This is my blog to share my adventures, misadventures, exploration, and experimentation with fibre- and as it turns out, with life as well. There is some of both. One thing leads to another. Collecting, spinning, weaving, dying, learning, building a web of relationships. Here we are: welcome.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Red Silk Saga

I left off with the silk all spun, skeined, and ready to dye. Tied off the skein, dug up my big dye pot, and successfully dyed it pretty close to the same red as in my sample. 

I have a niddy noddy and a small windmill skeinwinder to skein yarn directly from the bobbin. What I don't have is an umbrella type swift for going the other direction, back on the bobbin or into a ball. (That's on the must get list for this year.) I decided to fiddle with my windmill skeinwinder to hold my silk while I rewound it.

Since I don't have a way to mount it horizonatlly, I decided to find a way to keep the yarn from pulling off the open dowels. I carefully fit the skein onto the winder, then stepped out of the room to get some large rubber bands.  I should have done it the other way round.

Unknown to me, Jelly Bean had been oberving me from under the loom. When I stepped away, she decided to investigate. When I returned, she was on my work table. She jumped down and scooted, her body low-slung, and rolled innocently on the hearth rug. I knew what that meant. Even before I saw the consequences. My heart leapt into my throat in dread.

Yes. The infamous cat tangle. I cried. Of course, I cried. My yards and yards of silk carefully (if imperfectly) spun as finely as I could manage. Half on and half off the skeinwinder, the thrill of it all to much for my cat to resist: thread must be tangled. And tangled it was.

The shock undid me. I despaired of being able to untangle such fine thread. I couldn't even take a photo of it.  But I couldn't just throw it away. I couldn't. I just couldn't. So I put the rubber bands in place to hold what remained, covered the whole thing, and for a week pretended it didn't exist. I worked in my garden.

Then it got muggy and started raining and thundering. I braced myself, uncovered the silk, picked up my bobbin, and tentatively picked at the mass on the table. An opening appeared. I picked a little more, careful to only lift and loosen, never to pull. An end appeared! I am joyful. 

Carefully I traced the end through the tangle, and opened it enough to get the bobbin through. I did it again, winding the inches on the bobbin as I went, careful, careful not to pull anything tight. I did a little at a time, then retreated to read, to do research on the computer, to sweep floors or do dishes. At the end of the day, there wasn't much on the bobbin, but there were openings in the tangle, and I had hope.  
It took a week, a little at a time, until one day I could see the tangle begin to disappear. 
And the next day it did disappear, and all my lovely red silk was on the bobbin. And I'm still hoping it is enough to ply with all of the wool/mohair. It looks so puny next to the those spools.

But my mind has not recovered from the shock and the intense effort of rescuing my silk. I am not ready to ply yet. I need to clear my mind.

I have always known that the day would come when I would no longer be satisfied with just the four wood bobbins (and now one jumbo plying bobbin) I have, and would need storage bobbins. The day came while I was untangling, knowing I would not be plying right away. 

So I went online in search of inexpensive storage bobbins. I looked at several, some made of cardboard, something like heavyweight ribbon holders, others made of plastic, sturdier looking.

Then I found some only a bit more expensive than the others, and with the nifty trick of being able to be wound on using my household drill.

 I ordered the color set*, and two days later the box arrived.

And here's my silk, all wound on. It's fun again. 

And now I am happily spinning some delicious polypay roving that a friend had space-dyed. Aren't I lucky?

* The bobbins are manufactured and sold by artUwear  and may also be available at other outlets.