Archive | April 2009

Sweet!

I’ve recieved the free fleece from the local farm…I’m buried in sheepy goodness!

First – the black (two sheep fleeces I’m told)

As it came…
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Messy, huh?
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But it cleans up nice!
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I’m only half way through it…
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A little I combed with my wool combs…
mystery fleece-combed

And then, there’s the white…

As I recieved it…
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I soaked it in cold water…
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Washed it in hot, hot water (boiling mixed with a little hot tap) once or twice. I’m finding smaller amounts per wash with a lot of love (teasing apart the tip and picking through) is the best bet with this but it’s worth it in the end!

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mystery white fleece - combed top

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A Hard Week

This week has been really hard for us. Our beautiful Lukie (the basset hound) passed away last friday after suffering from poisoning for over a month.

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I seriously think they ought to stop selling rat/mouse poisons to the general public. Why, with all they know about the dangers of poison, do they presume that everyone who CAN buy them WILL use them responsibly? For that matter, they have outlawed pesticides here but yet still sell the poison??

Our boy got into a box that was irresponsibly left OUTSIDE behind our home when the back neighbor moved out. This is what we assume because he was never unsupervised or off leash. The vet couldn’t confirm the type of poison but 2+2 still equals 4.

We buried him by his favorite stream at the farm, on Saturday. It’s been a very difficult time.

I’ve been knitting the shetland, some more. The sweater is coming out beautifully with my mods and I should have something to show soon.

Oh, yes, and still washing the rambouillet fleece. That’s about halfway done. I have the second half soaking and a BUNCH to comb and process. I like to get it to the combed top in little nests stage and that way it’ll be ready for me when I want to spin it.

I’ve become fascinated with the idea of weaving. I have no idea how really, unless it was the ‘Wild Fibres’ article about the weaving in Morocco – yes, that was likely it! I highly recommend that magazine. I bought it for the first time and read it cover to cover the same day. Really really well done and informative. I may have to find space and pull out the weaving loom from Seneca College that I have!

Take care. Hopefully by tomorrow or so I’ll have a lacy sylphish cardigan to show you 🙂

Awesome!

Very cool day in wool-land!

I’ve started to knit with my charcoal shetland…

handspun shetland

It’s a ‘sylph’-ish cardigan…or at least that’s what I’m going for…

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I had to downsize it, one size, and am thinking about leaving the open pattern throughout rather than changing it to the closed version halfway, as the pattern is written. I think it shows off the shetland nicely AND the mods are necessary if I hope to have enough wool!

Since I’m new at this, I didn’t realize how much weight is lost in the cleaning and processing of the fleece. I have approximately equal amounts of the outer coat (silvery gray) and the inner coat (the chocolate brown/gray that I’m using for this sweater).

My rambouillet fleece arrived today! From Knit-Knackers in Ottawa, Ontario – purchased from ebay but also available directly from the store and sold by the pound, for anyone who is interested. 🙂 It’s so soft and fine, really really fine. 17 to 21 microns. I’m almost afraid of it, lol.

It’s soaking already, in a cold water soak.

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rambouillet

And – the 3rd fantastic part of today – I’ve found (or been found by, lol) a local lady who raises sheep and she’s going to drop off three fleeces on the weekend, for FREE. Yay for free things! Very cool and she says next spring I should get back in touch again. LOVE the idea of having local fleeces and saving money even IF they are more work! She’s shearing tomorrow and I’m excited. 🙂

Did-It-Myself Combs!

They’re all done 🙂

The ‘how to’ is HERE

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I’m happy with how they turned out!

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I even managed to get the handles on a slight (and shockingly almost uniform) slant even though I was working with the drill freehand, LOL.

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I think I love tool making almost as much as knitting – maybe more!

Have a great day, my spinning wheel is calling…

One More Time!

I’m loving the wool combs I made a little while ago.

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They’ve successfully combed most of my shetland fleece and about 450 metres of two ply sock yarn (for which I used the blended superwash that I played with at first).

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They are great!

But.

They aren’t really that pretty. Or that big. More minis than anything I think.

And I really, REALLY wanted to try to make a better set! So, I did 🙂

I bought oak boards at the hardware store – less than $10. One is 1/4″ x 3″, the other is 1/2″ x 3″. I cut, from each, two 5.25 inch lengths – giving me two thicker ‘fronts’ and two thinner ‘backs’.

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I wanted nice handles and couldn’t find anything that I liked at the hardware store for a decent price. SO! Waste not want not right? Went to the second hand store and found two bbq forks with really nice solid wooden handles. Using a hacksaw, I cut the handles about a half inch down the steel prong. I’m planning to drill a hole the size of the prong and use the epoxy to cement it.

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I marked the holes 1/4″ apart and the rows 1 cm apart with a 3/4″ ‘buffer’ of undrilled wood along each side. Since I offset the nails and decreased the amount each row, I ended up with a triangle shaped bed and wanted to get rid of the extra wood so I trimmed the extra off with my saw on the backs and the fronts.

I sanded the pieces clamped together to make sure they were exactly the same sizes and shapes. LOL, ok, close to being exactly. I’m not too picky.

I made a plate out of a scrap of the thinner oak and drilled a sample of each drill size I would use, drilling as straight as possible. I used this as a sort of ‘jig’, to help me drill straighter holes.

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I used three rows of nails so I needed two different bits for the nails themselves and bits to countersink the heads as well. I also needed a bit that I’ll use to insert the handle. (Oh, and one to countersink the handle’s wooden base but I forgot at the time)

The first two rows of nails were 3.5 ” finishing nails that I bent slightly using a wrench and a pair of plyers. I measured about 1.25 ” down each nail as a guide of where to place the nail in the wrench, bent the nail with plyers and then compared it to a tracing of the correct shape. I trace the top and bottom (both sides) of the nail for accuracy, up to the tip.

The third row of nails I made shorter, using 2.5″ finishing nails.

Ah, this time I used a file to smooth the nails…

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I drilled the holes in an ALMOST straight line, lol…took me a few minutes to come up with the best idea…

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After tapping a nail in each mark, it was still hard to keep the drill from ‘wandering’ so I used popsicle sticks and marked three marks 1/4″ apart and drilled, as straight as possible – making a little template. I did try more than three but the popsicle stick broke every time. And yellow seems stronger than any other colour. Weird.

By lining up the first hole with the last drilled hole I could easily keep it all neat and even. The templates did wear out fast and I had to make new ones a few times but I was really happy with the results. Maybe I should have made a template out of a scrap of the thinner oak, I’m thinking in retrospect.

I stained/protected…(about another $8)

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Placed the nails, after drilling the holes a little larger at the top, to countersink the heads.

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I used the styrofoam (out of an old box in the basement) to hold the nails in place…it helped SO MUCH to keep the bends in the right place and to space nails that wanted to drift together. The epoxy helps everything hold together in the end.

I don’t have pictures of the epoxy stage (too busy-it’s 5 minute epoxy and dries in 5 minutes or so, lol) and I’m only halfway done this set…

I’ll update when they’re done…I can’t wait!