Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pima Cotton Knit Tops (New)

Take a look at colored Pima cotton yarn and knitted tops at MAV Design Concepts under 'Knit Tops' and 'Yarn (Pima)'

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Processing and Dyeing Workshop

I attended two workshops. How to dye cotton with Julie Mullin of Fiberactice Organics on June 22, 2012. Processing wool and dyeing workshop on June 23rd, by Joyce from the meetup "The Art of Spinning - From Sheep to Yarn". Comments on both workshops coming soon.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bull City Urban Market - Restroom Plan Options

Bull City Urban Market Restroom Plan Options

Restroom Option A
Raised floor for plumbing, ramp access and stair access. Restrooms meet ADA accessibility code.

How much can a cotton swatch shrink after washing?

My cotton machine knit sample shrank upto 1/3 in length, but stretched about 1/4 in width after washing. I am trying to figure out the correct number of stitches to cast on and rows to knit, finally wash in cold water and cool dry to get the size I need. Here are my experiments:

1. 4" x 8" swatch made of 1/8" cotton woven tape.
    4" x 4" swatch = 16 sts x 24 rows. Pattern: 2 x 2 tuck stitch; needle size 3, on the bulky ribber KR 260.

2. Using the above measurements and allowing shrinkage of 6%, I created the front of a tube top. The finished size was to be 15" length x 15" wide at the ribbing. A 1 x 1 ribbing of 5" and a tuck stitch pattern 10" long.

I cast on 90 sts, ribbing 20 rows and tuck sts 74 rows + 2 rows knit + 2  rows islet sts for cording + 1 row knit and bind off. Total of 99 rows. I seemed to have used the whole spool of 420 yards of cotton tape for front and back. I hand seamed the pieces before washing.
After completing the piece that looked perfect, I washed it in regular warm water and normal dry cycle. The piece shrank to 10" in length and stretched to 19" in width. The ribbing shrank to 2.5".
So, here's the math 15" L - 10" = 5" or 1/3rd shrinkage.
15" width - 19" = - 4" or 1/4th stretch.
5" ribber - 2.5" = - 2.5" or 1/2 shrinkage
3. To get the right dimensions I should cast on 4 sts x 15" = 60 sts. Knit a 1 x 1 ribbing of  40 rows. Knit a tuck stitch pattern of 6 sts x 10" = 60 rows. Total of 100 rows. Wash in cold water, lay flat to dry or dry in cool air cycle. Hopefully the shrinkage will be minimal, I will do this tomorrow.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Last week I picked up two balls of organic cotton yarn. One is a tape woven on a loom from the 1900s, the second one is a 6 ply. These are samples given to me by Julie from
I am knitting swatches for summer fashions or use them for home decor and accessories.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

How to clean, card and spin Shetland Wool.

Today I attended "The Art of Spinning" group's Meetup event. Joyce, a spinner, demonstrated how to process fleece from the time it is sheared, from sheep to spun yarn.
Shetland Wool is more common in USA. The sheep are small and yield about 3 lbs of wool. Sheared wool is laid down flat on a table to identify the parts of the sheep. Once the head, shoulder, shanks (rear feet) and the back are identified, parts of the fleece are removed.
REMOVING UNWANTED FLEECE: Remove any stains and dags mostly found near the tail part. Depending upon the fleece on the sheep's back, this portion is usually dusty and may have peices of hay and other debris, is generally removed. The shanks, sweaty, short and course breech wool is also removed. The sweaty edges and fribby short ends, jaw piece, around the ear hole, topknot and belly wool are removed. The sticky neck portion is discarded too. The removed fleece doesn't go to waste, it can be composted because it is biodegradable.
WASHING THE FLEECE: Remove any dung and fleece tainted with urine. Wash in 1/2 lb. increments. Use 'Dawn' detergent to soak, as it cuts grease. In a small tub, soak fleece for about 20 minutes, in very hot water, add dawn, use rubber gloves to prevent scalding hands. After soaking, add two buckets of hot water and soak a few more minutes. Handle the fleece gently, do not agitate or it will get tangled. Rinse repeatedly until the water does not appear soapy. After washing, the wool is reduced to about 2 1/2 lbs to 2 lbs. Dyeing the fleece is usually done at this stage. The fleece is then left to dry naturally.
CARDING THE FLEECE: Carding is a process used to make 'Batting' and 'Roving'. To card fleece, a dual drum instrument covered with fine metal pins, is used. The smaller drum is called the 'Licker' and larger drum is called 'Carder'.

Curved back hand carder
The fleece is picked with fingers to loosen the fibers to prevent clumps of fleece being fed into the Licker. From the raw wool, smaller fibers are also removed, called 'second cut', they cause pilling in finished clothes. Small portions of fleece are fed gently into the Licker, while the handle is cranked clockwise. The wool begins to wind itself on the larger drum, the 'Carder'. When enough fleece is wound, a 'doffer' is used to make a clean straight tear along the width. The fleece is removed from the carder, the curved back carder helps remove smoothly. The fleece is then split into two and passed through the Licker once again. Sometimes this step is repeated twice depending upon the fleece. Then the fleece is folded into a Batting. 'Roving' is passing the carded fleece through a 'diz'. Roving prepares the fleece to be spun. Using the doffer, tear off about an inch of the fibers off the carder. Pass the strands through one of the smaller holes of the 'diz'. Keeping the diz close to the pins, move the diz along the carder while pulling the fibers through the hole. Once a yard long piece is formed, it can be detatched. This piece is called a 'Roving'. Wrap one end of the roving around your fingers and before making another wrap, twist the roving by twisting your hand each time it is wrapped around the fingers. Once the whole piece is wound, it forms a 'donut'. This donut is used to spin yarn. The 'diz', a word not found in the dictionary, is a small plastic piece that looks like a heart. It fits in the palm of your hand and can be held with your fingers. It has holes of different diameters through which the fleece is passed to make roving.
Spinner's wheel
SPINNING: The spinning wheel we used in class was wooden with a large wheel attached with pullys and levers to a pair of foot pedels. A few strands of fleece are pinched in between the fingers to form a strand and threaded through the spinning wheel, wound on a spindle. The foot pedals move the wheel. Spinning requires hand and foot coordination, a skill that takes several tries until it is mastered. Each hand control a function, for example, the right hand fingers control the movement of the strand while it is being twisted by the spinning and also guides the spun yarn into the orifice of the spinner, which in turn winds the yarn on the spindle. The left hand is busy separating fine strands from the roving so larger clumps of fleece are not pulled into the ply or yarn. 'Scales' are small barbs on each strand that keep the fibers adhered to each other. Wool, silk and cotton all have scales. These scales help pull more fibers through the left hand fingers into the right hand to form twisted yarn. Spinning wheels have several speed settings, a slower speed usually produces a looser yarn for a softer knitted or woven cloth. Yarn spun on a faster speed produces a thinner, stronger yarn. Each spun strand of spun yarn is called a 'ply'. Two, three, or more plys combined together form thicker yarn.
Spinning yarn is an art that is catching up in the Carolinas and the mission of the local spinners is to bring back the cottage industry we lost some years ago. Spinning is a relaxing, enjoyable, productive, creative and very valuable form of art.

The workshop was at "Yarn Tree Studio"

Meetup Group that hosted the workshop "The Art of Spinning-From Sheep to Yarn"