March 18, 2008

Magnetic Cat and Lots of Fluff

A little while ago, Jumper jumped onto the desk with this

stuck to the magnet (which unlocks the cat flap) on his collar. Kind of like a bow tie. He's getting better at not freaking out and coming to me so I can detach whatever he's picked up (spoons, tuna cans, etc.). At least he's not bringing in mice!

In the Fluff department, here's an angora bunny offered for sale at the Spring Fiber Sale (see sidebar for link) on Saturday. Only $30, and a very sweet, extremely soft bunny getting close to molting/plucking time. No, I didn't bring him home. The vendor told me how two bunnies escaped their cages for a brief while and, because they were opposite genders, increased his angora inventory.

A list of my fiber stash and a wish list on an index card (yeah, small stash still) help keep my acquisitions in check. I was looking for a sock-appropriate fiber blend and found this beautiful fluff.

Ten little bumps of wool and 25% mohair in reds, pinks, and oranges. Only $12 for 8 ounces. The vendor was wearing mis-matched socks showing two blends (one was Sunset, the colorway I got) and a vest from a third. She has batts for sale online. There should be enough for 2 pair of socks, so I'll spin one with stripes and one blended. I'm looking forward to it.

Dick Duncan was there with one of the electric carders he manufactures and a bunch of fiber on which to demonstrate. A nice guy, he understands about beginning spinners on budgets wanting to hold off on purchasing a drum carder. The batts he makes while demonstrating are offered for sale for $5. This 2.2 ounces of almost black mohair with a few bonus wool streaks came home with me.

I plan to blend it with more of the dog/wool/alpaca roving. It should come out better color-wise than the Six Breed blend using yellow mohair. Dick doesn't have a web site, but his contact information is Duncan Fiber Enterprises, 21740 S.E. Edward Dr. Clackamas, Oregon 97015, (503)658-4066.

The third thing I got was a couple packets of Cushings Perfection Dye (navy blue and bronze green), thinking ahead to those two brown shetland fleeces I have. I got a chance to talk to several people about the fleeces and ways to prepare the fiber. I had been considering combing, but it turns out that carding will work better as most shetland fleece has both hair and undercoat. Combing would separate the two; carding will keep them blended.

Here's the last fluff picture for today:

If the coloration looks familiar, don't worry. I was unhappy with the mega bulky yarn I respun from my attempt at spindle spinning. Couldn't make myself start knitting it! So I ylped it and nupsed it (if knitters can tink, spinners can nups and ylp, right?) and spun it and third time and plied it a second time, doubling its length to 68 yards and halving its diameter to bulky weight. The new calculations come out to 777 ypp. I've got it on 10.5 US needles now, and I'm happy!

As for the ylping process, it was awkward. Thankfully the ball measured only 34 yards. I plied the ball backwards onto a spool so the two strands weren't twisted around each other (much) and then put one strand on the ball winder and wound the other strand manually as I unwound the spool. I don't know that I'd do this again, but, darn it, I wanted to knit something useful from my first handspun yarn, even if it took three passes to get it knit-able!

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