Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Oldies, Goodies and the Tour de Fleece 2014

It was wildly hot and humid yesterday, so of course, it was a perfect day to wash wool and dye fleece. The Tour de Fleece kicked off yesterday which means I should have been spinning, but apart from making a few metres of yarn on a couple of spindles, I didn't produce much string. I'm part of Team Golden Willow, and I'm afraid I let my team mates down on Day 1. (If you're wondering what Tour de Fleece might be, there is information about it all over the internet, but Studio Strategos blog will give you some idea of the intensity of it all.  Click on the link to find out more.)

Instead of spinning much, I dyed this:

I should have taken a "before" picture: she's a cashmere wrap, from my hand spun singles, which I knit a long, long time ago.  I'm not sure how long ago, but she has a fancy knitted border and she's knit in the round, which tells me I was still in my Master Knitting Certificate days, so I'm guessing I made her in the early 1990's.  It was my first time spinning cashmere and I did not know what I was doing.  The yarn is slubby and using a singles for cashmere is rather foolish, because cashmere is not known for its strength.  The finishing is sloppy.  I never wore the wrap because the cashmere was a grey-brown colour, which doesn't suit me at all. I couldn't give her away; I had always meant to dye the piece and see what happened.  Yesterday was that day.  I used Ashford Acid Dyes, left over from the time when rainbows were invented and I used Purple straight out of the jar. To say I was pleased with the results is a bit of an understatement.  The colour is perfect and the dyeing covers up many of the flaws in my work.  The singles held and there are no breaks or weak spots.  She's delicate, but she would be with this yarn. I now have a new neck piece for fall and winter.

When I wasn't tending to dyepots or washing fleece, I managed to spin a bit on these two beauties:

The spindle on the left is my latest purchase, picked up at Fibre Week from Legacy Studios.  I'm not sure of the maker or the woods-she didn't come with a card-but the top is inlaid with Vietnamese silver.  I'm spinning Tricoloured Alpaca roving from Ancient Arts Fibre Studio on her.  To her right is a pretty little thing of a spindle made from a ceramic whorl on a chopstick, which I bought in a local destash.  She's holding combed mohair which I'm spinning as a sample for the Level 2 Workbook of the Master Spinning Certificate Programme.  (I thought I'd better keep up with the students!)  You get a better idea of the beauty of the whorls in this photo:

That was my day yesterday-hot, sunny and perfect. Today, I have Montadale fleece to deal with; it holds grease in a way I've never seen before, including (my nemesis) Merino.  (If you click on "Montadale," you can learn more about this sheep, but the authors clearly haven't met my fleece, because they claim that the wool contains little lanolin.  I should send them my batch to scour.)  Perhaps there will be a little more spinning in the sun.  There's a pomegranate dye pot ready to cook out and cider in the fridge to cool me after I slave over a hot dye pot.  It's a good day to dye.



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