When I was moving to a small house in the countryside this spring one of my first thoughts was how to organize my new backyard space. My original plan was to create 3 different plots – herb and vegetable garden, dyeing garden and a microscopic hemp field. While the first two ideas have succeeded entirely, the third one was effectively knocked out by our Polish reality and legal restrictions. My conclusion from this adventure was that if one would like to cover all the way from hemp straw to a ready-made yarn, the best way is to find someone growing it on a large scale and buy from him few armfuls 🙂
Today will be a lot of pictures documenting step-by-step how a piece of stone and wood were turned into a spindle modeled on findings from time of the first settlement in Iceland.
The idea to create a spindle myself (and of course with my Arek’s small help) was born a few days ago. While whittlering a wooden spindle is not a great barrier (a note about whorl-less Scottish spindles will be here soon), the innovation in this case was focusing greater mass at the bottom by adding a spindle whorl. And it would be best if this whorl was historicaly correct of course.
All my love for history materialised itself for good. Imprisoned at home by weather breakdown I put my spinning wheel in the biggest room. There, in the cold and with insufficient light I took in my hands wool which once passed through fingers of Viking women.
Magic in my workshop continues.. Tempted by a wonderful name “rose fibre” I could not resist and decided that it definitely must appear at my home.
Starting from the very beginning – what is this rose fibre?
The answer is – nothing else but a cellulose fibre made out of real rose stems 🙂 At this point to the yarns which I had pleasure to spin joined a real quintessence of elegance.
When it comes to my spinning preferences , they were clear up to this day – I was making 2 ply and n-ply yarns all the time. Thus I ousted yarn singles from my workshop entirely. Enlightenment came when I got the tops of Wensleydale sheep, or rather sea waves! I made a dye mixture using primary colors to achieve orange and green (or at least I thought it did) and dyed it. In the pictures you can see that the colors haven’t been mixed perfectly, but this only added more beauty to it in my mind.
I was tempted to write “Lamia” here (my cat’s name 🙂 ).
I shyly cooked in a pot half of my llama wool supplies which was 50 grams. I was too fearful to risk whole lot that I have – the fiber is one of those luxury ones and in luxurious price as well, so.. everything is be clear now i suppose 😉 Fortunately altogether with its price come sensory experiences – the fiber was subjected to proces of removing thicker hair so what landed in my hands is like.. afterheader almost 🙂 The roving was more than soft (20 microns!) with a subtle shine and slightly slippery. I was a bit affraid of losing these properties during dyeing which always felts the wool a bit. Fortunately none of these happened 😀
Since this is my first entry where I’m going to show dyed top, I will try to put here a concise instruction on a dyeing method I know from Monika Kołątaj from our Spinners’ Club (link to her blog is here). To be exact I will add that I used Jacquard acid dyes.
Another beautiful yarn is ready! This time I took a closer look at gray fleece of corriedale sheep – the oldest of all the crossbred breeds. Developed simultaneously in Australia and New Zealand at the end of XIX century as a crosbreed of lincoln or leicester rams and merino ewes and improved later on, corriedale turned out to be so attractive that today they’re the second most significant breed in the world after Merinos. They’re distributed mainly in the southern hemisphere – Australia, Patagonia, Uruguay, the Falkland Islands and Middle-earth .. I mean – New Zealand! Plus USA of course 😉 This is the northern hemisphere, yet still i’ll consider them to be the southern sheep 🙂
Thanks to girls from Spinner’s Club and their advice I decided to create my first opposing ply yarn dedicated for socks.
The yarn consists of 3 singles spun in opposite directions – two of them S spun and one Z spun. At the end I combined all of them by twisting them together in the “outstanding” direction which was Z in my case. This resulted in two things: S spun singles relaxed ans sort of popped out, while Z spun one recived additional twist which made it hold the whole yarn tighter. The aim of spinning the yarn this way is to enhance what socks need – strenght and durability.