Thursday, October 18, 2007

Today was a very good, fiber filled day. I got all inspired this morning, and moved an old dresser in from the garage to the loom room, and transferred all my weaving accessories and small yarn cones from the boxes in the closet into the drawers. The loom came with a dresser to hold all this stuff, but when Emma's cheap-o clothes dresser gave up the ghost last spring, the weaving dresser went to live in her room. I just hadn't gotten around to bringing in the other one. It is nice to have my bobbin winder off the arm of the futon, and a place to keep my warping reel off the floor and out of the way.

There's actually a door that's supposed to go over that gaping hole in the front, but it's warped and needs to be fixed. The whole dresser needs to be refinished, but I obviously haven't gotten to that for a year now, and I'd rather have my stuff put away. Actually, I'm not sure I should refinish it, as it's old and may have some value. The person that gave it to us didn't know much about it, except that it's old. There are no markings or labels on it, so I don't really have any way of finding out. The walnut desk to the right of the dresser, though, is definitely an antique; it was made by my great-great grandfather for my maternal grandmother when she was a girl, in the early 1920's.

That occupied my time while Emma was at school today. After I picked her up and we had lunch, I decided to overdye some yarn. I tried dandelion-dyeing two skeins last spring, and it wasn't too successful. They came out a kind of murky green-yellow. (The project wasn't a total loss, though. Emma and I had a wonderful afternoon picking two gallons of dandelion flowers from all over our neighborhood.) Anyway, I decided to overdye the skeins blue.

Then, while I had those in the dye pot, I decided on a whim to try my hand at space-dyeing. I had ordered eleven skeins of Knitpicks Bare 100% merino DK weight yarn last spring when I was gearing up for the crochet class I taught in Friday Harbor. I wasn't sure what yarn I wanted to supply for the students, so I bought the DK and also worsted weight Wool of the Andes. I ended up using the Wool of the Andes in the class, so I was left with this giant bag of DK merino. Big pile of white yarn.....dye equipment out.......dreary rainy afternoon....... It seemed like the right thing to do.

I did three skeins space-dyed: the rainbow one on the top row, the red-orange-yellow one in the middle, and the blue-purple one on the bottom (didn't photograph well). The two darker blue skeins on the top right are what started the dye adventure (they are the handspun Coopworth skeins from August 2006), and they came out a beautiful peacock blue. The lighter blue skein on the top left is a skein of Knitpicks that I threw in the dyebath (straight Sapphire Jacquard dye) with the Coopworth. I put that skein in partway through the cooking, and it came out a nice robin's egg blue.

The two green skeins on the bottom are dyed with the leftovers. I put too much blue and green on the rainbow skein and it didn't exhaust (though the other colors did), so when I rinsed the skein, it lost a lot of dye. The water in the sink turned a pretty shade of dark teal, so I siphoned it out of the sink into the dyepot, added the leftover green, blue, and yellow dyes from the cups I used to paint the space-dyed skeins, and let it cook. The darker one is a really pretty emerald green and the other, which I put in halfway through, came out half as dark. They look good together, and would make a nice scarf, I think.

Happily, my hands and kitchen came through unscathed, with no dye drips. I painted the space-dyed skeins on plastic wrap on the counter, so I was vigilant about the mess. Emma wanted to help paint, but I vetoed that. We'll dye again when it's warm out, and take the mess outside so she can help.

So, that was the dye part of my day. While that was going on, the mail came. It was a very exciting mail day. I forced myself to wait until the dyeing was done and cleaned up, though, before looking at what I got. First, I unpacked this:

Courtesy of the Spinner's and Weaver's Housecleaning Pages, a Schacht 15" end-delivery shuttle and seven pirns! I haven't looked at that website for months, and when I popped in there last week after my interview, I saw this listed. It had been up for less than half an hour, and I took it as a sign. Fired off an email to the lister, sent a check the next day, and it was mine! Less than half the price of new, too, which is great.

There was a second box in the mail, too. From a farm in California. A sheep farm. Inside was this:

This is 1.5 pounds of Merino/Columbia cross wool, from a sheep named Herkel, who lives at Utopia Ranch. It is so beautiful.

Look at that crimp.

So. Very. Soft.

It will wash up bright, bright white. Lustrous and glisteny.

Staple length is 4.5". Did I mention the gorgeous crimp and softness? I may have to get combs and process this lock by lock.

Oh, and I may have bought a second batch of this fleece today. About 5 minutes after opening the box containing the first half. :-)


Leigh said...

What eye candy. The fleece is luscious! Looks like you have created a very nice little work/storage station. Very useful. And I love the colors of your dyeing. Best of all is that end-feed shuttle! Lucky you!

Cathy said...

Man. What a lovely post. I am so with Leigh in her comment. I have drooled over the Utopia fleeces for a long time. I simply have to get my stash under control so I can splurge. Or get an outside job...

And, of course, I added you as a ravelry friend - I'm catena.