Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Yesterday, I posted about our weekend trip to the mountains and my very enjoyable and quite informative visit with one of the French and Indian War Encampment vendors, Birgitta. Birgitta has been dyeing and spinning her own yarn for near forty-years. She also raises angora goats. She was full of helpful advice and direction for me, such a novice I am.
A simple woman, she admits, she found dyeing to be quite overwhelming when she first started. She admitted that all of the books that talked about pH and other scientific topics almost sent her running far, far away from the dye pot. Then she found a wonderful, very simplified book on dyeing, I'd Rather Dye Laughing by Jean M. Neel. Unfortunately, this book is now out of print, but I'm hoping that I can find a copy somewhere on the Internet for a reasonable price. Despite my background in science, I too find the science behind dyeing yarn quite tedious and mind-numbing. I just want to know how to give my yarn those beautiful deep colors.
As I mentioned, I purchased two skeins of Birgitta's homespun yarn. Homespun and home-dyed. This yarn, like all of her homespun yarns are a blend of 50% alpaca, 25% mohair, and 25% merino wool. The skeins that I bought are rather small skeins, so they will most likely be knitted into a hat or a pair of fingerless gloves. I winded both skeins into center-pull balls this morning so they will be ready to go when I find the perfect pattern for them.
Speaking of winding yarn and yarn swifts... Brad came across an antique shop in one of the small towns he was working in recently. Being the wonderful, thoughtful husband that he is, he meandered in hoping to find something small for me. What he brought home was a Pre-Civil War yarn swift. Once a practical, hard-working tool it has now become a piece of antique art in our home. The internal wooden gears are missing their crank so it no longer spins. But it is most certainly a handmade piece, held together by wooden rods and square-head nails.
It was such an extremely thoughtful gift. Brad obviously knows how to make this girl's heart pitter-patter! Right now, it is in the living room next to the book case, but it just doesn't seem to feel at home in that spot. So I've just been feeling it out, thinking about the perfect place to put it. That will come. I'll find the right spot for this piece of history.
My yarn swift: Glimakra Wooden Swift (I am very pleased with this swift. It is sturdy and well-made and attaches to my countertop perfectly.)
Yarn ball winder: Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal Yarn Ball Winder (I wanted the large one so that I would be able to wind a whole large skein of yarn without having to cut and restart another ball which is what happens with most ball winders.)