Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fiber Exchange Party

The program this year for my spinning guild has been centered around a fiber exchange party. It's like a cookie exchange party where each person brings a dozen of their favorite cookies and then goes home with a plate of 12 different cookies. But instead of exchanging cookies everyone brought in 10 ounces of spinning fiber which was divided into one-ounce portions. Now we each have 10 different fibers to work with to spin into yarn. It will be fun to see all of the various styles of yarn we will get even though we all started out with the same fiber.

At the monthly meetings of the Umpqua Valley Spinning Guild, U-Spin, we have had lots of classes related to the fiber exchange party. It has been very educational for everyone, the long-time members as well as our newbies. We have had so many new members join the guild this year who didn't know how to spin that we even had a special Saturday Learn to Spin workshop. It was a little embarrassing to see how many extra spinning wheels we each had. I brought two of my spinning wheels and ended up leaving them in the car because there were already enough wheels for all of the students and all of the teachers.

In January we shared ideas about choosing and skirting a fleece, as well as various methods of washing different fibers. At February's meeting we tried out various pieces of equipment for fiber preparation, such as hand cards, combs, pickers, and drum carders. Everyone enjoyed playing with all of the toys.

Our March meeting was pretty busy. That was when everyone brought in their fibers to be divided up into one-ounce portions. Although some of the fibers were already carded and even divided up into bags, quite a few still needed to be carded, divided and weighed during the meeting.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Good Morning Rovings!

You could say I got up bright and early this morning, except it was actually dark and early. I was so excited to peek into the dye pot it was hard to sleep. I had three different color schemes of hand painted wool rovings cooling all night in the turkey roaster. I steamed them for 30 minutes, just before I went to bed. That's actually the only way for me to let them cool to "room temperature" as the instructions advise. Otherwise, I get so anxious to see how beautiful they turned out that I have to peek too early and risk being burned.

Today's superwash wool rovings were worth the wait. I named them, as you would name your children. I usually have to wait until after the hand painted rovings are born to give them a suitable name because the results are sometimes a surprise. You never know exactly how they will turn out until you remove them from the dye pot.

One of the rovings was made by overdyeing a brown wool. I wasn't sure if I might have to name it something like "Shades of Brown".

But instead I named it "Deep Woods Dusk" because all of the colors came through, but were muted and shadowy. When I chose the colors for the second roving, I was thinking about balloons, but after it was finished I named it "Amy" when I realised that those were the same colors that my friend Amy always chose when she did art projects with me or bought new clothes.

I had intended the third roving to have subtle forest tones, but I used new dyes I wasn't familiar with and the colors turned bright and vibrant so I named it "Forest Fantasy".