Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Is there such a thing as too many hobbies?

Remember spinning? Well, I got so excited about it that my NeverEndingMandalaQuilt was put on hold for a bit....which made me feel guilty about that and also about the fact that I have temporarily put on hold my SECRET project which i can't talk about because it is a secret...and also on hold is the crocheted Afghan and all the other crochet projects plus the jumper that I have been knitting for the last 2 years. That is not to mention my quilted Castlehead panorama project which I have to say never really left the ground but made me feel very happy and a little bit excited for several weeks last year. Oh and lets not mention the novel (embarrassed cough), the embryonic idea of which helped me while away a few happy hours when sunbathing covered from head to toe in factor 30 on one of the 4 sunny days of summer this year. 

So this is how far I have got with the spinning:

To the uninitiated this is 2-ply Herdwick. A very lucky person may find the occasional beetle spun up and twisted in amongst the fibres.

The final twine:
  above - on the Niddy Noddy; below - the Dingly Dangly

I still have quite a bit to spin and am looking forward to knitting it up into itchy garments...

...but for the last week I have gone back to embroidery, except that I keep getting distracted and why, oh why, did I ever open the Pandora's box of

Saturday, 10 September 2011

washing wool on a rainy day

so a nice lady at work gave me a steaming bag of Herdwick which I was very excited about. I checked out a few websites for advice on washing fleece. The more I read the more mixed up I got (wash HOT, wash COLD) but the gist seemed to be don't agitate the wool (it gets upset), don't rinse in water colder than the wash water and don't keep any bits that you wouldn't want to spin.
Above - raw Herdwick fleece; Below: washing in shampoo in the bath
A happy afternoon was spent picking out poo and spiders (or giant ticks?) then washing in tea tree shampoo (which I thought might make it smell a little less sheepy). In order to get enough hot water for each wash and 2 rinses I had a big pan on the stove for about 5 hours (taking woman hours of labour and energy expenditure into account I calculate this wool will be worth more than Saffron).

So the other big No No is the washing machine worst luck, so spinning involved  swinging a mesh bag of wet wool around my head like a cowgirl. In the rain. With Marigolds. The neighbours probably think I am a fetishist of some kind.
Spin cycle Calamity Jane style

Try not to let go
Then I spread it out on an old sheet and waited for it to dry....and waited....and waited...and smelled of wet sheep for days. Our friend Elvis popped round for a sniff and seemed to approve. I wonder if a blanket made from ripe Herdwick would make a dog happy.
Clean wool (well, cleaner wool)