Sunday, January 11, 2015

Distaff Day

"Distaff Day, also called Roc Day, is 7 January, the day after the feast of the Epiphany. It is also known as Saint Distaff's Day, one of the many unofficial holidays in Catholic nations. Many St. Distaff's Day gatherings were held, large and small, throughout local fiber community. The distaff, or rock, used in spinning was the medieval symbol of women's work. In many European cultural traditions, women resumed their household work after the twelve days of Christmas. Women of all classes would spend their evenings spinning on the wheel. During the day, they would carry a drop spindle with them. Spinning was the only means of turning raw wool, cotton or flax into thread, which could then be woven into cloth." from Wikipedia

I celebrated Distaff Day for the first time yesterday with a day of social spinning with the Peachtree Handspinner's Guild, and it was MARVELOUS. We spun, chatted, ate, shared knowledge, and picked challenge projects for the year. I picked up a 3 oz bag of brightly colored ends to blend into roving, spin and weave into a project before the March meeting. And speaking of weaving, last week I finally finished my first handspun/handwoven project, the beaded scarf. It was a bear to do, but it turned out beautifully and has me very excited about this challenge and more weaving of handspun.

Other challenges I am going to do this year are the fleece comparison--wash, card or comb, and spin
three different types of wool; and the The Spinner's Book of Yarn Designs: Techniques for Creating 80 Yarns challenge which is to work (as a group) through the book and create all 80 yarns.

In the more immediate timeframe, I finished spinning and plying the three lbs of merino/camel down blend that I am going to dye and knit into a sweater for Dave. While I have no problem dyeing this fiber, I never thought I would want to dye any of my alpaca as it comes in such wonderful different colors naturally. But a few things have happened recently to make me open up to the idea. First, I am incapable of walking by any of Gale's skeins of hand-dyed alpaca/silk roving without buying one or more so clearly I like brightly colored alpaca. I am also intrigued by the color possibilities that result from overdyeing the heathery greys, browns, and even the black alpaca with greens, blues, red, yellow, purple--in short, just about every color. And, finally, as I look at the stash of roving I have left from 2013's alpaca processing and contemplate the amount I have coming in from 2014's, I feel a need to move the first on to something new to make room for the second. What better way to invigorate it than to dye it?

As I was already ordering protein (acid) dye from Dharma for Dave's sweater, I went ahead and got some other colors to try on the alpaca roving. And because no project is complete without a book, I also ordered the book Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece: Custom-Color Your Favorite Fibers with Dip-Dyeing, Hand-Painting, Tie-Dyeing, and Other Creative Techniques. It's not that I don't have other excellent books and resources for dyeing, but this one looked really scrumptious.

Finally, I am also about half way through spinning Levi's cria (baby alpaca) fleece that Ruthann sent me. We are doing a trade whereby she had her fleece processed into roving, I am spinning it, and we will split the finished yarn. This is another one that I think I'm going to dye (my share of the yarn) as it is a beautiful soft, light grey brown that I think will really be gorgeous with a bright overdye.

1 comment:

Bill said...

What happened to the yak hair? OTOH, it's nice to hear you're having fun...