Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ladies Day in Old Town and More

There has been a lot of fiber activity in the two months since my last blog post.  I'll try to capture the highlights and end with Ladies Day in Old Town yesterday.

Earlier this spring, Rachel and I visited Dr. Ruth Baak's Beacon Hill Farm for the llama shearing.  Ruth's farm is located in beautiful Deerhorn Valley, outside the town of Jamul.  This was the first time I attended a llama shearing, and Ruth had about 60 or so on her farm.  After the last one was sheared, we helped her bag and store the fleeces.  I ended up taking home three bags full.

Here's one happy camper after getting a hair cut.  These were the sweetest, most gentle, curious, and good-natured critters I have seen in a long time.  The fleeces were super clean and soft.  I tried to drum card the fiber, but my good old Patrick Green carder, circa 1985, is great for wool but not happy with fine, soft llama fleece.  So, I used my cotton carders for two of the fleeces.  The third was from a large spotted male llama, and the fleece was a little coarser.  I blended it with washed locks of wool about 50-50 on the drum carder (using wool of the same color).  This resulted in nice batts for spinning.

I could not wait to try spinning the llama fiber.  Using my Matchless, I started with Pyro, a dark reddish llama with very fine, soft fleece.  Yes, I know it's twisted pretty tight.  The girl can't help it.

Any vegetable matter fell out either while carding or during spinning (note to self: spin outside next time).  Although I did get 3 bags of fleece, which seemed like a LOT at the time, now I wish I had grabbed a few more.  Next year.

OK, I blogged previously about making batts.  I layered those batts, Deb Menz-style, and pulled them into roving.

What fun this was to spin.  I like the way the two-ply turned out. Deb's right, you get clean, pure colors when you spin from layered batts.  Hard to see in the photo, but the colors change and shift most pleasingly.

Now for the weaving portion of the blog.  This winter, I decided that I need a rebozo to wear in Old Town during those damp, cold days.  I wish I had it yesterday.  Anyway, I raided my stash and found some cones of Harrisville Shetland in colors that would be period appropriate to Old Town.  I did a little sampling and decided the brown weft worked better than the white weft.  I used a Fibonacci series to measure the warp.  The warp stripes are not symmetrical across the fabric.  I do this on purpose to show it's a unique item.  I also think this is a more interesting way to design stripes.  I've got about 2 feet woven at this point, nice easy plain weave on my 45" Herald four-shaft floor loom, 12 epi.  I'll weave until I run out of warp, then finish with fringe.

During San Diego's very brief period of warm weather a week or two ago, I decided to make some cotton hats.  I made one with a cotton/linen blend I had in the stash (actually it was in a dishcloth kit that I raided).  I turned out nice, but a little too small to cover my ears on cooler days.  Diving into the stash again, I pulled out 6 skeins of Rowan Denim cotton yarn that I received as a gift.  I am very fond of the color indigo, so I thought this would make a lovely hat.

Oh what a delight this yarn was to knit.  I knitted from the top down so I could try it on as I went.  I used Emily Ocker's circular cast on, 8 stitches which were then divided onto four size 3 DPNs.  Tricky going for a few rounds.  I finally got it onto a 16" circ.  I increased using YO for a little lacy touch, until it was big enough.  Then straight knitting for a while.  Again, a delight.  A row of purl to create a flat band effect, a little more knitting, then another purl row to finish the band and create a "speed bump" as Meg Swansen calls it.  This stops the rolled edge from eating the hat.  I think I will make another one out of some Euroflax linen yarn I have, with the strand doubled.  

And on to Ladies Day yesterday.  It started out sunny but got cold and windy in the middle of the afternoon.  New exhibits were unveiled in Casa Estudillo, although I was too busy with park visitors to go over and check them out.  However, I was not too busy to get a Virgil's Cream Soda which was so delicious.

I enjoy talking to the international visitors who stop by to see what we are doing.  This lady was one of several French tourists in the park yesterday.

Now I am caught up.  Time to card some more llama.