Saturday, July 04, 2020

Fiber Prep for Spinning

One of my friends who reads this blog had never heard of a spinning preparation called "rolags."   Basically rolags are fiber that is pre-drafted and the fibers are aligned making it easier to spin.
I laid out some fibers in silk and bamboo to make some rolags and show you some of the process.
There is one rolag on the left to show you what we are making. 

 It does require some equipment to make them.  I make mine on an Ashford Blending board - there are other brands out there.
The board came with the blending brush and two rods for forming the rolags.  I added the wooden skewer for my own convenience.

To start you put fiber on the board by dragging it from the top toward the bottom of the board.  You can cover the entire board or just use a section.  I am just using part of the board.  Here I have put the first layer of fiber on the board.  This is "silk waste roving."
Once that is in place the brush is used to force the fiber down into the teeth.  It is brushed from top to bottom -it usually takes me a few passes to get it beaten in.  This also aligns the fibers and starts the pre-drafting.
When it is brushed in/beaten in you can see any spaces you missed.  Those can be filled in with the same fiber or another fiber in the next layer.  I like a nice random yarn for weaving so I just moved to the next layers.  Each layer is added in the same manner.

Here you can see the white is brushed in but the magenta silk is the begining of the next layer. 
Once all the layers are added it looks like this.
Notice those tails at the bottom.  We need those to start the rolag.  To do that we layer those ends between the two wooden dowels. Pulling toward myself and up at about a 30-45 degree angle the fiber is stretched and wrapped around the dowels as it comes out of the sharp teeth on the blending board.
Once you have what you consider enough on the dowels, it is time to pull the fiber away from itself.  This is rolled lightly on the teeth of the board to seal the ends to the rolag. Then the rolag is removed from the dowels.

This is repeated until all the fiber is off the board.  The skewer comes in handy for pulling up the ends and getting them ready for the dowels.  The skewer can slide between those teeth.  You don't want to try sticking your fingers in there - OUCH!

I didn't use the whole board and I did not load it fully. Here are the rolags I created from this session.
The one in front is the last one. The last one is usually a bit "messy looking."  Not to worry, it will spin up just fine.
And that pile of fiber that I started with?  About 1/3 to 1/2 of it went back into the basket for another session.
These rolags will be fun to spin and will create a multicolored yarn that I will eventually use for weaving.

I hope I didn't bore you too much.  And I hope you learned something new - at least one new word for some of you:  rolag.  I don't know if it will work in Scrabble, but it is a perfectly good word. Okay I decided to check.  The online dictionary has this:
Scrabble US/Canada (OTCWL) No
Scrabble UK (SOWPODS) Yes (6 Points)
Words With Friends No
I know that another tool used for fiber prep - diz - doesn't work in UpWords or any of those three either.   I don't think I have tried rolag in UpWords but I wouldn't expect that it would work.


Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Friday, July 03, 2020

Tour de Fleece

Yes, I am late arriving at the "party."  The Tour de Fleece is a yearly event for people who spin yarn.  This started fifteen years ago.  The current year's event started on June 27th.   As for me, I started spinning for this year's event yesterday. 

The Tour de Fleece runs essentially as the same days of the Tour de France bicycle ride/tour.  If you have ever seen someone spin on a spinning wheel, you may have noticed the pedaling action with the feet.   So the bike riders pedal the bikes while we pedal our spinning wheels. 
 (more than you wanted to know?)  

Anyway, I have been spending some of my time spinning yarn.  While it is called the Tour de Fleece,  I am not spinning wool from a fleece.  Rather, I am spinning yarn from silk waste roving and bamboo because I prefer to weave with those fibers or cotton (and I am not good at spinning cotton yarn.)  

Here is my current bobbin with mostly silk but some bamboo yarn. 
 The white that you see is the bamboo that I have used thus far.  But I also have bamboo fiber in other colors and some of it will be added eventually.  Or it may be spun separately and then plied with the silk.  Time will tell.
This pretty ball of stuff is silk waste roving.  While the main color is a magenta hue, there is also orange, purple, blue and yellow in this fiber.  I really love the uneven nubby yarn that I get from this  fiber. 

Until Next Time,  Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

More Experimental Piecing

The experimental piecing was a lot of fun, so I am continuing with it. What am I making?  Honestly, there is no grand plan.  I am simply enjoying the process. 

This piece was made using the leftover strip pieces from the previous one. 

I cut them into  pieces and sewed them into a new configuration. They were then bordered with other strips.

The next pieces were just sewn randomly - as I grabbed pieces from my messy pile that is almost in my sewing space.
The messy pile
No sizes that match up, but that can be fixed later.

Pieces that are not straight but have an angle add to the energy and interest of a design.  I really like the wild energy this adds to piecing. 

Meanwhile, I have been working on paintings also.  The one below is "maybe finished."  I haven't decided just yet.  I put it in two different orientations.  One looks truly abstract, while the other is an abstract landscape. 
I see a surprise in this version -and I like it. 

It also works "upside down"



Which of the three versions do you prefer?

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Experimental Piecing

Since I have not been sewing much lately,  late last night I decided to pull out some fabric and put it where I couldn't miss it.  I really had no plan. I did have a couple of ideas but when I sat at the machine they were forgotten.   I decided to just play.  I took four 2 1/2" strips and sewed them in sets of two.  Then I placed them face to face and sewed around all of the edges.  Then I said "Oops. Now what??" 

 I cut them on the diagonal both directions -so that I would get flat pieces.  Then I opened them up and saw that there were two QuarterSquare triangle units and two HalfSquare triangle units.   I pressed those open and trimmed them to the same (odd) size of 2 3/4"

I decided on a layout and sewed them together.   Then I used leftover strip pieces to create this piece.

Yes it is "less than perfect" but I really like it. It is bright and happy and  it is batik.  I am not sure what it will become, but we will see one day.   Suggestions?


Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.