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Monday, February 05, 2007

adventures of unemployed gal...

I got up to all sorts of fibre fun today...
First of all, this is the merino silk roving I am spinning up

As you can see, it is a loverly green colour with some silver and deep blue stripes that spin up to a gorgeous effectI split this in half before I started spinning (50g in each bundle) so hopefully I will be able to ply it and not lose 25-odd grams like I did with the green merino (that's why it is a 74g skein - did you think it was a funny number?) I haven't figured out exactly how to get the Navajo plying to work yet.....

Now, onto other unspun wool...

When I first got my spinning wheel, I called up a friend (herein after referred to as Friend A) whose parent's own a farm and sheepies. I asked him if it would be possible to get a fleece from them after the next shearing (of course, I was willing to pay)

It just so happens that Friend A is doing a PhD (in carbon fibre, not quite the stuff you can knit with) and his office is in a building where lots of technical stuff gets done. In this building, a lot of textiles research is conducted. Friend A was chatting to another guy (herein referred to a Friend B) who does all this research, and mentioned that I was getting into the-spinning-and-weaving-and-making-my-own-yarn-and-fabric-thing...

Friend B then recalled some top, used for previous experimentation, that was excess and no longer required. He gifted this to Friend A to pass to me...

May I present my giant ball of wool...


(Pierre quite possibly is included for scale, but m ore likely is contemplating whether this would be fun to play with, or his imminent death - until today this was securely wrapped up in the garbage bag... but he is now acutely aware of the sheepilicious goodies hiding inside)

Yes - this is 15 kg of top. Scoured, washed, carded and combed merino fleece, of the highest quality that happened to have fallen off the back of some-one's truck.

As you can see... it is a tad bit white...

So I decided to play around in the kitchen for a bit... with a product I am sure has no nutritional value.... (The creative Celia passed these onto me after she decided she could no longer stand the smell. Yes, they are a little sweet, fake, candy, grape smelling - but not so bad. Perhaps they affected her badly whilst she was pregnant?)

I did a quick search on the Internet and found some instruction for kool-aid dying. I had seven packets, and I read that you should use one packet per oz of wool, so measured out 7oz on my fantastic metric/imperial kitchen scales.


This is what it looked like before it went into the oven - and on the right, how it came out an hour or so later... If I was clever, I would have read the packets a little more carefully and noted that the yellow packet says - ice white crystals, ice white drink - ie, will not have an effect on white top...

Inspired by this, I pulled out food-dyes and vinegar I bought last year during a very boring Easter long weekend. I pulled out three more oz of yarn, split it into three and had a bit of fun with the microwave. No pictures of this process - camera battery needed recharging, but here are the spoils of the day... drying on our verandah.


The three food-dyes are on the left, and the kool-aid on the right. I had no idea that the food-dyes would be so vibrant on wool. I will definitely be doing this again. There is a lot of white roving to be played with.... and perhaps it may lead to new additions in the etsy shop??

Oh - and that sheep fleece I asked for - Ness's parent's (who also have a farm and sheepies) came through for me. I have the fleece from the black sheep of their flock. Which leads me to my next request - I need some hand carders, and don't want to buy them new. I have been lurking on ebay, but nothing much has come up there. If you can help me out, let me know...

And thanks to Kate for her mention about the stitch markers she bought at my shop. Yay, my first satisfied customer.

PS - I won't be unemployed for long. My part time contract arrived today via express post. I start next Monday. Hopefully by then my fingers will no longer be blue - I may have to find gloves for future dyeing experiments

3 comments:

abe-hap said...

loving the dying. If you dont have carding brushes get yourself a good long male plastic comb. thats good enough to comb the fleece ends as thats all I do to mine before I spin it. Is the fleece washed, if not, dont wash it before you spin it, as the natural lanolin in the fleece will help you spin it.

abehap said...

forgot to say great attempt at your first lot of handspun the other day - now get over to the yarn museum and post it :)
http://www.yarnmuseum.com/

Anonymous said...

Did you sprinkle on the koolaid or did you premix it with water.
Keli