Na Na Na Na Na Na - Teasing Falkland is Fun and Fruitful!

Remember those 8 ounces of Falkland I dyed last week? I spun 2 of those ounces yesterday:

Falkland Wool in a yet-to-be-named colorway
Hand-dyed from commercially prepared combed top February 20, 2010.
Spun worsted draw and 2-plied February 27, 2010.
91 yards
8 wpi average (Aran weight)

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. Which means I can make a confession:

I didn't think this fiber was going to spin well at all.

The reason? It wouldn't be too harsh to say I was pretty hard on it during rinsing. When I first hung it to dry, it looked like a seriously gnarled and ill-kempt dreadlock. I teased it apart a bit during the drying process, and although I could tell it wasn't fully felted, it seemed like I was having to work a little too hard to get movement... Certain I would spin it regardless, I couldn't necessarily foresee an enjoyable experience in my future.

So I hyper-teased it out before spinning:

At right is how it looked after drying -- and remember that this is already picked apart a lot. It's a very dense roll.

In the middle is my... well... middle stage of teasing. I had expected this to be enough, but realized that there were still dense patches that would get in the way of a smooth spin. These patches were mostly at what, in the process of teasing it apart, became edges of sorts.

Below (with my hand for scale) and at left in the picture above, is the finished fiber:

I worked out all the dense patches, and the shape is much more clearly dimensional. It's really poofy! As I teased it, I pulled the fibers apart "sideways" rather than elongating them like I would in a normal pre-drafting process. It came out more like a very large, very light, and very long batt than combed top.

It made sense to me that the perfectly aligned fibers of the combed top would revert to their more natural, crimpy state during dyeing, so the shift from combed top to batt seemed reasonable. Hope bloomed as the fiber did!

Here's the middle stage for scale:

And here's what I started with (after drying):

Tremendous difference, no?!

When all was said and done, I'm glad I took the extra time to fully tease it out. It spun like a dream -- a completely enjoyable experience. It has about a 5-inch staple, and it's among the softest fibers I've worked with. Definitely bound for a special next-to-the-skin something.
As for the color?
It's not the colors I had expected to be sending my sister, but I really like the subtle shifts.

As you can see from the pictures, the color really pops in the light...

And it seems to change based on perspective...
And on the other colors around it...

From a distance, the overall color tends toward the olive green -- which I clearly had a hard time capturing in the images today. Light does an amazing dance with this yarn!
So my sister will get 4 ounces of the fiber to spin (and tease!... it doesn't take that long and it's fun) for herself. I'll spin up the other 2 and will either give the yarn to J so he can make something for himself or I will make something for him.
Ideas for a great men's pattern for approximately 180 yards of Aran weight yarn? Please send them my way!


Dyed on Saturday

Great day dying multicolor roving Saturday at Weaving Works! Sanaset/Lanaset acid dyes.

This is 4 ounces of a wool/mohair blend. It was really hard to photograph. The light simply insisted upon dancing off this fiber, making it much brighter and more blue than in person. It's really quite green -- sagey mermaid-type colors, with hints of violet and a very pale blue.

The next one also brightened in the pictures. It's loaded with forrest greens, rusts, and burnt amber-type shades.

There is a royal blue in there, and some deep purple.

But it's predominantly the earthy greens and browns.

8 ounces of poofy Falkland fiber. It didn't felt, but the quality of the fiber did change considerably during the dye process, shifting from a smooth and well-aligned combed top to the more obviously dense and luscious crimpy fiber you see here.

I had hoped to woolen spin it, but I think I'll be going worsted. I'm shocked by how poofy it came out! I just hope the spun yarn doesn't have that spongey look you sometimes see with the Lorna's Laces dyed fibers when they've been spun more on the bulky side.

Thanks to Janene, Michelle, and Cheryl for a fabulous day! (Now I just need to practice my braiding skills!)


Happy Valentine's Day to Me!

Our home was burglarized January 12. Among the items lost were our computers and other tech equipment, nearly ever piece of jewelry I've ever owned (save the three pieces I was wearing that day, two sets that were in plain sight but somehow missed, and one necklace I had bought on vacation on Orcas Island the week before but not yet put away), and several beloved decorative boxes that I kept my everyday jewelry in. One of those boxes I had purchased while I lived in Kyiv, Ukraine -- a stunning hinged-lid box purchased at the little shop in the base of St. Sophia Cathedral that featured the highest quality delicate paint work of a courting scene. I adored that box.

When I saw this Golding spindle, I fell in love.

Its exquisite inset features a domestic handspinning scene. It combines my love of Russian decorative painting with my love of fiber arts -- and fiber tools. And it's not likely to be targeted should we be burglarized again (my spindles did survive the burglary this time!). It's not the same as my favorite, now-gone jewelry box, but it makes me very happy. The painting style is very similar to my box. I mentioned to Joseph that I would like something like this for Valentine's Day... and he presented it shortly after breakfast yesterday morning.

"Handspindling by Candlelight"
2-3/4" Walnut Whorl
Rare Vintage Handpainted Russian Inset
Brass Ring
1.4 oz
Golding Fiber Tools
from the Vintage and Decorative RingSpindle collection
Spindle of the Week posted 2-1-10

Love the brass ring!

Before I could justify starting a new spinning project, I had another WIP to finish. In fact, I was in the process of binding it off when Joseph gave me the spindle, so I just needed to do that and weave in the ends. You can imagine how long and grueling that project seemed with my gorgeous Golding sitting there, so politely, just waiting...