Hand carding, or rather… trying to.

The other day I mentioned the large amount of locks in my possession, the last spinning project of my 2014 goal.  It’s proven harder than I thought.  First, the procrastination because it’s something new.  Second, how the heck to do it!?  I’ve sat down once or twice to just try to spin them, but they are somewhat mixed up and twisted together, so some organizing is in order.

Today I borrowed a pair of hand carders from a knitting/spinning/sewing/every-craft-imaginable friend, and dug out my spinning books.

Ready?

Ready?

I tried “combing” the locks with the hand carders.  That was hard.  I tried carding them.  That was also hard, and the result wasn’t exactly a rolag.  The pile of locks didn’t seem to be getting smaller, even with this fetching mermaid helping me.

So much to do!

So much to do!  And this is only HALF of the locks!

At the end of my efforts tonight, I had this basket of would-be rolags, and a pile of combed locks.  I would say that the combing was more successful, but it is going to take some major effort/time to get it all of the locks in spinning condition.   One of my books also suggests a fine dog comb, which I think might be easier for me.  Maybe I’ll seek one out.

Results of tonight.

Results of tonight.

And here, for your viewing pleasure and to end the day on a positive note, is a gratuitous photo of San Francisco Bay that I took this afternoon.  There seemed to be some kind of sailing class taking place.  Sometimes the boat would capsize, and it was pretty exciting to watch.

Gratuitous photo of San Francisco Bay.

Gratuitous photo of San Francisco Bay.

Productive

Today was a more productive day than usual!  First of all, I sewed up the last strips squares for my quilt top– meaning I have four strips to sew together, then to the bigger piece that’s waiting so patiently.

Ready to become part of the whole quilt!

Ready to become part of the whole quilt!

I took a quick trip to my LYS, Imagiknit, to pick up some yarn I’d ordered for my POP blanket.  And I found some nice things, including these adorable Mochimochi Land kits for knitting these teeny tiny creatures.

Mochimochiland!

Mochimochiland!

And this!  3 feet of fiber for spinning!  If I can work down my fiber stash, and this is still at the shop, I will be super tempted….

3 feet of fiber!

3 feet of fiber!

Their selection of local yarns is getting to be very nice.

Local yarns

Local yarns

This yarn was so thick, it was about as big around as one of my fingers.

Huge yarn!

Huge yarn!

And a trunk show– I’m not sure if this was just Coco Knits or if there were other designers featured here, but they were lovely samples.

Coco Knits

Coco Knits

And later, at the beginning of Knit Night I had this:

Beginning of Knit Night

Beginning of Knit Night

And by the end I had grafted the toes and woven in the ends, with some admiration of my even floats along the way.

My best floats ever?

My best floats ever?

Finished Eisern socks!

Finished Eisern!

Finished Eisern!

Cute bottom.

Cute bottom.

IMG_5794

My plan is to focus a little on my POP blanket and the quilt, now that these socks and Halloween costumes are finished.   But I am also feeling the need for an instant gratification project, maybe a hat or some kind of cowl.  Hmmm.

Lambtown

The day started out like this, too early, but clear and lovely.

Is my coffee ready yet?

Is my coffee ready yet?

After going back and forth in my head a bit, I decided to trek up to Dixon with the kids for our first time at Lambtown! http://www.lambtown.org/ It was kind of a hard decision, because it’s about a 90-minute drive from home, and handling my two kids by myself at a fiber festival was really an iffy idea.  But I’d always wanted to go, and we were totally free today, so we went ahead and did it!

The kids were distracted by the carnival rides, but I managed to get them over to the livestock barn for some sheep/fleece ogling.

Petting sheep (Merino?)

Petting sheep (Merino?)

We caught a bit of the sheep judging. The one held by the woman ended up winning, if I remember correctly.  I forget why.

Judging sheep

Judging sheep

There were lots of adorable sheep to look at and some to pet (I’d advise you to take care with the rams!).

Sheep judging us right back?

Sheep judging us right back?

How fun to see so many different kinds of sheep in one place, and to admire the many different types of locks!  How could you resist these???

Look at those locks!!

Look at those locks!!

We also caught some sheepdog trials (finals!).  Have you ever seen a sheep dog at work?  It’s fascinating!  I told my kids that these are Jedi dogs, who use mind tricks to control the sheep.  This dog got these three sheep to go through two gates and a chute.

The dog stays, but oh so reluctantly!

Sheep dog finals

Sheep dog finals

You can see the burst of dust where the dog sat suddenly.  In the end, he (?) did a very good job!

Sheep dog finals

Sheep dog finals

Back to ogling the sheep.  Look at this wool!!!

Those locks!

Those locks!

Ohhhhh!

THOSE LOCKS!!!

THOSE LOCKS!!!

Sweet trio, no lovely wool, though.

Sweet family.  The babies were for sale!

Sweet family. The babies were for sale!

I think the wee girl was shopping for a sheep.

Shopping for a sheep?

This one looks good?

Of course there was an excellent marketplace for all wooly things.  It seemed that most were fairly local, too.  The farthest vendor I saw was only from Oregon.

YES, PLEASE!!!

YES, PLEASE!!!

Ahhh

Ahhh

Super mega ultra lightning champion fleece!

Super mega ultra lightning champion fleece!

Lovely rolags

Lovely rolags

What?  How?  Huh????

What? How? Huh????

We were SO LUCKY to run into a friend from my knitting group who was there with her husband and kid.  This situation 1) distracted and entertained my kids so that they lasted longer at the festival and 2) provided me with a few child-free minutes in which to peruse the market and choose a souvenir to spin.  I ended up with these 12 ounces from Sincere Sheep.  I couldn’t resist the price– 12 ounces of roving for about $35.  The nice lady running the shop (looking at their website, it seems to be the owner Brooke), said that the amazing sale was due to her having just a few of this and that left, and the small amounts are harder to sell, so she packaged them up in these alluring and irresistible bags for a steal.  My idea is to combine them all into a big spinning project, so it can be….. a small sweater, perhaps?

My souvenirs.

My souvenirs.

http://sinceresheep.com/

Phew, it was a long, hot day!  We hit temperatures of 99 degrees on the way home.  But I was lucky in that my kids behaved reasonably well all day, they had fun, and I finally made it to Lambtown!

Out of curiosity

I decided to take inventory of my spinning fibers and see how I’m doing with my goal if spinning my entire fiber stash this year. Here’s what I’ve spun so far this year:

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Here’s what I have left to spin:

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And here’s all the handspun in my stash, waiting to be knit up!

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I’m not counting the fiber I bought at Stitches West or the fiber I’ve been given, since my goal was regarding the fiber I had at the beginning of 2014. I’ve made a dent in my fiber stash for sure, but it’s clear that I’d better get spinning!!! And then I need to knit up my handspun!