Saturday, June 2, 2018

Tamarind sampling continues

Hi again. My hiatus is to blame on the nastiest case of poison ivy I have ever had. It’s only my second one ever, so I guess I’m officially way more allergic than the average person. My entire left forearm is pretty much one continuous blister or oozing wound. My doctor put me on a steroid, an antibiotic, and told me to start using xeroform pads (which are designed to protect open wounds) instead of using the “nonstick” ones that were sticking to my skin. I will not subject you to a photo (which might require a trigger warning). Needless to say, this condition did not encourage knitting or spinning. On the bright side, I read a lot!

I worked one another round of samples from Tamarind on Day 2 after exposure. I had some itchy bumps, but no blisters or oozing yet. Finally today I had the wherewithal to photograph the finished samples.20180602_160517

Remember that my first two samples (A & B) were from the first batch I washed. I found the fleece too sticky to handle easily, and I wasn’t very pleased with the quality of the yarn. I’m capable of spinning better. Here are closeups of A (hand combed, spun worsted) and B (flick carded, spun woolen). 20180602_160550


At Dave’s suggestion, I rewashed a handful of fleece in the kitchen sink and then made samples C-E. This fiber was noticeably easier to draft, confirming my suspicion that I just didn’t wash the fleece well enough the first time.

C is combed and spun worsted:20180602_160605

For D, I carded some rolags (I don’t think I did a very good job, but here they are) and spun the yarn worsted:20180525_114543


And for E, I flicked carded and spun worsted from the cut end. Why worsted with a carded prep? I consulted Beth Smith’s book (The Spinner’s Book of Fleece) and noticed that she said she likes to use a short forward draw (SFD) with flicked locks to get a lovely, smooth laceweight yarn. SFD is a worsted style of spinning, but I tried it here. I DID get a finer yarn, and I also really liked the feel of it. I may work a larger sample this way and make a 3-ply yarn.20180602_160620


Since I have rather a lot of fleece from Tamarind and Muesli, I am thinking about a sweater. I thought it might be nice to make one of these beautiful yoke designs we’ve been seeing lately… perhaps Humulus? I would use Muesli as the main color (better for my complexion than the deep brown) and Tamarind for the hops design.

But if I make a sweater, I think I prefer a woolen-spun yarn, which will result in a lighter, loftier (and warmer) fabric. A worsted-spun sweater can be quite heavy. So maybe I need to revisit the idea of flick carding and spinning SFD. Maybe I should practice my hand carding, instead!

On the same day I made samples C-D, I re-washed the rest of the first batch of fleece. I weighed what I had left before beginning, since I was curious about how much more grease would come out. I started with 616 grams. I ran my hottest water into the washing machine, added 1.5 T Power Scour, and soaked the wool (in mesh bags) for 20 minutes. At this point, I fished out the heavy, wet bags before draining the water from the machine. I wondered if this was a mistake I made the first time around… was it possible I forced all the grease in the water right back into the bagged wool during the spin cycle? Then I refilled the washer with hot water again, added .75 T Fibre Rinse, and soaked for 20 minutes. This time I spun out the water with the bags in there.

After I left it all dry on the screen, under the ceiling fan, AGAIN, I weighed it. To my astonishment, I got exactly 616 grams, which was my starting weight. So perhaps all that extra effort was for naught?!

I haven’t yet had the chance to comb, card, or flick any more of this rewashed batch, so that will be what I report on next. My left arm is in no shape to wield hand cards or combs. Typing and holding up hardcover books is as much as I ask of it right now. And plotting my next steps with this gorgeous wool…


  1. I'm so sorry about your awful poison ivy and hope the rash is drying up. It looks like you made the best of it with reading and working on your fiber early on. I think you're especially smart to record it all; I look forward to seeing the next steps.

    P.S. It might not hurt to keep some Tecnu around. It's a wash that you apply asap after exposure to poison ivy/oak to clean the oil off of your skin and prevent the rash from forming. I'm also severely allergic and Tecnu has saved me several times.

  2. You are the second person who has told me about Tecnu, so I will be stocking some posthaste. The doctor also said if I know I am exposed again, I should just go on the steroid right away so it doesn't run away like this. Yikes!