Friday, February 25, 2005

The Dyeing Binge

For a long time, I wanted to try the hot pour dye method from the Twisted Sisters book but just never seemed to get around to just doing it. Monday, I carded up 8 batts which was the remaining bit from some romney fleece I had for years and decided to dye on Tuesday and see how that went. Since I had 2 shallow pots but batts and not rovings like the directions showed, I rolled the batts lengthwise, tightly around a dowel rod and rolled the edge of that a little to keep it together. When I pulled out the dowel rod, it did hold together solidly. I could zigzag 2 of these in a pot just like roving. I made my vinegar water and stock solutions and was off! After the first batch, I decided it was really fun so I dug out another fleece and started carding so that I could do it again the next day. So every day this week, I got 8 batts carded and dyed, except today when I did 13 batts but that finished up the fleece and now I can clean up the kitchen for the weekend.

Some of the batts are more pleasing color schemes to me than others but even the brighter ones that I don't like as well will be nice plied with gray or another darker color. Some of these can be used in tapestries and some will go into woven purses and a few might end up in socks. I wish I had a digital camera to show you the huge stack of colorful batts but I'll take a photo on the regular camera so someday, it will appear here. The dyeing was fun and quick but I can't believe that I carded more than a whole fleece in one week. With all these pretty colors, the spinning will be so fun.

I tend to be a binge dyer and do a lot for several days and then none for months. It probably has to do with pulling out the mess and then once it is out, I just keep going. It's easier to have the system down and do a lot at once.

Friday, February 18, 2005

An unsuccessful weaving experiment

On Monday, I had this great idea for weaving some fabric for a bag using some handspun singles yarn that I had in very nice colors. In fact, I thought it was such a wonderful idea that it would be worthwhile to warp a dummy warp so I could tie on several of these warps in different color combinations. By the way, I never sample but still this was only an 11" wide warp. I used unmercerized 8/2 cotton for the dummy warp and when singles yarn is tied to it, even yarn that has been in balls for over 2 years, it does wild and crazy twisting antics. I didn't see it doing all this around the heddles as I was winding the warp and so was surprised when some of the cotton ends were breaking. What a mess! By late Wednesday, I had a small, odd shaped rectangle of a not very nice fabric to show for 3 days work but at least the mess is done, gone and out of my sight. I will probably see what fulling will do to the fabric when I feel like torturing myself again. But I learned that for my bags, I'm going to stick with inkle woven bands sewn together. That makes the nicest fabric and it makes me happy to look at them, so why try other things when something is already so nice?

The website is coming along VERY nicely and my kids tell me that their goal for its launch is April 1! I was given some assignments of describing the various items and got all that done this week. It's hard for me to write a lot about my work beyond the how-tos so this took me a long time to do.

I've gotten back to spinning. Since we moved here last June, I had done very little spinning and missed it so the last couple of weeks, I carded up some wool and tried to get back into the habit of spinning in the odd moments. The kitchen and living room are open so I have the wheel right in the middle and I can monitor the stove or watch tv while spinning. It is surprising how much I get done in these little snatches of time. I'm working on some fine 2 ply for inkle bags. I can do small amounts of fiber in a wide variety of colors and fibers for these so it is endlessly amusing. Much better than when I used to spin pounds of the same thing at a time.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Blanket Photos

The Expedition Blanket

Misty Hills and Valleys waffle weave throw

Friday, February 04, 2005


This is our beautiful Genny, who we had to say good bye to on Tuesday. She was a cat with with a lot of attitude. GenGen feared nothing and no one and was definitely the Queen of the cats around here. We didn't get her until she was over 3 years old because she was a show cat before that and won lots of ribbons and awards. She knew she was beautiful and special and expected to be treated as such by humans and cats. When she retired and moved in with us, we had to be careful to quickly close cabinets and closets or Genny would be in there exploring and knocking out stuff as she went. And she loved to race me up the stairs but I never could beat her. She was just a funny, sweet girl with huge understanding eyes and a very loud purr. We miss her and the house seems empty without her.

Some fiber accomplishments...

Despite it being a difficult time, I did accomplish some of my goals this week. On Monday, I finished weaving the dark gray and white blanket, so since that was the last day of January, I can say that I WOVE two blankets in a month. It wasn't totally finished until today, though, because I had to hand twist all the fringe and wash it and then trim up the fringe. I am so pleased with this blanket because the border pattern that I designed worked out so well. I should have photos next week for both blankets and can't wait to show them off. There is just something about weaving with handspun yarn that makes the fabric extra special. Even the best commercial yarns just don't have the life and vitality that handspun does.

The last couple of days I worked on drumcarding some dyed wool for the fiber exchange on the Dye Happy list. It was easy to just mindlessly drum card and not have to do anything that required much concentration. I am in 2 groups and like both of the color combinations that I did and actually got them mailied off today, well ahead of the deadline.

I think that I will get another blanket up on the loom next week sometime but not be in a hurry to weave it off and in between that, work on a tapestry since I miss tapestry weaving and would like to get back to that. But I feel like I'm on a roll with these blankets and hate to stop that too.