Random thoughts of a fiber enthusiast - mostly fiber related, sometimes coherent

Month: August 2011 Page 2 of 3

Washing Fleece

Washed Cormo (Solomon) Locks

Clockwise from left:

  • Fermented Suint Method (FSM): grabbed a handful and left it to soak in the FSM bath for about 7 days. (More about it here, here, and here.)
  • Finger sized locks placed in a small plastic mesh bag (like garlic bag) and washed in hot soapy water (Ecover dish soap) and  rinsed twice, a la Margaret Stove.
  • Finger sized locks washed one lock at a time by rubbing each end against Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Bar Soap, a la Margaret Stove.

I’ll give you one guess which one I like best.

I don’t know that FSM is that much easier or less water intensive. That bundle is part of a larger handful, and it received about 6-8 rinses.  It no longer smells, but it’s not as white as the others. (I actually think it got dirtier!) It definitely still has some lanolin left in it. I will likely wash it again in a weak soap bath, but the tips are not clean. It’s a bit messy because I didn’t bother to separate it into locks before putting it in a mesh bag and into the FSM bath. I also wasn’t gentle with it while rinsing — I tried to squeeze out as much of the filthy water as possible before moving on to the next rinse bucket. The good news is that I used the rinse water to water my lawn. I’m sure I’ve confused my dog as to his favorite pee spot.

Margaret suggests that you pull locks out that are about the diameter of your finger and wash them. She teaches both methods — washing one lock at a time by rubbing each end against a bar of soap or bundling them together and putting in a mesh bag to preserve lock structure and putting the bundle into hot soapy water.

As you can see, the bundle still has dirty tips, even though I tried to rub the tip end while the mesh bag was in the hot soapy bath. I washed it twice and it still is not as clean nor as white as the locks washed singly.

But, you can still see the crimp structure in the locks washed in the bundle. And the tips will likely open up when you flick the locks before spinning. Margaret says that you can just pinch off the tip because they are likely to be brittle anyway. Others advocate just cutting them off. Based on a couple of tests with mine, these tips are just lightly matted and not brittle at all. So, check your own wool and make the call yourself.

Since I want to spin and knit Margaret’s Filmy Fern Shawl with this fleece, I will likely process it lock by lock.

I’ll leave you with this photo. It smells worse than it looks.

Suint Bath

Weaving Yardage

I am keeping a notebook while I weave yardage for the jacket. I’m keeping track of time spent, amount woven, things that work and what don’t. How the handspun is (or in most cases not) holding up and why.

I auditioned nearly all the shuttles I have in the house. The Bluster Bay Swedish-Styled Shuttle won the day. The low profile allowed the shuttle to pass under my floating selvedge without any manipulation from me. All the other shuttles were just a little too tall, and skimmed over the floating selvedge threads. My Schacht Mini-Boat Shuttle came in a close second. But the open bottom dragged on my warp. Given how quickly the Zephyr and my handspun fuzzed up, I didn’t want to put any more stress than I absolutely had to.

I’ve heard complaints that the shed is small on the Fireside Looms. The shed seems perfectly adequate to me, but I have only woven on one other loom — my Gilmore Gem II. It’s possible that it has a small shed too, given that it’s a workshop loom, but it works for me. Without the floating selvedge, every single one of my boat shuttles fit through the shed with plenty of room to spare.

Here’s what the fabric looks like. The color runs are a bit longer than I originally envisioned. My dyed black is a little bit less saturated than the Zephyr Ebony, so it is still visible. And the “random” didn’t turn out to be quite so random.

I sleyed the handspun through the reeds first. I had planned on 2 handspun threads per inch, so I just pulled them randomly through the reeds, 2 per inch. Sometimes they were next to each other, sometimes several dents apart. However, when it came to threading the heddles, it seemed that most of them ended up on heddle #5. It almost became a game while I was threading the heddles. I needed something to amuse me for 900 threads! Because they were 2/dent in the reed, I could fudge a bit and move them to either 4 or 1.

So far, I’m pretty happy with how the yardage is turning out.

Kilim Exhibit

click to enlarge

There’s been almost no progress on the Circle of Life shawl. I have been focused on warping the loom and weaving yardage for Daryl’s jacket workshop next month. The yardage is progressing, but not very exciting. So, I’m here to give you more eye candy from my trip to Turkey.

While there, I noticed a signage in the big palace across the street from our hotel. A special exhibit on 17th-19th Century Anatolian Kilims! I took one afternoon off from my friends and took my time going through the museum. It was fabulous!

You can see a few of the rugs in my photo album. I wasn’t allowed to use a flash in the museum so some of the rugs are a bit fuzzy. I used Photoshop to adjust the lighting, but that is it. I did not do any color adjustments. So yes! The colors in those rugs are just that vibrant, even after all these years!

While you are in my photo album, you can take a look at the rest of the photos from my trip to Turkey, including more photos from the Ethnography Exhibit blogged earlier. I haven’t finished processing the rest of my textile photos. Stay tuned!

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