Sorry for the extended hiatus. I'm not sure what happened although I have been reasonably busy. Sometimes, though, I feel as though I can't really be bothered stringing words together and this week seems to have been one of those times. I have hardly even emailed my daughter in England!
Yesterday our spinning group had another day together where we had a good look at the fleece we had dyed. Now that it has all been rinsed (thanks to yours truly - have you ever had to rinse out 4 kgs of fleece before? No? Believe me, it is hard work and takes ages!) and dried the colours seem more vivid than they were at first. Nearly every colour of the rainbow was present in some small way. Many of the piles (there must be a better word to describe these small blobs of coloured fleece!), because of the very nature of the dyeing-wool-in-the-fleece-beast, are multi-coloured. For instance, some of the blues have quite a bit of green in them and the greens have a fair bit of yellow mixed in. Very pretty when you really look closely.
Each of us took several piles and began to separate the locks and comb/card or started to spin from the straight away. I was a little concerned that maybe the piles would have become matted from all the rinsing they needed and the compression when the whole lot were rolled up together in storage once dry. Surprisingly, though, the majority separated out quite nicely and, with some, it was even possible to spin without combing first. This fleece was a Border Leceister, though, which I think helped a lot. If a finer, more felting-prone breed was used the outcome may not have been so good. This is something any would-be Dartmoor dyer should take into account.
I chose a pile of red/orange/yellow fluff to comb and spin. Not my normal colours (if there is such a thing) but really pretty. Especially as we are going into Autumn here. The colours are reminiscent of bright Autumn leaves - think sugar maple! Very nice after the dull brown I am still churning out (about halfway or slightly more now). I'm not sure what I will pair this with. I think I'll wait until I have plied it up.
We are all going to work on something small for display at the Club's Open Day in May. Hats, maybe fingerless mitts. Who knows? Should be pretty and colourful.
Last time I was here I spoke about my "petting zoo" - my stash. Since then our family all went toan animal-type zoo, Orana Park in Christchurch, for our grandgirl's 3rd birthday. What a lovely time we had walking around the extensive grounds and seeing all the animals in as close to a natural environment as NZ, enclosed spaces and considerations for their particular species can give them. It was amazing to be separated from a large Sumatran tiger by only a plate glass window!
The kids (3 and 15 months) really enjoyed their time there. It was lovely to see little children really enjoying a close encounter with different types of animals. For as far back as I can remember I have loved animals so it gives me a little thrill to see that love being passed on to yet another generation. Both my sons and my daughter love animals also. Perhaps this is why my son and his partner chose this particular place for a birthday trip.
Another special thing for me was being able to go through an enclosure with different types of native birds in it. I missed several of them but I did manage to see a tui (pictured) for the first time and the kereru (wood pigeon) was so close I could have reached out and touched it! I know there are both in the native bush not far from here but these birds are not always easy to locate. We are often visited by bellbirds in the garden here, though. In fact I heard one singing its beautiful song this morning. Tuis, although a little more showy in the looks departments, do not have the same singing voice!
Giraffes are another of my favourite animals (I'm not sure if there are any that are NOT my favourite!) but this time we weren't supposed to go quite so close to them as we used to be able to. Not to be outwitted, my sons grabbed my camera and climbed the small gate and got up onto the higher platform to get me a good, in-your-face photo of them. I don't really approve, but I wasn't saying no!
Well, that is about it for today. Other things are calling out for my attention. Hopefully there won't be such a gap between postings. And, just maybe I'll have photos of the spinning of the fleece!