Carding, Crochet and Cooking Clay

It’s been a busy couple of weeks at Chez Westie, as I work my way through a bunch of crafty projects that have been languishing unstarted for… um… some months. Well, you know how it is – there’s always something else demanding your attention that takes you away from other things demanding your attention.


Last weekend was spent washing a lovely, fine Romney fleece that I got over a year ago. It’s been sitting nice and greasy in a bag, minding its own business while I periodically fretted over whether or not to wash it myself or send it off to the pros. All for fear that I’d felt it by just showing it hot water. In a fit of STOP PROCRASTINATING FFS!!!, I got out my brand new laundry bags (also purchased over a year ago for just this purpose) and filled them with greasy, finely crimped locks. It only took 3 hot soaks in Martha Gardener Wool Mix and 2 cold rinses, and I had me a squeaky clean fleece.

Next challenge was using my drum carder for the first time. I’d never actually used a drum carder before, so after I rolled some really nasty batts, I figured I was doing something wrong. YouTube to the rescue. Turns out that the small roller was turning in the same direction as the large roller, presumably because the pulley cord is a fibre cord and has insufficient grip. It was put on by the previous owner and was clearly a No.8 wire job. I’ve since ordered a replacement pulley band. In the interim I’ve helped things along by manually providing the necessary traction to turn the small roller in the opposite direction.

That was one hurdle, but I was still getting lumpy batts. Back to YouTube for another look at those clips. Solution: put the batt through again (and again if necessary) to get a well-combed batt. I am SO looking forward to spinning this floofy loveliness!

While those freshly washed locks were out in the sunshine drying, I tackled some polymer clay. These are just fun experiments with leftover clay to get me enthused… I have a larger plan in mind.

In between cooking clay and my first foray into prepping raw fleece to spin, I’ve been destashing my beautiful collection of hand-painted fibre, mostly from Southern Cross Fibre (David’s stuff is so good he’s always sold out, so you need to join his fibre club, or sign up for shop updates – and be a speedyfinger!). As there’s only so many scarves, hats, etc that I want to make, what better way to preserve these beautiful fibres than in a snuggly blankie? Once blocked, it’ll be wide enough to cover my queen-size bed.

Let’s look at that fibre a little closer (and there’s still heaps more to be spun and included).

I’ve also been learning new songs on the guitar, experimenting with minor chords (ye gods, a song may actually get written!), and stepping perilously close to COUNTRY MUSIC! Gah! Ok, so I’m drawing the line there and going as close as alt-country/blues, but I thoroughly enjoyed going to see Ryan Adams on Thursday, opened for by the equally talented Jason Isbell, whose latest album (Here We Rest) I have since purchased. I may love-love-love hard rock and heavy metal, but it doesn’t mean I completely exclude other genres. Being musically well-rounded is a good thing, although that can dent my credit card pretty deeply sometimes – there’s just so much great music out there!

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