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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Yarn Along - What's Going On With All That Colorful Wool?

There are a ton of pictures with this post, but there could have been more :-o.  I love my basket of Renny wool!  I almost hate to disturb it to start spinning.  But I also can't wait to start spinning either. It's complicated ;-).  Let's back up a few days and get caught up.

A week and a half ago Miss B and I dyed Renny's light 2015 locks and the dark gray 2011 roving for the sweater body dark green.  Well, we thought we'd dyed it dark enough green.  When it dried, I carded a sample, spun it, loved how it spun...but thought it still looked a little too Christmas-y, so I over-dyed it even darker.

I took a bunch of pictures, but honestly, more than one picture is more than enough.  The locks of the right are were the light gray.  The darker green on the left was the dark gray roving.  The green on the right is still pretty bright, but when it's blended with the darker/blacker green, it should be perfect. 

This is the green Sheepmom and I dyed.  I used the drum carder because I wanted to be able to run half of the bundle and then the other half and then pull it into strips, mix them together to make two new batts, then strip those two, mix them together one more time and run two new batts that hopefully are pretty darn evenly blended.

Here are the strips.  You can see how they are still fairly variegated.

This is the light green, but shows how I pull the batts into strips, draft them out thinner and then re-run them through the carder.

The rose before carding.  I've fluffed all the locks so I know they are ready to run.

The blue was fun because of all the different grays showing through in the beginning.  Some spinners might embrace those differences and spin it like that, but let's not get crazy here.  Baby steps! ;-)

I'd planned for the blue to be a sky background, but it also matches my favorite blue flower, borage.

Look at yellow and rosey zinneas :-).

And sweet Kate who thinks this wool stuff is all. very. boring.  I added this picture because of Kate, but also because it was taken while the sun was behind some clouds.  The colors show a little darker than real life, but the shades are pretty close.

These are pretty close too, but not quite real life either.  Somewhere between the two...  The darker green roving roll on top of the bottom right green shows the difference between the sweater body and the patterning green.  The brighter green is going to be perfect for the pattern work and body yarn will be a bit subdued, just the way I want it :-).  Now onto the knitted swatch.

The lighter green in the middle was the original sweater body green - a bit too light (again, not quite real life colors, but you can get an idea).  The yarn spun beautifully, like butter - very exciting!  The dark green on the left is the new darker dark green.  Again, very easy to spin.  

As usual, here's where the plot thickens.  On both samples, while the yarn looked good, it didn't feel quite as good, especially knitted.  It wasn't over-spun (too tightly spun), but spun semi-worsted (my "go-to" spinning style), it didn't have much stretch or bounce to it.  I (and my hands) really prefer something a little stretchy and smooshy.

I'm not sure if you can tell by the picture, but the yarn on the right is different.  I spun it using a modified long draw (my second favorite spinning style).  Explaining the difference between the two styles will have to be a subject for another day, especially since I'm doing neither "by the book".  Just suffice to say I like look and feel of the fluffier, airier, fuzzier yarn on the right, so I'm glad I sampled it first. 

So when am I going to start spinning?  Soon.  I hope.  I've set some work goals for myself first that I'm trying to hold my feet to the fire for.  The weather is also holding me back. While it's so miserably hot that my sheep chores are increased (when they are usually not - summer should be an easy season) the continuing rain is keeping the grass and weeds growing (when everything is usually dying back).  

I spend the entire day with sweat pouring off my face,  running down my arms, hands, butt (which does NOT seems to be sweating off ?!?).  I can't go sit down inside without taking a shower, but if I'm just turning around to go back outside, why bother...  You can see how wool yarn might keep getting set aside.  Especially when I enjoy the basket as it is so well too.

*     *      *       *       *

I did actually read a book this past week.  An actual paper book.  A hard cover even!  There was an obituary recently in one of my favorite sheep magazines, The Shepherd, that shared a poem:

 A Sheep Farmer's Prayer by Margaret Duncan Brown*. 

Heaven won't be so lonely,
If what I hope is true.

If a little lamb of God is there,
Or some old friendly ewe.

In those celestial pastures,
Beside still waters deep.

May the eternal future find me,
With a little bunch of sheep.

*Beginning in 1918, Margaret Duncan Brown ranched alone for 47 years in Colorado's Elk River Valley.  Her diaries were the basis of her 1982 book, Shepherdess of Elk River Valley.

A friend and I had to go look her up and what we found made us both immediately search for a copy of her book.  It was very, very good.  If you look for a copy, try to find one with the dust jacket.  The story on the flaps was one of the very best sheep stories I've read.  It's inside the book as well, so don't panic if you can't find a complete one.

Joining in with Ginny...

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