Friday, May 30, 2008

Cotswold Fleece Redeemed & Dye Inspiration

After posting about the raw, super-long stapled Cotswold fleece last time, I thought I might share what it's become before it leaves me and goes on its merry way to whomever decides it would enhance their stash :) Please excuse the goofy shadow in the photo ~

Granted, there's only 9 ounces there and it's for sale on my website, which is a shame for me because this would be so perfectly lovely to comb and spin. It's nice and open and silky (though not soft, really ~ it's cotswold!) and ready to just jump onto some combs and be somebody's sexy playmate. Alas, I am in the business of selling fiber and my personal stash is just about as guilt-inducing as it gets, not to mention that it's spilling over its allotted space, which is considerable. I'm on a bit of moratorium as far as personal stash goes. Not a complete moratorium, but a BIT of one.

And, as I was dyeing up the curly lock part of this fleece, I managed to harvest these:

Cotswold Locks OOAK

How awesome are those things???? 8-10" long perfectly organized OMG GORGEOUSNESS. sigh...

I originally didn't think I could get anything like this out of the fleece because it was dense and needed a lot of teasing/picking BUT I managed close to 2 ounces of the Kelpy colorway above and 3.4 oz of these in my Jester colorway:

Cotswold Locks Jester

And, there were curls as well from this fleece so all-in-all, a great harvest from the small amount I managed to wash. And I *did* manage a little pile of this fleece in this colorway for myself that was really picked out a lot and didn't have much lock structure left and wasn't REALLY enough to offer for sale on the site. And really, I DID have some space in my huge "Lock Basket" which is where I store all my bits of dyed locks for art yarns. It's on a shelf and there's still ROOM in there so :p

Cotswold Curls Jester

Wednesday was a 13-hour long day of dyeing (and packing and shipping) and out of all of it, this simple little colorway made me fall in love and realize why I do what I do...I mean, it's not an In-Your-Face OMG WOW thing but it's sweet and simple and I think it's lovely.

Romney Roving Winter Leaf

So, I dyed some yarn too because I adored the pale silvery lavender in there ~ I hope like hell I can do it again!!! I did take notes but it makes me nervous to love this so much and be disappointed because there was some weird little mojo that day that left me and won't come back.

Sock Yarn with Nylon Winter Leaf

On my google homepage, I have a widget called "JS Nature Photos" and I get a lot of inspiration from there. These are freaking fabulous photos taken by a man named John P. Sercel and you should go check them out. Amazing!

What I'll normally do is see the photo as I'm checking my email account, then quickly write down a name and a list of colors to use. I generally don't look at the photo again before I do the colorway, which is usually down the road so what I come up with is sort of a very loose translation and more "my own" that way than trying to nail the exact photo. When I try to nail exact photos (for example, I rip out a lot of magazine ad pages and use them as I'm working) I'm more often than not disappointed. I'm ALWAYS happier when I see something, write it down and then go about it. I don't often compare my work to the original photo but sometimes I do. And sometimes that makes me happy and sometimes it doesn't. But translating amazing photography and nature's wonder into wool with powder and vinegar isn't exactly an exact science and I'm not really a perfectionist.

I did that with my Big Sur colorway and shared it on a Ravelry dyers group and several people commented that it really DID capture Big Sur perfectly and that made me really happy. Of course, I worked from the heart as well as a photo on that one because I've been there and find it to be one of the most beautiful places on this planet.

Some of the colorways that I've come up with using that method...

Sock Yarn w/Nylon Independence Pass

It came from this photo here: Independence Pass Nature Photo If I were to pick it apart, I could say that the green isn't "green" enough or bright enough or deep enough and the lavender isn't silvery enough or intense enough in spots but hey ~ I still like it! And I did that fleece in the top picture in the same colorway, which is actually closer to my original intentions. Yarn and fleece or roving are two different animals when it comes to translating colorways.

For my May colorway contest one of the gals sent me a picture of this bird: Blue-Bellied Roller and I came up with this colorway on roving:

Romney Roving Bird

I feel like I'm having a bit of an intensity issue here but it's still pretty. And then I worked from a magazine ad and did NOT hit my mark and this sort of bums me out so I'm going to keep trying. The result is pretty enough but it's NOT WHAT I WANT DAMMIT!!! So as soon as I get over myself (roflol!) I'll give it another go...

Romney Roving OOAK

Of course there must be a shameless mercenary plug here since all of these are available on my website. The yarn is not but will be in my Etsy shop soon :)

My knitting mojo has gone and left me. I hate that! I really need to finish some UFO's but I keep starting (and actually finishing!) really simple little projects so I'm still knitting while UFO's are grumbling and mocking me from their hiding spot in my wool room. Screw 'em! They aren't going anywhere. It's seriously time to frog at least one of them and commit to the rest because there are SO MANY cool sweaters I want to knit. Sooooooooo many. Damn Ravelry anyway.

Wool Silk Laps ~ Sea Mist

I've been spinning some of the Sea Mist wool/silk laps I sell on my Ashford Traveller and they're working out really nice. I pulled out 8 oz for myself and am trying to spin them into fine singles just as they are. I think most folks who buy them drum card them but I just sorta pull 'em into roving-like strips and do what I can that way. I've got a couple of smallish slubs here and there but it's not awful or anything.

Of course, I don't have a bobbin photo but just looking at that picture makes me all hot to get home and put on that other bobbin for the last four ounces and get me some YARN BABY. (it is Friday night, which is "Do-Whatever-The-Hell-I-Please-and-Screw-Working" night. Oh, and I don't cook on Friday night!!!)

It'll probably look something like this, only sea green and not azure blue :) Mmmmmmm ~ I can still feel that skein like I was holding it. Have I knit it yet? Ah..... no. But that's only because I have a little bit more of that stuff (which is superwash and silk) to spin and THEN someday it'll leave it's cozy home in one of two huge handspun yarn baskets and make it's way to the needles.


And last night, in my So-Tired-I'm-Stupid situation, I took out a spindle and started spinning this really fine as well. Really fine for ME that is, which isn't exactly lace weight. I think I'll get light fingering weight though.

Alpaca Wool Silk Roving

This is some Alpaca, Merino, and Tussah Silk roving I had made up for a particular sweater I'm going to do one day from the Classic Elite book "Make it Modern". How spoiled am I???? This stuff is really delicious and it's only fault is that either the silk or the merino noiled a bit in the processing but that's ok. The yarn has cute tiny little white nubs that will be very subtle in the plied yarn and give it a bit of a rustic feel, which is perfect for this awesome sweater I think. (excuse the crappy lifted-from-the-catalog photo. I still need to order the book. I adore Classic Elite patterns!!)


Did I already blog about this sweater? Probably, cuz I'm totally in love with it. Anyway, just giving the fiber a bit of a test spin since there were a couple ounces left over from what I put away for the sweater and the little bit I had left over to sell. I'm spinning it up on my lightweight carved rosewood spindle and it's lovely lovely LOVELY! I hope to have enough for a lace scarf or neckwarmer. I doubt there will be enough for any kind of real scarf but a sweet little neckwarmer is likely :) Or some cool wristers to go with my awesome sweater. Or something.

See what I mean about the moratorium? This is constantly what happens. Of course, this was never meant to be business stock ~ it was all mine all day!!! Just so happens I had more than enough and could share with my business. I'm a bit nervous about attempting to spin for that particular sweater but I think I can handle it. I'm an expert at subbing yarn anyway since I never EVER have knit a garment using the yarn called for in the pattern.

If you'd like to check out my knitting projects, they're in Ravelry and I'm YarnoraTale there so check it out and be my friend :)

And I've been promising a pug picture so here's Miss Lily, my adopted creature whom we ADORE and is just the best little snuggle buddy on the couch or on Saturday morning in the bed that there ever was as far as four-legged creatures go :) She's a constant source of amusement and smiles and the occasional urge to wring her neck. But she's so damned cute that will never happen (and I'm not a hideous animal abuser nor is my husband!) Yes, she has a bum eye and we have no clue what happened to it. But she can see amazingly well with the one that's left :)


And, here she is playing with a hanger (and yes, that's my under-construction laundry room and my dirty laundry and it's embarrassing but hey ~ when you're in the midst of home renovation, pride has no place in your existence!!!) Apparently, many pugs play with plastic hangers, if the half a dozen other photos in my pug lovers Ravelry group is any indication. I'm tellin ya, pugs are like the Borg...

Lily with hanger

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