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Well, with only two short weeks until the OHS Deadline for the 11 mini skeins, it’s time to get to work. Yesterday was spent washing not all that much fleece, but it certainly did take a chunk of time. This time I went with cranking up the water heater and soaking in the kitchen sink, with almost boiling water thrown in for giggles. Three soaks with Trader Joe’s Lavendar scented dish soap, and two rinses. It seems to have worked pretty well.

Today was a foray into combing with super fancy Alvin Ramer Dutch Combs, which consist of a small, two-pitch hackle and a one-pitch  giant comb. This included dizzing off the fiber, for perfect, perfect combed fiber.

Two passes, ready to diz:

The finished nests, dizzed and ready for spinning:

Notice the washed lock for comparison.

And finally, a super treat for me, a package of Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino. Love, love, love, that the stamp reads: Certified Work of Art.¬† The colorway, “We are the Champions” feeding into my current Freddie Mercury obsession.

(Need I mention that is has been so very long since I blogged that this whole blogging thing seems completely unfamiliar?)

Things have been very busy here at Chez Too-Many-Cats, wouldn’t you like one or two? Fiber festivals, picking up lots of work hours, weaving till all hours …

But tomorrow I will start my new Volunteer Opportunity at Operation Pets, the low-cost spay/neuter clinic for Western New York. (PETS actually stands for something: Providing Education and Targeted Sterilization, which I think is kind of clever.) I’ve long spoken of volunteering, and making myself useful, and now I put my money, or at least my time, where my mouth is.

And later in the week I will start a real schedule at the most darling gift shop ever: Kissel Country Tin, “Gifts for the Nest.” Not high-paying, but the people are lovely.

I’m a Weaving Machine.

Well, last week, perhaps the week before, I did wind a warp on my warping board. Ten or so yards, maybe twelve, of Zephyr wool/silk. For some twill block scarves.

black warp

Sadly, I’ve not gotten to get the warp onto the Monster Loom, as it is still occupied with my “Spring Time Scarves,” Atwater-Bronson lace, of bamboo, at no less than thirty ends per inch. Although I think it takes me about twenty minutes to do a repeat, and there’s about sixteen repeats, so really, those bad boys should be done. Maybe tomorrow.

The first is this lavender (“crocus”) and the second, which is in the works, is green (“snow pea”).

crocus

And I just tried to upload from flickr, to no avail.

How Easy is the Rigid Heddle?

Tuesday wound the warp.
Wednesday tied it on.
Thursday wove it.
Friday fringed and washed.

I heart the rigid heddle.

RH

OHS Year II

Year two on the road to the OHS Spinner’s Certificate. I went up only because it was so much fun last year. I had very little interest in the “learning” aspect–maybe because last year didn’t feel like we learned a whole lot, it was just fun. But I’ve come back thinking, Yeah, I could go all the way. We learned more in Beth Abbott’s Worsted Spinning Class than, I felt, in all of Year I. And we were so much more relaxed. It was just a grand time, and we learned so much!!

There was Natural Dyeing:

Our group (Team Shut Up! Just Shut Up!), lucked out with Onion Skins. True, it’s hard to go wrong with onion skins, but we went way right. And, we got double fiber, because we not only did a mordant but an after-bath. Have to weigh it to see, but it seems like enough for a project. You can see the different shades resulting from the different mordants.

Onion Skin

There was color blending of fiber using hand cards. All these colors (thirty!) were blended from just three main colors. We did the work in class, but I want to repeat the exercise using a different palette. And then spin one continuous blended yarn.

color blends

And this is the view from our little cottage (well, across the dirt road from our little cottage was the lake), where Erica and Kathy were Very Brave, and swam, and I kayaked. Unfortunately, between the weather and extra-curricular activities (Mini Fiber Market, Thai Food, Chinese Food, Potluck, and more Chinese Food), we were only able to play in the water once.

lake

I’ve returned with deep desire for more expensive toys: Dutch Combs and a Drum Carder. A girl can dream.

Ew.

So I did rinse out all the natural dye bundles. It’s been raining, so they are drying in the spare bedroom/library/yarn room. The indigo still smells like ass. Turns out it needs to be neutralized in vinegar, which I vaguely remember hearing in my sleep deprived fog. Does it never end?

Perhaps pics tomorrow.

This is Just a Cheat.

Today was a lovely Natural Dye Day at Raveloe Fibers. I confess, I hauled myself out of bed to get there, and it was hard, and I almost didn’t, and as soon as I got home I went back to bed, but gosh we had a good time.

I had hauled so many things to work on* that I was distracted and took not a single picture. Plus, it did pour rain.

So I refer you to Becky and Mary Ellen, who took Real Cool Snaps.

* Projects Included: Spinning Wheel with Spunky Eclectic Fiber; Shipwreck Shawl; Not one but *two* sets of socks on needles–purple stripies and some other things that *only* need a stretchy sewn-off cast-off to be finished. And my OHS binder and my Alden Amos Big book of Spinning so I could think about that damn paper … oh, and a couple of skeins of Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool to skein on the niddy noddy and dye with. And I didn’t touch any of them, natch. But how proud am I that I not only remembered to bring Becky a pair of #8 circs, but also to give them to her? Hooray for me. If you keep your expectations low, you can actually meet them.

Anyway. My dyed wool is sitting in the garage waiting for a rinse.