31 December, 2012

Review of My 2012 Fibre Resolutions

Last January I posted a list of goals.  Let's see what I did and what went by the board, and why.

"comb a whole lot of Romney"
Nope, didn't do it.  Instead I spun yarn out of fibre that was already prepared and ready to go.  Got weary just thinking about combing.  Decided that a lot of the Romney hogget was not what I wanted anyway.  I de-stashed it.

"focus on making lovely handspun stuff for me to use and wear, not for gifts"
Fail.  I wove myself a handspun vest but that was it.  Was diverted by opportunities to learn, pass on information, and give away woolly things.  I'm okay with that.

"knit first pair of socks"
Yes.  The socks may not fit tightly enough at the heel, the next two pairs may be stuck in limbo, and sock knitting failed to change my world despite others' assurances that it would, but at least I have knit my first pair of socks.

"learn språng"
Yes.  This is what changed my world.  I enjoy making cloth with the språng technique.  By agreeing to present a program about it in public, I built in a deadline which motivated me to research, produce, and organize everything into a coherent whole.  Deadlines are good.  I resolve to put deadlines on a few of my new resolutions.

"learn to knit a sweater"
Nope.  Can't really muster up sufficient enthusiasm, either.  So much knitting required and so much potential for the fit to go wrong.  I'd like a handspun sweater in my closet but I don't want it that badly.

"learn to weave plain weave and to use a loom"
Yes.  See handspun vest, above.

"make enough handspun clothes for an outfit"
No, which is fine because I expected completion to be further out than one year.  I have a vest now and I should try next for a skirt or a shirt but probably won't anytime soon.  We don't always do what we ought.  Part of this project will entail learning to spin flax, a skill I haven't acquired yet.

"make small handspun shoulder bag"
No.  Had other things to do.

"no more synthetic dyes (use up what dyed wool I have on hand)"
Yes, almost.  Dyed a small amount of wool with Kool Aid to demonstrate a språng technique for the program.  It was expedient and I'm fine with the choice.  I spun seven ounces from indie-dyed braids in synthetic colours and have three ounces left.  Recently in a shop I stuck to my resolution: I did not buy a braid of dyed BFL wool even though it matched my Susie's Reading mitts since the braid was from the same stock.
The corollary of this goal is to increase my use of natural dyes.  I dyed wool with natural dyes twice this year.  One of those dye sessions was done on my own initiative with me in charge of the process, though I got assistance using the campstove and gathering the plant material.  I also enabled someone else in natural dyeing by giving her jars of madder and weld.

"spin and weave hooded jacket"
A vest is close enough.  It has a hood.

"spin flax"
Still feel unprepared for this.  Am working backwards toward this goal: I wove with linen yarn this year.

"spin from stash to cull stash"
Made enough progress on this to be happy.  Focussed on getting rid of oddments and mistakes.

"spin the rest of the merino to get rid of it"
I sold and gave away the merino instead.  Just as acceptable and much preferable.  Finewools, bah.

"stash enhancement: buy more BFL fibre! buy local!"
Did well here.  Helped that I travelled more than usual and went to extra fibre festivals, fibre events, guild sales, and handspinners' supply stores.  Bought small batch, traceable Coopworth lambswool, Leicester Longwool, Romney, and Targhee wool from North America.  Also more untraceable wool pool BFL from abroad.  Much of the wool I bought this year was longwool.  Got a bit of glossy Perendale, probably imported from NZ.  I got a staggering amount of the Romney, both white and natural dark, and I'm excited about it the most.  Will drop the stash enhancement goal for the coming year.

"take a risk and spin the good stuff; don't hold off out of fear, there is more good wool out there"
Am glad I spun the Jacob wool with its beautiful grey colour.  That was one that I could have been afraid to ruin.  Other than that, no progress.  Spent a lot of time with Heinz 57 wool this year because I wanted a lot of handspun for the språng samples and the price was right.  Pleasant stuff to spin but it's not anything that stretches me out of my comfort zone.  Neither was the BFL I spun, since buying more is easy.  It's going to take trust and courage for me to dip into the natural dark Romney this coming year.  I can't buy any more exactly like it and it is pretty.

"use my wool combs more often because combed fibre is so very, very nice"
No; however, I am optimistic that I will comb some wool in the coming year.  I am newly motivated to comb the large quantity of Hampshire on hand now that I know I can remove the excess grease by re-washing the roving in very hot water.  I don't know if I'll get to the tangled two ounces of Romney dyed with Scotch broom.  Would have been better if I'd spun the wool first and dyed it as yarn.

"use up stashed skeins of handspun yarn"
Needs improvement.

"weave linen into Ms and Os cloth"
Yes, done.  If I had access to a countermarch loom, I would revise the goal to weaving cloth in fine single ply linen thread with smaller blocks of pattern.

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