fleece

Droppin’ some wooly knowledge.

Recently, my friend Wendy brought her drum carder to my place so we could card the fleeces I have lying around. Just another thing to help me avoid working on any of my knitting at Friday Night Knitting.

We set that bad boy up right away and Courtney started showing my minis how to use it. With any luck, I can get them to card my fleece for their allowance!

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Teaching the boy to use the carder.

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And the girl…

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Not too shabby!

Of course, it wouldn’t be Friday Night Knitting without some sort of mishap. This time, we took a fair chunk of knitting time and tried to break into a bottle of wine.

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It finally took a screwdriver and a hammer to get into it.

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TBT…Fleece edition.

I have a confession to make…

I sometimes shove a load of pictures from my phone into blank posts and save them as drafts, only to forget they exist. I can’t tell you how many of these “pictures only” drafts I’ve deleted from my blog after looking at them and not remembering what I wanted to write.

It just so happens that this is one of those posts.*

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Fleece!

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Hand carding! Making Rolags! Excitement! Adventure!

I can tell you that these were the pictures I took at Friday Night Knitting when Courtney brought over the fleece we bought at Stitches West. We dumped it on a bed sheet, separated and weighed it.

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Courtney playing with the hand carders.

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These big clear bins are great for keeping my fluff in.

After making some rolags, I tried spinning some of it. It’s nice and soft.

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I thought I would try spinning some of it.

I can tell you this…I am not done carding it. Carding this stuff is one of my least favorite things. I mean, I dislike brushing my own hair, why would I enjoy brushing sheep? It’s pretty sad…but on Friday nights when my friends come over to knit, I’ve been recruiting them to do it for me. I’m lazy, really. I did hit up a friend that just moved in nearby to see if I could use her drum carder to finish this stuff. I know I’ll make a mess, but it’ll be way more speedy than how I am doing it (or not doing it) right now.

Hopefully she can find it among all of her moving boxes. Keep your fingers crossed!

(*These pictures are over 2 months old. I had a lot of drafts that were FAR OLDER than this.)

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Stitches West 2014: Day 3

Day Three was, by far, the most relaxing day…but that is what happens when you get a message from a guy in a kilt.

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A Pirate Unicorn at Spincycle Yarns.

I mostly roamed around on Sunday and didn’t spend too much money. There were a couple of purchases that I squeaked in right before the big raffle at 1pm. Just a little bit of fiber though…

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Finally! I found Dr. Gemma at the Alpen Glow booth!

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And found Loretta too!

I was excited about wearing my Celestarium, because I had purchased a brand new shawl pin for it. It’s pretty cool, because it’s a spiral. You can sorta see it in the picture above. It’s orangey gold and it looks great with the gray yarn. I bought it because it reminded me of a little spiral galaxy.

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Uh oh.

Then something crazy happened. We found ourselves back at Judy’s looking through her fleece samples. The three of us put a hold on four fleeces (our top three and one alternate) for next year. Oh my… I had better start spinning down my stash!!

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Next year is going to be nuts.

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My Celestarium.

A friend of mine had mentioned that she was scouring my blog for pics of my Celestarium, but couldn’t find any. Honestly, the pictures I had posted of this shawl were really kind of awful. I took the opportunity to have someone snap a photo of it for me, just to repost.

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The Haul (minus fleece).

This is what I ended up coming home with. That felt birdhouse was a gift for my mom. Everything else is mine, all mine! It really doesn’t look like a lot, but I spent quite a chunk of my budget on buttons.

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Stitches West 2014: Adventures in Fleece

It was a few years ago when I had convinced myself that I wanted to adopt a fleece. I had gone through this whole phase of wanting to go from sheep to garment. This involved me bringing home a dirty fleece once. A really dirty fleece. So dirty that I gunked up my kids’ bathtub and then my husband instating a Renfroe household rule banning me from bringing dirty fleece into the house.

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Bella on the scale.

But I can explain…

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Walking the floor with two bags of fleece.

The household rule banning my possession of dirty fleece is common knowledge amongst my knitting group. But Courtney is a smart girl, and adept at getting around the rules. So months ago she told me she had an idea.

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Courtney and David with Bella and Lucky.

Courtney did her homework and came up with the perfect plan for us to wash a fleece in the hotel bathroom. She knew exactly how to sell it to me… my husband couldn’t possibly get upset with me if I brought home clean fleece.

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The bag of Bella fleece.

So David, Courtney and I went to Judy’s Novelty Wool booth and we split 2 fleeces, three ways. Now, Bella was already cleaned, so no problem there. She was greasier than David liked, but I don’t mind my fleeces slightly buttery. That lanolin is good for my skin. So half of the work was done and Bella was tossed aside. Lucky, however, was our dirty one. The three of us put down a shower curtain on the floor, dumped the fleece out, and started to sort pieces into “dirty” and “less dirty”.

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Starting to sort the fleece.

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Proud parents!

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I actually took this picture by accident when trying to take some video.

We stuffed the fleece into lingerie bags to soak in the tub.

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Lingerie bags are ready!

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Soak #1 with plain water…

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Check out that water! Here is where I let Courtney know she is making me nervous holding her phone over the tub.

We soaked the fleece for twenty minutes in plain hot water. Then we soaked in hot soapy water. Of course there were multiple soaks, but I passed out on one of the hotel beds sometime before 1 a.m. I hear that Court and David were up until 4 a.m. They let me sleep because I had to drive us home from Santa Clara and they knew I needed the rest. Of course, this means I don’t have any photographic evidence of David breaking one of the salad spinners that they used to dry the fleece when they were done. Sorry, I’m no journalist.

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Courtney and Dawn.

Now, this isn’t the end of the story (or process). While I have Bella here at home, Lucky is still at Courtney’s house. Lucky was dry enough to bring home in the van, but she still needs some work. I am hoping to get together with Courtney sometime soon so we can finish work on her and get her ready to spin!

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Stitches West 2014: Day 1

Oh my goodness! I have so many pictures to share with you! My weekend was so full of excitement, I’m still recovering…

I left bright and early Friday morning with my knitters for the long drive up to Santa Clara. We made a few stops, but we got to the hotel in time to meet our friends for lunch!

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We found David and MG hanging out in the lobby of the hotel!

After lunch we headed straight to Stitches so we could hit the floor and start checking it out. David tried to lead us in being methodical about traversing the floor, especially since Angelique was a first-timer. It can be incredibly overwhelming because there is just so much to see and do.

For a hot second, I thought this might be the year that I spring for a skein of Qiviut. Um…nope.

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Someday…

We had made it through a few aisles when we reached the Cephalopod Yarns booth. I tried to show some restraint, but I found the perfect yarn for my next project and there was very little of it left. While I was deciding whether to buy it or not, I got some bummer news from home…that is when I decided to go all out and start my shopping spree. Hooray for retail therapy! I picked up four skeins for my project, then I headed to the button booth for some well deserved decompression time. I bought a few fistfuls of vintage buttons. I had purchased everything on my wish list… and I had only been there a few hours.

After my spending spree, Courtney, David and I found ourselves at the booth where the fleeces live. That’s where exciting things happened.

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Judy’s Novelty Wool…where the fiber fumes made us crazy.

We can chat more about this later…

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This deserves it’s own blog post…trust me.

Then we finished off the night enjoying our Dhoom Pizza at Tasty Indian. Indian Pizza…it’s now a tradition.

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Dhoom Pizza, thanks to Dave!

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Meeting up with the Fiber Collective…

Time for a little lunchtime blogging. It seems to me I am starting to get in some sort of groove with this lunchtime blogging situation. It helps that the work computers are fast…and quite frankly, as far as our home computers are concerned right now, we are practically off the grid. But that is another story…

So, on 3/29, the ladies of the Fiber Collective (on Ravely) had a meetup up at Edward’s Air Force Base at Stashymama’s place. I convinced Wendy to go up there with me, which took absolutely *zero* armtwisting on my part. We don’t know many folks around these parts that are into spinning, so the idea of getting together with a bunch of spinner’s for the day was incredibly exciting! So we packed up our wheels and some food and headed up there!

We got up there a little late, but we walked in to see this:

A Louet, A Lendrum, a Ladybug

A Louet, A Lendrum, a Ladybug

 

A Mach 1

A Mach 1

This doesn’t include Wendy’s Ashford Joy or my very own Kromski Sonata (“Lucy”)…or the many others that were there drop spindling!
Stashymama (Ann) is an incredible host and does NOT mess around. She had set up plenty of demo’s for us. We had gotten there a little late and had missed the spindling demos, but we got to see plenty of fiber demos.
All sorts of fibery goodness!

All sorts of fibery goodness!

Ann showed us how to steam set our yarn right on the stove and how to wash a fleece (Note to self: I need to get a teapot and a bigger house to store my fleece stash). Wendy brought some angora and teased apart the locks. Ann showed us how to comb alpaca and handcard it into rolags…and I got to watch Mindy use a small loom to make cotton washcloths. The whole day was really amazing and I had complete sensory overload! While some of these thjings were happening, I was dipping into the fiber I had brought with me and had Ann show me how to use her drumcarder.
I want a drumcarder...I had better start playing the lottery...

I want a drumcarder...I had better start playing the lottery...

I had brought my artclub Heirloom Tomatoes batts and some Fleece Artist I had gotten from Kataish and with a few oddsies and endsies Ann had in a garbage bag came up with some gorgeous batts!!
Wendy tried out the drumcarder too…
Wendys grey angora with purple mohair

Wendy's grey angora with purple mohair

And if this wasn’t enough to make me giddy, Mindy’s husband made me a shawl pin! I guess it was a “Welcome to the Fiber Collective” gift! If that wasn’t a cool thing already, check this out, it’s specifically designed for my sci-fi nerdiness!!
The Alliance Starbird.

The Alliance Starbird.

A knitting AND Star Wars accessory. I am sorry….but…BEST…KNITTING….ACCESSORY….EVER! It looks super sweet with my Pi shawl.
The folks of the Fiber Collective are so awesome. I totally have to thank Bellatrix, Dr. Gemma, Pudmuddles, Lexicom, Mindy, Stashymama and the rest for wrapping their arms around me and making me feel so welcome! They rawk! ::happy sigh::
Oh, and if they are out there reading this….the Log Cabin Linus is in my possession. I will return it soon…and probably with more extras thrown in the bag. 😉

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