A Fiber Farm Blog

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Project: Roving to Single Ply Thick n Thin Yarn

One of the things I love most about doing shows is the opportunity to meet and talk with fiber enthusiasts like myself.  At a show a few months back, I was talking with someone who was trying to figure out what to do with some roving that she loved.  A skilled knitter, she had at one point bought a spinning wheel and some lovely roving with the intention of learning to spin.  Even with the best intentions, she just never enjoyed the spinning like she had hoped.  She sold her wheel but just couldn’t part with the beautiful roving she had purchased and was determined to do something with it.  I sent her home with a plan to felt her roving and make a single ply, thick n thin yarn, a yarn that she could knit with and enjoy.  Here is how it is done.

For the project I chose 4 oz. of my hand dyed First Blush roving.   It is 100% alpaca and all it needs to felt is heat, friction and soap.  So here we go.

Felted Yarn 4

You want to make sure at some point before you are done with the felting process that your roving is in one piece.  You will want to do this so that when you are finished felting you have one nice, long length of yarn to use.  To do this you will need to felt your roving ends together.  I try my best to make sure all my roving does come in one piece but every once in a while I will have to add additional pieces to make a full 4 ounce bundle.   And sometimes when you are working with roving, before you know it, the fibers seemed to have pulled apart on their own.  You don’t have to felt your ends together this early in the process but I find it is much easier to do before too much of the felting has occurred.

Felted Yarn 6

My 4 oz. bundle of roving was in 2 pieces.  I have put both pieces in separate bags so that I make sure to felt the correct ends together.  If you don’t it is very easy to felt two ends that are on the same length of roving and you just end up with a giant roving circle.  (I’m too embarrassed to say why I know this can happen so just trust me on this one).

Felted Yarn 7

Get your two (separate) ends and lay them together.

Felted Yarn 8

Put a dab of soap (I used Dawn) on the place where they are joined and put it under some hot water.  Use as hot of water as you can stand.  It might even be best to wear some gloves to do this.  Rub the soap and hot water into the roving until you have felted the two ends together.  This is your heat, friction and soap together which will cause the ends to felt together.

Felted Yarn 9

Felted Yarn 10

At this point I really should send out a big thank you to my hand model.  These are not my hands as I am the photographer and can’t seem to do both things at once.  So thank you to my husband Jeff for helping me out on this one.

Felted Yarn 11

Once you have felted the two ends together enough that they will stay put, go ahead and bring all the roving out of the bags and into the water.  Add a little soap, use as warm of water as you can and just swish the roving around as much as possible.  Keep pulling and separating the roving as you go along.  Do this so you keep your strands separate.  You don’t want to felt it all into a big lump!  The idea is to be as rough with the roving as possible, to use as hot of water as possible and add a little soap.  Your roving will be felted in no time.

Felted Yarn 12

Felted Yarn 13

When you feel like the roving has felted down quite a bit go ahead and squeeze the excess water out and hang to dry.  Remember, typically you would never, ever treat your fibers like this……..the hot water, rough way we are handling them and wringing them out would felt them in a second.  But this time, it is what we want.

Felted Yarn 14

Hang your yarn out to dry.  You can see that there still might be some felting to be done.  This is up to you.  If you like the look of your yarn after felting it one time, then you are done.  For this project, I did do the felting process twice to get a nice, smooth (albeit thick and thin) yarn.

Felted Yarn 15

Felted Yarn 16

Here is the finished product, ready to be knit or crocheted.  Beautiful, huh?

Felted Yarn 3

Felted Yarn 2

 

 

Bella & Kitten Update

It is time I gave you an update on Bella and the kittens.  First…..Bella.  She went to both the vet for her annual checkup and to the groomer last week, so for her, it was a great week.  She weighed in at 93 pounds!  The vet said she was a healthy girl and at the perfect weight.  It was a very hot day and she enjoyed plopping down on the cool, tile floor at the office.  A few days later she spent the day at her grooming appointment.  She seemed to enjoy that day as well, another hot day spent inside.  When she got home she looked and smelled so nice that she got to spend an hour or so in the air conditioning with me.

Groomed Bella

And the 3 kittens……wow have they grown!  They are 4 weeks old now.  In a couple of weeks I will be looking for a good home for them.

Larry 1

Curly 1

Moe 1

Are they not the cutest things you have ever seen???

 

 

A Pile of Kittens

The kittens are 1 week old today and they have already about doubled in size, but have not yet opened their eyes.   I let mamma cat out of the crate a few days ago.  She now has access to the screened in porch.  Once I let her out, she promptly move the kittens into a corner behind a stack of folding chairs.  She is very protective and the only way I can get her away from her kittens is to tempt her with food.  She is making it very hard for me to get any good pictures!  The kittens, when they are awake, are beginning to squirm around a little more.  I’m sure before I know it, they will be roaming around and I will have plenty of photo opportunities.

Kittens 1 week old 1

Kittens 1 week old 2

Surprise Kittens (Day 3)

Just wanted to make a quick post to show the kittens at day 3.  I don’t know if the pictures shows it so much, but I can’t believe how much they have grown in 3 days!

Kittens Day 3

Shearing Day 2016

Yesterday I completed a wonderful, amazing weekend at Plyaway and today I must turn my attention to Shearing Day.  This year our shearers will arrive on Thursday, April 28th.  Right now I assume they will be at the farm around 10:00 but will keep the blog updated on times as they sometimes change due to the shearing team’s schedules.  We love to have visitors on our big day of fiber harvest.  If you would like to come and participate, we can always find jobs for everyone.  If you would like to just come and watch, that is more than fine as well.  Right now we will be shearing 40 adult alpacas and one new cria.  The entire process will only take about 3 hours.  Please contact us if you have any questions or if you would need directions to the farm.

Shearing 2014_053

Shearing Day 2014 Update

We have had a change in the time for Shearing Day 2014.  It will still be held tomorrow morning but the shearing team will be here and ready to start around 7:30 a.m.!  It will be an early start for all of us, but the alpacas will get it done quicker and be able to enjoy more of the beautiful day we are expecting.

Stress in the Henhouse!

It has been a stressful few days in and around the chicken coop!  I have enjoyed having my hens (and all those fresh eggs) so much that I wanted more…….both chickens and eggs that is.  Right around the 1st of March, I purchased 8 new chicks (hopefully all hens) to bring home to the farm. 

Tired Little Chicks

I have been keeping them warm and safe in a big stock tank in the garage and they have grown like little weeds!  It has been somewhat of a challenge this spring as our weather has been cold and wet.  The chicks survived one big snow storm, a short power outage and many freezing nights but are doing well.  So well, in fact, that I had to get them out of that stock tank!  They were just getting too big.  So last Saturday they were put in the coop with Mr. Puffycheeks and the hens.  I’m not sure now that this was the best way to introduce them to each other, but at the time it seemed like the best option. 

We have been letting the hens and Mr. Puffycheeks, our rooster, forage around the yard all day for some time now.  They all go back into the coop at night where they are content, sheltered and safe.  On Saturday, when we added the new chicks, we kept the coop enclosure shut.  I didn’t want the new chicks running around too much until they knew where there home was. 

On Saturday, the chicks hid in a corner of the chicken coop and rarely if ever came out.  The hens and Mr. Puffycheeks were a little mean to the new chicks, especially that first day.  I can tell you, none of my feathered friends were happy on Saturday.

 

 

Hiding in the coop_edited-1

On Sunday, we opened the coop door.  The hens and Mr. Puffycheeks came right out and enjoyed their day.  Sunday morning the chicks were again hiding in the corner.  But by the afternoon they were out in the chicken coop, eating, drinking and trying out the roosting bars.  They seemed to be fine as long as the hens were out in the yard.  I don’t believe that any of the chicks made their way out of the coop at all on Sunday.  Things did seem a little less stressful once they were all in the coop and settled down for the night.

Chickens in Coop 1

Chickens in Coop 2

Chickens in Coop 3

Ethel was not very happy that I was invading her privacy during one of my visits to check on the new chicks!

Ethyl Requests Privacy_edited-1

It wasn’t until Thursday that the new chicks began to venture out of the coop.  They are still very careful around Mr. Puffy Cheeks and the hens but it is getting a little better every day.  I can’t wait till they are all one happy family!