Thursday, May 1, 2008

Moody blues... and purples, reds, yellows...

I've been chomping at the bit for the weather to get warm enough for me to get outside and do some dyeing. I like to work on the deck, where spills aren't a big deal, and where I can be outside. Anything to get away from the computer! And the sounds and sights on the creek are an inspiration once I get my dyeing groove going.

I had a whole bunch of ideas saved up over the winter, and the Celtic Festival coming up with vending opportunities, so I spent four days cranking out roving and yarn. I ended up dyeing 37 4-oz. bumps of roving, and 8 skeins of yarn...yowza. Not too bad for a one-woman operation, considering that I'm still learning.

I'm still working from the 150 lbs. of Dorset roving that I got last spring from a local farmer. It takes dye well, and spins up into a soft, bouncy yarn. I spun about 1200 yards of my favorite colorway into a DK weight two ply, and last fall at our annual Mannings field trip/retreat/class/fiber binge, I used it to warp the loom and wove a pair of coordinating scarves with it.
The warp for both of these was "Lonely Hearts Club", a mix of reds/pinks/black. The weft for the one on the left (yes, the one on the weft...haha) is Jaggerspun wool, black, I think 2/8, while the one on the right is alsio Jaggerspun, but wool/silk. I love them both, and wore them often this winter. I have enough of another colorway in purples/black/gray to do another, with the weft thread the same Jaggerspun wool/silk but in purple.

I spun another two skeins of the same roving into sportweight, and sold them at a local yarn shop. They'll make some great heavyweight socks. This particular roving likes to spin up at about that weight, it seems, but I haven't pushed it much finer than that, because I really like the way it looks and behaves.

Dyeing is such therapy -- I love to stand back and look at what I've done on a given day, to see where my mood was when I started compared to when I got done. Take a look at the left side of this picture, the first rovings I dyed, and then look at the right side, where I ended up. Dull, dark colors... bright, happy colors. That;s what a day in thesun with dyes and wool will do for a cruddy attitude!

And this weekend is Maryland Sheep and Wool! I'm planning on going both days, and this year will probably be going solo for the first time ever on Saturday, as the family have other plans. I have to admit that though I love going with the guys, I wasn't too upset... Boy 1 has a scout campout, Boy 2 (my spinner) will go up with me on Sunday, and B (spousal unit) announced that he didn't want to go this year.

I'm not looking for anything in particular this year -- but I am looking forward to seeing some vendor friends (hi, Jacey! ). And I have another ten Dorset fleeces to take for processing, and some beautiful border Leicester. Tomorrow is fleece-skirting day -- and perhaps a little gratuitous dye therapy, if Charlotte can make it over to play too.

Tonight I plan to finish some spinning, so I can go to MDS&W with a clean conscience (yeah, right) and fondle fiber. And then I may tackle some carding that needs to get done, and perhaps tidy the Unruly Wool Room. Just as a warm-up, you know... got to get ready for the festivities on Saturday!

Happy Beltane!