altivo: (rocking horse)

Dyed cotton poonies
Originally uploaded by Altivo
These rather bedraggled looking cotton poonies (punis) were dyed last night by dipping them in solutions of Procion MX fiber reactive dye with sodium carbonate and salt. They are still just slightly damp as the photo is taken, but hopefully will be dry enough to spin by tomorrow. Colors were selected to fit blue sky or water, sunlight, white sand, and green for seaweed or foliage. I plan to spin a fine yarn from them and then make lace, either knit or crocheted.

(See yesterday's entry for a description of the dyeing process.)

Poonies

Jul. 21st, 2008 10:19 pm
altivo: (rocking horse)
No, not "ponies". (And get your mind out of the gutter, too.)

Poonies (or punis) are cotton prepared for spinning by carding it and then rolling it tightly into thin cigar shapes. I've been meaning for a while to experiment with dyeing some prior to spinning. I've seen some commercially dyed poonies and they look nice but the prices are just too high. So tonight I took a 100g bundle of Indian poonies and divided them into smaller groups, loosely tying each with pieces of yarn. Then I soaked them in a solution of warm water and sodium carbonate (washing soda.)

I used Procion MX fiber reactive dyes (bright yellow and navy blue) to prepare two small cups of stock solution (50 ml of warm water and about 3 ml of dye powder for each color.)

When the poonies were soaked through, I squeezed them out gently and set them aside while I prepared the first color bath by adding the yellow stock solution to 1.5l of warm water into which 10g of ordinary salt and 5g of the washing soda had been dissolved. The pale yellow stock solution blossomed into a brilliant orange yellow. I stood the poonies on end in this solution, sloshing them up and down gently then letting them rest for about 20 minutes with one end in the dye, and the other in the air, so that the dye only soaked up through about 2/3 of their length, leaving the top ends still natural colored.

When the yellow seemed intense enough, I rinsed them in running water until the water ran clear and squeezed them gently again.

Then I prepared the blue dye solution from the same proportions as the yellow, and repeated the process, but dipped the undyed ends into the blue dye. The end result after rinsing and washing out with mild detergent was poonies that varied in color from bright yellow at one end through green and then to sea blue with white flecks at the other end. This was more or less what I'd hoped for. Now if they dry out without being so matted that I can't spin them, I will be able to make cotton yarn in "bright beach" colors: yellow sun, green foliage, natural creamy sand and foam, and shades of blue for water and sky. I'll photograph the dyed poonies tomorrow when they've dried a bit. (Photo now available in next entry.)
altivo: Trojan horse image (wheelhorse)
We fed the critters on their usual schedule and then took off for points west, stopping in Garden Prairie for breakfast at the cafe we like there (homestyle country, not overpriced, not fancy) and continued on all the way to Cedarville for the Stephenson County Fiber Fair. Cedarville, Illinois is the birthplace of Jane Addams, by the way. The Fair seems to get smaller every year, and if this continues soon in will be gone. But several of our favorite vendors were still there. I got some dyed cotton roving and recycled denim fiber for spinning from the Mielke Farm folks, and a book on lace knitting from Susan's Fiber Shop. We enjoyed browsing the raw fleeces and dyed rovings, and looking at books. Of course I ran into a number of people I know there, including my boss who was looking for a better quality, professional drop spindle. I helped her find the kind I think she needs.

Then we headed back east to Pecatonica, where we stopped at Rolling 10 Acres, from whence two of our three horses came to us. John wasn't there because he was doing a double shift at work, but Linda was and we got to see her newly acquired turkey poults (in a box in John's computer room, heh) and the llama and sheep they got last summer. Her three ewes each had twins this spring and all the lambs look healthy and are growing. The ram, alas, was much too aggressive and he is now in the freezer. (Evolution in action...) My favorite Haflinger of all, Accelerator, was his usual sweet self and gave my ears and neck a good nuzzling before spending quite a while with his chin resting on my shoulder. More than most horses I've ever known, he seems to genuinely love humans. We also saw John's quarter horse mare, Misty, that he got last year for riding since he's really too tall for a Haffie. She's a pretty dapple gray thing with a delicate face and sweet disposition, but apparently not a lot of brains. A couple of weeks ago she got in a fight with the alpha mare of the Haffies, who kicked her so hard she started to bleed from a cut on her foreleg. She panicked and ran through three fences, the last of which was barbed wire, and into a yard full of farm equipment where she tangled with a corn picker. In the end, the vet took about two hundred stitches to sew her up, and she was in shock from fear and loss of blood. But, amazingly, she is recovering and seems quite healthy. They've kept her close in the barn, but soon she can go back outside. Her stitches come out next week. :\

By the time we got home, stopping at the grocery on the way, the temperature was near 80 F. Did up the barn chores, and I took Tess out for her 30 minute allotment of grass before bedding her down. Then we disentangled the charcoal grill from the barn where it was stored and had something rare for dinner: steak. With asparagus, ranch potatoes, salad, and Australian red wine. Nummy. Strawberries for dessert shortly. Summer is almost here.
altivo: My mare Contessa (nosy tess)
For [livejournal.com profile] finrod7 Because he tagged me )

So. Went to spinning guild today, leaving the animal chores to my mate. (It's fair. He was in Chicago Thursday, leaving them to me.) We drew cards for an "exotic" (meaning unusual) fiber from which we are to make something for next year's show. I got ingeo, which is a synthetic silk product made from corn. It looks and feels much like silk or rayon, but I noticed that if you have a large quantity of it, you can smell the corn. Actually, it smells like Karo(tm) corn syrup, or those awful popcorn balls people make by gluing popcorn together with corn syrup at this time of year. We also had a pot luck luncheon, about half of which consisted of various things with chocolate in them. I should have listed among the items in the meme above the fact that I don't see the point of chocolate and never have. But there were some redeeming goodies as well, nice salads, cookies, cheese and crackers. I made cheese biscuits.

There was a gift grab bag, in which I got a nice acrylic serving tray with a household scene painted on it. My contribution was eight ounces of ready-to-spin roving from one of my sheep, and a printed knitting pattern to create a "Do it yourself sock kit."

The weather is finally starting to warm up, not just to normal, but to warmer than normal. Tomorrow's high temperature may be 50F, which is quite a bit above normal for this time of year.

And that's the news (or non-news) for today.
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
No, not that way. I'm putting a warp on a loom. I'd rather do it by daylight, because I'm using fine linen threads, but there just hasn't been time during the day what with all the cleanup from the snowstorm. It took us two full days to get snow out of the major paths around here.

We've been spoiled as a result of not having a major snow accumulation like this for the last several years. An inch or two is of no consequence. It just gets trampled down and then melts into mud. Eleven inches won't do that. It's more likely to pack down and become ice that might last for weeks and be very treacherous to walk on. So Gary uses his old Ariens snowblower (27 years old now, he actually pulled the receipt out of the owner's manual tonight to see) to cut footpaths or double wide footpaths (for the wheelbarrow) over all the necessary routes. Interconnect two barns and the house, sheep pen, horse yard, and the woodshed. Then there's the real killer, the double wide path from the barns to the manure/compost pile. That one is a good eighth of a mile in length. Forget shoveling it by hand. Forget pushing a wheelbarrow through a foot of snow to get back there, too. Of course the driveway has to be cleared from the house to the road, as well. We don't bother with the rest of it where it goes back to the barns and the pasture. And... you have to clear a patch in front of the mailbox. The snowplows pile snow there so deep that the letter carrier can't reach the box.

Overall I'm sure the snow is a good thing. It covers plants and insects in the top layer of soil and protects them from wind chill and drying. It's pretty right now, though it will be gray and ugly from air-born dirt in a week or so unless more falls.
altivo: Plush horsey (plushie)
Survived. Got the judging results from the show, posted them into the newsletter. Dropped off a printed listing at the gallery, visited with people who came to hear Gary and Rob in the farmer's market outside.

One of those who showed up unexpectedly was an old friend from Chicago, a fellow librarian I worked with back when I first came here from Michigan in 1977. I haven't seen her more than once or twice since I left my position at Columbia College, but we used to have lunch together nearly every week when I was still working in the Loop. She and several others came out to the farm after the farmer's market was over, and we had a little lunch and a little talk, which was really nice.

Then Gary, Rob, and Dawn went off to play for Settlers' Days in Marengo, leaving me to clean up the dishes and do the barn chores, which was fine. All done now. Tomorrow is the gallery reception for the weaving and spinning show, and Gary is playing for that while I'm demonstrating spinning. We expect to see some friends from Elgin at that one.

Oh, and my shawl got a "Merit" from the judge. My skein of flax got first in its class, but since it was the only entry that hardly counts for much. Fortunately I'm not in this for fame and fortune. I'm looking forward to reading the judge's commentary on my work.

Bedtime for ponies...

Show set up

Oct. 2nd, 2006 06:31 pm
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
So, I did get everything done in time, though I lost a couple of hours of sleep last night and will be passing out early tonight to compensate. I even got the Wensleydale singles plied this morning after concluding there wouldn't be time for it.

Checking in items at the gallery and then arranging the display was hectic as usual. I was there from 9 am until 4:30 pm, with a break for lunch. Weaving entries were up almost double from last year, after a concerted effort by the weavers to encourage more participation. (Last year the spinners had more entries than the weavers, which the weavers found embarrassing, though most spinning entries were just skeins of yarn or small items like mittens.) Spinning entries were down from last year's high of 78 to only 47, but we had more completed items like shawls, scarves, and hats to display, which had been my campaign for this year. There is a lot of very nice stuff, and anyone in the Northern Illinois or Southern Wisconsin area with an interest in fiber art should make the trip to see. The show is at the Old Courthouse Art Center, on the west side of the square in Woodstock, Illinois. Gallery hours are 11 am to 5 pm Thursday through Saturday, and 1 pm to 5 pm on Sunday. Opening day is this Thursday, October 5, and the exhibit will run through the last Sunday of the month. Admission is free. Opening reception on Sunday, October 8, will include refreshments and live music, jointly presented with the clayworkers across the hall.

Got home to find that a box had arrived from my roving swap benefactor. It contained a pattern for Gansey styled socks, a dark chocolate bar, a nice brass shawl pin that would be suitable as a brooch for a kilt, and a large ball of lovely soft roving striped in shades of brown, tan, and white. Photos later, perhaps. Right now I need to rest up from the strenuous weekend. I had no idea I could get "bicycle cramps" from treadling the loom and spinning wheels, but I am very sore now.

Oh, and it was a pretty day with blue skies and little puffy clouds until just before sunset. Now we are getting thunderbolts and more spatters of rain. In fact, we cut short a harvest trip through the garden because of the threatening thunder, but brought in several more large zucchini, a lot of cherry tomatoes, and a hefty butternut squash. Yum. Time for dinner.
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
Click here for Roving Swap questionnaire answers )

(Responses for a project, probably of no interest to most readers.)
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Well, vacation is good for some things. I completed the bag of blue faced Leicester wool that I should have had spun up weeks ago. As soon as the yarn dries, I'm ready to begin knitting. Pattern is chosen, sampled and ready. In the process of rehabbing a donated spinning wheel, and it is now working but needs some cosmetic repairs yet. I'll post a photo when it is done. It looks like the guild will be raffling it off during our annual show in October.

For all my friends who spin or might be interested in trying spinning: A group of spinners over at blogspot.com are organizing a fiber swap. There are two sign up categories. The Rebel Rovers will be paired with someone and will trade four ounces of roving and a pattern suitable for handspun yarn. The Virgin Spindlers will trade two ounces of fiber, a drop spindle, and a pattern suitable for handspun yarn. I think it sounds like fun, and a chance to make a new friend, so I've signed up. Short notice, though. You need to sign up today or tomorrow, unless they extend the deadline. For all the details, see http://spinningrovingswap.blogspot.com/ (Open to spinners outside North America as well. Sign up now!)

Also a none too frequent event, I get to welcome two new readers here on LJ. I thought I'd about saturated the potential pool of people who wanted to read my scribbling, but apparently not, so welcome to [livejournal.com profile] alaskawolf, the former postal worker living in Alaska, and to [livejournal.com profile] tanamin, creator of Unicornography.
altivo: Rearing Clydesdale (angry rearing)
For a serious housecleaning.

I've misplaced a drop spindle somehow. Not a little one, either. Too much yarn and fiber stashed all over...
altivo: (rocking horse)
Just finished up the March newsletter for my local guild, Hollow Tree Spinners.

You can see it here.

Since I had promised photos from the bast fiber workshop we had last month, and they are included in this, I figured I might as well just post the whole newsletter link. Note that anyone who is interested is welcome to subscribe to the newsletter via RSS (see front page for link.)

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