Hello all! It's been ages.
I'm in a lovely new home and finally all set up again... with one major improvement, space!
So as soon as the unpacking was done, I dived into learning to spin - something i've been wanting to do for years.
A gorgeous antique wheel had come into my custodianship very recently, so it seemed like the perfect time.
Although, looking at the amazing new wheels that you can get these days, i'm sure i'm struggling against the tide with this one. Still... it's not nearly as difficult as I thought it was going to be!
You know me, it's all about the colour... so i've been on the dyeing learning-curve also. For now, I am using acid dyes: [link]
but my heart is yearning to work with natural dyes. May as well combine loves while i'm at it, eh? *grin*. That is next on the list of things to immerse myself in.
So here is a bit of a ramble about what i've been up to, in a basic walk-through style.
1 - Superfine Merino roving. Yum. it's soft and fluffy and just aching to be snuggled.
2 - The Stuff. Including - Old mop brush, measuring spoon, stir-y spoon, gloves, tongs, dyes, strong plastic cups (don't toss them! Just rinse and reuse), plastic wrap, saucepan with tight fitting lid and wee stand rack in the bottom.
Not in the pic:
Vinegar. Sink. Stove!
It's important to use utensils that are ONLY for dyeing. I went to the tipshop for my saucepan & lid, and macguyvered a stand inside it with a small round cake rack and a coat hanger. Tongs and spoon also came from the tipshop. Total cost = $2!
3 - Soaking the roving.
4 - Squeezed out excess water.
5 - Layers of plastic wrap in the laundry sink.
6 - Damp roving, in a zig-zig sort of fashion.
7 - Dye. Powder in the cup, careful splash of hot water to wet it down, topped up with vinegar. Stirred well!
8 - The fun bit. Using the mop brush to paint the dye on in stripes.
9 - Done! Pretty.
10 - Plastic is folded up over the painted wool, and the long package is rolled up.
11 - Into the pot. It is sitting on the rack, above an inch of simmering water. Lid on, steamed for 20 mins to a half hour.
12 - Carefully taken out and left to cool.
13 - Rinsed, lightly squeezed, and hung up to drip dry.
14 - Gods, I adore these colours! This is the roving split and pre-drafted a bit ready for spinning.
15 - Gratuitous shot of my wheel.
16 - Spinning the singles. You can see that the stripes that were painted give the yarn a gorgeous gradual colour shift. And although there is very little actual *dark purple* in this (it's more lighter violet, blue, and crimson), when spun and plied, the colour of the finished yarn is a deep rich purple, with subtle colour shifts to each of those in places.
You could call it optical purple.
After the singles were done, I plied it (a bit hard to take photo's of, i've only got two hands after all!)... wound it into a skein, washed and hung it.
All done! You can see the finished yarn at the top and bottom of the image there. It's very fine, and will probably make a gorgeous laceweight something-or-other.... if I were interested in knitting it!
Haha. I think i'll leave the knitting to others.