here's a full shot of my drum carder, for those who might be curious:
i was reminded yesterday that some of you might not be familiar with the apparatus or the process of combing and combining fiber to make it ready to spin. a drum carder uses two drums, both covered with little metal teeth, to straighten fiber (it's pretty curly when it comes off the sheep).
the teeth kind of make the carder work like a big, hand cranked hair brush. (there are electric carders too, and i can only imagine who much fun they must be! and many fiber artists use hand carders, which look a lot like two large cat brushes, to do the same job.) my carder is from louet; it's the standard fine cloth model. (i wish mine had those cute sheep + alpacas on it! that must be a newer design.)
for me, one of the most exciting things about having a drum carder is the possibilities it opens up for combining and blending different fibers, textures and colors! the sky is the limit. there's a kind of free-form energy about carding that really appeals to me. toss in whatever's lying around! if it can go through those little teeth, it can be carded.
the final product is a batt- basically a nice big roll of fluff ready to be spun. there are a few different modes of spinning from a batt, but i generally unroll, and tear off strips about two fingers wide. these batts are wool carded with soy silk, and hopefully i will have some yarn to show from them soon.
i finally unpacked my drum carder. we've been in our "new" place for 2 whole years and somehow the carder never made it's way out of storage! i had kind of forgotten how much fun it can be to use, and was recently even toying with selling the thing. i'm so happy that i didn't.
batt making is even more fun with a helper! natasha declared working the carder "pretty little house-y" and was at my side throughout the day. (anything laura ingalls wilder related is very appreciated in our house.)
these are the final batts we made. probably not so little house-y, but very fun nonetheless.
...is something that doesn't happen as often as i'd like it too. the little girl is very fascinated by my wheel, and little fingers + rapidly spinning bobbins don't go well together. when i do finish something, i feel like i have cause to celebrate! this one was a lot of fun to make and it's now in my etsy shop.
it's elizabeth zimmerman's classic pattern, and i knit it last winter. it still needs a zipper, but it fits her really well right now and the super chunky handspun (pippikneesocks) makes it the perfect chilly weather jacket.
i love this sweater and greta does too, thank goodness, because she is starting to really speak her mind when we try to dress her in the wrong thing! i have the zipper ready to go- i just need to buckle down and actually sew that thing in before the girl outgrows the sweater. (yup, i'm blogging about it in an attempt to motivate myself!)
congrats, gretchen, you are the winner of my knit hat giveaway! email me at email@example.com with your color choice*, size preference (adult M or L) and mailing address, and i will pick up my needles and get to work! thanks so much to everyone who played along!
*there are fewer colors available than i had originally planned. i was kind of a doofus and didn't check to make sure i still had what i thought i had. oops! the picture shows the grey, black and plum that i do have to pick from.
i know a frost could hit at any time, but we're still optimistically pulling lots of calendula, broccoli, arugula, basil and kale out of the garden. and there are still tomatoes! sungolds, black cherries, and early girls. i should pull the green ones to ripen inside, i know, but i'm still kind of in denial about the shift to cold temps. i've been oven roasting the early girls as soon as enough ripen to fill a baking pan. many of the tomatoes don't look all that pretty at this stage of the game, but when roasted they smell and taste so incredible! (to roast, i put a bunch of whole garlic cloves on the pan, cover them with halved/deseeded tomatoes, and top with sliced onions, evoo + sea salt. roast for about 1/2 an hr or until tomato skins just start to pucker and brown at 350 degrees. you can freeze and use for sauce, soup or chili, but i'm loving it the most straight up, on pasta, with fresh basil.)