Archive for the ‘OHS’ Category

Fleece Washage!

A block of approximately 4.5 pounds of amazingly clean 1/2 Finn 1/2 who knows what fleece from the Finger Lakes. We are not going to discuss what appears to be a break, well, let’s call it a weak spot in this gorgeousness.

It mostly needs to be washed to rid itself of those pesky cats:

If you inadvertently spin a cat into your yarn, it really makes quite the slub. Some people like the “novelty” aspect of cats in the yarn, but I find they can really gum up the spinning wheel.

It’s got a really nice staple, good crimp, and is so deliciously soft. It compares to a polwarth sample we received in class.

Will try to both comb and card, and see what shakes out. Intended project is the Poinsettia Cowl.


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Well, with only two short weeks until the OHS Deadline for the 11 mini skeins, it’s time to get to work. Yesterday was spent washing not all that much fleece, but it certainly did take a chunk of time. This time I went with cranking up the water heater and soaking in the kitchen sink, with almost boiling water thrown in for giggles. Three soaks with Trader Joe’s Lavendar scented dish soap, and two rinses. It seems to have worked pretty well.

Today was a foray into combing with super fancy Alvin Ramer Dutch Combs, which consist of a small, two-pitch hackle and a one-pitch  giant comb. This included dizzing off the fiber, for perfect, perfect combed fiber.

Two passes, ready to diz:

The finished nests, dizzed and ready for spinning:

Notice the washed lock for comparison.

And finally, a super treat for me, a package of Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino. Love, love, love, that the stamp reads: Certified Work of Art.¬† The colorway, “We are the Champions” feeding into my current Freddie Mercury obsession.

(Need I mention that is has been so very long since I blogged that this whole blogging thing seems completely unfamiliar?)

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Year two on the road to the OHS Spinner’s Certificate. I went up only because it was so much fun last year. I had very little interest in the “learning” aspect–maybe because last year didn’t feel like we learned a whole lot, it was just fun. But I’ve come back thinking, Yeah, I could go all the way. We learned more in Beth Abbott’s Worsted Spinning Class than, I felt, in all of Year I. And we were so much more relaxed. It was just a grand time, and we learned so much!!

There was Natural Dyeing:

Our group (Team Shut Up! Just Shut Up!), lucked out with Onion Skins. True, it’s hard to go wrong with onion skins, but we went way right. And, we got double fiber, because we not only did a mordant but an after-bath. Have to weigh it to see, but it seems like enough for a project. You can see the different shades resulting from the different mordants.

Onion Skin

There was color blending of fiber using hand cards. All these colors (thirty!) were blended from just three main colors. We did the work in class, but I want to repeat the exercise using a different palette. And then spin one continuous blended yarn.

color blends

And this is the view from our little cottage (well, across the dirt road from our little cottage was the lake), where Erica and Kathy were Very Brave, and swam, and I kayaked. Unfortunately, between the weather and extra-curricular activities (Mini Fiber Market, Thai Food, Chinese Food, Potluck, and more Chinese Food), we were only able to play in the water once.


I’ve returned with deep desire for more expensive toys: Dutch Combs and a Drum Carder. A girl can dream.

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I did it! I really did it! And I didn’t screw it up, or dye the cat purple, or the kitchen, either. And it only took most of the day!

10-step color gradation:



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This is all two pounds of Fritz, purchased at Hemlock. Need I point out that Fritz is a boy? And he smells? Even after three dips in the dawn detergent? Bother.

And I did all the right things. Broke up his locks and kept the formation, laid them out in tulle layers inside a lingerie bag, washed in really hot water, apparently which was not not enough.

Click for big and check out all that crazy crimpiness. When the locks came out, I thought they had shrunk. But they just puffed in. Like little clouds. Smelly little clouds.

Well, that’s why I started with only two ounces. Perhaps this batch will see a trip to the washing machine.

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OHS Homework — Blending

In which we learn that brown + red does not equal gross.

The two colors, carded on a drum carder, then rolled off on a chopstick into small, tasteful rolags:

And after three passes through hand cards:

Really. Who knew that such an even blend could be achieved on hand cards? I had no idea. My only problem is that I do not care to spin rolags, because my joins always suck.

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Whoo. It’s been a long time. So much to cover. Perhaps I’ll play the post-a-day game until I’m all caught up. Yeah. Right.

Here we go:

OHS (aka Ontario Handweavers’ Certificate): Rocked. I hesitate to gush and gush because it just was too much fun, and I don’t want the losers my dear friends who were unable to attend, feel bad. But it was so much fun! And for reasons I didn’t expect! The classes were fine–sort of slow-paced, but I think that was because Donna and I were so ridiculously already prepared, what with the Patsy Zawistoski class, and our fleece study.

But the people were So. Much. Fun. So kind. And so generous.

The Blue Sweater: Finished!

The Shittens: Reproductive Organ Free! Because nobody likes inbred feral kittens. And what a joy to be away from them for a week. A shitten-free existence was well worth the price of admission alone.

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