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High Fiber—Terrible or Terrific Technology?

Common Threads met at Georgette’s on Thursday. Georgette is working on her second Mother Bear Project bear:

Lynda finished her sheep baby sweater:

I finished Appliqué Panel #2 for the Delectable Pathways quilt. Here it is with the embroidered skinny stems:

All of these projects are definitely low-tech. However we used some more-complicated technology on some fiber.

Lynda came over on Friday to help me work on the llama fleeces. (I have six.) I’m going to share the finished fiber with her, and she is going to help me process it. My wonderful DH made me this fiber sifter:

It’s wire mesh inside a wooden frame. It was supposed to go on top of our two saw horses, but DH needed them for the doors he needs to sand and finish before autumn winter arrives. Lynda brought over her kayak stands, which are a little higher, but we sat on stools, so it worked. We took the whole contraption and a bag of fleece, and set up under a big tree, so the stuff we didn’t want could fall on the ground. We brought over the trash can, but with a slight breeze, you can’t control all of it.

Another friend gave me three llama fleeces over a year ago. This past June she gave me three more (from the same animals). Lynda and I decided we had better get busy. she was gone part of the summer, then we were gone, then DH needed to buy the materials for the sifter, and finally, he needed to make the thing. Anyway, the project got delayed until our first cold weather threatened.

Lynda and I thought it was a good idea to process a small quantity and spin it to see if it was even worth the effort. We daubed small clumps of the fleece on the wire mesh, allowing some of the dust, vegetable matter (VM) and short cuts to fall out. Then we attempted to get the guard hairs out of the clump we had just finished daubing. Most of the time, all of the guard hairs came together in a point on the outside (the side away from the cut edge). We were able to pinch the tips of the guard hairs together and pull the soft, highly crimped fibers away from them. When we decided we had worked long enough, we took what we had, washed it and laid it out on the sifter to dry, covering the top tightly with an old sheet. It was dry Saturday morning. Lynda came back after lunchtime on Saturday, and we ran what we had through the drum carder, a Patrick Green “Deb’s Delicate Deluxe,” which is designed for soft, fine fiber like alpaca. Llama is pretty close to alpaca, once the guard hairs are removed. We ended up with eight batts like this:

We divided the batts between us, so we could each give it a try. We never got it weighed, so I’ll have to weigh the finished yarn. This is only a small fraction of what we have to process, though. Stay tuned!

That's it for the "terrific technology." Now for the "terrible" part:

I’ve had two days of technology hell this week. The first day was Thursday (DH's birthday), when Skype kept crashing, the B&N website wouldn't accept my password or DH's, resulting in problems getting his Nook (my present to him) set up, and then the Twitter Refollow site went down just when I wanted to learn how to use it. Friday there were no problems, but Saturday I updated to iOS 7 on my iPhone and ran into a delay between typing a character and its appearance. Eight seconds worth! Then I also got another password problem, which was coincidental, but especially disturbing since I couldn't type the password easily with the delay. Then I ran out of minutes on my phone while I was talking with someone from Apple. Then I had trouble adding minutes because of a glitch in my carrier’s website.

After I rebooted my phone several times and was ready to try to do a restore, my friend Lynda came to work with me on the llama fleece, and I had to stop.

I thought I would try to sign up for Google Voice, which would give me additional minutes for free, because it works through the Internet, and I have unlimited data. But when I put in my phone number it wanted me to choose my carrier from a list provided. My carrier wasn't on the list, but there was no way to close the window. I finally figured out how to add minutes to my phone, so I called Apple back. The iOS 7 problems were fixed up in no time.

Back to Google, I lied and chose Verizon from the list of carriers, which got me to a window where I could choose to have a Google number instead, which seemed to be the only alternative. Now I should have unlimited minutes on my phone, as long as I call from Google Voice. We'll see how it works. So far, I'm loving iOS 7, except for the weird colors.

What's on my needles: Waffle sweater, Dogwood Blossoms.

What's on my loom: Empty, while I decide what to start next.

What's on my Featherweight: Still the Delectable Pathways quilt.

What's on my wheel: Ready to start the llama. The Full Circle “Caramel” is spun and plied!

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Just finished Pittacus Lore’s I am Four from the library by way of the OverDrive app. I’ve just started Peter West by D. E. Stevenson, from Audible. Also reading the eBook, Imperfect Pairings by Jackie Townsend from BookBub on the Kindle app.

What's my app of the week: Flashlight from iHandy. We had a power outage Tuesday, which threw a lot of things off. The power was back on when I went to Park City Singers practice in the evening, but when we came out, the lights weren’t on in the parking lot because the timer was offline because of the outage. Hooray for instant flashlight!

What's in my wine glass: Salmon Creek Merlot, 2011, in the big bottle. Just because I needed it!

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the MacBook, using the iPad and iPhone for photos and photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.

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Comment by Peggy Stuart on September 25, 2013 at 11:42am

It was good. Long gone, though, LOL!

Comment by Linda "Sue" Robertson, TN on September 24, 2013 at 11:07pm

Sounds like that Salmon Creek Merlot is tasting pretty good this week!! smile........

Comment by Peggy Stuart on September 24, 2013 at 4:00pm

I make myself tired, Jodi! (In fact, I had to take a nap!) I have one bobbin of llama singles (one ply) finished, more or less half of the part I have to spin for a test.

Barb, I'm really not tech savvy at all. I was motivated by this website and the Knit Picks Knitting Community to learn, so I could have more adventures in quilting and knitting. Here's the longer version of the story: I found DH's PC to be very frustrating, and he would always get upset about something after I had used it. (I don't think it liked me.) I had used a Mac years before at work, so when I heard about the iPad, I took a list of all the things I had to do to stay connected with my "hobbies" online, plus email, etc., to the Apple store. That was the first month the iPad came out. A young man named Julio showed me how I could do all the things on my list with the iPad, although I still would need a computer to sync to. A year later I decided to unleash myself from the PC world, and I bought a 13" refurbished MacBook to be my backup to the iPad. That's why I have the disclaimer at the end of my blog posts. PCs just don't like me. Neither do slot machines. Maybe they are alike in some way.

Comment by Jodi Cramer on September 24, 2013 at 10:33am

I always look forward to the posts you make but, whew! you make me tired! I love the Delectable Pathways embroidery and I am looking forward to seeing what you do with the llama yarn.

Comment by Barb/WI on September 24, 2013 at 7:46am

Wow...you are way more  tech savvy than I am, more patient, too.  Love that cute little sheep sweater.  Your Delectable Pathways quilt is going to be so gorgeous!  The llama fleeces, and that whole process is really fascinating.

Comment by Peggy Stuart on September 23, 2013 at 6:14pm
I got interested in the Internet when I started sharing fiber activities with online friends. The iPad was the easiest for me to use. Just don't sit me in front of a PC! Just discovered iTunes Radio. Love it!
Comment by Carol Ann Hinton on September 23, 2013 at 2:43pm

I find it amusing that a lady who is so into basic fiber crafts, like processing a fleece into yarn, is also so tech savvy with iPads, iPhones, etc.!  And she also likes wine and books!  Peggy, you are a treasure, your DH is lucky, and I also enjoy reading your blog every Monday.  Oh, and your friend's sheep baby sweater is adorable.

Comment by B J Elder/WA on September 23, 2013 at 12:52pm

Love that little sheep sweater. So cute!  Oh my, what a tech time you had!  Glad it all finally got sorted out, but when you are going through it it is awful.  Now for some fun knitting with the new yarn.

Comment by Peggy Stuart on September 23, 2013 at 11:38am
I don't expect the llama to be as nice as alpaca. That would be unusual, I think. I would read your blog, Rebecca.
Comment by Rebecca Sundberg on September 23, 2013 at 10:50am

I will be so interested to see what you make with the llama fleece.  If it's as nice as alpaca, you'll have a real treasure.  Again - I love reading your blog.  I think I need to start blogging as well.  One of these days....

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