Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What takes up some of my spare time?

I've taken up spinning. No, not the exercise kind, the old fashioned Rumplestiltskin kind. Although I have yet to spin straw into gold.

This is what I've been spinning:

That's a storage tub full of raw sheep's fleece. It smells like a barnyard. I'll take a little bit out of the storage tub every so often and plop it into the bathtub for a wash:

You can see that, although this is only the first soaking (the washing has to be done gently so the fiber doesn't felt), it's already vastly improved over this:

You can even see some white in there!:

After it's been washed and has dried, I comb it out with my wool combs (which would beat any ninja weapon in a contest for most lethal-looking). After the combing, which aligns the fibers even more than carding does, I pull the combed fiber off of the wool combs through a small hole in a tool called a diz. This organizes the fiber into a long rope, which gets rolled up into these puffy balls of wool: 

From here I'll either dye the roving (which is what the ropes of fiber are called) and then spin it, or I'll spin it into yarn and then dye it. Here are a few remnants of dyed yarn that I made from this same fleece. They're left-over from a couple of projects that have already been knitted and given away as gifts:

So that's some of what occupies my time when I'm not writing or promoting.

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