Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! I'm spending the day at home today spinning and watching all these scary shows on cable. Right now "The Haunting" is on Bravo, and although they do re-enactments of actual events (and get a bit melodramatic), it's still a bit scary.

I had a fit of remorse yesterday and wished that I didn't throw away the "bad" bamboo merino I had just spun. It could have been operator error after all. Unfortunately yesterday was trash day and so hasta la vista, Miss B.

Anyway, what was left of the bamboo merino on the bobbin made up this:

Don't you just love the sheen of it? I can't wait to spin more bamboo!

Last week, I tried out a method using the hand cards Jamie lent me wherein I turn some hand carded fiber into a long piece of "roving". After hand carding white wool over and over again, trying to get a feel of the hand movements, I finally graduated to colors and attempted stripes. It would have worked out great if only I had matched both bobbins up - but I didn't.

This morning, I woke up early and decided to start working on some purple wool I had dyed a few weeks ago. I may have felted it in some places but hand carding solved any of my worries. It is purple in most places and blue in some, and after a few rounds of carding away, I came up with a tutorial on how I turn all that hand-carded wool into a long piece of roving.

Yup, you heard it - a tutorial! Click on the image to view the actual size:

I start out by hand carding some fiber. I kinda "stand" up the fiber on a flat surface and continue hand carding some more fiber and line up the next one against the first and so on. I usually will have about 4 to 5 of the handcarded batts lined up back to back against each other (and they will stand up like that). The photo shows the view from above.

I then take the 4 to 5 batts and - if you're working with striped batts, make sure you don't rearrange the stripes - hold all batts as one piece in your hands. I usually lay it on my lap and while gripping both ends securely, making sure that all the batts, especially the ones in between the outside layers gets moved, too. I gently pull my hands apart inch by inch, making sure that the batt remains intact in between. Then I start pre-drafting the batts, starting from the left. My hands are about three inches apart from each other as I grip the batt with each hand. I gently bring my hands apart slowly, predrafting the fiber almost inch by inch.

This is how the batt looks like as you gently pre-draft it. The letters represent the hand placements as you go from left to right, gently pre-drafting the batt as you go. This then turns it into a long piece of roving. It wont' look like commercially carded roving you get, but because it is hand carded, it's more lofty and airy than commercially carded roving.

It's kinda ghetto but it works for me. So today, after all that hand carding and pre-drafting action this morning, I ended up with 3 ounces of purple "nests" or "roving" that, with the addition of some dyed cotswold locks here and there, came up with this:

What do you think?


The Gravelcat said...

Happy Halloween! Maybe it was good the "bad" bamboo merino gave you a fright. There was a purpose to it even if it left the world in a trash bin...

Bee said...

Love the results from your carding. Great tutorial too! I've been thinking about getting cards too but at the same time, not wanting to go in that deep either. It's almost like since I bought the wheel, the door has opened to a whole new world.

Velvet said...

Thank you! I do love the bamboo - it has a really nice sheen to it and I can't wait to knit something with it to see how it holds up.

As soon as you get a wheel, it's true - a whole world opens up to you and before you know it, you'll have a hackle, some hand cards - or at the very least, tons of fiber in your stash. Jamie lent me the hand carders but now I'm seeing that it can be a necessity :)

Bee, I'll be seeing ya tomorrow at the fiber fest! I'm gonna be at Nancy's booth, Custom Hand Weaving!