Sunday, May 01, 2005

alternatively titled edition

/Welcome to She Shleps to Sheep Show

It was a chilly rainy Saturday. I stuck to my plans to attend the CT Sheep & Wool Festival, despite the weather and the last minute addition of two sons to the traveling party. By noon my sister and I were in Tolland CT watching a a soggy sheepdog trial. We conceded this wasn't going to be the spring outing we'd imagined, and headed for the barns, soaked boys in tow.

Ok, I'll get this out now. Spinning doesn't do anything for me. Not literally, I mean, it creates yarn for me to knit. But as an activity? Nah. As a spectator sport? Even less. I liked looking at all the spinners' bright handknit socks as they pumped away.

I loved this indigo demo, by Meg Grossman, who teaches classes in natural dyes but alas has no web presence. Here's what most of the dyed pieces looked like drying.
Indigo is a plant based dye that's curiously yellow in dilution but turns blue when oxygen interacts with the dyed surface. I can hear all the scientist knitbloggers shaking their heads at this inept description so settle for You can see this white wool yarn thats been soaking for ten minutes turn indigo blue magically, as it hits the air. Right before your eye! It keeps changing as it dries and settles.
a visual :
I'd followed the invitation to bring yarn to throw in her dyepot, surrendering a skein of Brown Sheep worsted in light yellow that I've had around for ages. Meg is so kind, she acted enthused about what shade I might end up with, and helped me tie parts with string to create some space dying. Really, the woman had been standing there demo'ing in the damp for hours and she still got excited with us. 
Even my sons got into it, and they'd already hit the eyeball rolling stage of the day. After ten minutes in the dye pot, Meg noticed the yarn was behaving badly, getting slimey. She fished it out and put it in a vinegar dilution to regain its acidity, saying something must have coated the yarn or been in it , and exactly how old is it anyway? I had to use fingers and toes to calculate so you know, maybe there was just a bit of accumulated dust & oil messing up my dye job. I took it home , its drying in a big spaghetti-like half-dyed mess now. I'll show it in a future entry if it survives.
What else turned my head? Some funky goat yarns but I can't imagine what I'd do with them, some baby alpaca worsted that I hope I remember. I like to buy only when I have an immediate project in mind. Weird, huh? Here's what I almost bought, I loved her needle cases and her website doesn't do 'em justice. The vintage-y looking upholstery fabric and unusual buttons are just what I've been wishing for. I made loud Mothers Day hints.
As we were leaving, I think I spied a group of New Haven SnB'ers but my sons had really had enough, so out we boogied. Baa-bye!


Anonymous said...

When I was in my mad Phelting Phase and buying all the Brown Sheep yarn in town, the yarn store owner told me that the yellow Lamb's Pride does not felt. Hmmm. I wonder if that has something to do with why it didn't behave itself in the dye pot.

I would have brought a lot of yarn for an indigo dye-job. Fascinating.

I'm with you on not getting spinning as a hobby, but I think I probably felt that way about knitting once. I'm glad other people do it! xoxo Kay

gale (she shoots sheep shots) said...

I'm glad you said that, its been bugging me about my yellow misbehaving. They asked that you limit your dye try to 2 oz. only. Rebel that I am, I brought 3 skeins of 4 oz each. Then only had the nerve to throw one in, too bad I chose the yellow instead of natural/gray that might have worked.

Zarzuela said...

Great report on the Sheep and Wool fest. I noticed all the spinners had knitted socks too but forgot to add that to my post! It was definitely icky weather wise but a fun day overall. Sorry we didn't get to meet you! Hope you make it to a meeting in New Haven or North Haven sometime. It's nice to get to know other bloggers in the area. :)


margene said...

Indigo is so much fun to do. I dyed some silk/wool in a workshop and then made gloves. You can see them in my photo album.