I have not been slacking off! Ever since my guild meeting I feel like I have been slacking off, sure I’ve been working on weaving an eyeglass case, starting my tapestry, spinning at least 15 minutes a day, prepping for a crochet class and figuring out how I’m going to afford a weaving loom of my own, other than the one in the garage. but I still feel like I’ve been slacking. Right up until I think about what I have been doing these past 22 days, I’ve done a lot. I love English Leischester Longwool locks, they are such a dream to spin! I’ve got three bobbins of ‘Art Yarn’ singles waiting to be plied with some acrylic I’ve got lying around. I managed to ply the yarn for an experiment I will detail in a later post, I just have to knit it up and figure out the results. I have the yarns caked, the patterns printed, and the hooks bought for the crochet class I’m teaching (fingerless gloves).
Remember to take the time and reflect on your achievements before pushing to achieve more. It is wonderful to look toward the next project, but not when you forget to enjoy what you are doing right now. Craft on, but don’t forget to look back and enjoy what you have created.
I have to confess, this wool is so much softer than it looks. All of these pieces of wool are dyed using either Liquid or gel food dyes as well as a combination of Alum and Cream of Tartar as a mordant. I do enjoy how the colors have turned out, they are not as brilliant as I would have liked. I did find out with the last batch of yellow I did, if I pre-mordant the fiber and cook up the dye bath in the mordant and use about half a container of the color then the colors come out very rich, the bottom two golden yellows. The yellow right above was first dyed in Hibiscus Tea (a variety that was quite sharp though I usually prefer hibiscus tea). This particular blend of tea is a very sharp red and initially turned the fiber a beautiful Burgundy…alas all of that color just ran right out of the fiber when it was taken from the bath. The result was a very faintly beige color, you know that shade of eggshell where you are staring at it and saying “it isn’t quite white but it isn’t really anything else either.” So I overdyed by plopping this fiber into a pot that I thought was exhausted (it wasn’t) and turned out to be very pretty and rinsed clear.
I am really happy with my experimentations. If I get particularly brave this afternoon I might try to fill out cards with what information I have for them and start a dye dairy. At the absolute minimum I intend to finish dyeing my fibers using the Wilton Cake Dye kit I obtained and Alum Mordant so that I have a wide Pallette of colors to play with. If sometime this summer a yen takes my fancy I might look into obtaining some Jacquard dyes to get more colors. I do hope to spend some time this summer and fall experimenting with plant materials and the dyes that they can create, how exciting!
I have some batts that I carded up with some slightly sticky wool. I had originally thought to sell these sticky batts, but have since decided that I would wash these batts and see how they spin up. Right now they are spinning up almost like a tweed yarn, which is what I thought they might do. There are too many Nepps (little broken pieces of wool) in the yarn for me to get a smooth product. I am not great at getting a consistently thicker yarn, especially with an uneven batt like this, but I think I am doing an alright job. I will confess to enjoying the speed at which this batt spun up, and I look forward to seeing how it will look plied with something. I think that the actual singles are brighter than this picture is giving them credit for, I might have to ply them with a white to get the effect I want, or maybe find another of these batts that this will look good plied with. At this moment I think I will try to create a 3 ply yarn of a thicker weight that might make a nice crocheted shawl or lap afghan. Depending on how thick the yarn is and how many yards I manage to get from it.
Mom found a couple of patterns in one of her Plastic Canvas Books and wanted to see how they would turn out! Without buying anything new, these are the patterns she found and they are made up to be magnets. If you excuse the shadows of my hands trying to aim the camera, these are just beautiful. The Celtic Knot on the left and top right is made out of two shades of green with a white background using long stitches. The heart on the right and bottom right is made from pink, red, and gold using a combination of long and regular stitches on a heart shaped piece of canvas.
They both turned out great, Go Mom!
So spinning every day was a great idea. Unfortunately it did not take into account my being sick enough that dragging myself to work was about all I could do. Therefore my spinning has fallen off track a bit, not irreparable though. While I will not actually get 365 days of spinning this year, my goal was to take each month as it comes and deal with it that way. January is sort of shot, I missed about 3 days, but I will finish strong and start up with February.
Speaking of starting up, Mom is almost fully recovered from her previous illness. She has decided to see how many crafts she can finish with the supplies we already have laid in. Essentially she has declared this her year of Stash Busting Crafts! So far this month she has crocheted up 2 cowls from yarn she had on hand, I will put up pictures of those in my next post.
I have decided to accompany her on this quest, though for my major tapestry project I will need to purchase more wool in periwinkle, though I will admit to a desire to see how much of that project I can get done with the supplies I had already laid in. (Warp threads, white weft, and some singles spun in periwinkle, with an addition of gold silk I hope to use to accent a particular portion).
I must freely confess I fear I am already making excuses for not following through, since my next thought is that I wanted to purchase some white wool to test dying techniques. I suppose the best way of doing that would be to dig out what white wool I already have (alpaca, sheep, etc) and plan on using that to dye with until I have figured out which, if any, of the natural dyes get me the colors I want. If the natural dyes don’t work the way I want then I will have just used some of my wool-stash anyway. My next experiment is probably going to be centered around washing the batts that I carded containing ‘sticky wool’. I am hoping that there is some lanolin or other processing oils contained in the batts that is making them sticky. If that is the case then a good hot soak should loosen up the oils enough for me to wind up with a fluffy batt. If not then washing with Dawn, if they start to felt then I might try to spread it thin and experiment with felting.
I am sort of excited to let the wool speak for itself and decide what it will become. I am still spinning thin with the blues, now that I am feeling better. So many exciting things going on!