So I spun up a wee sample of the Arcott/Romney blend wool and even though the Arcott is only half of the fibre content, it still looks delightfully fuzzy!
And here are the sample swatches that I knit with it:
I wish you could feel how light and soft but crisp this is! If you'll recall my plan here is to spin and dye and finally knit the Intersect cabled cardigan by Norah Gaughan. My first needle choice was the recommended 4mm and that's what I knitted the chart swatch with as well as the first section of the stockinette swatch too. It's a little too loose so I went down to 3.75mm for the upper part of the plain swatch and now I'm much closer to the correct gauge. It's always a challenge to try to match the stated gauge since I virtually never use the recommended yarn! Even when it isn't handspun. Plus I tend to be a relatively loose knitter - except when it's socks! I'm pretty happy with the final results here and I actually prefer the slightly tighter fabric.
Much more teasing and carding still to go! I discovered that the Romney fleece is much better when I flick card the lock ends instead of teasing them. That gets off the dirty tips and loosens the matted cut ends very nicely. Happily I had already washed this fleece while carefully keeping the locks intact thinking I might comb it but flicking is actually a better option. With the Arcott fleece it is easier to just tease it thoroughly to get out as much of the excess VM as possible before carding it. I'm already about 3/4 of the way through it so far. And leaving drifts of dirt everywhere around me as I work on it! Heh.
When I'm finally finished spinning this wool (some day?) I plan to mordant it with rhubarb leaves and dye it with madder to get something like this colour:
I've already started harvesting my rhubarb and I put the leaves in the freezer to wait until I have enough of them and the yarn is spun up and ready to go. The dye sample piece is part of my natural dyed roving collection that I've been working on for a few years now. Here it is after I dumped it all out and arranged in like colours before bagging it all up again:
Those are all colours from my garden! And yes, there are definitely more than a few projects' worth in there. I had a very enjoyable time sorting this lot and dreaming about the combinations I could make. However I have enough to do for the moment so they will have to be patient and wait until this fall before I can get to them. Or at least get to one project using some of this lot.
Meanwhile I finally have the tea towel warp on the loom and the first towel is magically nearly half woven! So exciting. This time I got smart and did all the complications in the warp so the weaving is easy and relaxing. Only four treadles and six picks in the repeat plus plain weave hems. One shuttle and a single colour weft. Temple in place from the start so no excess draw-in. I only had one misthreading near the end and it was relatively easy to repair. Or it would have been easier if I hadn't knocked about 30 heddles off the end of shaft 1 when I tried to put a new heddle in to fix the mistake! Here's a teaser shot. Note the end of that heddle has to go all the way out to the end and over the bottom bar.
I forgot that I needed to relax the warp tension to get it out there and that's where I dropped everything I was holding. Texsolv heddles are a PITA to get back on untwisted and lined up correctly. Twist ties are your friend! (Coulda, shoulda, woulda!) Done now though and it's going well.
In other news I've begun planning our big trek to Newfoundland and back! We're off for at least 2 months beginning in August to try for the one province we missed last time in 2013. Old Fraulein Blau is looking very spiffy as Thom works to get her in as great a shape as possible. See her shiny new running board that he just installed?
That's a concession for me and my arthritic hip. So considerate. He also fixed the leaking sink drain and now he's replacing the trim around the windows. My job is to replace the elastic in the front window curtain and the back of the pop top plus put bigger magnets in the bug net that goes over the open sliding doorway. We are going to be So Prepared this time!
I've already been researching our route and spent a couple of days sorting all our maps and guidebooks. The automobile association no longer prints these things since everyone has a GPS (except us!) so they are treasures. Somehow I find room for about 5 kilos worth of printed paper as well as a bunch more info on computer. Or this time it will be my iPad. Yeah, halfway between old-school and electronic. That's me! You can't rely on finding wifi or even cell coverage everywhere you need it. It's a long, long way and I take my navigational duties very seriously. We do want to find our way home again.