I am spinning again
I stopped spinning in earnest about seven years ago. Mirrix, family and then politics got in the way. I just didn’t have the stretch of hours necessary to clean and wash the fleece, dye the fleece, comb and card the fleece and then spin it. I had forgotten the bliss of standing in front of dye pots and making color magic. But you can literally stand there for hours. An entire day will disappear and you find colored fleece hanging everywhere in the house. The next step is to blend those colors either with a drum carder or combs. Then comes the spinning. I still love spinning but there is a point where I’ve had enough. It’s good for watching movies. Yesterday I spent probably six hours straight spinning and watched two movies. My son asked me if I was serial movie watching. Yeah, well I was. And spinning frantically.
My wheel. She still feels new. Made of cherry. Gorgeous. Double treadle.
The colors do not come through. The red and dark green were grey fleeces so the result is very heathered. The front purplish one is actually rose and green and blue and purple. You can sort of see the variation in the photo. The light green is actually yellow and green and little bit of blue. The back purple ball is a rose purple.
I dye in the fleece so I can combine colors to get exactly what I want in the final product. Plus, it is so much easier to dye in the fleece. You don’t have to worry about even distribution of the dye, which can be a problem when dyeing already spun yarn . I am a very sloppy dyer and am perfectly suited to this method.
The problem with dye is that certain color absorb faster than others. You can mix up yellow and blue to get green but once the dye hits the pot one of those colors might get absorbed faster than the other. Let’s say it’s the blue. So the blue gets sucked into the wool slightly faster than the yellow. Those dye sites are now full and will not absorb the yellow. The yellow will go into the sites that haven’t absorbed the blue. It’s not that you are going to get blobs of blue and yellow and an absence of green, but you might get an uneven spread of color. The way to avoid this is to manage your acid and base chemicals and stir a lot and fast in the beginning, with a high ratio of water to yarn. You can see why I prefer the easier path .
Before I learned how to spin I did dye all my commercially spun wool. Yes, I did get pretty good at it. But I prefer this method.
I am toying with the idea of selling kits of hand spun. Anyone interested? It’s almost impossible to buy hand-dyed, hand-spun tapestry yarn.