Rolags, Blending Boards and Textured Yarn Spinning

Rolags, Blending Boards and Textured Yarn Spinning

I made a new colorway on my blending board of my Rolag Hybrid. I am calling it Silver Gray Sparkles.

Silver Gray Sparkles is a smooth sparkling rolag batt. No locks or chunky bits….just tons of sparkle and various smooth fibers. My Rolag is a hybrid of a layered batt and rolag.

Silver Gray Sparkle Rolag

I layer my fibers on my blending board without packing them down into the blending board teeth. I use the dowels to roll up the rolag without drafting through the inner fibers. I only draft at the end of the roll to secure the rolag closed. It is best spun from the end in 2-4 inch rolled up sections pulled off the roll while still rolled up. Picture taking a BIG piece of a jelly roll cake…but still rolled up. I have found sections larger than that a bit much to handle in my hand. If temperatures or humidity is high, there is a risk of felting that is possible while holding a large rolag for a longer period of time.

On the blending board

I let the rolag sit for a while trying to decide if I wanted to spin, felt or sell them. I decided to spin these all up this week into 2 large skeins. Each skein is a 2 ply and spiral plyed. Each skein has one of the plys as this silver gray sparkle rolag hybrid. It is a blend of numerous fibers such as Merino, Black Dyed Tussah Silk, Gotland, Masham, and White Firestar.

Each of the 2 yarns is one ply of the above rolag with the other ply being different in each skein. The lighter color skein was plyed with a 2 ply fine silk thread and done as an extreme spiral yarn. The darker skein was plyed with a handspun bamboo ply. Both skeins are a textured yarn with that homespun feel.

Dark skein
Light skein

I am a bit stunned how intensely different the two skeins look and feel. The darker skein with the bamboo ply is very heavy weight wise. And with so much bamboo in it, it took forever to dry! I have been staring at them for a while now trying to decide how to use them.

I need help. What do you think?

I really think I want to weave a wider scarf on my 16 inch rigid heddle loom. But past that I am stuck.

I think if I use one skein for weft and one for warp that the difference between the skeins will be lost.

So do I warp up with :

1. A white warp and weave strips?

2. A white warp and weave 2 separate scarves?

3. A white warp and weave 2 scarves alternating both skeins and afterwards seam 2 scarves together and make a shawl?

4. A white warp and weave 2 scarves with just one skein in each. So have a light and dark scarves than seam those into a shawl??

5. A dark warp and than where the heck do I go?

6. Just keep staring at them and weave nothing?

See why I need help?? Comment below your thoughts.

Selling My Used Spinning Wheels

Selling My Used Spinning Wheels

I have decided to sell a few of my spinning wheels. I don’t use these three very much and gathering dust is not what they were meant for.

Update: The Ashford Country Spinner 2 is the last lightly used spinning wheel that I have for sale. All the other used spinning wheels have been sold. The second hand Ashford Country Spinner is boxed and ready to ship to you.

  1. REDUCED PRICE and boxed for shipping. Ashford Country Spinner 2 for sale. Barely used. 1 bobbin. Assembled and nicely finished with wood butters and light wax. Boxed up and ready for shipping from 49446 at buyers expense. Wheel is still assembled. Bobbin was the only piece dissasembeled which uses just 4 screws. Instructions included and in the box for the wheel and the bobbin both. Reduced to $550 down from $650.
Ashford Country Spinner 2

2. SOLD – Majacraft Little Gem Spinning Wheel package with Extras – SOLD

-Double Treadle
-Seven (7) bobbins
-Quick change flyer
-Ratios: 4.5:1, 6:1, 8.5:1, 10.5:1, 12.75:1
-Weight: 10 lbs.
-Wheel diameter; 8.25″
-Orifice height is adjustable 26″ – 28″
-Delta Orifice
-Sealed bearings (no oiling required)
-Sliding flyer hook, both regular and jumbo
-Sensitive scotch tension
-Custom Designed Shoulder Bag in Silver
-1 extra bottom drive band
-2 extra top drive bands
-All the instructions and papers
-Spins like a full-sized wheel with an easy rolling treadle action
-Separates into 2 parts, packs into its bag and fits in a suitcase or overhead bin locker while flying
-Compatible bobbins and flyers with Majacraft wheels and accessories
-Brand New Never Used High Speed Whorl on the Gem: 10.1:1, 12:1, 14.5:1, & 19.5:1
-My Ashford upright lazy kate, which works with both this bobbin size and the bulky/jumbo.

My Little Gem and upright lazy kate were bought in Scotland back in 2005. It is 1 of the first 2 wheels I ever bought at my first ever fiber festival. It is a Little Gem 1 which has had the Majacraft upgrade installed by a Majacraft dealer who also repairs spinning wheels. Changing the bottom drive band, is now done the same way as a Little Gem 2. So I think of my Little Gem as a 1.5. It has a lovely wood with beautiful wood grain. The flywheel is the original and is one of the prettiest woods that they used in the past. It is not warped and has no cracks.

Retails at $1200 and $270 for all the extras. At nearly 45% off Retail, it is all For Sale at $800. Will ship anywhere in USA for an additional $50.00. Outside USA, buyer pays shipping. Otherwise local pick up.

Heavenly Handspinner Spinning Wheel

3. SOLD and picked up.

Heavenly Hand Spinning Wheel with Custom Design. (Tree of Life Commission) Customized and Finished with extras.

Wheel comes standard with a spring clip weighted flyer, set of 3 super D Dooper bobbins, orifice hook and drive bland.

Extras: spare drive band, spare leather tension strap, 5 extra spring clips to allow for 3 per side of flyer if you wish to lace the flyer for finer spinning, and 3 extra super D Dooper Bobbins.

Bobbins

Three of the Bobbins and the laser cuts on the wheel I finished with chalk paint and sealed with dark wax. The rest of the wood was sealed with Dark wax to protect the wood and bring out the grain. I provided the design that was laser cut into the fly wheel on both sides. The 3 larger symbols in the center of the wheel laser cut into both sides of the wheel are Fortitude, Gratitude and Inner Peace. the symbol that repeats at the edge on both sides of the fly wheel is Passion. These symbols are the Zibu Angelic Symbols for healing.

Three of the bobbins are still left unfinished for you to choose your color and design. NOTE one bobbin slipped off and fell to the floor. It put a small crack in the end bit that was repaired by my husband. I provided a close up of the bobbin so you can see it is barely noticeable.

Repaired Bobbin

Single drive – Irish tension
Beautiful hand crafted spinning wheel, with hand-selected Red Oak, Maple and Walnut (in the flyer).
Double Treadle
Precision ball bearing wheel for ease of use and maintenance.
Bobbins that hold approximately 6ozs
Ratios of 6:1, 9:1 and 13:1
Each bobbin has a nylon 66 impregnated bearing – for no wear on the flyer shaft.
Spring clip on the flyer – for ease of even yarn distribution on the bobbin.
Weighs less than 13.6 pounds.
Orifice height is 24 inches and the diameter is 9/16ths of an inch.
Height is 28 & 1/2 x 16 & 1/2 x 14 inches

Price is $450.00 reduced down from $650.00 and FREE USA shipping to lower 48 states. I have it boxed in the original box and packaging with even extra padding that it came with.

Heavenly Handspinner Spinning Wheel
Wild Flower Textured Yarn Now in the Shop

Wild Flower Textured Yarn Now in the Shop

I just listed a new art yarn colorway in the shop. I have been working on this colorway for a while now.

Wild Flower Textured Art Yarn

The inspiration of this homespun yarn was a giveaway in honor of Honey bees and Beekeepers. It reminded me of the Wild Flowers that bees use to create honey.

On the spinning wheel

The dominant color through out the handspun yarn is honey, gold, and greens in various shades with small bits of yellow and orange. This represents the bees and their honey. There are pops of pink and white with a little pale purple and blues here and there to represent the wild flowers in a field.

Closer view of Wild Flower Textured Art Yarn

This yarn has so much texture and color. It is a Super Bulky weight, a textured yarn that is very workable on a set of needles for knitting and hooks for crochet. It would also be wonderful for use in textured weaving. I can picture this woven into a shawl, scarf or a wall hanging.

In fact, here is a scarf I wove using Honey color yarns that I dyed and a partial skein of this textured yarn. Look at the wonderful texture and contrast with the smooth lace weight yarns. So much fun.

Wild Flower Honey Art Yarn Scarf

Use it as the main art yarn in your piece or as an edging or accent for effect. Listed in the shop now and avaiable for purchase.

Spinning Artyarn on Ashford’s Jumbo E Spinner

Spinning Artyarn on Ashford’s Jumbo E Spinner

Ashford Jumbo E Spinner with Artyarn
Ashford Jumbo E Spinner with Artyarn

I just received my new Ashford Jumbo E Spinner. I thought I would do a little review of this new E Spinner. I have never used an e spinner before but I am already used to spinning artyarn on Ashford’s Original Country Spinner and the Ashford Country Spinner 2… so how hard could it be, right?

Spinning artyarn on the new Ashford Jumbo E Spinner
Spinning artyarn on the new Ashford Jumbo E Spinner

I spun this colorway on all three of the Ashford Country Spinning wheels… on my Country Spinner, my Country Spinner 2, and my new Jumbo E Spinner that is the electric Country spinner. Three wheels…..playing on them all. Believe me when I say, the new Ashford Jumbo E Spinner is really just an electric Country Spinner. I did not feel I had any real learning curve on it at all.

The tension on the Jumbo E Spinner was exactly the same as the treadle Country Spinners. It is Irish or bobbin led tension with a leather strap for a brake band. Spinning artyarn felt the same minus the treadle part with my feet. The foot pedal that comes with the wheel has two settings. One is a click to turn on and a click for off. The other you already have your foot on it when you turn it on, so when you let your foot off it stops. You essentially need to hold your foot on it like a sewing machine or gas pedal. I chose this method. That allowed me a bit of a connection with my feet while I was spinning artyarn and to me felt more like a treadle wheel than I had hoped for.

I found that I spun with the brake band off entirely just as I do with my original Country Spinner until I was about 3/4 of the way full through the 3 lb. bobbin. I only used the brake lightly on the last 25% of that bobbin. When spinning artyarn singles, I usually spun between 50-75% speed. When plying, I was always at 75% or a tad faster for speed.

The motor was quiet enough for me to spin on the Jumbo E Spinner and watch shows on my tablet without struggling to hear. It has a lovely slow start and slow down so there was no jerking or sudden stops which can cause tangles in your yarn. It only took a few hours and my bobbin was jammed packed with another well on it’s way to being full also.

Spinning artyarn with spirals
Spinning artyarn with spirals

This is the second color way that I have recently been spinning to stock the store with artyarn. I have photos of the artyarn on the bobbin and newly skeined. Also more photos as they have been washed, the twist set, dried on the rack and am about to box up…. thought you might like to see them all pretty.

Artyarn drying on the rack by the fire
Artyarn drying on the rack by the fire

9 new skeins of art yarn…spirals, thick and thin, and baubles. Thread plyed with 2 threads held as one…a silver rayon and a turquoise metallic. I spun all of this artyarn from hand carded Art batts I made on my Louet drum carder which contained bamboo, silk, milk, alpaca, llama, and dyed medium sheep wool. Most of the fibers are from our Colorado ranch and a friend’s CO ranch before we moved back to Michigan. I thought it time to spin them.

Ashford Jumbo E Spinner with artyarn
Ashford Jumbo E Spinner with artyarn

Updated May 10, 2020:

What else do you want to know about the Jumbo e spinner? After more than a year spinning on my Ashford Jumbo espinner, I still like it. A lot. It has made me a faster spinner. I draft much faster now and spin on 75% speed orca tad faster. I can go faster, I make myself stay there so I do not tax anything because most times I settle in for 2-6 hours of spinning and barely move. I know…horrible for ergonomics! I have spun an even smooth traditional 2 ply yarn on it. My most favorite yarn to spin is handspun yarn of the textured yarn persuasion. I lock spin frequently and even if spinning art batts, the textured yarn is generally created from locks squished in here and there and everywhere.

Bobbin holds nearly 2.5-3 lbs fiber. Has slow stop/start. Strong take up for art yarn. Foot pedal has 2 ways to configure using. Has 2 reducers. Uummmmmm…unsure what else one would want to know. I use battery almost exclusively but have car charger and wall chords as well.

I have fallen asleep more than once while spinning but since I have my foot pedal set so I need to apply pressure to go…like a gas pedal…no disasters. Haha

I have taken it to meetings or left it set up at home to spin at any time. I demonstrated it at the Michigan Fiber Festival in fall of 2019. I have spun for hours…4-5 hrs without hardly moving even once…which was fine for the spinner but heck on my body. Very little adjustments or tweaking required. Sit and spin.

I did not want to like it. Hated idea of using an electric…eck pleughy….but found I love it. It is afterall only a tool. And tools are as good or bad as you make them. I do still prefer to treadle and I CAN treadle, so I just decided 2 days ago to sell my Ashford espinner and down size my wheels even more. I have not been spinning as much and have 3 other jealous wheels. I will buy another espinner later if I ever get to point of no longer able to treadle.

I decided a month ago to go back to spinning for me and my weaving and not spin production so my current stable of 3 Country Spinner in different versions is a bit over kill. I have the original CS in the A frame, CS2, and Ashford espinner jumbo which is an electric CS.

I decided to sell my CS2 and my espinner Jumbo. Keeping only my original CS. It was my 1st wheel so I am sentimental about it.

I got the Jumbo Espinner because I was having hip issues and worried I would no longer be able to treadle. Turns out I need to move more…no more spinning for 6 hrs without moving, and I needed a different chair higher because I am so tall and long legged. Those changes mean I can still treadle which I prefer to do. It’s my meditation.

I have no delusions I will most likely buy another espinner down the road…but I have made peace with using them and will gladly buy another when needed…hopefully years away.

Ike, an Anatolian Shepherd. Livestock Guardian Dog

Ike, an Anatolian Shepherd. Livestock Guardian Dog

October 2014 – October 19, 2018

Ike, a Livestock Guarduan Dog
Ike, a Livestock Guarduan Dog

Ike is an Anatolian Shepherd dog born in with his goat herd. He has guarded goats his entire life. He came to live with us when he was almost 2 years old. He had next to no socialization or training but had been a working livestock guardian dog.

When he came to live with us and guard our goats, we had to neuter him a few months after joining our ranch. His testosterone was raging and he was bark rather aggressively at people who did not live here. Some aggressive barking and intense protective demeanor is necessary and required, but there is also a limit to what is appropriate. After neutering, I started to see a different Ike with people. He was no longer overly intense in his interactions with visitors because he would stand down when I told him to. However, no visitor ever doubted Ike would guard those goats with his life.

Ike, a Livestock Guarduan Dog
Ike, a Livestock Guarduan Dog

Ike was also gentle with his goats and let kid goats climb on him. We had lost our previous head male guard and felt Ike was on his way to being our new “Larick”.

We had some recurring health issues with him that seemed to never fully heal. In 2017, we had a predator attack on the ranch that resulted in my main female Askbash being killed. No goats or llamas were harmed, but we lost our Willow.

I noticed in the year after the attack that Ike seemed unwell. He seemed depressed and out of sorts and was just plain grumpy. He was snarling and snapping at baby goats. He never let them climb on him any more and was getting testy with the other dogs. Ike visited the vet several times and a few health issues kept coming up which we kept treating but he never seemed to feel well. We coukdn’t find anything obvious to explain how he had seemed to age….grow old almost overnight …. and his personality change. I still believe he was ornery because of pain even if we could not find it. The change of how he was with his goats was too much to just be an off day.

We made the decision to let Ike go and rest in peace. His body no longer hurts, he no longer has to work and guard, and he no longer needs to fight with the other dogs or predators in the woods. I really still miss him greatly and the security for protection I always felt he provided. I know he was in pain and was not happy, but now he can rest.

Hand dyed Yarn and MORE Yarn….in the dye pot and on the drying rack

Hand dyed Yarn and MORE Yarn….in the dye pot and on the drying rack

I have been busy dying yarns.  They are in the dye pot, on the drying rack, on the clothes tree, and in the tree branches. The backyard seems to have yarn all over the place.

Baby Woobo and 4 ply Targhee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yarn, yarn, yarn everywhere.  here is just a few photos of some of it…..  I do create my hand dyed yarn in a kettle.  My style of dyeing is very serendipity since I throw stuff at the pot and see what sticks.  Haha. Seriously, I do not do repeats so each dye pot is unique which is why I generally  dye numerous skeins at once. This helps ensure to have a nice amount to use for my weaving projects or my next crochet fibet art piece. 

 

2 ply Silk Yarn, really picks up that sunshine

 

 

 

I have Boucle yarn, 2 ply Angora yarn, BFL yarn, 2 ply Silk Yarn, and even Baby Wooboo yarn….

 

Boucle yarn, Adult mohair, CRAZY YARN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever will I do with all this yarn?  Weave scarves, shawls…sell it in the shop?  Make some Wearable Art Treasures, weave using the Triangle Loom, the Square Loom, the Rigid Heddle loom, or maybe even the new Diamond Looms I have coming…oh my…so many choices and whatever will I start with?

2 ply Angora yarn, pure bunny rabbit, two dye lots, numerous skeins

Hand Painted Art Yarns added to the Shop!

I have been adding all the Hand Painted Art Yarn Skeins to the shop over the last few days.

Triple Crown Berry Hand Painted Yarn

I have had so much fun using the Greener Shades Dyes to get these glorious colors and it is good to know that they are gentle

Clown 1 Hand Painted Yarn

on the environment and myself.  Hubby has dubbed me the “mad scientist dyer cackling over her vat of dye in the corner!” and I will wear that title with as much pride as I do “Fiber Freak!”

 

I will put up a smattering of photos of some of the new yarns but to really appreciate them, you must go to the Shop Online Fiber and see all the photos for yourself.

Tropical Breeze Hand Painted Yarn

 

Harvest Handspun and Hand Painted Art Yarn