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Previous Entry Random Blatherings Jan. 21st, 2010 @ 08:01 am Next Entry
My brain is going 90-to-nothing right now, so *you* get a meandering post. :grin: Sorry...I think. Now, as an apology, you *ALSO* get photos..so....:lol:

Let's see...for some reason I didn't sleep last night; the few times I was able to fall asleep I kept having "fear" dreams. Stupid stuff, but I kept waking up frightened to death. Not really sure what's up with that.....that there IS reason to fear for our future, I agree...but I *know* where I'm going, so....:shrug:

Wood Stove: got the brochures yesterday. :whew: I *know* quality wood stoves aren't cheap - I mean, the cheap ones from Tractor Supply run $900, and they're plain (OK...they're UGLY) and cheaply made! The installer is a Pacific Energy dealer, as well as a Hampton, Lennox and Regency one. He very nicely marked the ones he recommends for our house size, and put the prices on there. :holy moly!: We have expensive tastes....both Sweet Geek and I drooled over the Hampton H-300.....which would run $3K. JUST for the stove. :blink: Um...no. Not even. No. I pointed out the PE Spectrum...it's similar to the Hampton, but not as prettified...same porcelain finish, and a little under $2K (WITH the fancy door, pretty legs, and fancy trivet. It's only $1,700 for the basic flat black stove) This is still MORE than I really want to spend....but. We're concerned with safety, fuel efficiency, and cooking ability. The TSC stove is smaller....it's made in China, and.....well, need I say more. :sigh: I get to do a little more 'net research today, I think. I'm hoping the PE stove will bring us in at the $3,500 he quoted as his "cheap" everything price. (And I'm still in shock over the prices. :sigh: Should've jumped on the Craigslisting last year!)

Sweater: Almost thru the first ball of yarn. That equates to 2" of ribbing and Almost 4 complete pattern repeats. Not bad! Only...there are 15 full repeats and 4 rows in the entire front..so I still have quite a bit of knitting ahead of me. Good thing I like to knit....:grin: (Don't remind me I still have 2 sleeves to do, OK? Those should go fast, since they don't take as many stitches to begin with. I hope...) I have some photos of the repair of the back...but they came out really fuzzy. So...you don't get to see them. Sorry....

Fiber: Cashmere. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. You know what? I don't need to DESCRIBE it - I need to SHOW it. :heh:

This is raw cashmere, straight from LaDue's back (she's the goat in my current icon). She was bred for pluck-abilty, like Angora rabbits. Seriously, we walk up, take a handful, and pull - off it comes! It's dirty here, but that'll come out in the carding process.

Here it is, after Sweet Geek ran some of it thru my handcards. I had him use the cotton ones (more teeth per inch; used for finer fibers), and gave him a quick lesson. He caught on pretty quick! There's still a little junk in there, but not much.

I started spinning it - I'd only done 1....I can't really call it a rolag, since he didn't roll it, but....anyway. It wanted to spin froghair-fine, so I let it. I didn't manipulate it much - I wanted to see what it would do. It's not perfect, but it is pretty even. Most of the leftover junk fell out during drafting. It's....wow. Lovely to spin - oh, so soft! There's a few guard hairs left in it, so we need to work on that, but oh! To spin my own cashmere!

This is one full pass on the bobbin. It took maybe...4 rolags? to get to this. The fiber spins up beautifully - I had to work to keep it realistic (anything under 3 fibers is silly...this wanted to draft 2 at a time. I need to work on this!), and it WILL have to be plied to be usable for "manly" things. :grin: I think this will become a scarf for Sweet Geek, eventually. AFTER the sweater, my sweater, some socks...:lol:

I love the color - sort of a fog color. Sunny is our other cashmere - she has gold fiber. I can't wait for HER to start shedding! LaDue is right on the border between Cashmere and Cashgora (19 microns vs. 20+....*I* can't tell the difference, but eh. Whatever. It's still soft!); Sunny is sitting at 16 microns. I CAN tell the difference between her and LaDue - Sunny is SUPER soft. I want to cuddle up to her. :grin: They're both bred to a Grand Champion Cashmere buck...we'll be keeping at least 1 of their kids. (Sunny's for sure...we'll see about LaDue's). We're hoping for some finer cashmere from the offspring....

I do have to laugh, though. Seems Sweet Geek has been googling "cashmere" and "preparing for spinning" and whatnot. (I guess my fully-stocked library of spinning books, plus my own experience don't count...:lol:) HE'S upset that I left a couple of guard hairs in HIS yarn. :snicker: I told him, hey - the deal was YOU could get the cashmere goats, and I would spin the fiber, but *I* would not do ANYTHING related to prepping the fiber. That was ALL on you, remember? :rofl: (Reason: I really don't have the time to prep fiber AND spin AND knit/weave, plus all the other stuffs I have to do. The goats were "his" project *cough* - truthfully, the CASHMERE goats were his idea. I was all behind the nubians - you don't have to do a whole lot with them. Feed 'em, hay 'em, keep the barn clean, once they kid you milk 'em once or twice a day (if you leave the kids on them, you can do it 1x/day. Since our goats are all CL & CAE free, we're leaning towards that. Except for the 2 Nubians, who we will get AFTER they kid, sans any doe kids. They'll HAVE to be milked 2x/day.)...that's it.)

Anyway....there's more, but I'll stop now to gather my thoughts. And work on the Sweater, since the boss isn't due in yet.

Current Location: office
Current Mood: happyhappy
spin a yarn
Date:January 21st, 2010 03:50 pm (UTC)
Ok..so Cashmere is the kind of fur that sheds out on it's own and mohair has to be cut off an angora goat? is that the way it goes?
My Xandy is a nigerian/angora mix (they call her a nigora) but her coat combs out, it is sooo crazy silky soft, but not very long - how long do your fibers have to be to spin? Did you send your to a lab to be checked for micron size?
Just full of questions today...~ali
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Date:January 21st, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC)

:tee hee: Let's see what I can do off the top of my head, here. *Some* Cashmere can be plucked, some can't. The breeder we got our 2 from is breeding for pluck-ablility, because it's easier on both the goat and the shepherd. It's also better for the end-wearer, because cut ends tend to be a little scratchy (it's why *some* people think Merino wool (very very soft wool) is scratchy - it's not, it's the blunt-cut ends).

I don't know a whole lot about Angoras, except that they have long, lustrous fiber that does need to be shorn (tip: Use electric clippers. If SHTF, you'll have to resort to hand-shearing (try eBay for old hand-shears!), but until then make it easy on yourself - use Oster or Shearmaster. Go to Premier 1 (I *think* they're listed under Premier 1 Supplies, but can't find the link) and see what they offer, then hit Craigslist or eBay.) The older the Angora, the "coarser" the fiber - but that's relative. I've spun some fiber from an "ancient" goat (I think it was an 8 year old) that was absolutely fine and soft. Kid mohair is the softest, of course - and not as scratchy as there's only 1 cut end. (Hmmm...wonder if you could breed for shedding? Just a thought...I know some of the sheep farms in Oz were testing a shot that caused the Merino Sheep to suddenly shed all their fleece...not sure how that's coming along. Also not sure what was *in* the shot...but it's an interesting thought. Less stress on the animal, according to them!)

Your Xandy *might* have Cashgora - here's the thing. Cashmere's are *just* now a "breed" - they've been trying to set standards for the past...10 or 15 years. Before that, it was all based on the micron count of the fiber - under 20 is Cashmere (and, from what I understand - ANY goat that has that fine of a fiber can be called Cashmere, or could before the standards started being set), over 20 is "Cashgora". Some *Nubians* have Cashgora fiber (not mine, alas - but one of the bucks they bred to this year *does*! I'm hoping we score a buckling....for breeding purposes, of course. :grin:)!

To find that out, yeah - you just about have to send it to a lab. Not sure of where, or how much it costs - I know my friend has her fiber tested every few years to make sure she's on the right track.

As for length - I've spun stuff as short as .5". It wasn't fun..but it's do-able. Our Cashmere is about 3" in spots - I don't know if that's normal or not. (Haven't measured Sunny's yet, since she's not shedding). The thing to remember is that the shorter the fiber, the more twist you need to put into the singles.....but the more twist, the "harder" the yarn. It's a balancing act - one that I've not quite mastered yet.

For the shorter fiber, it's easiest to spin using a supported spindle - where the bottom is on the floor/table, not hanging from the singles. (OK...it's even *easier* if you have a charka or spindle wheel....Babe's makes one, but I've not tried it yet. When I had more discretionary income, I bought a charka from Alden - it's lovely, and it scares me. I've only played with it a litte...if I didn't have so much raw cotton in my garage I'd sell it to someone who'd use it....ah, well. One can never have too many tools!) With your Mohair, that shouldn't be an issue - if I remember right, most Mohair is easily 5" or longer (I think....it's been a while.)

Oh! There's a video out on spindle-spinning, by Abby Franquemont (I think that's how you spell it - she's FANTASTIC.). I think she has some YouTube's up, too - I can *highly* recommend looking her up. She's a wonderful spinner - her parents were highly regarded Fiber Anthropologists, and she grew up in Peru, learning to spin from the natives. Reading her exploits really opened my eyes.....she's an all-around wonderful person, and her spindle skills are my goal. I'll never *reach* that, of course - she's had MUCH more time to perfect them, but I can aspire, right? She's just put out a book, too - "Respect the Spindle"; I don't have a copy - yet - but it's on my list. (Sorry, I'll quit fan-girling now, but I do recommend you see if you can find her on YouTube. Especially if you're a visual learner!)
Date:January 21st, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC)
Oh Boy I am in trouble now! Look what this lady can do with only a drop spindle!!!

spinning can be an expensive hobby - but LOOK she is making YARN cheap!!!
Sinc eit is a rainy afternoon and my hubby is taking the kid to the movies I think I will spend the rest of the day looking at you tube how to spin videos...


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Date:January 21st, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
YES! That's Abby - she's FANTASTIC!

And...I'm not an enabler. I'm just trying to help you use what you have. :nods: All that Mohair...you *need* to spin it up. Makes nice blending fiber for socks (I'd do....60/40, at the most, wool/mohair) - adds strength and shine. And it takes dye Wonderfully!
Date:January 21st, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC)


So you're saying I should've gotten fiber goats, so I could have both milk AND hair? Ugh.
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Date:January 21st, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)

Re: no...!!

:snicker: Yes...and No. IF you don't spin, and don't have the gumption to learn (NOT a bash - spinning is an acquired skill. It's not hard, but - for MOST people - it's not a quick thing to pick up!), then it's not worth trying to get fiber. It took me.....about 60 hours to start churning out usable yarn. And I only had 2 kids and horses, not all the other critters I have now. (And....wheels aren't cheap, even used. You can usually find a good Ashford for $100 or so...or could. Haven't checked recently. Drop spindles ARE cheap....but take longer to produce clothing-amounts of yarn.)

Plus...you don't need fiber animals. Find a 4-H group (or FFA). The sheep kids usually shear right before a show and THROW THE FLEECE AWAY. I won't lie - it's not ideal fiber, but it's usable and FREE. (I have a garage full of Suffolk. It's great for socks and hats, and *maybe* sweaters, if I don't mind heavy socks/hats/sweaters. Still - Free.) If you have a long-haired dog (Spitz/Pyr/Pom/Retriever), you can spin *their* fluff.

Sweet Geek wanted the Cashmere strictly for the fiber - when he found out they were bred for milk, as well, he was sold. Me? Honestly - I'd rather BUY my fiber ready-to-spin. Less time spent prepping means more time to spin/knit/weave. Still...I have....lots of wool in the garage waiting for me to spin it up.

You are crocheting like a madwoman now. IF you decide you want to take up spinning, give me a shout - I'll set you up with a drop spindle and ready-to-spin wool. When you're ready to move up to a wheel (and you will want to, eventually), I'll be happy to help you find a usable one. It's inevitable, you know.....
Date:January 22nd, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)

Re: no...!!

Seriously Anna - the milk goats are more useful. They give me milk Every Single Day! When I have extra milk I can make cheese, and kefir and cream, or I can feed the extra milk to the chickens. Fiber goats give you fluff once or twice a year.
I just happened to get a free fiber goat (who maybe has babies inside - it is a surprise!)
I would be more inclined to buy fiber already shorn and cleaned and spun...hey! That's yarn! thats what I like!
Goats need nutrition for the work they are doing. It is very hard on a goat to be a heavy milk producer and a heavy fiber producer - usually they are mediocre on both counts.

I also have bags of dirty wool...someone said I could have it for FREEEEE!
and now it is taking up space in my garage for FREEE! Cuz it has to be cleaned, carded, batted, spun, plied and then it can be used for something.
I just figure if we are stuck with no electricity for a few years (could happen) and I am bored, I will want somemthing to do.
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Date:January 22nd, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)

Re: no...!!

Yup. Our particular Cashmeres were bred to be a tri-use animal - Milk, Meat, and Fiber. *MY* focus, for the goats, is milk and meat. The fiber is just an extra perk.

I haven't heard of anyone milking Angoras.....but I don't see why you couldn't. *Some* people milk Boers! The only thing is, you probably won't get the *amount* of milk that a dedicated dairy breed would give you. (Although.....our breeder told me she was getting a good 8 pounds (1 gallon)/day from the Cashmeres she milked. I don't expect that - I expect 4 pounds/day. I hope to be pleasantly surprised. :grin:

As for the fiber.....put it (in small amounts) in pillowcases or lingerie bags. Seal the end. Fill your washer with the HOTTEST water you can - boil a gallon or so and add it, too. Add 1 cup of Original Formula Dawn dishsoap (the BLUE one) and swish it a bit with a spoon. Plop in your bags and press them GENTLY down with the spoon, close the lid, and let 'em soak for 15 minutes. Spin the water out, pull out the bags, and do it again. Spin, pull out, refill with water the same temp, add a good glug of vinegar (to cut any remaining soap), let soak 15 minutes. Spin out...if you feel it needs it, do 1 more rinse soak sans vinegar. Remove the now-clean fleece from the bags and put it on a screen to dry. (You can use a bathtub, too or sink. To spin it out, get a Salad Spinner - works great, but only small amounts at a time. :grin:)

Carding it - if you can't afford/don't want to afford actual carders, you *can* use dog slicker brushes. It'll take longer, but it's cheap. I can't explain *how* to card - it's something I have to show - but there are good vids out on it.

Spinning - you've got a start on that. :lol:

Plying - same as spinning, only you're using 2 singles, and you're turning the spindle/wheel the OPPOSITE way from the way you spun it. Easy-peasy!
Date:January 22nd, 2010 01:53 am (UTC)

Re: no...!!

The whole dirty wool is the washer trick..I have to wait for a weekend that my husband is away. way away. He is always rolling his eyes at me - like What are you doing now?!?
I also have cow hide in the garage that needs to be tanned.
He is going to be sick of walking around it very soon.
But it was FREEEEE! who throws away a perfectly good hair on cowhide??
(spin a yarn)
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