Sunday, July 19, 2009

The studio elves have been working on a variety of projects. This object (slightly gaudy, okay, but I was trying out a bunch of projects here) is the first iteration of designs for a tatting-with-buttons workshop next summer. The next iteration should be more sedate – I think the button band, around the circumference needs no beads and smaller buttons while the top needs smaller thread and perhaps just a little glitz. I did like the Solomon spiral in the front with a button center – it’s a bit of a challenge, but it worked out well. The button spiral and the Celtic motif at the top are intended for the August Tatting Times, as is the chatelaine pattern in front - as a bookmark, instead of as a chatelaine. The needle-book in front is a re-envisioning of an amulet bag from one of my “Tatting With Buttons” books – this is a whole lot of fun to do – it’s block tatting on a larger scale.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d take advantage of summer sun – as if there were any – to embark on a massive wool-washing project. I bought four fleeces from the shepherds up the hill; mostly Corriedale crosses, with one Romney. I hadn’t remembered that back in February I’d found one grey fleece totally irresistible, but it is beautiful. I thought I’d dye it and try having the colors blended when it’s milled into roving. The plan is to wait until midwinter, when the mill puts processing on sale. This means washing now, then storing the fleece in mouse-proof containers in the barn, then shipping it out much later. This feels like taking plan-ahead to a fine art. So there it is, drying on the porch, and yes, ma’am, behind it are indeed three bags full of additional fleeces.

I took a little time out from tatting this morning to card what turned out to be about five ounces of dyed and grey fleece into rovings. The two on the left went through the carding machine four and five times instead of a mere three.

Then I spun yarn just to try it out. This fleece had a lot of vegetal material; I hope they’ll be able to do a better job getting it out with a commercial picking and carding process than I did. Picking out bits of stuff considerably slowed down the spinning, so I only got a little done, but enough to see that I really liked the result. Luckily whatever else it picks up by being photographed amid the debris of yesterday's cut grass will simply shake off - I'm not going for more gunk in the wool! I’d almost like a little gold or yellow in there, but I’m restraining myself.