Aside from mothering and homeschooling and all the regular tasks that seem to fill our days with joyful rhythm, you might find me right now with my nose in one of these books.
Do you see a theme here? How about if I mentioned that I sold my Ashford Traditional spinning wheel a few weeks ago? A very special delivery will be arriving next week and I can hardly wait! But in the meantime, my busy hands were feeling rather idle (in between all the aforementioned mothering and homeschooling and busy-ness of Life), so I pulled out my drop spindle that was a gift from a Quechua woman from Bolivia, thirteen years ago. It has always been a mystery on how to spin with it, so I acquired a Turkish drop spindle that had me spinning in minutes.
My two oldest children like to play with it, too ~ Forrest is pretty close to figuring it out. After watching a video on plying, I learned how to ply on the drop spindle using a technique, appropriately enough, called the Andean bracelet method of plying. Back to that life-changing adventure in South America, I remember watching these lovely people walking about with an enormous load of twigs on their backs and all the while spinning, with all their wool wound around their wrists. Amazing!
With many more days til my new wheel arrives, I decided to experiment with some dyeing. At the end of last summer, I tried dyeing with plants here and here, but I was so inspired by Cynthia's post on dyeing with black beans, that I gave it a go.
The yarn soaks in the dye bath for over two days, and I don't think my family will let me ever do that indoors again...imagine two and a half day old beans and the smell they give off ~ whoah!
I added a skein of already dyed marigold yarn to see what might happen...so exciting!
My homespun skein came out quite pale compared to some store-bought wool I added. Turns out, the wool I purchased had too much lanolin in it and that affects the dye uptake. However, I was so amazed at the intensity of the colour...it is thrilling, really.
Dyeing with plants, particularly locally wildcrafted, is so thrilling to me! The whole process is fascinating and over the course of the three days of the black bean dyebath, I found myself drawn to the cookstove, frequently lifting the yarn out to examine the depth of colour. To be honest, it did take a lot of rinsing to make the nasty smell go away...perhaps the next time I will end the bath before the fermentation process takes place, ahem.
We are collecting a lovely variety of plant-dyed wool to our crafting shelf. No one can ever say that plant dyes are faded and dull, just look at the colour here...
Now, my new wheel will be arriving within the week and I will be needing to put aside all dyeing projects. But there may be enough time to try one more black bean bath ~ without the stink!
Thanks to Ginny and friends for the wonderful yarn-along!