Thursday, July 3, 2008

some luscious spinning

On my last dyeing day, I decided to do a little bit of experimenting along with the sock yarn. I've been planning to do hand-dyed rovings as well as yarns, and I've been contemplating how much roving would actually result from buying the minimum initial order. Well, it's a lot, and it occurred to me that dyeing roving is different from dyeing yarn and I might just end up with 30 pounds of felt balls or something. So I figured I better try it out before I make that big order.
I had some BFL that I bought from Little Barn, and I bought a few pounds of brown mix roving from Sheep Shed Studio a while back, so I took a few two-ounce pieces and started playing.
Here's the BFL:


This is some of the brown mix from Sheep Shed Studio:


After I dyed those two, which were all I was planning to do, I had a whole lake of dye left in the bins I do my hand-painting in, so I used another piece to soak it up.


I like how you can see the brown through the purple in this one--it kind of gets lost in the other one. I'm also surprised it's so much paler than the others--it seemed quite saturated, and the dye goes all the way through, but maybe the puddle was misleading and a lot of the dye was already exhausted out of it by the previous rovings.
Anyway, I'm delighted with the colors of all of these, and they don't seem to be too felted. That's what I was afraid of--that I'd make a big felted mess like that rose-colored roving I had back here. But I was very careful with it, and there are a few little felted spots, but mostly it spins beautifully and seems to be comparable in quality to the two good hand-dyed wool rovings I've spun (BFL from Three Waters Farm and South American Punta from Hoobody Fibers, both pictured and discussed here).
I spun a little of the brown mix this morning.


Total love. The only thing that was a little poorly planned is that I dyed the roving kind of like a hank of sock yarn--a bunch of purple over here, then some wine, then some suede color. With the sock yarn, this makes sense and results in color repeats. With the roving, it's just one piece, so you end up with one long piece of roving that's purple at one end, then goes to wine, then suede. I thought that would be a bit odd, so as I was spinning it, I tore off chunks and alternated between the purple part and the suede part. I did about half of it, and I plan to do the other half the same way. I really didn't have a plan here, so it's exceedingly unlikely that the colors will line up when I ply it, but I think it will make an interesting interaction. Sometimes they will line up, and sometimes it will be barber pole.
I dyed the BFL the same way; maybe for it I'll just go with the colors as they are and finally try Navajo plying. Then I'd really get a slow transition from purple to wine to suede. Maybe it would make a cool bag or something. Or a cozy for my teeny computer! I tried to put it in the protective thing from my laptop bag to protect it when I carry it around, but it's about half the size of the protective thing. That doesn't make it any less protected, of course, but it kind of defeats the purpose of owning a teeny computer if you're still dragging around something twice as big. I must confess, normally I scorn "cozies" in general--cell phone cozies, toilet paper cozies, etc.--puh-lease. But my iPod sort of started converting me. First I bought it a little case with a belt clip for when I went for walks or cooked dinner. Then I bought it a recharger/radio transmitter for the car. Then I bought it a little silicone raincoat, basically, to keep from getting scratched when it's not in either of the other things. Then I bought it an arm band for when I run (which is never, as it turns out). Basically, my iPod has more accessories than I do. I don't plan to get so carried away with the laptop--for one thing, it has a sturdy pebbled exterior instead of a shiny scratchable one like I expected--but I would like to wrap it in something cushiony for when I travel, and if it's made out of my work, it's practically an advertisement. I wonder if two ounces of yarn is enough to make a teeny laptop cozy. This is the sort of thing that would be really handy to know, as would "and how many grams is that anyway?!" (I looked it up--about 57.) I have a decent feel for the amount of yarn in a 50 g ball or a 100 g ball because that's what most of the commercial stuff comes in, but the ounces escape me.
Hm, so if I was going to buy yarn to make a laptop cozy, I would probably buy two 50 g balls...I guess I could stripe in the dye sopper one every few rows, or make the back out of it when/if I ran out of the other stuff. In the end, what I've bought usually turns out to be twice as much as I need, unless I'm doing a project to use up leftover yarn from another project, in which case it becomes necessary to buy a whole 'nother set, somehow leaving me with exactly the amount of yarn I had before I started, if not more. Yet during the project I ran out and had to buy more to finish. This seems like it should be physically impossible. Perhaps "using up yarn" actually causes rifts in the space-time continuum that can only be repaired by buying more yarn. Yes, I think that's it. When we buy yarn, we're really doing our part for the space-time continuum, and everyone should thank and encourage us! It's an awesome responsibility, in both senses of the word.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I remember the first time (OK, it was the only time) I dyed roving. Scary stuff, but oh so rewarding!