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Tips and Tricks…


Tips and Tricks...

See the winder up on the bookcase? Want to wind your yarn, all at once, or maybe two passes? Don’t want to fiddle with it? Lay it out all over the house first.

What i do is hang the opened hank around my neck and start unwinding it and laying it on the floor, over laundry baskets, beds, etc. Oh, and make sure you do not overlap the strands as you’re doing so. Make sure you have a clear path from your laid out yarn and the winder. my apartment has all wood trim around the doorways and it’s pretty old, so I need to make sure that my yarn will not snag on it. if your place is snag-less around the thresholds, then go at it! I love watching the yarn get swept up super fast, though sometimes that can be a problem. You’ll get into the groove after a few times.

Wind ‘er up, baby!

Important Note:

Remember do not do this when the boy is present in the house….

Alpaca Project


Okay so after a whole day, I think I want to reference my first post on the subject:  here and here.

Spent a bit of time a lot of time yesterday spinning the reddish-brown alpaca fluff.  I’ve not gotten a proper comb yet, but been using this plastic pocket comb to flick the tips of the fleece that are stuck together.  It seems to be working out, but I’d love to properly comb this stuff out.  Oh, and why are only the tips stuck together?  If anyone knows, I’d really appreciate a comment to let me know.  Since I spun a lot of it, I’m going to keep going like this so that it’s all done the same way.  Not sure how much I’ll get, but I don’t really want to devote a lot of fleece to it, and I was thinking about doing a Navajo 3-ply.  This means I need to really stuff a lot of singles onto the one bobbin.  The texture is coarse and I’m thinking it could be because I didn’t comb it properly and that the fibers could have been lined up a lot better than I’ve been getting them.

I wasn’t going to say, but if you haven’t got a clue, I’m not a pro at this.  Big disclosure, right?  But you know, when I decided to do this, I decided to go on a journey, and part of that is committing to exploration.  I’ve never spun up alpaca and thought that I’d really love to try it.  In it’s natural state, the fiber is undyed, and not very bright or colorful.  I find that I do like the natural coloring and with working with this natural fiber, I find that I’m not distracted by ooogling and ahing at beautiful colors flying through my fingers.  I can concentrate more on the fiber itself and how it’s interacting with itself, my fingers, and the spinning wheel.

The most amazing thing is watching the loose, fluffy fibers attracting to each other to form an effortless twist and single strand of yarn.  They seem to almost magnetically seek each other out and twist into each other to form the single.  When I let it get pulled through my fingers, the strand is made smooth. When I let the twist travel into the draft zone, the natural twist forms a bit of a fuzzy halo around the strand.  Interesting.  The staple is not as long as other fibers I’ve worked with, so the twist seems tighter, or maybe that is how I’m working.  I’ve tried to slow down the wheel, but I don’t believe I’m getting a more relaxed strand.   Honestly, I can’t wait to “whack” this stuff.  I’ve never really done that before, but this time, I’m going to wash the finished hank and I’ve heard of people whacking a wet hank on the floor or somewhere and it’s supposed to “set the twist?”  Whatever.  I’ll ask someone.  The one thing that I’ve learned with spinning is to just relax and see what comes from your actions.  One time I made yarn that was way under twisted after plying.  It was so relaxed that it got me nervous.  The easy fix to that was to simply put it back onto the wheel and go another round of plying, but I did not unply it first.  All I did was run it through again, and it just twisted it a little bit more and that made a world of difference.

Okay, so the title of this post will also be what I am calling this Spinning Journey of mine.  “The Alpaca Project”

Deep Space #9 and Alpaca Stuff


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Beautiful isn’t it?

This is Frabjous Fibers, Vegan “Wool”, 100% nylon, Deep Space, #9 colorway, 8oz. and it feels like freaking cashmere!  759 yards of lace weight yarn in breathtaking blues, lavenders, some deep reds and whites.  I’d really like to make the Holden Shawlette out of this lovely stuff, but my friend, Rabbitridge asked me how nylon blocks and I’ve got to say that I have no idea.  I’ll have to check around.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to use the Vegan Wool.  Incidentally, if you’re not on ravelry, you won’t be able to check out the shawlette.  Sorry, but while I can share my own personal project, I can’t share other ravelry pages and I have no progress going on with my project.  I’ve put out feelers in the ravelry yarn group, one of the six main boards, I’ve reached out to the Frabjous Fibers, and the LYS I purchased the fiber from will be reaching out, as well, because this is pretty much uncharted territory for me and I guess most of my friends.  HEY, everyone plays with the organic stuff and this is a little high tech for yarn, right?

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Okay, while I wait to find out something, and after a really good tomato and provolone cheese sandwich, this second part will be the official first post pertaining to my newest endeavor, spinning yarn as a donation.  Recently, I received alpaca fleece from Faerie Tale-Fiber Farm  and will be spinning it as a donation to the No-Kill Sanctuary.  I’ll have to come up with some catchy phrase/name for my personal project, but for now, it’s the brown fleece referred to in my post, “Spinning to Give Back,” and hopefully, I can add more to this in a couple of days.  This is alpaca fleece came to me from So far, I’ve spun up a few yards just right out of the bag.  I wanted to play around with it to see how would be the best way to proceed. I was advised to spin it up first, before washing it and that kinda makes sense as there is no lanolin in the fleece, so won’t be greasy to the touch.  The fleece came to me really clean, but it smells a bit and I’m sure that is normal because, well, it came off an animal.  I don’t have a comb yet, so if I do more before I get one, it won’t be that much because though I love to spin right out of the bag, the strand seems hard.  I really want to line up the fibers and make it as smooth as I can… or as smooth as alpaca can naturally get.

So, for now, this is fun and I’m getting my fingers used to this fiber.  In the mean time, I found Prince behind the couch (while looking for my niddy noddy).  This is fleece from a black sheep I got at the New Jersey Sheep and Wool Festival about two years ago.  I’ve learned since then to find out what kind of animal you’re getting the fleece from…. moving along……… His partner in crime was also hiding behind the couch, some really nice gray llama fleece I got from the same festival, sadly no name.  You know, it’s really nice to know the name of the animal you get your fleece from.  It makes it so personal.  No name came with the stuff from the sanctuary, but I’ll have to see if I can find out.  I missed the next two years of NJSW and hope I can get there this year since I don’t go to the NYSW or MDSW… Two somewhat close ones, but I’d really like to spend the weekend.  MDSW might be a good day trip, but never could plan it out.

Okay chickies… until next time.

Spinning to Give Back


Woo hoo… A new post!  I should be writing this in my knitting blog, but I’ve just not had any inclination to write for that blog in a long time.  In total, I have three blogs now, and it’s a bit overwhelming for me right now.

This one is about a unique way to make a donation, spending little to no actual money…. my most favorite kind.  For one thing, even if I had the luxury of having extra cash to spend, I’m a believer in stewardship.  Time, Talent, Treasure.  Where I can sometimes abound in the first two, I am sorely lacking in the third.  My Time is my treasure.  I value that, above all else; and if I am giving you my time, it means that I value YOU.

I have skills and I have talent.  I will be shortly giving my time and talent to Faerie-Tale Fiber Farm/Faerie-Tale Alpacas, a NO-KILL sanctuary for rescued alpacas.  Go on over to her facebook page and check them out.  Linda and her daughter, Lisa, had brought their alpacas to the Grand Opening Weekend at All About Ewe a couple of months ago.  I took a pamphlet, and to be honest, stayed AWAY from her table of alpaca yarn and knitted goods… sigh.  Anyway, I found out that one of the ways you can donate to the sanctuary is to agree to prepare, and spin up alpaca fleece, then send it back to them so they can sell it.  All proceeds go right back into the animals and their upkeep, and medical expenses.   As a bonus, she will send you some for your own use.  My spinning friends, you can’t beat that deal because you’re getting at least as much as what you’re sending back to them.  It’s a great way to practice and fine tune your craft, while not actually using your own fiber.  For myself, I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to help out these animals we love so much for their fleece, while getting the opportunity to spin stuff I never did before.  My intention with this blog is to document my progress and the creation of whatever yarn which chooses to reveal itself.  This is what I received in the mail.  The brown bag for them, the black bag for me:

You can be sure that next time I will see if I can get this beautiful reddish-brown….

I’m working diligently to finish up what I’m working on right now, and you can be sure that I’ll not wait to start on this.  The weather hasn’t been all that great lately anyway, so just as well.

I’m just a couple of days away from completing the spinning of eight ounces of Vegan “Wool”, colorway “Deep Space #9, (love it) from Frabjous Fibers, found it at All About Ewe.  It’s 100% nylon and has the most vibrant colors I’ve ever seen and the softest fluff I’ve ever felt.  Oh, and hand-dyed in Vermont, USA.  The colors permeate the whole hunk of it, through and through.  If you’re like me, and prefer colors that really saturate the fluff, you will fall in love this half-pound of hand-dyed fiber.

Very smooth…. This is what I’m talking about:

You know, it’s so easy to get caught up in spinning for ourselves.  This craft is not appreciated across the board for the skill, time and talent it takes to create something beautiful from almost nothing, fluffy stuff.  You cannot place a monetary price, that people will pay, for a hand knitted item, let alone created with yarn that was handspun.  You just cannot possibly be justly compensated.  So we either create for ourselves or for others, but those “others” really must pass the grade to be judged worthy to accept something that is created with love, if even just a love for the craft.  We love what we do, but that doesn’t mean that we should be loose with it… humph~!  With that said, I love that I am able to give my time, talent and love for these animals and combine all that into something that can benefit them.

So if you’ve managed to get down to this place, I would put the question to you.  Do you spin?  Do you knit?  Have you given back lately, using your preferred craft?  I’ve love to hear what people out there are doing.

Floating on a Cloud


It’s hard to separate what posts belong here or at my other blogs. Dragonmommie’s World is my personal blog, so I figure everything can come here.

Colors of the Dragon


I don’t write a lot about spinning here at Colors of the Dragon, but I am today. I am motivated. Pulled out my spinning wheel today, cleaned and polished her up, figuring that I’d need to get on her good side before beginning. She is tempramental and seems like she just wants to be loved… and she is. I’ve tried to name her but I’m not good at that. I know that while I did name her last year, I’ve since forgotten, though her last momma named her Brun Hilda.. or something like that. I just think of her as “baby” and that’s what she’ll be in my mind as I’m not prone to talking to her unless I’m cursing, of course. She knows I love her.

I recently purchased the beautiful and luxuriously soft Frabjous Fibers, Vegan “Wool” and this was my first spin in months and months. It’s…

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I am The Lorax


I am the little man

I am the little man

I am the Lorax… coo coo cachoo… coo coo cachoo…

Yes, I’m getting a little silly.  Beatles.  Dr. Seuss.  It’s all good.   “Mommie, mommie!  There’s the Lorax!”  That was my world….  Yesterday was Little Drake’s seventh birthday.   Hubby gave us leave to go and see the big 3D version of it, and I had AMC vouchers courtesy of the NJ Blood Center and compensation for donating whole blood.  We got the the theater in plenty of time, but quickly heard rumors that the show was sold out… ewww!  We stayed on line and, sure enough, it was.  I did purchase tickets for the, what, 2D version?  With voucher, cost us two or three dollars… Holy Moly~!

Then it started.  The pouting, the whining, the almost-meltdown.  Ya gotta understand that with my little boy, it’s all or nothing.  He’s either elated, on happy juice or melting down if things don’t go exactly the way he expects.  To be honest, we don’t go to the movies very often and it never occurred to me that the movie might sell out before we got there.  If it did, I would’ve worked out plan B and made sure it was accepted.  So, all Little D wanted to do was go home and sulk.  I could not let that happen when I knew that he really, REALLY wanted to see this movie, and I already had the tickets.  He wasn’t having any of it.  Quick thinking on my part, got him to Target across the parking lot.  I had a Target gift card in my pocket and it was my intention to kill some time there, but also get him a little something, being it “was” his special day.  His eyes lit up and he started talking about Ninja-something that was Legos.  Since I spent so little on the tickets I thought I could get a nice little gift, but when I sought to eye-ball the gift card, sadly, I realized it was not in my pocket at all.  Not in my purse, not anywhere.  Oh geez, I left it home.  I was hopeful, however, that I could get one of the smaller sets and could do $15.00.  Nothing.  Nada… Whatever they had was $25.00 and up.  We both were, again, pretty disappointed, but I did manage to secure a $4.99 “Booster” pack which he was pretty happy with.  Whew, got saved on that one.

Then we headed to the target eating place and Got him a hot chocolate and we shared one of those hot pretzels.  Oh man!  I wish I had my camera as I was treated to the first, or one of the first, manifestations of Little D’s blossoming sense of humor.  He was always a kid with a ready laugh, a ready, goofy laugh, a very precious laugh; but this was something different.  He broke off a curved piece of pretzel and blurted out, “Hello?  Hello?”.  Well, you had to be there.  We shared a big spontaneous burst of belly laugh!   The expression on his face was priceless as he realized that he made me laugh…. like that.  Where was my camera?  Sitting beside my laptop at home.  grrrrrrrrrrrr!

It’s just about time to head over to the theater when he announces that he wants to go home. grrrrrrr.  Nope, I’m not going to get frustrated.  I just say that we HAVE to go see the movie because we already have tickets, and don’t you want popcorn?  hee hee…. That’s something that LD was also talking about all week long, the popcorn.  So inside the theater, I steer him over to the bathroom while he’s trying to tell me all the while that we should be getting popcorn.  OK, we do our business and finally head over for the popcorn and a soda.  Gotta have soda with popcorn, though I’ve not been drinking soda at all lately… It’s just that I couldn’t see paying five bucks for a little bottle of waTER… Nope, couldn’t wrap my head around that at all.  It’s somewhere par for buying a bottle of AIR.  We head into the movie and even though we bought our tickets well ahead of time, the only seats available were down in front…. WAY down in front.  We had to lay back to see the towering screen, but you know, I really love that, despite the fact that my back is still recovering.

The Lorax was a total pleasure to sit through, once all the previews were done, that is.  The effects were so cool… and we weren’t even watching 3D~!  I recommend this movie for all ages.  At first I was a little put off because I heard it was a musical.  Somehow when the cast suddenly breaks out in song, well, that doesn’t really sit well with me… but it was cute and not a prolonged thing.  If you have the book, the movie is a must see precisely because there is so much more to the movie, yet doesn’t loose, not a thing, from the book.  The movie gives more of a story, but doesn’t distort the story from the book… it’s like the story behind the story and all fits together seamlessly.  To be honest, I felt that the Lorax was a little too soft of a character for Danny DeVito’s voice…. but it was still nice.

So all in all, I’m pretty satisfied and elated, even, about this weekend.  I managed to do a lot for Little D’s birthday without breaking the bank.  So glad I saved those movie vouchers.  So glad we spent part of our day at All About Ewe yesterday.  We saw live alpacas, I got the chance to knit, and he got the chance to play with a couple of boys around his age and that meant the world to him, and to me, too.  Some of the best things in life are free and I’m on a mission.  I’m also going to have the chance to process and spin alpaca fleece into yarn as a donation to Faerie Tale Fiber Farm ~ Faerie Tale Alpacas.  This is a “No Kill” sanctuary in Ottsville, PA and they rescue alpacas and give them a place to live and lots of love.  They are also in need of donations to help keep their mission alive, so please go check out their facebook page.  Plenty of photos of the critters that live there….

Here’s one I took on Saturday:

Reblogging….


Wow… tried out this reblogging feature for the first time and didn’t get the whole post in this blog post… so what to do?   Also, tried to reblog a second time to my other blog and it’s not working at all.

I guess first order of business is to go and read up on this feature to see exactly what it’s supposed to do and what it’s for because the first few lines won’t do.

Colors of the Dragon

Not Eww.  Ewe.  Get it?  I just love it~!  I don’t know what else to say.  All About Ewe is a yarn, no, FiBER shop that just opened up in Clark, NJ.  I just love, love, LOVE this store.  Yeah, I’m biased, but that’s only because I happen to know the owner.  Still, I’ve heard other people say that they feel very comfortable when they are there.  People whom I don’t know and also people I know that don’t know Lisa.  

The first thing you notice when you walk in is the yarn… duh!  No, but really, you do.  Second is that it’s bright and cheerful, decorated with, well, sheep.  If you did happen to not notice the yarn, the sheep speckled throughout the store will definitely give you the hint:  WooL.  Another bright store that I’m thinking about is very large and spacious and after you find…

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