Friday, May 30, 2014

Saturday May 31

How on earth did we get to the end of May already?   Hard to believe it's almost June and we're getting uncomfortably close to the middle of the year.      Don't forget our Midwinter Christmas lunch is coming up on 21st June.   Let Diane know if you want to go so she can confirm numbers; I'm certainly going!    No spinning that day, but I'm sure you can knit or crochet if you'd like to.

Another busy day today, was wonderful to see everyone and there was much conversation to be had; I had to tink back my socks several times as I was talking too much.

Rose made these to go with her cardigan, the arms can expand to keep a longer expanse warm; might have to steal this idea.

Mary Catherine has been busy spinning up Anna's merino/silk

She's also been working with some lovely Fibre2Go as well

Kerry's been spinning Romney; isn't it lovely?

Meg knit this cute bear from the goodie bag she got at Festival.
Everyone have a good week.   I'm going to spend a little time this week working on an article about Romney wool; it's one you rarely hear about and I think it's been ignored for too long online.  A lot of us spin it though so I think I might be qualified to talk about it a wee bit.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 24th

Another really busy day, is it the change in season or the feeling that we're getting closer to our new home?   Whatever the reason it's great to have so many people turning up on Saturdays!

Diane spun these lovely skeins
Sonya crocheted these slippers for her son

Eleanor made this cute wee jersey for a small relative

This was what greeted us on arrival, a few have already found new homes before I took this shot

Heather crocheted this wee flower

Kerry's "leftovers" from the weaving she did for her daughter's wedding.   Some lovely teatowels resulted.

Riet spun this Romney on her wheel with the huge bobbin; the skein is laceweight and has the most amazing sheen!

Sandra knit these fingerless mitts which fit a large range of hand sizes

Heather turned this length of weaving into a jacket; the actual weaving was done, in the main, by a non-verbal girl with Aspergers; the work is amazing!

Margaret made this blanket from peggy squares.

Janet knit this from reclaimed handspun wool; you wouldn't know it was a second knit.

Kerry has been trialling some stitch patterns for the shawl study we'll be doing later in the year.

Meg knit this lavender scarf; lovely sheen on this too.

Anna spun this very squooshy yarn, it's a blend of merino/silk/sparkle

Mary Catherine's been busy too; two very nice little skeins here.
No how-to this week I'm afraid.   I've been too busy putting up shelves and mounting my warping board on the wall!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 18th

This Saturday was quite busy, the church was running a sale at the same time in the other rooms  so it was even busier!

As usual there was some lovely work that people had brought in

Heather did some experimenting with the Rose Path on her 8-shaft loom

This is 25g of Fiber2go merino/silk/alpaca Navajo plied by me (Rachelle).   It's going to be a cowl

Heather also brought the samples she made in the shibori weaving class

This blue scarf was her favourite, the end result after dyeing is something that I suspect she'll do again.

Brenda made this little jacket to wear when she goes away, lovely and light but very warm from boucle yarn.

Kerry knit this from alpaca for a new relative.

Heather spun these lagoon skeins and plied them with silk

Rosemary knit this little premmie outfit, it's hard to see the scale here, but it was so small!

Rosemary also made this scarf from Romney should be lovely and warm and I love the contrast too.

Jan made this knit and felted mohair hat.  It took 2 trips through the washing machine with a pair of jeans to get to the right size, but I think it was worth it.

Sandra knit this pair of fingerless mitts from hand dyed yarn.

This is Joanne's merino/silk from some of Anna's fibre.   It's lovely.

Pat dyed the yarn for these socks; I think it wasn't quite the end result she was aiming at, but how could you be disappointed with these?

39 singlets from our members for the Royal Singlet scheme.   A good range of sizes and colours; we did well!

Carol spun this cria alpaca (16 micron) into a laceweight yarn of approximately 1500 m.

Finally, I thought I'd show you the importance of finishing a skein of yarn.   This is my Fibre2go skein that you saw above.

After removal from the bobbin, in plied format.  Looking at it you'd think I'd overplied it

And after washing, dried with no weighting.   The twist has settled, that is because some of the twist you can see in the first photo had gone dormant due to the amount of time on the wheel before I plied it.   Once it got wet it reactivated and was pretty much perfect, resulting in a nicely balanced yarn.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Dreaded Moth

I thought it was time to tell you all about the fibre artist’s worst nightmare; the clothes moth.   Clothes moth is a not entirely accurate name; this moth isn’t interested in all clothes, just those made from protein fibres.    Your cotton, linen and other cellulose fibres are fairly safe, as are the man-made fibres.
The moth I normally come across is the Case Making Clothes Moth, so called as it makes a little case for itself before it becomes a moth; this is what you’ll normally find in your stash, along with dead adults and frass (or moth poo).    Now before you start worrying about every moth you see, keep in mind these guys are usually not seen.   They hate the light, so the ones fluttering around your porch light are safe.  If you ever see an adult clothes moth it’ll be fluttering or scurrying away from the light as fast as it possibly can.    They’re small too, only about 6 to 8mm in length and a light buff colour.  They’re often a little tatty looking too.  The actual damage isn’t done by the moth, it’s the larvae which eats the stash, they’re also the ones that make all that peppery looking poo (frass is the correct term) that you find in the bottom of the box or bag.
This is what you'll see; all those little peppery spots are frass and the tube is a case for the moth.  There were dead moths elsewhere in the bag as well.  This was all in a zip-loc bag and they did eat their way out.

The first step with these guys is to not get them in your stash in the first place.    They like fibres that are contaminated with food over clean fibre and from what I’ve seen they love raw alpaca and absolutely adore raw possum!    I’ve found them in sheep and goats fleece as well though, so they’re not that picky.  If possible wash fleeces to reduce the odour that attracts them, store with strong smelling things like cedar (best option) or lavender or even soap will help.  Make sure these things don’t have direct contact with the stash, put them in a cloth bag so their oils don’t contaminate your stash.    Now these things won’t kill the moth, but they will make it harder for it to find your stash.  Also store in plastic bins, clear is best as it lets in the light which will discourage them.  Zip loc bags can be helpful, but moths can chew through them to get to something that smells nicer to them.
In addition to the above, go through your stash at least once a year.   The moth doesn’t like being disturbed, and if it is in there you’ll likely find it before the damage gets too great.
If the worst should happen (as it has to me on a few occasions), don’t panic, swearing doesn’t really help I’m afraid, keep calm and start to sort out the problem.   Often the moth will come into your stash from something you buy, at the time you buy it there won’t be any sign you can see.   You could quarantine it, but would need to do this for quite some time and we don’t all have the room or time for this; not to mention most purchases are fine and not carrying any nasties.
The first thing to do is to take out the box that’s got the infestation (or bag), take it outside and start going through it.   I also check boxes within a few feet of the original to be certain that they’re ok as well.    The source of the infestation is normally binned straight away; it’s usually obvious which one that is as there will be dead moths, casings and lots of frass in there.   Don’t try to save it, it’s not worth it.    Check for signs in the rest of that box, if everything looks ok then it’s time to treat it to make sure it’s ok and stays that way.
Empty the box and give it a good vacuum, if you wish you could also wash it in hot soapy water.    If the fibre is a greasy fleece now’s the time to wash it in water that’s at least 50 degrees and you want to keep it at that temperature for 30 minutes at minimum.   If the fibre is natural that you’re intending to dye, get to it as the temperatures in dyeing will kill all stages of the pest.
If you can’t wash it or if it’s already dyed you have two options.
1.       This was the option I normally used until recently.   You need a deep freeze, a proper chest freezer, not the one attached to your fridge.   Freeze everything for at least four days; I normally go for a week.   Take it out and keep it in the warm for another four days.   Put it back in the freezer for a week and repeat.   I would do the freeze and warm cycle three times.   The cold kills the larvae and the adults, but not the eggs; the warmth persuades them to hatch and then the freezer kills them.    I’ve not had any problems with anything I’ve used this method with.
2.       This is the option I tried with the current infestation.   No signs of moth anywhere except in one bag, but the bag had been eaten through and some frass had got out so I wasn’t leaving anything to chance.   My freezer was full, so I did a little research and found that heat also kills them and it kills all parts of the lifecycle.   50 deg centigrade for 30 minutes minimum is what you need and I figure that since all my dyed fibre has hit that temperature in being dyed it’ll survive perfectly well if I did it again.   So, I used my largest roasting dish on the bottom shelf of the oven and heated it at 50 for 40 minutes.   The fibre came out of the oven without any damage (this was all Merino or Merino/Silk); I had a couple that I stuck in the freezer still but they included bamboo as part of the blend and I wasn’t sure how that would be in heat.

After treating your stash then put it back in the cleaned container and keep a close eye on it for a while.   I also contact the place I got the infestation from to let them know; most people appreciate knowing and it reduces the chances of it happening again.

I hope those of you who do get this in your stash can use this to help; I really hope no-one needs it, but unfortunately I know some will.

Saturday 10th May 2014

I'm actually going to do two posts today.   This one is the usual display of work; the second is going to be an information piece that I've written up today on the Dreaded Moth, I hope everyone finds it to be interesting, and I hope none of you need to use it!

This is Diane's spin of the Fibre2go that she picked up at Festival; about 500m Navajo plied and beautiful to behold!

Jenny spun this alpaca and silk from Southern Alpacas which she's not 100% happy with, but I think is gorgeous

Brenda decided to experiment with natural dyes; she used onion and fallen apricot leaves.

Mary Catherine spun this from some of Anna's fibre and it's lovely.

Jan knit this beautifully bright cowl; it'll do a great job of chasing away any winter blues.

Rose did a dyeing course at Ashfords with Nicola

She got a heap of dyeing done and I think she rather enjoyed herself!