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The ‘RED’ Has Turned Out Very Well!

I’d love to say ‘good morning’ but it’s afternoon, evening really… so happy day, my friends 🙂

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I’ve been keeping busy with work and fabulous fiber. I managed to ply the red yarn and it came out to 380 meters of lovely lace or light weight fingering, I’d say. I like my socks on the thin side, comfy and perfect for normal wear in normal shoes. I’ll most likely put it in my shop but perhaps not for long, depending on how long I can resist it…

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I’ve also spent some time working with the beautiful cormo/fdt cross fleece purchased from mmfwool on ebay…

soft! cormo/fdt

It’s taking two washes to get the lanolin out, or mostly out, as the case may be. Really lovely fleece with a variety of greys in it starting with the lightest pearl gray and going to almost black in places! It combs as nicely as I suspected it would, too. Take a peek at this bit of hand pulled roving…

cormo/fdt roving - hand combed

It’s SO very satisfying, turning a raw fleece into clouds of fiber-y goodness.

Have a fantastic night 🙂

Back To My Spinning Wheel…

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I’m hoping to spin enough 2 ply yarn for a light weight sweater 🙂 It feels good to be working with fibre and using my wheel again, after so many months of focusing on other things!

Since finances SUCK this year for us, I’m using mostly stash yarns and fibre in all my projects. I am out of sweater-lots of wool so if I want to knit anything bigger than socks I will have to spin first!

I have lots of bits of superwash merino in different colours and am going to combine them to spin up some yarn for knitting. It means combining colours and is a surprise every time. I made this a couple days ago – it’s a mixture of three or four blue shades, 2 ply, approximately 260 metres. I’m thinking socks for the baby boy, or a little sweater, perhaps 🙂

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Another project I’m working my way through is combing through the leftovers from last years fleeces. I have about a pillowcase full of jacob wool and another partial case full of rambouillet. Some of it is ‘second combings’ since I HATE throwing out anything and there is a lot of saveable wool left over from combing in the first place.

Happy Spinning!

Combing Wool

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I decided to do this post to try and show ‘how’ I comb my wool with my diy combs. I find it’s easier to comb sideways. It keeps my fibre on the combs and it seems to do a nice job too!

After a little comb with my dog rake, I place a bunch of locks onto the comb, so the tips are farthest from the tines. I then comb them off, onto the moving comb.

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Since I HATE waste, I save all these bits in another pillowcase. I suppose I could use them in lots of ways…carding (if I ever try that), felting, needle felting, stuffing…

Then I comb back onto the stationary comb…

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I usually give the last bits a bit of a pull…to get as much of the fibre as possible…

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You can continue this ‘off, on’ as many times as you like. I usually just do two passes (one off, one on). The more passes, the more perfect the fibre becomes but the more waste as well. It depends what you like.

Next, I pull off the combed top, as evenly as possible. I don’t have a diz and frankly, am not planning on getting one. I have no trouble pulling off the top and then drafting it out evenly to spin.

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Give it a little twist and move my hand up to the comb again…

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When I’ve pulled all I can from the comb, the rest goes into the waste bag…

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The finished combed top….

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I’m spinning some of this right now, for lace…

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I hope this post was at least a little helpful 🙂 Have a great day!

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

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!

The Second Set

I wanted to try to make another set of wool combs.

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This time, I used some scrap needleword framing wood (no idea what type but it seems really light) with bamboo handles (from the dollar store wooden spoons) and again the 3.5 inch finishing nails but I bent them this time.

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LOL, not easy but possible. I used a large wrench, a set of pliers and traced the original on paper to match the rest with.

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I used the 5 minute epoxy again and left them to set for almost 24 hours.

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They seem to work a bit better than my first set because of the curved ends. Really happy with them!

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