Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Spinning in Color

I've finally felt brave enough to put aside the practice wool, and see what happens with some of the fancy stuff I've acquired over the last couple of weeks. And to add to the pressure of ruining something absolutely beautiful, it is wool that was picked out by my niece, who thought it was beautiful as it was. No pressure there.
It is a beautiful roving. It's a multicolor blend of wool and silk with an occasional sparkle worked in to the mix. When you spin it you get a fantastic random pattern. It's going to be gorgeous when I'm done with it and I can't wait to see it plyed. As I've spun it, I've figured out that the blue is mostly silk. If you've ever worn anything made of silk, you know that silk is very slippery. Same thing when it's unspun. My biggest challenge is keeping the yellow, green and red segments up with the blue. I think that if I wasn't careful, I could easily have spun the entire blue section before the rest of the roving. Fortunately, I realized what was happening relatively quickly, so I was able to work in the other colors. So, when you see the final product, just ignore the big blue section at one end of the skein.
So, here's how it starts out:

And here's the semi-finished product:

I'm not able to get a very good photo of the spun wool on the spool. I can't tell if it's the lighting, the shininess of the yarn, or the photographer. I'll keep trying.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Creating a Rainbow

I just spent a fabulous weekend in Iowa. The main reason for the trip was to attend my cousin Greg's wedding, but my sister Linda and I managed to turn it in to a super fabulous crafty weekend. The knitting obsession has hit a new high, and has the possibility to increase my yarn stash exponentially. Now, on top of The Loopy Ewe addiction and the recent spinning/fiber obsession, Linda and I have begun our quest to become world famous yarn dyers. And I think we made a good start.

We used food coloring in Crockpots...

We used Kool-Aid in Ziploc bags sitting in the sun...

And we tried a few other techniques...

And for our first attempt, we created some really cool yarn.

The biggest lesson we learned is that when you think you've used enough dye, use more. The dye doesn't spread out as much as you would think, so you end up with a lot of white. BUT, once it's reskeined, it looks beautiful. I think our futures as world famous yarn dyers is bright.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

My Favorite Souvenir

When I went to New Zealand to visit my little sister Mary (visit her blog for some other photos from my trip), I never would have predicted what I'd be bringing home with me. I took a spinning class from the wonderful ladies at the Christchurch Spinners and Weavers Guild, and they got me hooked. I have been wanting to learn for a long time, but I never expected to love it so much.

The night I came home from my class, I started doing some online research about spinning wheels. And found this on a New Zealand auction site:


And it cost me about $300 less than I would pay for a new one. Well worth the hassle dragging it home on the plane with me.

It was built in a town just a short drive away from Christchurch, so it will always be a good reminder of New Zealand. Now I just need to find some more time to practice. I have improved DRAMATICALLY from my first can see my most recent skein below...

But I have a long way to go before I'm going to be brave enough spin some of the beautiful fibers I brought home with me. I can't decide which I'm more excited about. The possum/merino blend (NZ possums are very different than US possums...their coats are really luxurious), or the alpaca/silk/wool blend. It is a gorgeous silver color with a white silk streak through it. One of the ladies from the guild was spinning it while I was learning. Absolutely amazing.