I hope that you will forgive me for the long interval since my last posting but I have been rather busy. Last week was Dyeing in the Park day for our Spinners and Weavers group. This time, we had decided to dye a fleece using a method written about in our Creative Fibre newsletter (the newsletter received by all members of Creative Fibre New Zealand) - Dartmoor Dyeing. This involves 4 kilos of fleece in the grease, 4 dyepots and 4 colours of dye (red, yellow, blue and green) as well as several willing helpers. The end result is 48 colours of fibre and several happy, and tired, ladies.
To try and cut down on the time involved on the actual dyeing day I weighed out 3 piles of fibre and split each of these into 4 bags. This worked really well as each pile of fibre was the same size. I had also made up the dyes to the specification of the recipe so that there was the correct amount available and measuring on the day was kept to a minimum. If using this method with these dyes (Teri Sandolan Dyes) again I would perhaps make the concentration of the red dye (red B) at least half as strong again. Or even double. It exhausted rather well on the day meaning there was little left for the second dipping.
Perhaps I should explain this method a little more - the fleece was divided into three equal parts. These parts were further divided into four parts. The first set of four parts were put into the dyebaths - one part into each - and simmered for a while. They were then taken out of the dyebath and divided into four parts. One part from each dyebath was kept aside as a clear colour while the other parts were put into the other dyebaths. After more simmering these were taken out. The dyebaths were replenished with more dye, salt and vinegar and the process gone through again with the next of the first three parts. This happened again for a third and final time.
Confused? I think it is something you have to do to understand! Anyway, the upshot was 48 small piles of fibre in various shades hues and tints! Quite amazing, really, considering we started with a fairly large, greasy fleece! All of these piles were wrapped up in a sheet which I took home. I now have the "lovely" job of rinsing out all the piles and drying them. I am a quarter of the way through. Because of the grease in the fleece each pile is needing to be rinsed about three times trying not to subject it to too much agitation. I would hate to ruin all our hard work by felting it all.
Another thing keeping me busy for a while was a visit from the Grandgirls! We had them for the whole weekend (from Friday night until Sunday afternoon when we took them back). Kind of a challenge considering their age (almost 3 and 15 months) but enjoyable for the most part. a visit to the local park was a hit. They loved watching the wallabies (or "wobbalies" as the 3 year old said at first! Sad when she changed it to wallabies before the day was out) and playing on the playground equipment.
Another thrill was watching the 15 month old walking! She had been taking the occasional step up until the Monday of last week, then it was all go. She is almost running now! Funny how some kids don't do things until they can actually do them properly. I think she may get this from me!
This week we spent a rather large chunk of money getting an HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilation)system installed. Too soon yet to tell if it is going to be worth it but I do know there is a huge amount of heat in the roof space to be tapped. We live in an old (about 100 years old) wooden house with high ceilings and an iron roof. The living area heats up nicely with the log burner but it can be difficult to heat the bedroom areas. I don't know how much longer we will be able to have a log burner, either, as my husband's back makes it difficult to cut firewood as well as the relatively new regulations regarding log burners. Our old one will be illegal in a few years and the new ones do not stay in all night. Hopefully, this system will make an improvement to the temperatures throughout the house as well as keeping the house dry and the air clean.
Spinning - well I spent about half an hour yesterday on the merino/soy silk. Not much to show for it! Knitting - haven't been able to settle on it this week. Hopefully progress to show next week.