A Return to the Ashford Country Spinner 2

A Return to the Ashford Country Spinner 2

I have recently returned to my Ashford Country Spinner 2 wheel and decided to spin some rather fine singles on it.  I know that “they” say you can’t do that but I decided “they” were wrong.  It is a bobbin led wheel and as long as I take my time, I can put in enough twist and make a rather fine single.  I find when spinning on a slower bobbin led wheel as this, that the method of spinning is more important if you wish for a single that is thinner and not of bulky weight.

I carded up some art batts full of merino, silk, milk protein, Angelica, hand painted rovings, Cheviot and other various wools.  I blended these batts years ago with the thought to weave 3 different sweater coats.  I spun some of them at that time on the old Ashford Country Spinner and plied them up into a 2 ply.  Those yarns are waiting to be added to this yarn I am making.  Here is a photo of some of the art batts.  I thought they were just yummy.

Carded Art Batts

I have been using a modified backwards long draft.  By modified, I don’t take it up and way back with my shoulder and arm….that is way to painful.  I keep my elbow snug in to my waist, and instead bring the yarn out straight from the orifice, loop it 90 degrees around an index finger on my left hand and let the twist build up between that position and my right hand drafting backwards out to the side.

It is the best that I can ever hope to do for a backward long draft with the mechanics of my shoulder and neck.  It works and I can get going lickety split as well as I get such fine singles that if I am not careful they draft down to thread and break.  I have been seeing finer spinning out of me using this method in the last few months that I have ever produced in the last 12 years put together.  I know that I said I would NEVER spin fine…but I changed my mind…get over it.! bwhhaaaaa….

Ashford Country Spinner 2 full of yarn

“They” also said that you can put 2-2.2 pounds of fiber on that huge bobbin but again…..”they” were wrong.  I weighed my bobbin and it was 2.4 pds of fiber on it and it was NOT full.  I would need to buy a third bobbin if I plan to spin with the CS2 frequently, as winding that yarn of onto other bobbins to be able to ply it, is rather tedious.  I spiral plied some of the yarn with a mill spun fine 3 ply that I hand dyed…..about 1200 yards of that.  The rest of the yarn, I plied back with more of the same single to make a lovely 2 ply.  I didn’t necessarily ply that in a spiral like the other yarns and did end up with well over 450 yds of that as well.

 

I believe that I preferred the 2 ply to the 4 ply spiral.  I have a lot of this yarn that I spun up and plied into a 2 ply years ago on the regular Country Spinner.  That yarn is much thicker yarn but can still be combined with these yarns.  They were all meant for 1-3 woven jackets that I had planned.  I think I will still make a sweater coat jacket of some variety with these but I do not know if I will be weaving it.  To get the movement that I want and the feel that I want, I think I may use Tunisian Crochet instead.

 

Plied Yarns Hanging to Dry

Altogether, I did enjoy spinning on the Country Spinner 2 again as a regular wheel versus using it for a plying wheel or for art yarns.  I did lament that it was so slow at the top speed of 5:1 and wished it had a few speeds higher, but during this spinning marathon of several weeks I did realize that I truly do prefer a bobbin led wheel.  And I prefer a wheel with a large bobbin that I don’t have to stop and change out all the time.  I prefer not having to fiddle with Scotch tensioning and all sorts of other adjustments that just slow me down.

The REDS.

The REDS.

 

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I have been creating a lot of soups and stews in the crock pot recently. Mostly because of A. working outside and B. because it smells fab when cooking and C. because by the time I am actually hungry later on, I can’t be bothered to cook anything. Charlie usually pesters me to eat. I realized the other day that my fiber world has overtaken my culinary world.

No, I am not putting bamboo and silk in the soup, but I am color coordinating the ingredients.

Really?

 

My First Color Coordinated Soup. The Reds.

The Reds:

1/2 cup dried RED lentils ( if you want it thicker, increase to ¾ cup)
1 15 oz can organic Navy (WHITE) beans rinsed
1 15 oz can organic Pinto (BROWN) Beans rinsed
1 15 oz can of Organic RED Fire Roasted Tomatoes diced
1 32 oz can of Organic RED whole peeled tomatoes
2 WHITE onions chopped medium size
1 RED onion chopped medium size
10 WHITE cloves of garlic chopped fine
1 cup bite sized chopped organic Orange baby carrots
I Red Sweet Potato peeled and diced (could increase to 2 if your slow cooker is large enough)
½ to 1 cup of chopped Rutabaga (WHITE flesh once peeled)
1 pound of thick sliced from the butcher bacon with no msg chopped small size ½ inch or smaller
1 cup of White cauliflower if you have it lying around
Pink Himalayan Sea Sat
Boiling water to cover

Throw it all in the slow cooker, making sure the bacon is the last thing and on top. Pour boiling water over the food and bring level up to about top of food and a little under lip of slow cooker top. Put the lid on idiot…I mean you didn’t forget that did you?

Our Smeg

Put the slow cooker on high and leave for 4-6 hours, than turn down for 2-4 more hours on low eating it whenever you feel like in that later few hours. If you are going away, I would put it all together before you get ready for the day, leave it on high while you get ready for work, than switch to low for the day until you get home. I didn’t try to colour coordinate it, it just happened.  Is this what you call Hand Dyed Soup?  Or is that Hand Painted Soup?

 

I threw this together with whatever I could find lying about the Smeg and China Cabinet. I made it about a week ago so I think that was what I put in it….more or less…probably…most likely…..yeah, of course that was what I put in it.

Oh by the way, what is a Smeg you ask?  Here is my Smeg.  We finally got it this fall.

Journey for the Golden Fleece Fiber Creativity Certificate

Journey for the Golden Fleece Fiber Creativity Certificate

I just signed up to take a new course.  Journey for the Golden Fleece Fiber Creativity Certificate.  I haven’t done any recent schooling as with the move and all been way to busy.  This course will take about 10 months to finish and will be focused on Fiber and Weaving and everything fuzzy and fun.

Majacraft Course Loom

I will get a cool new loom designed by Majacraft specially for this course and a neat coloring book as well as the 8 different Modules.

Images of the Journey Coloring Book

 

I am excited as I haven’t done anything like this for a while.  I am also worried that it might be one to many To Do things, but at least it will be an enjoyable To Do thing.

 

We get our first module on November 15th and will have 6 weeks to complete each module.  It will involve spinning and weaving and probably other fiber art things as well as reflection and thinking.  Are you going to expand your creativity and take this course?

 

 

Alba Ranch Moved to Michigan

Alba Ranch has moved to Michigan.  This has been a very long and tiring journey over the last 4 months.  We are in Michigan and unpacking.  We will most likely be unpacking for the next 6 months or more!!!

I, Melisa, am just back online tonight for the first time and the connection is slower than my usual as I am tethered to my cell phone.  Soon I will have my proper internet installed but first I was hoping for my hot water heater and maybe my washing machine.  I have been boiling water in the kettle for hot water and going to the local laundry mat.  However that will not be happening again as someone stole my laundry from the dryer tonight.  I now have lost my blankets!!  I think all the other blankets are in the semi that we plan on unpacking in July.  sigh…. so you have to bear with me as I try to get all these things done and not forget my name or my new address in the mean time.

Lovely view of our stream in January when we first saw our place

We have springs, a stream and pond.  20 Acres of woods…sugar maples, beech, birch and bramble berry everywhere.  Grass for the critters, studio for both of us artists, garages, barns, and a wee little house that I just love.  Now I have to figure out how to condense enough stuff for a small country into a 1250 sq foot house.  But it is MILES bigger than our 12×18 cabin.  Wahoo! more to come later.