Trønderrokk Treff 2015

Tiden begynner å nærmere seg til Trønderrokks sitt spinnetreff!  Det har vært for mye kaos her i det siste slik at jeg har glemte å melde treffet på bloggen, men det kommer, det kommer!  Blir du med?

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Vi treffer på Quality Hotel Panorama på Tiller i Trondheim den 14.-15. mars.  Påmeldingen foregår nå, og fristen kommer rett rundt hjørnet men vi har jo plass til flere!

Det blir tid å lære, skravle, og le med andre som er like hektet på spinning og fiber, og et marked (som betyr sjansen å kjøpe litt).

Mer opplysningen finnes på gruppens webside:  http://www.tronderrokk.com/tronderrokktreff-14-15-mars-2015/

Vi holder på å ordne det som trenges, men er du litt nysjerrig om hva disse to eskene har i seg?  ;-)

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The king is dead, long live the king

That phrase has always bothered me a tiny bit.  It doesn’t allow for the interval between the ending of one and the beginning of the other, and that has always seemed sort of a sad thing.  There should be a pause between the changing of the guard, a chance to recognize that the old has passed away and the new is coming in.  In reality, however, I suspect that very little of life works that way.  And perhaps I’m just feeling it particularly now.

2014 has been a hellish year.  It has been full of illness, stress, chaos, and sorrow.  DH’s mother died in June, and he followed entirely unexpectedly and far far too young in November.  The November and December holidays have been wells of darkness, and I’m not looking forward to the coming couple of weeks.  But in just a few hours, the books on 2014 will officially be closed; the king will be dead.

And just after that, 2015 will start with a fresh page.  Long live the king.

I’ll be honest and say that I’m not particularly looking forward to 2015.  I’m not expecting it to be a good year.  I’m expecting it to be a year of finding footing, regaining some semblance of balance, and figuring out a lot of things which weren’t even on the radar.  A year of adjusting to something which simply shouldn’t be.  A survival year.  Nothing more.  I suppose that sounds rather grim, but it is, if nothing else, realistic.  And I frankly think that if I can manage that, then I’ll have done well.

So, then, on this last day of 2014 and before 2015 rings that opening bell, perhaps it makes sense that there is little or no pause between the end of one and the start of the other.  It is, after all, just a continuation.

And in the light of all that, there is one final yarn to report and record.  It is 2014’s last, and adds 12 ounces to the total of handspun, bringing me up to 136 ounces (8.5 pounds). I didn’t even come close to the goal of 14 pounds, but given the year, that’s ok.

This is Enchanted Knoll Farm’s “Timekeeper” from May 2013. It’s a grief yarn, which means that you spin it during the absolute worst life has to offer–and it shows. It’s as inconsistent as can be in both grist and twist, short of being a true thick-thin. I saw at least one accidental eyelash when I was skeining it off, and there may even be one or two places where I began plying in the wrong direction. Otherwise, some areas are hard with enough twist to be brittle, others are barely held together, and some are actually rather normal.

This is a beautiful colorway and one of my favorite fibers (a sw Merino/Tencel blend), and the yarn doesn’t do it a fraction of the justice it deserves, or which I’d planned. But somehow it’s appropriate that it is the one which closes out the year. And this is one yarn which will not be gifted away. There are a total of 1574 yards between the two skeins, so there should be enough for something pretty and comforting.

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Trond would have actually liked it.

Long live the king.

Progress!

A few minutes here and there add up.  That pile of roving?  It’s now neatly combed nests.  Not counting what’s in the basket beside the wheel, or the singles on the bobbin, there are about 900 grams worth.

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Saturday starts a travel period, so it’ll wait neatly in its corner until I get back.

How’s that for something fibery to look forward to?

Do what I say . . .

. . . and not as I do!!

See this very badly photographed bundle of fiber?

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Not the lovely nests on the left.  Look at the marbled roving on the right.  That.

It’s a mix of mystery fine-wools that came in last year.   There were about three partial fleeces, and they came in at a time when I was on the road and had neither the time nor the opportunity to do anything with them.  Nor did I have the room in my luggage to get them back home.  So, I did the unthinkable.  I gave them a cursory look, packed them up, and sent them out for someone else to worry about.

The fleeces had been requested—and sheared—about three years earlier, and I’d chalked it up to a learning experience; I never expected to see them.  Nor do I know what I received.  What was originally ordered didn’t entirely match what was in my hands.  I could make a couple of educated guesses, but in the end I genuinely have  no clue what I had received, other than that they were all medium-fine to fine wools.  The staple length was about the same for all of them, but the colors varied between a solid near black, a chocolate moorit, and a Jacob-like variation with a grey and white patch.

However, they were full of foxtail-type seeds.

Mom and I went through and pulled out a large bowl of the things, and I knew that as dense as the locks were, there were bound to be more buried in the fleece.  But there was going to be no way of really seeing the things without giving the fleeces a proper scouring—and that was something I couldn’t do at the time.

Together, the fleeces came out to be about 5 pounds, so I sent them all off to Morro to scour and do the initial carding but not take any further.

What I did not do was properly evaluate the fleeces, and I should have.  At least one of them must have had a degree of second cuts or weak tips—and given the weathering on the locks, I’m betting the latter.  But carding with the seeds that didn’t come out in the scouring didn’t help the fiber much, and there are a certain amount of neps in the roving. And, of course, there are still remnants of the seeds.  Don’t get me wrong:  Morro did a wonderful job given what they had.  I genuinely do not believe anyone could have done better.  The flaws in the roving are entirely mine.  You know the GIGO rule (garbage in, garbage out).  Well, it wasn’t garbage, but it wasn’t what I would have sent had I been thinking and had I had any time at all.

I span a bit of a sample to see how things would work out, but I discovered that the neps and remaining VM annoyed me slightly, and that I wasn’t entirely fond of the way the marbling was going to play in the final yarn.  So, I started combing it.  Not intensively, but one short round of rough combing—from stationary comb to swinging comb and back again—just to blend the color and allow me to pull out the remaining neps and bits of seed. This is not a brilliant photo—there’s only so much you can do at night without a light box and under halogen lights–but this is what I’m getting:

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It’s a lovely dark moorit with a grey cast, and it spins just beautifully.

And the combing waste?  Those neps and odd bits?  They’re going to be stuffed into a pad for a pet bed along with some other processing waste bits and leftovers that I’ve been gathering, and a bit of a badly stained down fleece I never had the heart to mulch.  We’re getting into winter, our floors are cold, and I’m sure my brother-in-law’s guide dog would like something warm and insulating for his visits, especially given the fact that labs don’t tend to have much by way of coats of their own.

That works.

This won’t exactly have been a cheap experience, but I can’t say that I truly regret it.  Having Morro do the initial prep has saved me a lot of time and energy, and rough-combing the roving has been a pleasure.

So, what’s the moral of the story?  Well, first of all, there’s always time to evaluate a fleece.  Always.  Even if you have to put it on the shelf for another year before you do.  Wool has no expiration date.  Just check it enough to be sure it’s dry, that there’s nothing which will cause rot, infestation, mold, and so forth, and put it aside until you have enough functioning grey cells to deal with it.

Second, and perhaps equally important, there’s nothing which says you  have to settle for something with which you aren’t entirely happy.  Assuming the fiber is sound to begin with, there’s no reason you cannot take one prep and modify it into another, no reason you cannot change it, use it for an ingredient in something else, and so on. In this case, rough combing gave me exactly what I wanted.

It’ll make a wonderful sweater lot of a 4-ply.

Eventually.

And we’re back!

Ok, folks, the blog is back, and I’m recovering information, relevant posts, and galleries as I go.  I still have pages which need rebuilding (or building), but we’re largely functional again.

I would liked to have shifted the site over to Concrete5, but right now I simply don’t have time or functioning grey cells to do what needs doing for that, and given that they’re coming out with an update on the platform in the coming month, I’m opting to wait and deal with it at a later date.  For now, then, we’ll go with WordPress for the blog function.

I still have the Shepherds/resources page to update, some information to add for the Norwegian sheep breeds, and some tutorials to upload.  But they’ll come as I can find time for them.

In the meantime, if there was something here which you found useful and which you don’t see now, send me a note or leave me a comment and I’ll see if I can add it.

Whew.  :-)  Hackers and lightning strikes.  Really.  I’m thinking I might want to land an asteroid on the grave of the fellow who came up with the “may you live in interesting times” curse.  You know, as a sort of cosmic return.  ;-p

Excuse the dust…

I’m afraid the site was hacked, so I’ve nuked it and am rebuilding.  Hang tight; the important content–such as the Valkyrie comb overview–will be back as soon as I can get it in place.

UPDATE:  The Valkyrie wool comb overview is now live under the “Reviews” tab.