Washed weight        
White Mohair           21.3 oz               19.0 oz
Light Shetland             6.3 oz                 4.8 oz
Black Shetland          15.0 oz               11.1 oz
Black Icelandic          21.3 oz               17.1 oz

I wanted my yarn to have equal parts of all three fibers, but as you can see they did not wash up that way. I also wanted a balance between the white and black. So to figure this out I did some calculations. I don't know if every one does this or if I am just being kinda of picky.

So I broke it down in to just Mohair, Shetland and Icelandic to begin with and figured out the percentages of each.

Fiber                         Washed weight               Percentage of total
Mohair                          19.0 oz                           36.5 %
Shetland                        15.9 oz                           30.6 %
Icelandic                        17.1 oz                           32.9 %

With the Shetland, the light made up 30 % of total Shetland and the black 70 % of total Shetland.

I want to start out with 4 ounces of fiber to spin so I took the percentage of the fiber and multiplied it by 4 and got the amount of fiber for each.

Fiber                          Weight    
Mohair                         1.5 oz
Light Shetland                 .4 oz
Black Shetland                .8 oz
Icelandic                       1.3 oz

Have I lost you yet!!

Here is a picture of the 4 ounces of fiber waiting to be drum carded!!

But before I can start spinning I need to get my wheel free!! I am plying gray alpaca with a beautiful pink/purple merino.

Probably won't get to spin until this evening, though. It is a beautiful January day and there are lots of things calling my name outside!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Washing, drying, and picking

We are just a few 'likes' away from reaching 100 on my facebook farm page! At last check it was 96!
So I have been super busy washing fleece and picking what is dry.

There are so many ways that people was their fleece and I think it is mostly personal preference. Here is how I wash my fleece and it works for me. 
I use 2 1/2 gallon buckets and fill it with about half way with hot tap water and the other half with water that has been boiling on the stove. This makes the water in the buckets about 155 degrees. I currently am using 3 buckets at a time because that is the amount of water I can boil at one time.
I then add 1/4 cup of Dawn dishsoap to the bucket and swish it around.

I then add 5 to 7 ounces of fiber to one bucket.

 And then it soaks for about 20 minutes.
After is soaks I take it out of the bucket with a spaghetti spoon and put it in to drain. I did not use to do this step but it seems to require less rinses when I do it this way. 

While it is draining I change the water in the bucket, look at all the dirt!! This is actually after 2 rinses, guess I did not get one after the first wash.

The clean water is half hot tap water and half boiling water. It does not contain any soap. I have found that after the soap, the fleece must be pushed down some to help it in the rinsing process. I don't stir it at all, just gently push it down a couple of times.

When I remove the fleece and the water looks fairly clear then it is clean and rinsed enough. Some times it can take 2 rinses and sometimes it can take 4 rinses. It just depends on how dirty the fleece is.

After it is clean I put it in mesh bags and put it in the washer on the spin cycle and let the access water get spun out so it will dry faster. Then it goes to the drying racks.

After it is dry then I pick it to separate the locks and get more of the little bits of vegetable matter out. Since I  used all 'seconds' (my word for my fleece that is not good enough to sell to hand spinners, but still nice fleece. It usually has lots of vegetable matter in it.) It takes some time to pick it. I just use my fingers to pull the locks apart. 
Here are some locks before I picked them.

Here are the same locks picked.

Here is all the light Shetland washed and picked.

Here is the black Shetland washed and picked.

I washed the Shetland fleeces last night so they were dry enough to pick while I was washing the mohair and Icelandic fleeces this morning.
Here are the Icelandic and mohair drying after being washed.

So now we wait for the Icelandic and mohair to dry......

Saturday, January 12, 2013

100 likes on facebook

As some of you may know I also have a facebook farm page. It is getting very close to having 100 'likes'!
I have seen lots of other pages give stuff away when they reach a milestone, 100 likes, 200 likes 1000 likes!
So I have decided to give something away once I hit 100 likes.
Here is the general idea that I posted on facebook:

I will be having a drawing once Kansas Fiber Farm facebook page reaches 100 likes. I will be giving away a skein (or two) of yarn OR a pair of mittens. It will be the winner's choice. I will be hand spinning the yarn from a combination of Shetland, Icelandic, and Mohair. All raised on the farm. I will be taking you through the whole process of preparing and washing the fiber, carding the fiber, spinning and plying the fiber, and knitting the mittens. This is going to be soooo fun!!

I know some of you may not be on facebook and have not desire to be on facebook. Which I totally respect! But I would like you offer this give away to you as well!! So, if you will respond to THIS blog post I will include you in the drawing.

Here are the fleeces I will be using:

21.3 ounces of white mohair

6.3 ounces of light Shetland

15 ounces of black Shetland

21.3 ounces of black Icelandic

For anyone interested in 'liking' my facebook farm page you can click here.

This IS going to be a lot of fun and I think a lot of people that follow my facebook page that just like the sheep and goat pictures will have quite an eye opener as to the process it take to get handspun yarns.

Don't forget to comment here so I can enter you in the drawing as well!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A busy New Year!

Well, the actual New Year's day wasn't too busy, but I have a LOT of projects I want to get done this year. Well..... I will start with the fiber projects I have started or just about to start.

Last year I attempted to try and do 12 shawls in 2012. It is a group in Ravelry. I only ended up completing 2 shawls. This year they are doing it again, but they added a 'seasonal' shawl. One shawl each season. Here is the link if you want to check them out. So I thought I MIGHT be able to pull that off. So this is the beginning of Vernal Equinox.

Another Raverly group I joined this year was the Dozen hats in 2013. I had spun up some alpaca and was going to use it, but several people have told me that a pure alpaca hat is just too hot. So I am going to have to find another yarn for Molly.

 And yes, another group I joined on Raverly, Dozen bags in 2013. I received this beautiful merino fiber from The Painted Tiger's fiber of the month. The second picture is what it looks like after I spun it up into a two-ply yarn. I will become part of Cable Band Bag.

And, of course! I could not forget KnitPurlHunter's KAL!! I just love her Mystery knit a longs!! This is some lovely soft cotton, bamboo, and silk yarn. This KAL is socks!! I love making socks! The KAL started Thursday with the first clue, I have got to get busy and get started! Come join me!!

So this is just the beginning of my knitting adventures this year. I am still working on my Basic, Basic, Basic class to work my way to the Master Knitters courses. News on that soon. :)

I would love for you all to join me!!
I see lots of knitted gifts in 2013!!!