I spent the day plying, plying, washing dyed fleece, plying, teasing dyed fleece, plying, washing the purple logwood dye off my hands from teasing dyed fleece, plying, then finally winding and washing this skein of yarn:
That's 836 metres/193 grams of 2 ply yarn spun from 2 braids of Blue-faced Leicester from The Wacky Windmill. Susie G. had given me a 4 ounce braid of Superwash BFL some time ago; when Kim and Donna came to town to sell their fibres, I bought a coordinating braid of BFL top. (Yes, you can combine superwash and regular wool. I did, anyway.) I spun the superwash braid straight from the top and then split the second braid into four long strips for a kind of, sort of fractal spinning experiment. I spun this skein with more care than usual; I counted treadles, measured drafting lengths, plied to specific counts and sampled, sampled, sampled. This skein is actually sopping wet at the moment-I wound it for the photo and wound my 70 metre sample skein into the large one. If you look closely at the photo, you'll see bits of chain-plied yarn in the middle. I liked the chain-plied skein, too, but my plan is to knit this yarn into a Prairie Sunset Shawl, which is better suited for 2 ply yarns. (I was pleasantly surprised when I googled, "Prairie Sunset Shawl, " and images of my design appeared. You can see them here (top and second row). I'm calling this one, "Emerald Dream Meadow," a combination of the names of the two braids.
More wonders came out of the dyepot and are now drying on the front step:
The wool is washed, white Corriedale fleece, dyed with (from left to right): madder (exhaust bath), madder and alum, logwood and alum. The purple logwood is to die/dye for, but it loves to bleed and crock. I used as much alum mordant as I dared-too much will make the wool sticky-and I washed the fleeces in Power Scour to remove excess dye, but there's a pool of purple underneath the wool and my hands are stained from teasing the wet fleece. Logwood is one of those dyes which seem to fix to fibre over time, so I may have to hide the wool away for a bit (up to a year) before I attempt to use it. It's impossibly pretty, though, and I haven't met a purple I didn't like, so I can't resist using it.
The lighter purple is the logwood exhaust bath, with the same problem of bleeding and crocking (rubbing off), but not to the extreme of the darker colour.
Who's that astonishingly handsome helper? It's marvellous Mick, my 17 year old bundle of grumpy companionship. Mick is taking his evening constitutional, which means he sits on our front step for a bit until the birds and squirrels scold him back inside. He's annoyed because that blasted fluff has overrun his observation post. He takes no interest in my fibre, unless it's alpaca, in which case he insists on rolling in it, eating it (no, he's not allowed) and batting it around the house, if he gets a chance. Mickey spends most of his time sleeping now (except when he's eating which is whenever he can). He's slowing down, but for an abandoned, near feral mess of an injured cat when we brought him home over 15 years ago, he's done well for himself here.
Another lovely day is nearing its twilight. I have a logwood and iron exhaust dyebath to cook out tomorrow and then I may take a break. The prediction is for hot, hot weather for the rest of the week. There's yoga tomorrow and a yoga workshop coming up on the weekend with David McAmmond, the teacher of my teachers. Yoga will balance out this body which has spent the day hunkered over a spinning wheel and hauling buckets of water back and forth in the yard. Balance is good.
I hear clawing at the screen door. The old cat has had enough of chittering squirrels.