I already posted about the green/white yarn that my spinning friend helped me make. (I mean, she really helped me, as in, I could not have done it alone.)
The brown and white yarn I plied yesterday. To ply yarn means to take two strands of yarn that you've already spun, and then spin them together. It's tricky, because twist -- which is what you're doing to your yarn when you spin it -- is essential for yarn-making, but it's also the spinner's bane. Twist makes tangles. Twist makes your yarns become embroiled with one another. Twist is a headache.
This brown/white two-ply yarn is simply white alpaca and brown alpaca, plied together. Does it look like a mess? It is.
I mentioned that the brown alpaca fiber, lovely as it is (and it's truly gorgeous, deep brown) was dirty. To be specific, it had mouse poop in it. The bags of fleece were stored in a barn, so that's not surprising. Undaunted by mouse poop, I cleaned it, and picked out the poop ... one little poop pellet at a time.
|The bag of brown fleece. There the mouse pooped, and there he died.|
I still had some white alpaca yarn I'd made first. What to do with it? I plied it together, this time making my own "lazy kate," a device to help you unwind two (or more) balls of yarn simultaneously. Here's mine:
It's a shoebox with two knitting needles through it, held with wine corks on the ends. Put the two balls of yarn on the needles, and let them freely unwind together. This was so helpful! I set the box at my feet as I sat at the spinning wheel, plying the two white yarns together onto my wheel's bobbin -- kind of like spinning it again. I had to turn the wheel in the opposite direction from the direction I used when spinning the 2 yarns originally. That way, the twist of the plying off-sets the twist of the original spinning, and the yarn will drape straight, and will knit or weave without twisting my work around.
Then I dyed the white alpaca yarn in a turmeric bath.
And it came out this pretty color:
I know very little about natural dying. I soaked the yarn first in warm water with washing soda, salt, and baking soda in it, hoping those would work as a fixative to help the color stay. I gently squeezed it out, and placed it into the dye, letting it soak.
I squeezed the dye water out, but did not rinse the yarn. I want to use the three together to knit a loose scarf.
Oh - and so you know I'm still working, I did a little painting this morning while watching youtube videos about natural dying.
I thought this family was very fun, and the son was interesting to watch, doing his kitchen science: