Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm Dyeing

It is no exaggeration to say I've got pounds and pounds of undyed wool:

         1 1/2 pounds of corriedale locks from Tina's Ewephoria farm in Lawrence
          1 pound of corriedale roving from
          2 pounds of finn sheep wool from
          2 pounds of brown sheep punta

I've got some silk too, but haven't cataloged that.  Soooooo, I'm thinking it's time to dye.  

I checked umpteen books out from the library, dug notes out from past workshops, and googled and googled and googled every dye topic I can think of and visited countless forums. I've purchased gallons of vinegar and I've weighed and measured the subject fiber.   I'd say I'm ready.

I moved a table to the garage from the cavern of crap my workshop and mixed dye stock solutions.

After watching Cadel Evans kill the Tour time trial, I spent ALL DAY Saturday making color wheels and samples of all the dyes I have on hand.  

The color wheel samples are a bit anemic, I suppose I didn't use a concentrated enough stock.  I remedied that when it came time to dye.

First I vat dyed the corriedale locks

On my monitor the colors are really washed out--in real life they are not--I used LOTS of dye. And, I thought I'd spend the rest of my life rinsing out the extra dye. 


Next I hand painted the 2 pounds of finn sheep roving.  2 pounds is a LOT of wool.  My color plan didn't work out like I envisioned. I wanted something unlike anything I already have.  That goal was accomplished but the roving turned out kinda yucky.  I hope to like it better tomorrow, or the next day -- 2 pounds of barf-dyed wool is a WHOLE LOT of wool.  Maybe it will spin up ok--we'll see.  It looks way worse in person than in the photo.

I got the hang of hand painting by the time I got to the corriedale roving and did a better job of choosing colors.  I really like how the sunshine colors turned out.   
These are packets of wool cooling and waiting to be washed.

I'd have liked to get some color on the rest of the naked wool, but the weekend has come to an end, as has the family's patience with scent of vinegar and wool. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Day 20 of 30 days of Getting Art On
Stage 17 of the Tour de Fleece (and France)

I'm implementing a new and improved plan for spinning consistency.  My goal is to spin sock yarn for a fair entry from two similarly colored batts.  My previous attempts have yielded lovely yarn, but not sock weight and not very consistent.  So, now I have employed my two wheels and am alternating between the two of them.  

The wheels seem to be happy with this arrangement and the yarn isn't too bad either. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Owning My Crazy

I've fallen off the blog-every-day wagon, although I have been spinning during most of my Tour and Womens' World Cup watching.  So that part of my plan has been a success.

While rumbling around in my stash to find more fiber to spin, I opened a big bin which, to my complete surprise, was FULL of handspun yarn-- some I had no memory of spinning.  Since none of the yarn was labeled with yardage it is practically impossible to plan projects to use it up--that might me a wee bit nutty.   So, I spent practically the ENTIRE day Sunday measuring yardage and labeling skeins.  Looks like I've got a bit of knitting to do now, 'cause that's just about 9,500 yards of yarn. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What Day is This Anyway?

Watching the Tour de France, participating in the Tour de Fleece, and participating in Traci's 30 days of Art has gotten me all confused about what day it is.  I know it's the 12th, but it's the 11th day of the Tour de France, but since yesterday was a rest day, stage 10 was raced today.  See, I'm NOT crazy for being confused. 

I do know that I'm pretty happy with the results of having (months ago) drumcarded together some unidentified grey wool and some white alpaca.  The wool was clean, but still a little greasy.  So, I won't really know what I've got until I've plied and washed the yarn.  I think I'm gonna like it and wish I had more.  But, as my Grandma Marie always said . . . If wishes were fishes, we'd have fish to fry--If dog turds were donuts we'd eat 'til we die.  Grandma always had a way with words!

Anyway, here's what's-what with the grey fiber.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bye Bye Black Sheep

Today -- day 10 of getting your art on -- day 9 of the Tour de Fleece --and day 3 of fighting tick fever -- saw the end of spinning the rambouillet I processed and have been working on for over a year.  

  So, it's bye-bye black sheep.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Days 8 & 9 -- Off My Game

No post of progress for the 30 days challenge for yesterday.  Instead, since I feel like hammered [insert something disgusting] I spent my time at the doctor whose best guess as to the cause of my malaise is a tick-borne disease--oh, lets just say Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  Won't know for sure for about a week when the blood screen comes back, anyway I'm being treated for that. 

I think in fairness I should at least be able to see the Rocky Mountains.  Since I'm marooned in relatively flat, excessively hot, and consequently miserable Oklahoma, I'm saying I have "Trail of Tears Misery Fever."  

Anyway despite being resigned to the couch for the next few days, I've not found it too taxing to wash the skeined yarn I've spun over the last week, so that is my art for today and yesterday.  And, in a nod to my LOVE of the Tour de France, I'm hanging the skeins from my bike handlebars.  Actually that's where I always hang wet yarn. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Baaa Baaa Black Sheep . . .

 . . . have you any wool?

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do--thanks for asking.  I have a great deal of very dark rambouillet wool, the first I ever processed from raw fleece. I spun a bunch of it last summer but put it away because I was tired of it and convinced myself I didn't really like it.  In this case absence did make the heart grow fonder because I'm loving it.  


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day 6 of Getting My Art On

I missed posting yesterday, but not because I didn't do anything, but because I did perhaps too much--I opted to sleep instead of post.  Keeping up with the Tour de France and the Womens World Cup gives me a LOT of time for spinning, but not much time for anything else.

Anyway . . today my task was to ply-o-la the remainder of the Bonkers Limeola bamboo and merino fiber. 

Stage 4 

Monday, July 4, 2011

No fireworks for me

On this July 4th, the only fireworks came from my temper at having to schlep baskets of washed clothes to the laundromat for drying.

Stupid dryer stopped working. 
I did, however, temper my temper by taking my wheel with me.  It wasn't much of a spectacle.  Anyway, the time went fast, and between that little jaunt and the time I spent watching the steller win by Tyler Farrar on stage 3 of the Tour, I managed to get a whole bobbin filled. 

First a photo of Tyler Farrar taken several years ago at Nationals in Park City, Utah.

And then, my spinning/art for the day.  This is day 4 of the 30 days of artful stuff.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

ART on Day 3

Again on the menu--spinning.  I skeined up the yarn I plied yesterday, washed it, and hung it to dry.  And then I spun this, called Limeola, which made me thirsty for limeade which was great with ginger syrup in it. 

Today's Progress

Seems like I spun FOREVER today.  I spun while I watched the US Women's Soccer Team beat Columbia and while I watched the tour.  I finished the singles that became this 3-ply sock yarn.  The fiber is Bonkers superwash merino in the Deep Sea colorway.

Team Time Trial tomorrow--WATCH IT

Friday, July 1, 2011

Getting the Art On

30 Days of Get Your Art On

TWO big things are happening in my creative world. 
TWO big things are happening in my sports-watching world. 

THING ONE--Traci Bunkers, a fiber dyer and creator of some note has invited folks of similar mindedness to join her in July for "30 Days of Get Your Art On."  The idea is to spend at least 30 minutes a day for the next 30 days on art of some kind and to blog, or not, about what you've done.  I'm including spinning and weaving in my definition of art (you should too) and playing along.  Actually, my spinning will involve working with Traci -dyed fibers.

THING TWO--Tour de Fleece is an event on Ravelry that runs coincident with the Tour de France.  The idea is that spinners of yarn actually spin on every day during the Tour de France.  Folks join ridiculously-named teams and post photos of what they've done.  There are contests and prizes--fun for all!!!
And, that brings me to . . .  


THING ONE -- Tour de France, Tour de France, Tour de France, Tour de France, Tour de France.  Need I say more?  This year includes my FAVORITE event: the Team Time Trial which is essentially ballet on bicycles--beautiful!! You can (and should) watch it on Sunday 7-3 at 7:30 am. 

THING TWO-- Womens World Cup is being played during the month of July.  If you know me you know that the choice of watching a World Cup match live or watching a Tour stage live is not one I'll easily make.  Kelly says this places me firmly on the sports lunatic fringe.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

a new DO

I'm caught up in the annual makeover occurring in the Northern Hemisphere of the planet.

 I have a fever

Some years the DO SOMETHING I do is buying a bunch of fabric for clothes I won't get around to making; or buying plants I'll plant, but not water regularly; or drawing plans for raised garden beds I won't ever build (and wouldn't water the plants I'd plant anyway); . . . or . . . . or . . . . or. . . 

But, this year just maybe the DO would be DONE ! ( or ?)

What should it be?  

There, in the middle of the family room I found this year's Spring DO.  My spinning wheel is my go-to gal when I need (need?) something to do.  I recently acquired some new parts whose wood needed to be stained. (A sliding hook flyer & 3 bobbins if you must know).  And, she has some disturbing rain spots on her that need to be treated.  
So, last Sunday night I took the old gal apart and fine-sanded her multiple curvy surfaces, wiped off the dust, and massaged in some stain.  Monday before work she got more stain ,and Tuesday after work (and after beer-knitting) she got a healthy dose of polyurethane coating, then a good sand before a second dose on Wednesday before work.

By Wednesday night . . . 

That is, my friends, some kind of personal record from conception to execution and completion.  I can now rest on my laurels.  Or . . . maybe something else needs to be stained . . .  Or, maybe I could find some plans and build a really cool little stool to use whilst spinning . . . or . . . or . . . or.  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I'm a Little Sheepish

And, of course that means I've acquired some raw fleece and have been up to my elbows in wet wool.  

The raw fleece is not just any ol' wool.  It is corriedale from the friendly frisky fence-climbing yearling ram--Bruiser from Ewephoria Farm in Lawrence, Kansas.  I didn't get a photo of Bruiser, so you don't get that treat here.  But ohhhhhh, I did get a little over 2 pounds of his gorgeous wool.  

 Here's a closer shot of the fiber--see how crimpy and fine it is?  He was coated most of the year, so there is very little nasty in it, but corriedales have LOTS of grease (lanolin) in their wool, so it has to be washed in very hot water with lots of soap.  The advantage is that by the time I'm done working with the wool, my hands will be baby-butt soft. 

It's great to buy fleece from a spinner's flock because in addition to getting wool from clean well-cared for and loved  sheep.  You get advice about how to clean the fleece to the best advantage.  Tina, the artistic shepherdess of the flock explained her method, which is basically what I found here and what I am doing in the kitchen sink.  

For those so inclined to wash fleece in the kitchen sink, I've found the way clear after fixing the man of the house a big breakfast of bacon, eggs, and 5-grain pancakes.  There's almost nothing  considered unacceptable after that. 

My Tattoo

My Tattoo
A bike chain tattoo, that is It's chain lube ya know