10 January, 2013

Taking a Chunk of Wool at a Time


I washed my first gallon-size zippered bag's worth of Romney locks from Vancouver Island.  Am pleased to have gotten this much done and thereby made a little progress.  I am determined not to let this washing and combing project hang around like the Hampshire wool project has.

When I bought the locks they came in a large trash bag.  I sorted through them and placed them in gallon bags to take home in my luggage.  I find it much more appealing to wash the contents of a gallon bag than that of an entire trash bag.  I came to the end of the chore just about when I wanted to stop and go back to spinning Perendale wool top for the bog hood.

Am happy the grease is gone.  Quite a difference in texture, there, before and after washing.  Also am pleased to experience the fluffiness of clean locks.  I've spun so much from dense commercially-prepared top, handling locks is quite a contrast.

I own a fair bit of fibre and you may wonder why I am fussing about this Romney and Hampshire from Vancouver Island, Canada that I bought washed but want to improve through re-washing and combing.  When I assign meaning to objects, sometimes I think of them as having spacial relationships.  Out of all my supplies these wools are lagging a step behind the rest in the process of turning fibre into cloth.  Whatever else I have in boxes and buckets, that is all commercially prepared and ready to spin into yarn, and therefore that much closer to being finished projects.  I'm worried about the greasy stragglers getting picked off by moths; I've heard that moths are more attracted to unwashed wool.  It's not merely about the state of progress the wool is in, though: the Romney and Hampshire wool is important because it originated on Vancouver Island, like me, and as an expat I want to wear something made of wool from home.

There are many handspun projects I think would be good for me to start, and do, and complete.  Priorities are more elusive.  A month ago I was sure my New Year's plan would be to spin the dark Virginia-raised Romney roving and make a språng pullover, and I thought that project would be the best.  Now here I am washing Romney locks and making a bog hood, and I haven't done anything about a pullover.

Probably I should divide the three pounds of roving into gallon bag-sized chunks to make the task appear surmountable, and within in the first bag have pre-measured 2 ounce sections.  I weigh out that much before spinning with my drop spindle so I know when to quit and so my skeins are consistent.

There is timing to consider.  The roving is naturally dark and needs no further colour but the locks would be improved with dye.  I would dye outdoors, so not until Spring or early summer.  I'd like to dye skeins of yarn so the locks should be washed, spun, and mordanted beforehand which moves the timetable up.

Perhaps both sources of fibre will go into the same finished object.  Perhaps.  Interlaced språng's structure is more visible with two or more colours of yarn.  I am trying to decide if that would be good or distracting in a garment.

When I work with handspun–when I've got the skills already and am doing it for real–I execute something I've thought through first.  To satisfy me the final product doesn't have to be superlative with all the factors resolving themselves optimally but it must be done well and match my taste.

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