Sunday, July 17, 2011

What have we been up to?

Hi everyone!  It has been awhile since we've posted, but rest assured we've been busy busy busy!

Besides the day to day activities, work, mowing the lawn, laundry, dishes, more work, etc, we've been learning more about fiber and trying some new things. 

First up:  bunnies!  Well, to be more specific, Angora Rabbits.  No, we haven't purchased any (tempting as it may be), but we have purchased some angora fiber from Running Bug Farm.  We plan to spin some, and also add the fiber to our alpaca fiber to make alpaca/angora blend fiber batts and roving.  It is super soft and very light and fluffy.
Angora fiber

Next:  carding.  Brian has been hard at work carding fiber.  I have gotten all of Bosox and Bella's fiber washed, and now it is time to card.  Brian is making very nice batts for me to use for felting our soap.
Rolled fiber batt

So what have I been up to?

Spinning and dyeing!  Yay!

I have learned how to spin yarn using a top whorl spindle.  (I really want a spinning wheel, but that will have to wait.)  I have spun one skein of yarn out of some alpaca combed top I got from Upstream Alpacas.  Her fiber is wonderful, and her colorways are really pretty!  It turned out to be way thicker than I had envisioned in my mind, but I think it is pretty neat!  It ended up being a Super Bulky (3 wpi!) 2-ply yarn.  I only got 23 yards out of 4 oz, but that is okay. 
Colorway is Neapolitan
Super bulky!

It is my first skein, and I'm pretty proud of it.  I am working on a second skein of yarn from roving I purchased from Parsons' Prairie Farm.  I prepped the roving better than the first time, so it is spinning up to be thinner.  I think it will probably end up as a 2-ply yarn somewhere between worsted and bulky weight.
2nd skein with top whorl spindle

Today I've dyed my first batch of fiber!  We are starting to dye fiber using Kool-aid and food coloring.  Both are food safe dyes, and don't need harsh chemicals to help the dye set.  Just some acid in the form of vinegar.  Today I've been using kool-aid. 
Yay for Kool-Aid!

Fiber weighed and ready to go

I've purchased some white alpaca roving from Spin This, and that is what I'll be using to start experimenting with the colors and dyeing process.  I know it seems weird to purchase alpaca fiber when we have our own herd, but our alpacas are brown, not white.  I like white fiber for dyeing.
In the pot

In the pot

YouTube is a great reference for spinning and dyeing and a whole lot of other stuff!

All done!  Dyed Alpaca: Lemon-Lime, Berry Blue, Orange, Grape, Pink Lemonade

All done!  Dyed Angora: Pink Lemonade and Grape

So that is what we have been up to in the past couple weeks!

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