Senior project: week one

I ought to be giving you a more complete run-down of what my project actually entails (and why I get to be at home for the next five weeks), but since it’s raining now and I kept forgetting last week to take pictures of the drum carder, I’ll do a bit of a slipshod job now and a more complete one later.

So what do I think I’m doing, not going to school? I’m working on my Senior Project, that’s what! At the end of Senior year, our school hands us seniors six weeks and says “Get out and do something useful.” Some kids go work in offices, with the mayor, or in a lab doing research, or with an animal hospital, or something. There are lots of things we’re doing this year. Me, I’m turning a sheep fleece into a sweater, all by hand.

In February, I got a fleece. I started washing it in my washing machine in early March. I took the fleece out to the back porch and picked all the crap and grass and stuff out of it (mostly).


I separated it into sections and dumped it in the washing machine, which was full of hot water. I let it sit for half an hour or so, and came back and spun the water out. Then I refilled the machine tub and did it again. I washed each section about three times, some more, and then let it dry.


Then I put all the washed fleece into a large tub and left it on my porch for a while.

Later, I started carding. I borrowed two sets of hand cards (and a spinning wheel) from a friend’s mother. I started to card my fleece by hand, which takes a long time. I had a few blocks off school, so I stayed home some mornings to card and watch my kitties run around in the back yard.


Then I borrowed a drum carder! I was going to get a drum carder from the Weaver’s Guild of Greater Baltimore, but they were taking so freaking long to get that worked out that I went ahead and found someone else who had one. It needed a little bit of repair (primarily the drive band thing), but I fixed it and started carding as soon as I had all day to work.

So that brings me to last week. Last Tuesday I started to card on the drum carder. I spent the days carding from about 9 to around 11:30 when I’d get bored. Then I’d have lunch, and check my email, and then go for a walk (keeping me a little bit mobile in my highly sedentary project). Then I’d come home and spin for a couple of hours and watch a movie (or a couple of episodes of 21 Jump Street).

DSCN2525 - Copy

It’s working out really well. This week will involve more spinning than carding (because I’m almost finished carding and I have a pile of fiber to spin. Both of the bags in the picture below are full, and there’s even a pile of fiber on top of the blue one. Gah.

DSCN2518 - Copy

Plus, wonder of wonders, I only have one bobbin. If anyone has or knows where I could get some Louet bobbins, that’d be awesome, because I’m going to have to skein up every bobbin-full if I expect to ply any of it. Rawr. I just navajo plied this first bobbin, and it’s soaking in a tupperware in my bathtub now (water leak protection).

On Friday, I played with dyes some and tried to dye a gradient.

Gradient Teal

It didn’t totally work, but I think the inner yarn there is lighter than the outer. It’s not what I was hoping for, but it was lots of fun to play, and I’m pleased with the yarn anyway.

I’ve also been working on some knitting projects too (although how soon I will be sick of knitting is not assured). I started a pair of plain stockinette socks to keep me busy. The Drunken Bees I like a lot, but I need to carry the chart around, and I’m not interested in heavy chart knitting right now. So I’m knitting these toe-up socks on size 1s out of Scout’s Socktoberfest colorway in the merino sock. It’s knitting up nicely, and fairly fast.

Socktoberfest socks

The other thing that’s seen the most action is Icarus:

It’s getting bigger: stretched now it reaches the length of my arm (center top to where the needle is). I’m going to finish the first section and then see if I want to add some more repeats of the branches, or start on the feathers (section one ends in the middle of the chart, so if I want I can just knit the rest of the chart and begin again). I love the color changes.




  1. Oh my goodness, bless your patience. I can barely make it from the LYS to my house without starting to knit the yarn, never mind if I had to do all that to the fleece myself. I was wondering how you got out of school so early. I met a girl when I went to my college’s open house who goes to a high school where they do senior projects too. She’s been writing a novel, and wants to finish it for the project. I thought it was cool then, and now I’m even more in love with the idea. I wish my school did that!

  2. First of all, you and your patience rock for the whole sheep to sweater thing. That’s a LOT of fiber, though. How much did the fleece weigh when you started it?

    Second, Icarus looks amazing. I love the pastel rainbow; I had NO idea that was hiding in the yarn. 🙂

  3. hey there…i came across you through ravelry (im knittinkitties) and just reading through your blog reliving mdsw. anyway, i got to ask what AWESOME school do you go to where you can knit/spin for your senior project?? is it waldorf by chance??

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