Thanks to my friend K’s enthusiasm for learning anything and all things fiber, I am returning to my fiber work with the most interest I’ve felt since the November 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Most recently, K wanted to try dyeing. Caught up in a fiber frenzy last year, she bought a lot of yarn. What to do with one of her purchases – three cakes of cream colored yarn (Cascade’s Alpaca Lana D’Oro, 50% superfine alpaca, 50% Peruvian highland wool, 100g/3.5oz = 200m/219y) – flummoxed her. K couldn’t think of anything she wanted to knit out of cream wool. (I’d say such is the hazard of spontaneous yarn purchasing but let she who is without sin cast the first stone comes to mind!) However, her eyes got that dangerous spark when I suggested dyeing the yarn. We quickly scheduled a date and time, and I readied my dye pots and supplies.
K liked the idea of dyeing so the yarn would have color variations. To that end, I sent her an article to read and advised her not to soak her cakes of yarn (so she’d see more variation). She arrived in a timely fashion armed with old towels, a jug of white vinegar and her cakes of yarn. We dyed the yarn in my kitchen but, after rolling them in old towels, took the newly dyed, still wet, cakes outside to wind into skeins so they would dry more quickly inside.
I dragged our glass-topped patio table from the back porch and set up my Louet skein winder. (K seemed pleased to use that type of skein winder for the first time too.) Though the sun was periodically shining through the clouds that April afternoon, it was a cold, wet and windy day. There K and I were, covered toe to head in winter gear, winding wet yarn as quickly as we could with fingers that quickly went numb. We had to laugh at the sheer hilarity of the sight we knew we presented! Anyone peeking over our fence would have shaken their heads at seeing two shivering ladies in their six decades giggling over wet yarn.
K was very pleased – and rightly so – with the results of her first lesson in dyeing protein fibers! She is so much fun to work with.
Soon K will learn how to warp a floor loom, specifically my 8-harness 55″ weaving width Gilmore. I’m almost done winding the warp (8/4 Maysville 100% cotton) for a couple of rugs. The piles of wool for wefts for several rugs have been staring at me reproachfully for the last year and a half. K’s fiber interest has at worst put me to shame and at best revitalized me!
While I was packing up my dyeing gear, she asked questions about spinning. I should have known her sharp eyes would spot my Schacht wheel, even though it was nearly hidden behind a big plant. Maybe I’ll pull out some spindles for her to play with.
I am thankful that K’s curiosity and enthusiasm for all things fiber is blowing away the cobwebs of political angst that have been smothering my joy of fiber work!
As an aside, here are some pictures of recent baking … sourdough mixed grain loaves with chopped toasted walnuts and dried fruit, spelt bran muffins with dried cranberries and raisins, chocolate Devil Food’s cake mini loaves, chocolate cupcakes with applesauce instead of butter (to lower the fat content), and buttery almond mini tarts with a single fresh blueberry in each one (no lowered fats in these!).