Tools-- I love them. I'm worse than any man, although my tools are usually in support of handwork and do not plug in. If you think about it, there are few simple tools. A piece of paper? How do you think that was made? Try asking our friends at International Paper (a company which does NOT deplete the rain forests, I have on excellent authority-- they plant eight trees for every one they cut down). It probably involves huge gas-powered saws cutting down tall trees, huge trucks hauling those trees out, lots of noisy processing equipment, packaging equipment, databases and computer equipment to record their birth and sales. Simple, eh? And how about that pencil? More of the same, I'd reckon.
I enjoy knowing that many of my tools had a more gentle birth, attended by a loving woodworker midwife and singled out for extra attention and care. Take my charkha, for example. Or the Hazel Rose looms that recently arrived, simple tools of excellent quality, handcrafted for handcrafting. I'm still learning what size yarns work best, but I've found that my handspun Barefoot Spinner yarn is excellent for these looms and I am tasked to spin much more.
Here you see a square from the handspun, a triangle from two strands of Jo Sharp DK, and a square with two strands of Jamieson & Smith shetland jumperweight.
Going up the scale in yarn "grist" (a word overused and under-understood) I used Manos del Uruguay for this little adventure. The triangle is perfect, in my opinion, but the diamond is a bit stiff. The diamond using the handspun is a better weight.
Moving ahead in our fiber frenzies, I finally started the Rona's Hill vest from Yarns International. This is designed by Ron Schweitzer especially for the plant-dyed Shetland 2000. I love the yarn, but I'm not bonding with the colors in the welt pattern just yet. The Madder seems to be a bit too... madless? Perhaps I'll go get the opinions of the Ferals tonight, if they are meeting.
Department of Travel
Yesterday Glitchbane the Gray and I frolicked in Snohomish for a while. Our stated goal: find antique pink martini glasses. Lunch at the Snohomish Pie Company is always a real treat, and there we fortified ourselves before attacking the antique circuit. Despite our best efforts, no worthwhile martini glasses were to be found, pink or not. Perhaps we will have to widen our search area.
Department of Research
Oh! I almost forgot to tell you What I Found Out about washing fleece. For some reason I pulled down a couple of fleeces from the attic, thinking I might like to card some up and spin them or dye them, but after doing so I realized they still contained far too much lanolin, even though I had already washed them. I couldn't bear the thought of going through the bathtub routine again, and so I got really brave.
I took a small portion of the chocolate brown Rambouillet cross and put it where? Ah, yes, that is correct: in my Kenmore Elite front-loading washer. Now I know that many many spinners put fleeces in their top-loading washers, but they can turn the washer off after it fills with water, put the fleece in, and let it soak. Not so with the front loaders, because of course if you open the door, the water will not stay put (actually, you can't open the door because it locks).
I put Dawn dishwashing detergent in place of my usual HE Tide liquid, turned on the "wool" cycle with a warm wash and warm rinse, said a small prayer to the Woolwasher gods, and left it. When the machine sent it's signal I returned to find a beautifully washed fleece with nary a sign of the slightest felting!!
Well! That went so well, why not try drying it in the dryer? My matching dryer has a rack that is placed in the dryer for delicate things, so that the items stay still while the drum rotates around them. I put it in and put the wool in it, spread out as much as possible, and turned it on the delicate cycle. The results couldn't be any more perfect. So let me repeat this for all those people who, like me, used to Google unsuccessfully for any news regarding washing fleeces in this manner:
Wash your fleeces in front-loading washers with no worries!! (as long as you have an appropriate cycle and use the same water temperature for both washing and rinsing).
Pushing my luck here, because this is getting long, I have one more tip, gleaned from the SpinList on Yahoo, a tip which practically escaped my eye as I was skimming over numerous digested messages. If you are a spinner you may have wondered why your flyer has hooks on both sides (I'm talking about the flyers where the hooks are all facing the same way), but the hooks are not directly opposite each other, like the one here. But the reason for this is that as you fill the bobbin, you put your yarn first on one side and then the other, so as to fill the bobbin more evenly. Isn't that sensible?
More 100 Things are coming, but not quite yet...Posted by Sheila at January 24, 2005 10:00 AM Posted to Knitting | Spinning | TrackBack