Tag Archives: fiber

Best. Class. Ever.

The Textiles department at RISD has graciously allowed me entrance into their Fibers and Dyeing class. It is so choice. I will be learning how to spin on a wheel, dye yarn and fabric, and all about different sorts of textiles. It’s pretty boss.

On the first day of class, I was sent home with

Hand carders: like a giant, super-sharp dog brush

Drop spindle, bottom whorl. For making wool into yarn.

Uncarded, unwashed, mercifully un-full-of-sheep-poop wool.

Now, I’ve done a little bit of spinning before, but I’d never used a low-whorl spindle, nor had I ever carded wool (which involves separating out the curly locks into something more useable), nor had I ever spun unwashed wool, which smells like sheep and is full of lanolin.

This was not made any easier by the presence of this nice fellow:

Who, me?

He’s very interested in the wool (“HEY did you know, this smells like farm!”), the spinning spindle, and worst of all, the yarn as it was hanging to dry.

The danger zone.

Thank goodness, I was able to prevent all major cat-astrophes (see what I did there?) and managed to complete my homework, which was to make 10 differing yarns from the different types of wool and other mystery fibers we were given.

It was process-intensive but lots of fun: I carded the wool, combined it, spun it, washed it and wound it.

Tada!

Now I just need to figure out why the course isn’t showing up on my internal records yet.

Three things

Thing one: a mystifying t-shirt.

...being a fucking idiot?

What are they going for here? Is it just “fill-in-the-blank?” Is it supposed to hide something risqué? To me, it just says “I’m the Michael Jordan of censorship! The FCC got nothin’ on me, I’ll **** your *** up.”

Thing two: the book I am reading.

If you’re a food nerd like me, you will love this. I’m reading the chapter on milk, which has info not only on the chemical makeup of milk, the differences between milks from different species and different breeds of cow, and how it’s used and stored in different cultures. FOR EXAMPLE, I learned that buffalo mozzarella is in fact made from buffalo milk. In retrospect this should have been obvious, but I think I assumed it was a specialty of Buffalo, NY for some reason.

Thing three: the shawl I am about to start.

I recently finished two projects, a secret birthday present for my mom and a purple scarfy thing for me, so I’m excited to start something new. I’m going to be making Citron.

The yarn is a gray, laceweight, baby alpaca and very soft. For the non-yarn types out there, yarn sometimes comes in a hank or skein (pictured above) instead of a ball.

When you untwist it, you end up with a giant loop of yarn. I once attempted to knit directly from the loop instead of balling it up. This ended in a giant knot and many tears. NEVER AGAIN.

Et voilà, the solution. This contraption, called a swift, serves the purpose of holding the yarn semi-taut, and rotates about a central axis so that you can easily ball the yarn. The normal people kind is wooden and can cost upwards of $60, but after seeing a post on Ravelry, I stole my childhood Tinker Toys from my childhood home and made my own. Boo-yah, yarn-industrial complex.