Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dyeing and Washing Wool

First, I hope everyone had a happy safe St. Patrick's Day! You do know God invented alcohol so the Irish wouldn't take over the world didn't you? My husband is 1/4 Irish, I know this to be true first hand ;) Here's another tid bit of information you might enjoy. This is true, I heard it on a PBS special about the Mountain People of the Shenandoah (where I live). When the German's moved here the first thing they built were churches. When the English moved here the first thing they built were barns. When the Scotch/Irish moved here the first thing they built were stills. Surprised? I didn't think so. The Irish are a wild bunch and it's one of their endearing qualities!!!
Well, let's see. I've been dyeing yarn and the kids wanted to dye some so they each picked a skein from my stash and dyed away. Alex picked a varigated brown and white merino that he over dyed with blue and green. The colors came out really rich and he's very pleased with it.
Katie choose a skein of fingering weight bamboo. She picked 3 colors knowing that 2 of them were colors that "seperate" in the dye process--she wanted the tye dye effect. She is thrilled with how the colors came out and wants to crochet herself a shawl or something out of it. So, everybody had multicolored hands for two day.

With Eric's help, I've been washing the Babydoll Southdown fleece in small batches. One has to be terribly inventive when you live in a cracker box sized house with severely limited free space to wash and dry things. I'm getting there though. The fleece (only the white so far) is coming out very soft and a creamy almost ivory white but there are still tiny tiny pieces of grass and hay that I just can't get out of it, or haven't figured out how to get out of it. I hand carded a batch last night (about 10 oz.) and it took almost an hour. Cripes! I could feel the carpal tunnel twinges so I know I can't card all of the wool this way. I'm desperately hunting for a drum carder since Eric nixed the $365 new one I wanted. I hate being financially anemic. I really don't think he understands the importance of carding the wool once its clean so it can be spun. Oh well, I'll keep looking anyway. We have an auction tomorrow so I'll come home weighed down with jewelry again. The pirate in me is requiring more and more rum. I love the jewelry, its beautiful, but it's not really where my passion lay. On a more positive note, we have yellow and purple crocuses in the yard right by the house blooming and I haven't accidentally stepped on them yet. Sometimes it's the little things that make a difference.
Oh! I finally finished my Woodsman scarf and blocked it. It's gorgeous!!! Woooohoooo!


~ Phyllis ~ said...

Nice job with the dyeing. It's great that your kids have an interest in the fiber dyeing.
Hope you get that drum carder you are wishing for.

Beth said...

Thanks Phyllis! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the drum carder.

Jo said...

The yarn looks great. I've never tried washing fleece, but I'm just learning to spin, so I guess it's in my future.

I hear you on the drum carders! Wow, expensive.

Beth said...

Thanks Jo! You know your addicted when you start looking around the house for stuff to sell so you can get a drum carder ;)