Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Slippery Slope.

I never knew I wanted to be a spinner.  

Through the years old spinning wheels were regularly seen in antique shops around here; usually broken, with missing parts even to my untrained eyes. I remember carefully reaching out a finger and daring to poke wheels to make them turn a bit whenever we came across one.  
But I never really thought, "gee, I want one of these." I can make yarn now! 

Yarn I look forward to knitting or weaving with. 
And soon I want to try dyeing some of this creamy, off-white freshly hand spun yarn into lovely new colors.  NEXT!

In April my cousin Mark gave me 3 bags filled with old fleece from long ago when he raised sheep. 
I couldn't remember how long it had been, but I did know Sara & Steph were still young when they went next door with Grammie to see the baby sheep. 
I dug through some old photo albums and found pictures dated 1991. 
He doesn't remember what kind of sheep they were.
Except one was named Gloria and one Jane!    
One of them had silky long locks and in hindsight should have been kept separate.

A wiser person would probably have passed on this gift, rather than be so quick to jump in with both feet. 
Who teaches herself to process fleece with less than 2 months of practice, learning to spin?!
"I don't know what I'm doing!" has been uttered many times now.

I dumped it all on a tarp. There were rips in the bags it had been stored in. If there was anything making a nest inside I figured it was better to find out quickly. Outside!

I sorted using my own grading system:
Gross. Grosser. Grossest.
Grossest went to trashcan with no looking back.
This has not been a job for the squeamish. Veggie matter is a polite description for what these critters got stuck to themselves long ago. 
My first two skeins were done using a regular comb and a washer as a Diz. 
By the end of April I had my new Hand Carders from Paradise Fiber.
I look forward to my next fleece being not quite so vintage.  
Slippery Slope!!

Practicing with this old fleece has been freeing in a way. For as much work as it takes to get it ready to spin, I don't worry about wasting money on the expensive bags of fiber I bought, still waiting because of this new distraction. I get to figure things out and if it doesn't go as well as I liked, I get to pull a bit off and try again.  Like joining new ends smoothly.
There's no more anxiety or guilt for the time I took until I was ready to begin spinning. Simply anticipation of the next slot of time I happily give to my spinning wheel. Sometimes a bobbin will fill.  Another bobbin might be started and before I know it an hour or more has passed.  
I actually enjoy the process of plying many spinners seem to find a chore. 
It feels like accomplishment to me!
As I go about my daily routine now, my Schacht Ladybug sits in the corner made by our couch and a small thrift-store end table that I sanded, buts still needs finishing.  
Just out of the traffic flow of the living room. 
(No, it's NOT a projector!)

Jax shoves her half-peeled soccer ball under my elbow to coax me into doing something different after I've hardly gotten started. She lays her head on my left knee and makes it feel as heavy as she can until she gets what she wants. I tried to take a picture of her face looking up at me and keep treadling. Doesn't work too good. She's worked out how to get her way:
Lunch, a walk, or peanut butter, please!

Darling Blue Trail in bloom. (Distraction from first use of my new bread machine: FAIL.)
Note to Mrs. John: wait til you see one of my Tiger Trail plants!!


Judy S. said...

Looks like you're producing good results with your spinning! Can't wait to see how the dyeing turns out.

Debbie S. said...

I kept waiting for a photo of your Tiger Trail 'baby'!
THEN Summer Life took over... and I didn't check back since July.
TODAY, I thought I would catch up on Violet Net Friends (it's the time of year for this type of thing!). ;)
Hummm, Our violet blogs say it was May and June 2013 (2013!!!!) when we last posted!!!!
I had problems in December 2013... limped along 'doing the smart thing' until June 2014, when I simply turned off the lights and domed as many of the trays as I could (abut half).....
This fall, September 2014, I finally 'went back to the basics that Fred Hill told me'... started over with trays of babies (dates were in July 2013 as day mama leaf set)...
The whole thing needs to be written up.... I KNEW BETTER!!!! :(
(it was ph/soil ingredient/solo cup issue)
My shelves are looking nicer... with some nice plants. How are your violets?
Wishing you a joyful year!