Scrumbling – Or How I Feel Down the Freeform Crochet Rabbit-hole


Scrumble in Red Heart yarn. My very first attempt at freefrom crochet.

Sorry I haven’t posted in ages. There was enough family drama to fuel several soap operas, and I felt it was too much trouble to post positive stuff when my entire world fell apart.

The good news is that it has all worked out, for the best. So I’m ready to start sharing my adventures in crochet freeform.

I’m not the kind of person who likes having huge stashes of materials. Fiber or yarn, I want to use it up and get it out into the world in some form or another. For quite some time, I’ve been looking for good stash-busting projects.

I think I’ve found one!

In my adventures of 2014 – I cleared out a great deal of furniture and framed art. So my bedroom walls are quite bare. This little scrumble may end up as part of a very large wall hanging.

Stay tuned, I’m going to share my sources and have some fun.

Unexpected Collection


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These are eleven of my baskets. I didn’t realize how many I have, and how many of them I use almost every day. Until I needed a basket to put cookies in. I started poking around until I found the right one, a small picnic basket with two handles.

There’s my blue fiber project basket, three egg baskets, two harvest baskets, and three storage baskets. Those are just the ones in this picture. It amuses me to see so many, and I really do use them all the time.

My blue fiber basket has 3 spindles and a couple of spinning wheel bobbins in it, as well as some spun yarn and fiber. it’s my ‘grab and go’ for any time I’m going to join friends at a spin-in. Under the shallow harvest basket on the right is my folded laundry basket. Yet, the clothes get folded in front of the TV and put into that little blue basket before they go into drawers.

Women have been making and using baskets for at least 12 millennia. That’s 12,000 years we know of, since most baskets are made of wood and fibers, there’s not much left after a few thousand years to go by. I’ll bet the craft is much older than that. Gatherers need baskets like hunters need sharp points.

I’ve made baskets from plastic shopping bags, t-shirts cut into strips and strips of brown paper. Not the kind of materials that last forever, but common recyclable materials. I stopped making the plastic ones because there’s a nasty powder that gets on my hands and up my nose. I don’t like snorting plastic dust. It makes me feel sick.

T-shirts, on the other hand, appear to be much friendlier to the body. There are dozens of t-shirts around the house that need to be recycled into something. I cut them into 1 inch strips, with a bit of thought I can make one continuous strip of t-shirt material out of the tube part of the shirt.

It’s time for me to go, gotta deliver those cookies.

So Soft – Just Don’t Pet Him!


Grumpy closer

 

Look at that face! Isn’t he the cutest darn thing?

He hates being petted, which is just TOO bad because he’s SO SOFT! Last winter I’d corner him in the stall and pet his neck and he’d scream “Ewwww!” and stamp his little bitty feet. I’d laugh at him. “Too bad, Grumpy. Get over it! You’re just SO soft!”

I’ve spent most of the afternoon on the back porch, playing with Grumpy’s fleece. I’ve picked it. Carded it. Spun it and plied it.

It’s just so soft!

I don’t know what I’m going to make with it. It’s very fine and a soft creamy white.

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Look, you can just grab a handful and spin it just as fine as froghair, with a drop spindle. My wheel makes it into yarn so fast, the stuff just flies onto the bobbins. The yarn I plied an hour ago needs to be measured and weighed so I know about where I’m at with it.

I’ve discovered how to wash it – just soak it in water for a week. Change the water every day. Use soap and hot water the first day, leave it in the sun the rest of the week. This is a very slow process, but the fleece is just as soft and clean as it can be…after a week. If I go any faster, I get FELT. You can’t agitate this stuff. Even spinning it in the washer felts it.

Now the sad part is that Grumpy appears to have the coarsest hair of the three alpacas. But his is the longest, and the cleanest. I bag it up an ounce per bag – soak it and forget it.

I’ve got more fleece from Atlanta, but I haven’t tried to wash it up yet. I’ve washed one ounce of black llama and an ounce of mouse-colored llama.

Last weekend we went to Wampum Stompup farm. I saw the most beatiful alpacas. Fawns, red-browns and blacks that had some really dreamy looking fleece. There was one red-brown that I’d really like to buy. If he were fixed, which he isn’t.

She breeds her males. I just want geldings. No females, no babies – though her babies are adorable. They are just so hard to keep up. She’s got to deworm hers every 10 days because of some weird worm that comes from the deer.

I deworm mine twice a year. The chickens have developed a taste for Alpaca Poop that defies logic. They like it more than they like horse manure.

Well, the tractor repairman is here, gotta go!

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Had to make the picture bigger so you can get the full squee from that cute little face.

Grumpy’s Fleece II


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This matted mess is what I started with. Very discouraging to have the fleece turn into these nast matts. However, all is not lost.

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This is a fleece picking machine. A small one that is very powerful. See those razor sharp nails? They pick apart the fleece. What you get is in the next photo.

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Soft and fluffy again. The fleece just needs carded and spun. Or dyed, carded and spun.

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Pictures are worth a thousand words, right? In this case the word is “HOT” a thousand times. LOL

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Even the flowers are wilted in the heat, drip irrigation can’t keep up with the heat. Might have to turn it to the highest setting.

Grumpy’s Fleece


Shearing photos

So I made the skirting table out of bird netting and PVC pipe. It’s a nice, large surface, and half the fleece fit on it. I shook a lot of dirt out of the fleece before I washed a small part of it.

Three changes of water with soap, two rinses and a stint in the spin cycle later. Well, it was okay, fairly clean, and of course, matted.

I ran it through the picker and got a soft cloud of lovely fluff. I carded some of it.

Tomorrow I start spinning this fluff into yarn.

There will be pictures, I promise.

Got Fleece? Oh Yes!


Shearing photos

Half of Grumpy’s fleece.

The deed is done for the year. I have 4 bags of fleece, my back is completely trashed, but I couldn’t be happier with the yield.

I was really worried about Grumpy. I knew the weather was going to get hot and I knew he was carrying 3 inches of fleece all over his body. I also knew he wasn’t going to go down quietly. Poor little guy had been handled very little until he came here. So he’s little more than a wild animal.

The photo above is half of Grumpy’s fleece.

I had to make up a skirting table in a hurry. I had originally thought to use something else, something removable, but it was too much work. This way we used plastic pipe and bird netting I already had. It’s worked perfectly, so far. The fleece is a bit damp, so it’s going to sit outside for the night. By afternoon it should be ready to re-bag or wash.

Likely I’ll wash a big batch of it. I’ve got a serious itch to get my hands on this stuff. I want to dye it in deep moody blues and mix in lots of pretty sparkle. I’m thinking sweater, or large shawl.

 

Shearing Time

A lock of hair, staple length appears to be at least 3 inches. Yowza!

I don’t know micron counts. But I know soft – this is really soft. Filthy dusty, but really soft. I left it outside to air, and the gentle breeze and a bit of shaking has taken the second cuts and a bunch of dust out.

After I dye half of it in blues, I’ll dye a bunch of greens, mix the green with some chestnut for a woodsy color of yarn. Then, I don’t know. Maybe card up a bunch to spin…into art yarn?

I’ve seen Sheri’s photos of her goats, so I’m leaning towards getting some mohair locks. I think alpaca and mohair is going to make a crazy soft yarn. Something a knitter would flip over.

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PigPen and Grumpy

 

The guys aren’t happy. There’s been a lot of fighting, with PigPen instigating it. That dark patch on Grumpy is a long scratch with a nasty looking bruise under it.

 

More Spun Fun


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This is a photo of the lovely wool I’ve been working on for a couple months.

It’s a three ply yarn. There’s a Charcoal gray, an Antique Red, a Silver and a Dusty Rose. For some reason it reminds me of Good and Plenty candy.

It was not easy to 3-ply, for some reason it kept getting tangled in my fingers. There must have been too much twist. It washed out just fine. Lovely stuff, though.

It’s funny. Once I spin a yarn, I have nothing to say about it. My mind is blank, except for the knowledge that’s it’s done and I really enjoyed spinning it.