(Warning: Photo Heavy but Fun!)
Last year I was slackerly in my Project Spectrum involvement. This year I decided to make a better effort to work on some kind of project for each set of colors. I cut it close by doing the work on Feb/March colors on March 30, but hey, better late than never.
About a month ago I had my first carding 'speriments with silk, color and the carder. I decided to do another carding 'speriment for my Feb/March Project Spectrum project, and to incorporate the "lessons learned" from the last 'speriment.
Feb/March colors are blue, white and grey:
in about a 1:2:1 ratio (first applied "lesson learned": use less silk).
Once upon a time, I promised photos of the drum carder in action. I eventually make good. ;)
Here she is:
Note the "No Fingers" warning and the red line. I give the carder proper respect and keep my fingers away from the line.
The lock was not to protect my carder from wily carder-lifting fiber fiends. It's a safety measure to keep the carder power switch in the Off position:
The variable speed dial goes from quite slow to quite fast. I usually keep it at 50:
In motion, it's a blur:
I started with a thin layer of white merino (second applied "lesson learned": thinner layers of each color):
I figured with merino as the base, the batt would come off the drum easier than it would with a merino/silk or silk base.
thin layer of white merino on the drum
I then added a thin layer of the charcoal merino/silk:
You can see the hint of color on the spinning drum (third applied "lesson learned": spritzing the drum with water periodically to prevent static and allow more fiber to stay on the drum):
I'm sure I added more charcoal merino/silk than this, but it's the only photo I took:
charcoal merino/silk over white merino on the drum
Next, the fun part - adding color!
a little blue
nice blue layer
After adding a thin layer of each color:
I continued adding more fiber in whatever order occurred to me:
until I got tired or it seemed like the drum carder wasn't holding on to the fibers as well (due to static).
There was a little waste on the infeed drums:
but not as much as last time.
Also, on the far side of the drum, stray fibers collected:
Using the doffer tool in the above photo, I loosened the fibers at the ... I dunno what it's called, the join or the groove or the whatever section that doesn't have any teeth:
and then used the batt lifter to roll the batt off the drum:
You can see the "bottom" of the batt is white because I started with the white merino:
while the "top" is mostly blue/green from the last tussah silk layer:
(there's a better color photo at the end)
Spinning the batt
I tore off a section of the batt, and then split that into 4 strips to spin. No further attenuating was necessary:
hints of bright color
I spun quickly just to see how it came out, and then created an Andean plying bracelet so I could ply it from both ends:
The resulting 2-ply:
- I liked the hand/feel better than the last batch; the added merino made a nice difference. The yarn actually feels quite nice.
- The resultant yarn reminds me of Ashland Bay merino or merino/silk in their multi's colorways because of the tweedy color variation. But I didn't have to spin from the fold. ;)
- The final colors are much darker and toned down compared to the original silk. It's to be expected, since adding black to anything will mute or tone down a color. But still, it surprised me.
- I do miss the deep colors of the original silk.
- The white adds hilights, which is a nice effect.
The carding went about as expected/hoped. The applied "lessons learned" went smoothly and improved the process and results. The colors did not go as expected, however. I felt like I lost the gorgeous colors of the silk. Next time I might try blending with a slightly more muted or lighter shade of the silk so that the silk really stands out. Overall, I had a LOT of fun with this 'speriment and couldn't wait to see how it turned out. :)