Cherry Bomb Baby

I live in a pile of bricks with a fire puter-outer, a Halloween enthusiast and a pretend lemur, who sometimes admits to being my second son. I have a kitchen for flowers. I know all the lyrics to the Spiderman theme song and (am forced to) sing it everyday. I cook with color. This was a blog mostly about yarn spinning and natural dyeing. Now, it is fair to say, it lacks direction entirely.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Madder Yarn and More Fleeces

This little skein went to my awesome sister-in-law's mom. She is always making beautiful things for my niece, either crochet or sewn. I thought she might be able to make a small project, a hat or something with this. It began with white Merino and Cormo fleece from Merry Meadows farm in Willits, CA, washed and handcarded by me then natural dyed with madder.

I think the plying angle is too tight on this yarn, it was spun so very long ago (this last summer) that I can't remember what my excuse would be, treadling on too much caffiene? Spinning while enraged? Oh well, I'm sure it was a good one.

Onto new possibilities! Pinto huacaya alpaca! I haven't spun it in forever but alpaca was my favorite fiber for a long time. This is my first go round at preparing the fleece, I got a bunch of it from Sandy at Homestead Wool and Gift Farm. My favorite all time farm for the farmer's sweetness and philosophy. Oh, and the wool! Its all amazing! And did I tell you I won a raffle there this past summer? I never will raffles and yet, even you, who think you will never win raffles and can manage to do such things at her farm. I have a fantasy that someday she'd let me visit and that I would finally learn to take all the beautiful pictures that I see in my head and my kids and I would meet her sheep and I would have a wall in my home of framed/matted pictures of her sheep and my kids and all the things I love. Ah, how I'd love to meet her sheep, particularly Rita and Fletcher. I should write a separate post about my infatuation with Rita.

Didn't I say onto the possibilities? Below is the washed pinto alpaca, it is so soft and I'm not sure what to do with it exactly. Its one of those things that I love so much that I just must hoard for a while. I wanted to blend these fibers with something else but I don't know if I can bring myself to dilute that color. I can't get over the dark brown, so rich, like a well polished wood.

And black! Rare black! Sandy shared this with me and I feel a little guilty that I am again robbing her personal shelves. But she is generous one and did give it of her own free will. The locks are long, over 5 inches it looks to be. I should measure, I don't know if this will give me any trouble going through the drum carder. I had the idea that I'd make myself some merino/alpaca batts with natural colors. Only one way to (carefully) find out.

And more colors! A fawn and a darker chestnut colored alpaca. The black and brown tones are Suri alpaca. I've washed the pinto and the black. I've got to get into the other colors now. Its been so rainy that there's been no place to dry anything so I've take a break from fleece washing.

The other thing I need to finish washing is my colored romney. I have ten pounds of this. Its so beautiful but sometimes I don't know what I am thinking. I think I was thinking a felt rug, but I've gone back on this idea to a woven rug. Now, if only I knew how to weave on that loom I have upstairs.

This is from a sheep named Carl and is freshly washed and drying on my very professional drying rack. Is there anything more satisfying than freshly washed wool that is still just a bit damp?

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Indigo Playsilks

A friend let slip that she was natural dyeing playsilks for her daughter for Christmas. She was using only food dyes for the most part, coffee, spinach, raspberry zinger tea, turmeric, etc. So, of course, I offered some indigo from my pot! We rushed it a lot since it was my baby's naptime, and she had an hour and a half before she had to get her kids. I did one dip on each of these silks, one was dyed with turmeric, another with coffee (it started out as a nice tan color) and the others were white.

I will try one more short dip on one of the plain white silks and see how it looks but we are going for nice light or bright blues. The blues are mottled throughout the fabric and the effect looks like a blue/white sky. The coffee overdyed silk looks almost turquoise and we liked that one among the best.

Will I ever get a true green from overdyeing?

What is up with this stained, muddy looking color?! I feel like I took her beautiful sunshine yellow and wiped muddy floors with it. Sorry Courtney! We'll see how much rinses out and what the final result is.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A little spinning and knitting has been done

Ta-da! This is the yarn that was handcarded from pollwarth locks. And that covering it, is a fine shadow. I spun fairly long bits of solid color and navajo plied it for a self striping kind of effect. I don't quite know what to do with this one, I really like it but it may become a holiday gift. Maybe even to someone who doesn't knit. Because that is how I roll sometimes.

The left over pink and yellow bits of pollwarth ended up in this yarn. Its mostly white merino top from my trade with Jacey of Insubordiknit. I plied it against a core thread, which was the white (cotton I think) with pink, yellow and green colored poofs. The pink and yellow pollwarth parts were coiled when I got to them in the plying. I think this would be a great scarf knit with a dropped stitch pattern, super long and skinny and knit on big needles!

I also used random bits of scrap fuzz (a lot of random hand dyed silk bits) and pushed them up into halos which you can kind of see here. Those little bumps are actually halos, or little "O's" that we practiced at camp pluckyfluff. I alternated coils and halos along the way.

Hey look! A FO! This scarf came out a bit short for my taste, I like to be able to wrap it around my neck and have two generous pieces dangling on either side. This scarf gives me one wrap around the neck and one pice hanging on the front and one on the back. I think I make all my felted scarves too long because I just can't don't like skimpy scarves. It is soft and I do like it and it will go to someone for christmas because, well, that is just how its going to go down. If I had unlimited time I'd probably re-knit it with 4 fewer stitches cast on. Sigh...

The pluckyfluff yarn is all knit up into a little garter stitch square. Um, rectangle I mean. I want to line it with some fabric and put wooden handles on it. This is so my thing. A funky ass purse for the 4 essentials: cell phone, wallet (which my toddler calls "wally") or wally, keys and sunglasses. I lost my third pair of sunglasses for the year and I don't think I deserve anymore as I obviously don't appreciate them. But I can't live without a good pair of big old, round sunglasses. I like to look like a bug when I wear sunglasses. And making this weird yarn into a purse can help me acheive that. Doesn't it make perfect sense?

Folded in half and looking almost purse like:

The hunt for the right handles is on!

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