Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Solution!

A while back a very nice lady that I met through Ravelry gave me some lovely Corriedale fleece. I cleaned it carefully and then dyed it with some Lanaset dyes aiming for a deep brown (came close, but was more a deep plum instead.) Unfortunately, things didn't work out quite well and I despaired of ever getting the chance to have usable fleece. The d*mn fleece had been overprocessed and when I tried hand carding and spinning it, it felt like dry rope in the hand. I tried hand carding some bombyx silk in with it, but it didn't help. So I set it aside a while in disgust until I could decide what to do with it.

After I received my drum carder, I ordered some fiber from Sheep Shed Studio. I got some top that was a deep black and dark brown with a touch of mohair mixed in with it. I picked out as much of the mohair as possible, but it was impossible to remove it all.

I was then hit by an idea. I have some dark brown and some black alpaca in storage. What if I mix it all up? What if I mix the brown/black, the corriedale and the alpaca? I'd then have a sweater's worth of the dark brown that I was looking for.

I wanted to make sure that I have the same amount of all the fibers in each of the batts that I would make. I've been going all scientific-y lately and so, to make life more interesting, I decided to card together the fibers that I have seperately first. Then, it would be easier to divide by weight and would be smoother when fed through the carder with the other fibers.

I spent all of last night carding up the black and brown domestic wool from SSS. Then tackled the dreaded Corriedale. I got three lovely batts of the Corriedale before I quit.

I couldn't wait to see what it would all feel like together and went ahead (before tackling the alpaca batts) and carded up a batt. I really wanted to see if the Corriedale was going to hurt the mix. I had so little faith in that Corriedale, but wow, was the completed batt gorgeous:

Left: black/brown batt, Middle: Corriedale, Right: Both combined w/ alpaca
It feels so soft and silky and is the perfect chestnut brown that has just a touch of sheen thanks to the tiny percentage of mohair. Lovely stuff and it's going to be so drapey.

I still need to finish carding the Corriedale and then start on the alpaca. It won't be finished in the next couple of days due to me going out of town on Thursday evening, but I'll get this at least partially finished next week.

I found time today to attach the sleeves to the Owls sweater and begin on the yoke:

I'm taking this with me this weekend and I'm hoping I'll have time to work on it then.