Wow. Where to start?
Yesterday I packed up my wheel and some hastily carded batts and carted it over to Molly's place for a spin-off. I was extra excited because two amazing etsy shopkeepers were also on their way - Steph of Loop and Liz of Hobbledehoy. I've always loved Liz's yarns, ever since she first started selling handspun like two years ago - and I've spent quite a bit of time drooling over Loop batts.
It was a blast! I spun up three skeins of yarn, carded some mini batts on Steph's Pat Green carder that she brought along, and helped dye up many pots of colorful fiber. The day flew by - we met around 1 pm and I didn't leave until 10! I was so pleased to be in the company of so many amazing fiber artists, and for once I wasn't the only crazy lady with multicolored bits of wool stuck all over her clothes. I've never really been able to spend time with other spinners, and I'm completely self-taught in everything (dyeing + spinning), so I loved just being able to inspect other people's wheels, watch other people spin, and ask lots of questions about how they do stuff.
I learned the most about - dyeing! I've loooong wondered at how Liz can be so amazingly prolific when she dyes. She's always posting about how she whipped out 10lbs of handdyed fiber in like 2 hours. I knew that she kettle dyes, but I never really got into kettle dyeing because I used to use a microwave, which was super fast, and now I use glass jars - I pour the boiling water into them, mix up all the colors, and plunk the roving in until the water turns clear. Except it doesn't always turn clear, since the water doesn't stay hot. It turns out that the method for cranking out dyed fiber is much simpler than I thought: multiple huge dyepots, all going at once! OH. Now I feel so silly, with my one little dyepot. I know what I'm going to be shopping for this week. Multiple dyepots really increase productivity immensely - we had three giant pots going at Molly's, with five ladies (my friend Jenny was there as well) all taking turns mixing up colors and plunking in fiber. We must have dyed several pounds at LEAST. Both Liz & I use Jacquard acid dyes, so it was fun trading our "recipes" for colors. Another big revelation for me was that when you kettle dye, adding more fiber at different times to the same dyepot will result in a range of different colors. It's so much fun! I dreamed about dyeing all night last night, and this morning I popped out of bed, revved up the dyepot (and a teapot while I was at it) and proceed to churn out a ton of dyed mill ends.
My leetle dyepot - it's hard to see in the picture, but there are two shades of green in the same pot.
I started out dyeing up some greens, and an hour later my bathroom looked like this:
And I wasn't even done yet in that picture! I went on to dye oranges, blues, and tans. I am so extremely pleased with my new dyeing method!
Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures at Molly's. But I did take some pictures this morning of the fiber that I brought back with me:
Gorgeous tussah silk in green, yellow, and teal! This came out of the dyepots at Molly's. This was Steph's silk, but I fell in love with it and she let me keep it!
The mini batts that I carded on Steph's carder from one of my bags of scrap fiber + misc other things.
Batts, five colors of sparkle that I bought from Loop (I also got her Boysenberry batt, which I can't wait to spin), supersoft brown camel fluff from Liz, and rose grey alpaca from Steph.
Hurray! I cannot wait until the next meet-up. I feel so chock-full of inspiration and spinny love that I just don't know what to do with myself.
I guess I'll go spin!