I left you wondering if I would ever do anything with all those dye pots full of stuff and I must admit I haven’t done much.  I started out with good intentions:

carding one of the green batches I dyed on my friends Cindy’s drum carder.

So I spun a small skein of very thick yarn and decided I didn’t really like that

So I put it away and went on to other things none of which I have finished but I do have a lot of spinning bobbins filled with unplyed yarn.  I have 2 scarves on the go and a pair of unfinished socks not to mention the piles and piles of lampwork beads I’ve made that are waiting, for what I don’t know and that’s why they are waiting.   Sunny and windy today so maybe the torch is calling instead of the spinning wheel.


I’m going to interrupt my dyeing adventures with what started it all.

13 years ago I walk into a large hall looking for like minded people, people with glue guns,  but instead of glue guns I found two groups of ladies.  We have just moved to a new town and the Welcome Wagon Lady left me a pamphlet with a list of things happening about town and that led me to the large hall I found myself in.  As I enter ten ladies sitting around a quilt, they barely look up, too intent on their  stitching, their focus is on the quilt.  It doesn’t mater I know I don’t want to join them, my Mom and Dad had quilted and it was way to structured for me.  But then I look at the far end of the hall, 6 ladies sitting in a circle laughing their heads off  and what are they doing?  Well,who would have thought; they all have Spinning Wheels and they are making yarn?

About a year after I was married I inherited my Great Grandmothers Spinning wheel, bought out of the first issue of the Eatons Catalogue.

Up until  that day this wheel never had a drive band and I had never seen a spinning wheel in use.  My children grew up playing with this strange thing.  It was a favourite toy for a 2-3 year old.

I found myself in that group of ladies so excited I just knew something wonderful was going to happen in my life.  I was welcomed in and encouraged to come back in 2 weeks with my wheel, at this point they only met every other week.  Two weeks later I walked in with my antique wheel and left with one of their rental wheels, an Ashford Traditional Wheel but not before my mentor Doris has me unplying and plying a ball of commercially spun yarn.  Up until now Fred had said I couldn’t chew gum and walk at the same time and now I could treadle a spinning wheel and manipulate yarn with my hands.  That first year Doris not only supplied me with instruction, fibre to spin but lent me the money to buy a used wheel.  A beautiful Ashford Traditional wheel, I later added the double treadle kit.  This picture is not of my actual wheel  for I find myself with out one, so I snagged it off the internet.

Five years later I sold this wheel and bought my dream wheel a used Louet S90, there is nothing this wheel can not do, it fold for ease of transport, it is so well balanced it stand on it’s own when closed for transport.

To me this is the most aesthetically pleasing wheel, the simplicity of design and the completeness of it make it such a dream to own.

This wheel is so complete, it has a tensioned kate but it also has a skein winder and as you saw in the first photo it all folds up to a compact 6 inches.  As much as I loved this wheel I did try to sell it, 5 yes 5 times and each time I unlisted it for say withing 24 hours.  This wheel is MY wheel and it will always be.  But onward and upward I found myself the proud owner of a James Watson Handmade Victoria Wheel.  Once again I don’t have a picture of the wheel so I snagged one off of the internet. Unlike the one in this picture mine was made out of a dark an luscious walnut. It is a large production wheel.

A friend now owns my Victoria and one day I may get to take a picture of her and replace this one with the real thing.  You can find James and all his wheels here http://www.watsonwheels.com/

A few more years go by and I find that I can no longer spin pain free on a production wheel so once again I sell my wheel and buy a new one.  This New wheel is a Little Gem by Majacraft.  With this wheel I could do all the spinning I wanted without and pain and then I did a very foolish thing and injured my shoulders so badly that I had to give up all of my fibre activities.  As luck would have it I found Lampworking which didn’t hurt my body any way shape or form.  So I sold my Little Gem and bought a kiln and hot head torch.  Four more years go by and my shoulders are up to spinning so out comes my trusty Louet S90 and they dye pots and dye and away I go.  As much as I love my Louet it does cause my body stress when used for long periods of time so I am now the proud owner of a New Little Gem and here she is.  This is what you would see if you sat across from me at Thursday Spinning.

Side view.

So there you have it.   The 3 wheels that live with me and the ones that got away.

I you remember the first patch I dyed in the greece (unwashed) was green and it took me many many washes to get all the excess dye out of the fleece.  So today we will look at the second pot which I soaked in cold water to remove some of the dirt.  I drained this and let it sit in the sun just till it got the icy cold water from the outdoor tap.  I then put it into a cool dye bath of a very dark brown and red dye stock.  It took a long time to heat the pot up on my little electric burner.   I thought I might not have got it clean in the dye pot but it feels lovely.

The 3rd pot I actually washed the fleece first too see what the difference in the final produce would be.  This batch took really different from tip to cut end and I got a lighter green than the first pot even though I used more dye of a similar colour.  I am not measuring my wool or my dye so I can’t reproduce anything that I get but that’s the fun of it.

It took much less rinsing with this batch as it was clean before going into the dye pot. So looking at the 3 different ways I dyed these I came to the conclusion that the end result was the same so it all boils down to do I want to use that  much time and hot water to rinse the unwashed fleece after dyeing.

The green in the pillow case is the first one I dyed, the brown was the second and the one closest was the last of that batch.

Next in this fleece will be the picking it apart and then carding in preparation for spinning.  I am determined to get all the fleece washed and dyed while the weather is nice so the carding and spinning will have to wait.

Tomorrow I will tell you about all my ooppes of today.

I’m going back a bit from my last post as much to keep myself organized as telling my fibre story.

We got home from the farm and Fred unpacked the trunk and put it on my dye table

it didn’t look like that much when we were at the farm.  I know I have showed a picture of the bags already but it just looks like so much more sitting on the table.

While I already had one dye pot on the go I dumped my first pick fleece on the drying rack to sort it and take all the bits of straw and grass etc. out of it.  Then into a bag to be taken care of later.

Let’s have a closer look at it. I wish I could put the smell and the feel of it in this blog but……

This is going to make some mighty good yarn.  It will puff up and be soft and wonderful.

As to day is Mother’s Day I am going to stop here and continue with day one tomorrow.

Fibre revisited day 1

Ater years I decided to get back into dyeing my own fibre so my first step was to visit my friend Cindy and pick up some fleece.  I ended up getting 5 garbage bags full of fleece

next pick a bag and see what we have.  I decided on the biggest bag which had more than one fleece in it and I wanted to see what we had.

Now came the part where we have to make decisions, what to keep and what to throw away.

I decided the first day would be dyeing in the greece which means I’m not going to was the wool/fleece before I dye it.  I picked a kaki green for my first colour and I knew that because of the greece I would get an assortment of shades in each lock of fibre.  (for those that don’t know what a lock is I will explain it later) I put the dye, dish soap, vinegar and hot water in in one of my many dye pots and stuck it on the burner.

Many steps up and down from carport to kitchen filling the pot with hot tap water, pooped already.  Filled the pot with more water and then stuffed in the fleece.  Cooked it for 45 minutes after it came to a boil ( yes I know I’m not supposed to boil it for all my fibre friends reading this)  Now started the very long procedure .  Because it was dyed in the greece or with the lanolin still in it as well as all the  dirt that a sheep accumulates  it must be rinsed right away before it cools and the greece re-adhears to the fibre, this must be done in very hot water so the fibre won’t be shocked and felt on you. It is also not a very efficient use of dye as a lot of it gets washed down the drain with the dirt and greece.   Finally I get fed up with all this re-rinsing and put the batch in mesh bag and put in the washer to spin out the excess water.

A lesson learned

Sometimes we find ourselves in strange unknown places and that’s exactly where I found myself this past weekend.  When my daughter Joellyn phoned and said her hubby and oldest son were going to a Mixed Marshal Arts competition in North Vancouver on the weekend and that her and their youngest son were coming as well Fred and I decided it would be great to pop over to the mainland and see them.  I knew that Eli was involved with a boxing group at the church they attend but didn’t really understand anything about it other than it was a good exercise and energy releaser.  We were looking forward to seeing  what Eli has been up to lately.

At this point I must tell you I am a pacifist of the first order  and yet I found myself at a mixed marshal arts competition. If I had been wise I would have looked up mixed marshal arts before going and I wouldn’t have found myself in the emotional state I found myself in.  I tried very hard to be a good grandma but found myself breaking down as I watched little girls of about 4 years of age punching and kicking one another, now true they were wearing protective gear but here were someones little babies hitting and kicking each other when “I thought they should be playing with dolls or toy trucks”.  At the other end of the arena were the older teens doing the same thing but with much more power behind every blow and soon there was blood. “Doc Martin” and I can’t handle the sight of blood and it does effect our day to day lives, and on this day it made me crash and before I knew it I was crying and my grandson hadn’t even started his first competition.  We left the arena and went and spent the day with our younger grandson who just didn’t want to get out of bed but was soon tempted to join us in a trip to the mall.

Sunday we woke up, had breakfast and headed back to the arena.  Thankfully at this point I was in better control of my emotions and was able to watch Eli win a silver medal in his last competitions.  I still don’t know the names of the 3 different disciplines he competed in but I do have a better understanding of what they are doing.

It has taken me a week to come to grips with all of this and I have finally decided that although it may not be my cup of Latte’ (don’t like tea) it’s ok for others to enjoy it and take part in it.  This may not seem like a big deal to you but it is a huge step for me.

some pendants

here are a few pendants that I have made, in blues and purples