I Love Carding and Creating Art Batts to Spin Into Luscious Yarn!!

Today was one of those damp dreary days without color. It’s on these days that I create my own colors and blends. I wanted to dye fiber,but I also wanted to be working in my studio. I love how these turned out and can’t wait to spin them into yarn!!

Red, Pink, and Burgundy batts waiting for their turn to be spun.
The Art Batts Being Spun
Green, Gold, and Other Sparkling Fibers Ready for Carding
The Carding Process 1
The Carding Process 2
Ready to Doff and Twist Into Loose Knots
Doffing in Progress
Eight Batt Knots Ready to Spin!!

What are you making/ creating??

For those who don’t follow me on Instagram or Twitter, here’s a photo of my beautiful dog.

Beautiful Dog Nose!

Happy Soctober – Part II

I like educating people about how many pairs of socks they should own. Sometimes we have one pair we love so much that we wear them out in a very short amount of time. The fact is you should have at least 10 pairs of socks, for every season, regardless of your preferred fiber. Natural fiber socks are best but there are a lot of people who are allergic to them and need to wear synthetic fibers such as acrylic.

Some people don’t know the difference between wool and acrylic or cotton and acrylic. Some believe the socks they’re wearing are acrylic when they’re actually WOOL. Some think they’re allergic to wool and have never worn wool in their lives. Some are allergic to cotton and linen but can wear every synthetic fiber made. Regardless of fiber allergies or preferences, handknit socks are best.

Whichever type of socks you prefer, the ones you wear the most will eventually wear out! The most common place for handknit socks to wear out is the heel, followed by the ball of the foot. The most common place for mass manufactured socks to wear out is at the toe, followed by the heel. Either way, if you’re trying to save money or just love that pair of socks so much that you can’t bear to part with them, you can always repair them and should repair them.

The two main methods of repairing holey, worn out socks are: Darning, duplicate stitching, and reknitting. I will partially cover darning and reknitting. Darning involves stitching an anchor box around the hole and then weaving from the anchor stitches, over and under, and back and forth, until the hole is filled in and sturdy. I prefer to herringbone weave 2 over and 2 under; and then cross back over to make it all sturdy.

A reknitted heel involves picking up the stitches at the top of the hole and the bottom of the hole, and knitting a heel patch (toe patch, or patch for the ball of the foot) while picking up the old stitches at the sides of the hole, and then using the Kitchener Stitch to graft it all together so it looks nice and neat.

Sometimes, you need to pick up stitches in the middle so you can graft (kitchener stitch) them to the reknit portion during the repair. See the photo below.

Other times, you get very lucky to be able to just grab a few inches of yarn and just sew or weave the hole closed. This works best on holes smaller than a half inch.

There are many different ways to repair your favorite socks. It’s your choice. Do some research. I’ve shared the ones I’m currently working on because I was asked to do so.

*** NOTE: I rarely ever have any of the yarn left over from anything I’ve knit because I tend to use the leftovers in other things after about two years. ***

It’s a warm sock kind of day!

I enjoy creating my own sock designs and do so quite often. I recently learned how to knit what some people call proper gusseted socks. I’m told they fit a lot better than short-row heeled socks.

Here’s the thing about that: If you have small feet and/or small heels, the short-row heels fit much, much better than gusset heeled socks. Gusset heeled socks were the standard for eons and went the way of the dodo for awhile because of the invention of hand-crank sock knitting machines and automatic sock knitting machines. Gusset heeled socks have come hugely back in vogue because there are many people who want socks that fit the whole foot, including and especially the heel.

After all, no one wants a pair of socks that are so tight over their heel that you can see through the knit fabric!

A fitted sock: size 9-1/2 wide

Get busy and make something!!

Here’s the link to my website!

Custom Socks I Designed & Knit

A customer contacted me on Etsy and asked me to design a pair of men’s size 13 EEE feather socks. I usually ask for 1/2 payment when I’m commissioned to design and/or custom create items. I do this because sometimes people forget about things like that, especially if it takes awhile to get it completed.

So, the next pictures feature the custom designed, hand knit feather socks. They were knit with hand spun yarn I created using natural black Icelandic fleece from Copia Cove and Cornflower blue Suffolk fleece from the Ahrens’ family farm.

I’ve included the links for Copia Cove because they breed and raise outstanding Icelandic Sheep and their fleece is a dream to spin! Icelandic wool makes very strong and warm socks!

***Note: I’m a customer of Copia Cove’s wool products. I’m merely sharing my source(s) so you can buy your own delicious wool.***

MrsD@thefiberodyssey.com

The Complete Restoration of a Pair of Antique Hand Cards!

We got some very nice, antique hand cards at an auction a few months ago. I decided to restore them for doing historic reenactments.

The original carding cloth on these was pretty roached and the leather was completely rotted. You can see from the first photo that they were used a lot!

It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed doing it because I love old things back into usefulness.

With the really hard work completed, I went on to prepping the new 120 tpi carding cloth I bought from @HowardBrushCompany.

The most important part to achieving a good cut line on carding cloth is to complete the prep work of removing the carding pins from the cut area. The second important part is having a very sharp pair of sheers!! The ones pictured above are a vintage pair of Wiss Inlaid No. 38’s!! They cut through nearly everything like it’s butter!

I recorded a video of some of the process(https://www.facebook.com/MrsDsFiberOdyssey/videos/142338083542443/), including a blooper video (https://www.facebook.com/MrsDsFiberOdyssey/videos/624582811450873/), but I’m too cheap to post them here. You can find them on my Instagram or Facebook page under Mrs. D’s Fiber Odyssey.

It took me awhile to achieve nearly perfect, straight lines. I obviously had to trim the cloth again (photo #2) because the bottom edge was a bit off on the left side.

Now, some of you may get upset, annoyed, or get your undies in a wad because I used an adhesive to set the carding cloth in place on these ginormous hand cards (9-1/2″ long and 8-1/2″ wide). While they are stiff when you first use them, they do loosen up with use; it’s how I learned from my Grand Pere and he was a mechanical engineer in a woolen mill.

They work very well and I’m quite pleased! I’ll try and post where I’ll be demonstrating when winter is over.

Get busy! The yarn doesn’t spin itself!!

Jacquard Emerald Powdered Dye Trial

I’ve been using the liquid Jacquard dyes for several years and decided to check out the cost effectiveness of their powdered dyes.

 

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One and a half teaspoons of Jacquard Emerald dye powder yielded one pound of dyed roving (deep emerald); 5 ounces of 50/50 Suffolk/Corriedale yarn (light jade), and 4 ounces of mystery roving (turquoise)!!!

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The above photo is the yarn in an aluminum pot on my stove top. I prefer to use aluminum because of the nice color splits I get out of it.

 

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The result of this experiment is that I’m not going back to liquid dyes, especially now that I learned I can mix my own. A friend also suggested I try out ProChem dyes as well, so that will have to be a future blog post.

Bored?? Get something and dye it!