Thursday, 21 August 2014

Spinning (mostly)

This Saturday was my Spinners Guild meeting, always an enjoyable event. We all take food and it is all set out as a buffet, with savouries and desserts, including Debbie's fantastic chocolate cake, which always comes with 2 tins of cherry pie filling and 2 pots of cream.

We had a gentleman come to talk about natural dyes, he was very interesting, a scientist, not a spinner or weaver. He has been trying out different plants for 25 years and does it all very scientifically, with different mordants and acid, neutral and alkaline mediums. I asked him if he knew why my onion skin dyeing made the wool harsh and he said I needed to use 1/4 by weight of cream of tartar to the mordant to stop this. I'll have to try that out.

I spent more time helping new members who were having trouble with fleeces or their wheels. One lady (Mags) had a wheel which her friend had copied from a wheel she borrowed. It looked like a Louet to me. I have taken pictures just in case I want to make another wheel, but I think it will be quicker to make a new foot pedal and footman for the Louet S10 I have. She was having problems with the wheel going too fast. She was better when I gave her some carded Shetland to try, but the spool/flyer needed to be slowed down. After some discussion we decided she needed a strip of leather across the orifice tube.

I am spinning caramel coloured shetland at the moment, Lynn the Guild Secretary wanted some more of the Shetland I took in a couple of months ago, so I took in 2 more washed fleeces, a paler caramel which Lynn took and the darker one was raided by about 3 people. I'm hoping when I have enough Shetland spun, to knit or crochet a sweater for the winter. I have about 50 grams spun, so might do some tension squares and look for a pattern. I am continuing with the corner to corner crochet baby blanket and trying to start some socks for me in a brown/grey/cream random sock yarn, but trying at night with dark brown wool wasn't very successful, so I shall have to start again tomorrow.

Today I've been cutting plywood to make a chicken shed (from the remains of 6 rabbit hutches). I hope to be able to put that together tomorrow as we need a new one because we are infested with red mite in at least one shed and need to strip it right down and burn them out. When that shed is sterilised and rebuilt, we can transfer another lot into that shed and sterilise that one and so on until all 5 are done. What with this job and trying to redesign the garden to grow veggies, I am worn out most of the time. Two days ago, I took out 5 feet of bay tree and holly tree to let some light back into the garden for the future veg beds. Amazing what a difference it makes. I think it will be 2 months hard work to get all the garden tidy and the beds dug.

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