In January we got some new neighbours, another English couple (there are now three of us in a row over a distance of about a mile - the locals are probably now feeling a bit threatened!). They have a fair bit of land and want to have sheep (he's an ex-farmer) and possibly some other animals. They already have hens, which is good for us as they always have too many for themselves so are willing to sell some. I've been trying to talk them into getting some nice "spinnable" animals - alpacas would be brilliant, but they are rather expensive. Anyway I think maybe I've finally got through to them as Tammy is now very interested in learning to spin. She's even gone so far as to order some fleece, merino I think. So I said I'd give her some lessons and get her started. How exciting, having another (potential) spinner living practically next door!
I have a spare spinning wheel so she can come and use that while she discovers if spinning is really for her. So yesterday I got it out, cleaned it, oiled it and then looked for some bobbins for her to use. Now, if you're a spinner, you'll know that after a while, even though you have 10 or 12 bobbins, none of them are available. They're either full of something you're going to finish later, or they all have bits and bobs of previous spins on them. This means either winding them off, in which case you'll probably never do anything with them, or plying them with another bobbin. As it turned out, most of these bobbins found a partner, i.e. I had two part bobbins of blue so they went together. I had two bobbins of white and one of silk, so they were no problem. Then I had about a third of a bobbin of green plus a bit more of purple. There was nothing else for it, they had to be plied together, and actually I quite like how it turned out - it's the hank at the top of this photo :-
I would never have thought of putting green and purple together before, so it quite surprised me how well they go together.
Speaking of purple, Saturday I cut the grass (not that the grass is purple in these parts!). This year we had little patches of violets growing all around the garden and I just couldn't bring myself to decimate them with the lawn mower. Instead, I cut off all of their heads with scissors and put them in a tub in the freezer - ice flowers. According to my new dyeing book (Eco Colour by India Flint) if you freeze certain flowers, they release their colours more readily for dyeing. So the freezer it was!
I'm looking forward to trying these and had thought of trying solar dyeing with them, although the book says you get better colours without heat. Maybe I'd better stick to what she says rather than be disappointed.