Monday, June 9, 2008

There and back again; up to my ears in wool

The news

So the "dude" and I headed off into the wild blue yonder - ambled down the highway at a leisurely pace of 15 km per hour above the speed limit - to the Big City. Actually we hit surburbia and went to Whitby - about 50-odd (give or take 25 km depending on which part of the city you measure from) kilometres from Toronto.

All I can say is a) thank god for air conditioning and b) theme parks and 40+ degrees humidex don't mix. We lasted at Wonderland a whole 3 1/2 hours before calling it quits and heading back to Wanna-baa's house for a nap, dinner and ice cream.
More stuff I can say...10 month olds? CUTE! Ava checked out Alex thoroughly our first morning:
We also found that the absolutely best place to be on a hot day is a little tiny beach in Port Hope on Lake Ontario where it was about 10 degrees cooler than anywhere else. And the fish and chips totally rocked. No pictures as I was too busy pushing the swing and watching sandcastle making.

The reason for the trip to Port Hope was to go to The Black Lamb and pick up some fibre as I am preparing a bunch of stuff for St. Distaff's Day. Laurie had closed the shop for the day to hawk (hauk?) her wares at the Ontario Handspinning Seminar (next year, please remind me to go to this okay?). She was there on Sunday when I drove back through on my way home and was happy to accept my credit card in exchange for a whack-load of BFL and some Shetland.

This year, St. Distaff is on June 21st and if you have never heard of St. Distaff don't be surprised...she (I think its a she) is the made up saint of spinners and weavers. Every year one of the local guilds hosts a day of spinning, weaving and fibre arts workshops along with a small vendor show. Chriss of Daisy Chains and Buttercups is going to have a table this year and I'm going to put some stuff there to see if anyone wants to help me lighten up my shelves at home. Turns out I have a LOT of fibre.

So...I have been dyeing my heart out over the last two weeks!

Stuff I dyed

So today you get a quick review about dyeing roving. In the last two weeks, I've dyed a whole lot of Blue Faced Leicester (BFL), Corriedale, Merino and Merino/Tencel blend. My favourite is BFL with the Merino Tencel a close second.

As much as I love the soft merino it is hard to handle when dyeing. The fibre is so fine it tends to drift apart and requires careful handling to keep the integrity of the roving intact (now there's a sentence I never thought I would type...integrity of roving...). The worst moment is when I go to pull the bump out of the soaking bowl while trying to avoid the others and keep the merino all in one piece. I seem to finally have my technique down, but I've also learned to lower my standards a bit about how perfect the roving will be when I am done with it.

The other thing about merino is that it seems to resist taking up the dye. If anyone wants to jump in with an explanation about how my technique may be faulty please do so, but it seems like the same concentration of dye yields a much more saturated colour on the same amount of BFL as merino. It seems as thought the merino sucks up the dye so quickly it doesn't have time to spread through the fibre.

The merino/tencel mix seems to solve some of the problems with the merino including the "drifty-ness" - not to mention that the shine on it makes my heart beat a little faster.

Finally Corriedale. Alas, how I want so much to like you! I have to confess however, that I do love my fine wools and while Corriedale has its place in the wool pantheon, it will never be worshipped here. Just too rough for my taste and it seems to suck in light. What can I say...I like me some shiny stuff. I'm surprised I haven't started with the Angelina yet.
So here's a quick fibre fix...and if you want to see it all, go check out my flickr.

Stuff I'm Knitting

Little to report - the Susie Hoodie is proceeding well. I am 22 rows away from my off the needles, around the waist size check and then we will know for sure if all is well. Now I just have to commit absolutely to doing the waist size check thing and not pretend that this type of careful consideration is something that is good and right and not something that is only for other lesser knitters than I.

And finally - for all those who asked...

Vesper the Vibe is fantastic. Fun to drive, goes vroom and generally makes itself welcome everywhere except at the gas pump. Also, I really can't wait to see how many hits I get off a google search for "black vibe". Because I am really 12 years old.
Next time, I will try to tell you about Kniterary* where I got to touch some Camelspin (please don't lick the screen - not good for monitors I hear) and after I regained cousciouness I bought a new book.
*A yarn shop where wise yarn store owner has placed Fleece Artist and Handmaiden in a locked glass cabinet. Bizarre but somehow made me want it even more...


you know who - doodle said...

Let me jack up your google rank a wee bit..

black vibe black vibe black vibe +car

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

I guess that I'll be seing you on the 21st.....:)

Chriss said...

We still haven't heard anything regarding setting up a booth on St. Distaff Day, so it may be a no go.
However, we can load stuff up on the website for all to view and purchase.

Jeanne said...

Sounds like a fun break! Your roving is gorgeous.