Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Yarn Along - What's Next 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 on 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 rose 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 on to 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...


Sandra said...

beautiful colors!
It is hard to think about sweaters when it is hot. Spinning in the air conditioned is doable :)

nocton4 said...

Wow loved seeing these pictures, such great colours

Far Side of Fifty said...

Those colors are just delicious looking! Stay cool...I made it through half the day outside and then retreated inside..I can take some heat but when the sweat blinds me I am done:(

Thistle Cove Farm said...

extremely nice roving; bet it spins well.

Mary Ann said...

Those colors are wonderful, and I'm going to look for the book.

Michelle said...

Sounds like a book I'm going to have to find. The batts are beautiful!

Lori Skoog said...

There you go speaking that wool language again. The colors are beautiful....can't wait to see what you have in mind for them. I understand why you hate summer. We have had some serious heat lately. Hopefully it will cool off tomorrow.

Did anyone ever tell you that you are a very talented woman?

YarnKettle said...

Wow those colors!! You make me want to do colorwork. I will wait patiently to see that sweater. I don't want you to rush, plus I don't think you're going to need it for a day or two. #itoohatehotsummer

Grey Horse Matters said...

You're a very talented lady. I'd love to be able to do what you do with the sheep and wool and spinning. It's a real art.

sophy0075 said...

Beautiful dyeing, beautiful batts, beautiful spinning (I wish I could even semi-quasi-sort of long draw, but inchworming is all I can manage).

It's so dreadfully, miserably hot and humid I have actually frogged some Misti Alpaca cotton/silk blend and have started to knit a top with that.

karen said...

beautiful colors of fluffy clouds!! I adore the array you choose and the way it knits up :)

I need orange said...

Wow -- you guys did a super job on Dyeing Day! A beautiful set of colors. I don't think I'd have thought of a dark green sweater, but it's gorgeous. :-) Can't wait to see the results, but ENTIRELY understand not wanting to touch a wool project when the weather is so hot you are sweating!

Love your wool pics. I would have trouble spinning away those beautiful puffs, too..... At least you have the pics. :-) I was able to get my daughter to part with things (like dyed Easter eggs!) by taking pics and telling her that while we couldn't keep the eggs, we could keep the pics for always. :-)

Unknown said...

Simply beautiful colors and such fluffy bats!! What kind of wool does Renny wear?

Susan said...

THAT GREEN..............WANT SOME :) greedy little thing that I am...beautious job. I like variation but your mixing and matching didn't completely 'kill' it. semi worsted is also my go-to method but since I almost always spin from the lock...
Working with wool in heat is better than acrylic...........and NO your butt will NOT sweat off............I have tried that :(

thecrazysheeplady said...

I am guessing she's a Hampshire/Shetland cross. She's small, has natural short tail and colored like a Shetland, but her ears and face look Hampy to me. Her fleece is long and fairly coarse, but coarse like a Down breed, with some crimpy. It's lovely - one of my favorites :-). I'm really excited about this project!

MarmePurl said...

My new favorite post. The colors, the words, the education, the inspirations...

LannieK said...

What a beautiful group of colors! And just perfect, soft batts. It will make amazing bláihíns out in a spring field. And yes, the book is wonderful ~


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