Saturday, May 3, 2008

Back From the Great Beyond

Did you miss me? It's unfortunately easy to get a little sloppy with writing regular blog posts when you know that probably no one is actually reading yet! I promise to do better...if you promise to read, comment and send all your friends over! Maybe I can make it up to you with a long, newsy, picture-filled post.

So, what have I been doing? Well, lots of fibery fun things have been going on at our place. Where shall I start? How about with this:

Yes, my evening with Naomi seems to have inspired me to get back to spinning, which is great, because I really do love it. There's a real Zen quality to spinning...your best spinning happens when you're totally in the moment. If you think too hard about the drafting, the twist, the wheel and everything in-between, it seems that the yarn is constantly breaking and uneven and over or under twisted. (or maybe that's just my spinning talent!) If you can get to the point where you stop thinking about every step and just kind of let your hands spin without your brain getting in the way, the yarn just seems to slip effortlessly through your fingers.

I was spinning up some fiber that I got last year at the Massachusetts Sheep & Wool Festival. Since it's nearly time for this year's festival, I thought it was about time to spin it up. There's some beautiful red fiber, with little hints of all kinds of other colors in there. Colors that I'd never think of putting together, but that really look great. It's interesting, because I rarely buy red fiber or yarn, but this really appealed to me.

And, to go with it, a somewhat complimentary green color.

I started with the red, and I was so fascinated with the way all of the colors came together on the wheel, the spinning just flew. Isn't it gorgeous?

Here it is all plied up. Does that blue-ish skein look familiar? Yes, it's that Merino/Tencel blend that just didn't know what it wanted to be. I frogged the scarf, reskeined the yarn on the niddy noddy, and gave it a quick bath to smooth everything out. I'm sure it will find a home in something interesting. Until then, it will have lots of company in my stash!

I'm working on the green right now. It's not quite as colorful as the red fiber was, but still pretty.

I've also been playing around a little bit with some dyeing. I was over at Jennie's blog (after I bought some beautiful Araucania from her over at Destash!) and I noticed that she had dyed some gorgeous yarn using egg dyes. That inspired me to dig out some white roving I had bought a year or two ago with the idea of getting started on some dyeing. Nothing dangerous... just Kool-Aid and Wilton dyes... I'm pretty sure I shouldn't be trusted with anything else quite yet.

I was pleased with the results, for a first-timer. The little piece was just a test... I tried some copper, teal and moss green in a handpainted technique and I was thrilled with the intensity of the color. (I apparently can't focus my camera, but you get the color part).

Once I saw the mottled look of the blue section, I decided that I really liked that effect for a large piece of roving. So, I took about 5 ounces of the roving, and I mixed some of the teal and green colors and put the whole thing in the microwave.

For this other roving, I used a mixture of orange and strawberry-watermelon Kool-Aid, along with some of the copper Wilton color -- it seemed to temper the "day-glo" color that the Kool-Aid can give you. (I realize that the picture looks a bit like a bowl full of intestines, but trust me, the color is much more appealing in person)

Can't wait for them to dry so I can see how they'll spin up. I purposely used a lot of vinegar so that the dye would set quickly when it hit the roving. I was hoping that would increase the mottled effect, and it seems like it did.... we shall see!

Oh yes, and I'm still working on those socks.

I don't know when I've had a pair of socks take this long... I think I just really find that cabled rib a royal pain. I guess when I saw the original picture of the pattern and thought how cool it was that each rib looked like a tiny little 2-stitch cable I should have realized that was because each rib really is a tiny little 2-stitch cable, and it's a royal freaking pain!

So there you go. Lots of news. Lots of pictures. Lots of fibery things. It just doesn't get much better, does it?

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