Sunday, 6 November 2011

Jacaranda Time

Jacaranda and Flame Trees in blossom

We're having a colourful Spring season on the Atherton Tablelands with jacaranda, flame trees, silky oaks and bougainvillea erupting in masses of blossoms.

Bougainvillea Entry
The weekend included some thunder. The dog wanted me sitting in an armchair and wanted her bed shoved as close as possible. Confined to the chair, I kept myself busy by wrangling wool into a form that's easier to spin.

This wool has given me a bucketload of frustration even though I love the colours of this hand-dyed wool top from an independent dyer. In my first forays at spinning it on the wheel, it stubbornly resisted any attempts to draft it. (Could this be some sort of '60s karma?) I wrote an angry letter to the source... and didn't send it. I wanted to better understand what was happening. And that took time.

Persevering, I produced a couple of sample skeins which revealed the two main problems with the top: 1.) second cuts and slubby bits, and 2.) remnants of sticky dye chemicals (though little or no bleeding during wash of handspun). I do really like the dyer's colourway.

With some hours of extra work I've wrangled* most of that wool until it drafts well enough that I can produce the yarn I want. I can't say it's a pleasure to spin. I'm just glad I'm not a beginning spinner. Did I mention that I do like the colours?

Here is more local colour and it makes me feel happy:

Bougainvillea at hillside home

*wrangled: if you're interested, here are details about the wrangling:
I split my wool top lengthwise into seven strips. Doing my best to avoid disrupting the parallel arrangement of the fibres, I widened each strip and carefully plucked out slubby bits. I gently worked to separate sticky fibres in the most intense colour areas. I softly rolled up each strip, with tail to inside, to maintain colour order. This preparation enabled me to spin semi-worsted yarn with grist of 4000m/kg.

NOTE: wool top is a "rope-like" arrangement of parallel wool fibres

NOTE2: some spinners do not believe in splitting top lengthwise. My belief system is pragmatic, craftwise: I do what works for me.

photos by J in JaM
post by m in JaM

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