Then Roxie, being her usual generous self, shared her bounty of raw white fleeces with me. I scoured, cleaned, picked, carded and finally spun some white yarn. The experience of taking the wool through the whole process from the sheared fleece to spun yarn was incredibly satisfying for me. I learned so much about how wool should and should not be handled at each stage, and I certainly gained a greater appreciation for my foremothers' abilities to clothe their children and husbands in handspun, handknit sweaters and socks.
As if all that work was not enough, I decided I wanted to learn to create my own colors, so I took a class in dyeing at my lys.
When we moved to Los Angeles, my dyeing and spinning hours were greatly reduced by that necessity called 'going to work'. I still had miles and miles of undyed roving. One day while I was reading Spin Off magazine, I found an article about using KoolAid to dye fiber in your microwave. I was intrigued (as well as disgusted by the idea of putting into the bodies of children something that could permanently change the color of fiber). The local supermarket sold KoolAid (I felt like I was overtly doing a drug deal right there in the store).
The rest is history: an entire basket of KoolAid dyed handspun wool.
The Spin Off article noted that if you dyed the fiber before spinning, the result was a more 'heathery' yarn. I spun some of the rovings first and then dyed the skeins. Other skeins I spun first and then dyed. It was all for the purpose of scientific discovery, you understand.
The baskets of colorful yarn add so much to the decor of Willow's Cottage. Will I be able to wind these skeins into balls, cast the yarn on to size 5 (or 8) needles, and actually KNIT something? I would miss the color accents the baskets provide in the guest room and family room. However, in the spirit of using up my stash, I suppose I could make something--an afghan or a pillow?