Friday, December 14, 2012

Cleaning and blending fiber on a blending hackle with 2-pitch wool comb

I recently did a video using one of my blending hackles and 2-pitch comb sets. It's a little fast or maybe I had a little too much coffee that morning, but it covers how to clean fiber with the comb and them blend fibers on the same hackle prior to dizzing it off into a beautiful, textural roving. 

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ice dying. Fun in the sun!

My mind is constantly flowing with ideas and thoughts on what I want to try in my Fiber studio. This week I was called to try a new dye technique aptly named "ice dying". I ran across a few blogs about this technique a while back and it stuck. So, last Saturday my five year old son and I went about transforming four white, silk scarves into something beautiful. 

What  you will need:
1. 1 bag of ice (cubes preferable) I also noted you can do this with snow too!
2. Various dyes. I used Jacquard and greener shades for our experiment.
3. silk scarves (you can use anything that will take dye. (It might be neat to use with technique with braids of top?)
4. Catch tubs or buckets to catch the dripping dye.
5. Trays with openings with enough to allow the dye to flow through.

Lay out your catch tub in an undisturbed area. No crazy dogs or wild alpacas allowed! It's been reported to take 24 hours but I was able to get great results in 1 hour. I used our old child gate to cover the tub anything that that prevents the scarves and ice from falling through will work fine. Next, I pre-soaked the scarves for 20 minutes in water a dash of salt and vinegar. Drain the liquid and lay the scarves out in a random pile. Carefully cover them with ice. I did one at a time because the heat of the noon-day sun quickly melted the ice, so you have to act fast! After laying out the ice the fun begins. 

Get your dyes and get creative. My son grouped a few colorways together for me to use. So I followed his lead an began adding dye from an eyedropper. I also tried sprinkling the dry dye as well. I tried to add different levels of dye density, but ultimately the melting ice dictates the flow of the dye, and that's probably why the results are so dramatic. 

After we did 4 scarves we were done and about 20 minutes later the wind came up and took one of the scarves. I grabbed it and it was totally, dry so I rinsed it in the sink and added a little soap to get out the vinegar scent then hung it out to dry. 

Later, I made a couple of nuno scarves. They really have a wonderful flavor from the ice dying. I had a lot of fun and so did my 5 year old!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Step into my woodshop!

I've never been much of a woodworker or craftsman, but until I was reluctantly drawn to create wood products to fulfill a specific need. I didn't have a clue how rewarding it could be. But... Lets back up a bit in my story. First off, I am a dye-hard fiber addict. Hello my name is Doug and I'm a fiber addict! Last year I was bitten by the spinning bug and I have had to take extraordinary measures to keep my need to spin assuaged. I learned how to design and build hackles and combs in order to process my own fiber from my own alpacas and out of that I have discovered a deep down, hidden desire to craft things... with wood.  So, while I spin I am thinking about things I can do in my wood shop, which was donated to me graciously by my father-in-Law. Thank you! Thank you!

Recently, I was trying to design a tool to measure the WPI (Wraps per inch) so my lovely wife can figure out what needle gauge to use in order to knit the yarn I spin into something useful like yoga socks, fingerless gloves or a shawl perhaps. So, I created a standard one inch wooden square... Booooooring! My mind, while spinning, came up with a more intriguing idea. Could I created a fun fiber animal to use as a WPI tool without taxing my abilities? Well, I sketched it out and then went out to the scroll saw and gave it a whorl. And, it turned out quite nice. I think maybe my art background might have help a bit too. 

 It was really popular so I tried a couple other shapes as well. A sheep and later a goat. I'm also thinking about a Yak next. I still love spinning, but I have to say, it's a lot of fun to start with a blank piece of wood and shape it into something wonderful. You can find my animals on my etsy shop. ~

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How to create gorgeous hand-blended roving from a hackle.

The is a fun tutorial on how to create gorgeous hand-blended roving from a handmade hackle.
This is my handmade blending hackle.

Begin by loading your hackle with fiber. This is an alpaca fiber I hand dyed. When loading take a handful of fiber and drop it on the hackle and draw it down and back in a fluid motion.

I added some carbonized bamboo. It's important to make sure the staple length is similar.
Some angora bunny add a nice sandwich effect in the finished fiber. Note: It's a little short on staple length so It's not ideal.

I added a nice layer of white Alpaca/Shetland mix for stretch and stability above the angora bunny. Note: I blended the Alpaca/Shetland and pulled the roving just before I started this project.
I added another later of alpaca and carbonized bamboo. I like the sandwich look! Now, it's time to diz off the fiber. I use a medium size washer as my diz. You can choose a smaller size if you prefer pencil roving.
The motion is this: pull/draft your roving, then push the diz forward towards the hackle and pull/draft the roving. As you draft you will find that the roving will easily move across the entire length of the hackle.
I'm about half way through the diz process. It's looking pretty nice!
Wrap it around your fingers into a nice bump!
Here is the finished roving along with an aqua roving a did earlier.
Happy Blending!