Yes, it’s that time of year again when the fuzzy-tailed rats…er, squirrels are galumphing over my house and sashaying up my trees and leaving the debris from their nut-thieving all over my deck and stairs. They even nibble on my railings taking chunks out of the wood. Evil creatures! Who invited them to my neighbourhood anyway. I was here first! They were imported. Grrrr…
At least I got to use some of my walnut husks – ones that the nasty creatures had chopped down too early and didn’t eat. Here are the yarns that I dyed on Monday and Tuesday:
From left to right: walnut on Alpaca Lace, coreopsis/marigold/iron modifier on Zephyr silk/wool, coreopsis/marigold/iron modifier exhaust bath on Zephyr, woad on Zephyr, and woad (regular hot process) on suri alpaca. All except the woad blue were mordanted with alum and cream of tartar, the first 3 separately (at least a year ago!) and the last in the one-pot method. I didn’t get as strong a colour from the spent woad leaves this time, just a pale pinky-beige on 250g of alpaca. Too much fibre and not enough leaves for as deep a colour as last time, but it’s quite pretty anyhow. I’m not especially happy with that suri alpaca yarn though. I bought it from a vendor at the ANWG conference in Red Deer 2 years ago. Luckily for them, I have no company name to complain to. Or about. It was apparently commercially spun from the unknown farm’s fibre and it isn’t as nice as I would have expected. It’s very uneven and the singles were over-twisted and then under-plied. At least in my opinion. I feel I could have spun it much better myself. A lot of this was masked though by the incredible amount of “stuff” that came out of the yarn when I washed it. After rinsing several times I thought I had it clean but then the dyebath became totally milky from oil, grease, dirt, something? Now I’m trying to remember why I spent $50 on this 1000 yd skein. I’ll still use it for something eventually. Something where it’s weight (heavy for its fine/fingering size) and drape (slippery with no elasticity) won’t be a detriment.
The woad did give me good blue colour on top of the too-pale skein from the last time. The vat had a proper “flower” on top and I was careful not to use too much soda ash or thiox in it. I think I’m getting the hang of this! Maybe. There’s 6 plants left that I didn’t harvest but I just don’t have time right now. Maybe I’ll try it again when I get back from vacation. Or not. I already got 3 dye batches this year from my 13 plants which I think is pretty good. I can only process half of them at a time anyway. 6 or 7 plants gives about 2 kilos (one large bucket) of fresh leaves which is all that is practical to work with at once, at least in my dye studio. On a good day, that will dye about 100g of fibre to medium blue (2 or 3 dips) and another 50-100g pale blue. Not a lot, huh?
BTW have you heard that Ravelry now has at least a small consideration for weaving? Yay! You can designate a project as weaving (instead of crochet or knitting) and once you do so, you get a box to add your loom details (instead of hook or needles) and you can also enter where you got the pattern. Not too detailed, I’ll admit, but you could enter any other information in the comments box such as sett, warp length, reed, width etc. Hey, it’s a beginning. Casey recommends that you go in and update any weaving projects you’ve already entered so the search feature will turn them up properly. Done.
Got to get my rear in gear and get laundry done and some packing started in earnest. I have Milord & Milady plus Nana coming for dinner tonight. They will be looking after the house and garden while we’re gone so we need to go over the details. Plus I need someone to help eat some of the produce that I can’t take with me! T-Man is going to spit a large free-range chicken on the barby for the occasion. Yum!