Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lambing Time Again!

Its always nice to feel the rhythm of the earth as the seasons turn. When January rolls around, the ewes are fat and heavy with expectation. Soon the first lamb of the season appears in the barn. Tippy on its little feet and slimey with goo, it noses around the wooly expanse of its mother world, searching for sustenance. By the end of the month the barnyard is full of lambs racing around the field like schools of fish dart in the sea. The lambs grow fast on their mother's rich milk. As spring comes marching in, the returning sun prompts the grass to grow. The days grow warm, the lambs grow fat, shearing day comes and once again the ewes are free of their warm coats and the wool shed is stocked with another year's supply of wool.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coloring Away the Winter Blues

After a short cold spell, the weather has warmed into the 50s, and I hear frogs croaking from the pond, "spring is coming soon" they say. As the rain falls, I think about flowers. Awhile ago I found this funny contraption in hot pink plastic at our thrift store. Some online research revealed that it is a flower loom. I found a Youtube video on how to use it. I made a small bouquet from some yarns I had on hand, but soon found that I lacked bright solid colors in my yarn basket. I did have skeins of natural white single ply that I'd spun from a spool of romney top. It is very lusterous, long stapled and finely spun (probably lace weight, about 20 wpi). I was planning to make a 2 ply yarn with it, but plying isn't really my cup of tea. Instead I decided to dye some skeins of bright colors, and wind up a garden of flowers to chase away my winter blues.

I loaded up my canner with 7 large jars, put hot water in the jars about half full, and hot water in the canner about half way up the sides of the jars. Into each jar, I put about 1/4 teaspoon of dye powder and 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar, mixing each as I went. My skeins were soaking in the sink, and when the colors were mixed, I put a skein in each jar, and poked it around a bit to invite the color in.

The canner went on to the electric hot plate turned on high, on went the lid (no lids on the jars) and I brought the whole she bang to a boil, then turned it down to simmer for about an hour. During this time, I poked the skeins a bit once or twice to even out the dye take up.
When most of the dye was absorbed by the skeins (some of the dye water was almost clear), I turned off the heat and let it all sit overnight.

In the morning my colorful suprise waited for me to reveal it. I lifted the canner lid and found a rainbow.

Since, I have been winding up a plethora of posies in all possible color combinations.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

He loves it!

Kina received his sweater in the mail New Years Eve. He reports that it fits him perfectly. One arm is longer than the other (how did that happen?), but (he says) that balances the fact that one of his legs is longer than the other. He took this photo of himself (I think he just got up, but he says he always looks like that).
Since he lives far from me, I wrap my son in wool for a warm hug every day.