The whooshing sound of time flying by

Where does it go? I did think I'd try and spin the 100g I'd weighed out over the weekend, but here we are at Tuesday and it's only half done. I guess it wasn't a SMART target and as I said in the last post, the journey is as important as the arriving, and I'm enjoying this project no end.

This is the first 50g, and I'm still really excited about it. I've just seen a sock pattern I really like.

Spinning a beautiful sunset

Sometimes you have a great idea, but as you follow it through, things just don't feel right. The end result may still be a good one, if not what you'd originally intended.

This is a case of something feeling right and being enjoyable right from the start. And I think with any craft, the journey is as important as arriving.

Sunsets can contain an amazing variety of colours and I've long had the idea of putting those colours into a yarn. This is the picture I've found to work from:

In case my scribblings aren't clear, the colours I've chosen are: cheesecake 10%, liquorice 20%, tangerine 30%, raspberry 10%, blueberry 30% (Before I started spinning, I changed blueberry to 20% and added 10% lagoon, a deeper blue).

(it was late evening when I started this and so the colours in the photo and the dyed fibre don't look as vibrant as they really do.)

This is the first time I've bothered to weigh out fibre for spinning; it wasn't much trouble and now I'll know exactly how much I've spun (at least in weight) before I start to ply.

I found myself drawing the fibres out straight (Worsetead) and using a medium to long draw which seemed to suit both me and my merino.

As I was working I was mulling over the 'navaho or 2-ply' question. I don't want to muddy these colours, but at the same time I'm not sure I would like the strong self-striping effect I'd get from navajo. Three ply might be better for socks, but might be too chunky, so two it probably will be. I'll try a sample of each method before I ply it all.

So... I've decided on colour and fibre first, let the yarn dictate the spinnning method, and failed to decide on a pying method; all of which goes right against Judith Mackenzie McCuin's holistic approach which is to plan it all carefully beforehand!

Having nearly finished Lolita Legs and learned to cast-on at the toe and turn a heel, I'd love to make a pair of socks, and I think these colours will be perfect. I have read that 100% wool isn't perfect for hard-wearing sock yarn, but I notice that the walking gear manufacturers are singing the praises of wool for its quaities such as thermal properties, elasticity, 'wicking' environmental friendliness, as if they've invented a new high-tech material! ('smartwool' seem to be a selectively-bred fine merino).

I'm using the turkish spindle and lovin' it. It spins really well, is really light and I love the little ball of singles that grows in the middle.

As I mentioned, it was late evening and so the tea naturally became wine and I soon got into the rhythm - twist, sip, draw, twist, sip, draw, twist, sip, draw, wind on...

What I did on my holidays

I really wanted someone to stop and ask me what on earth I was doing riffling under a hedge collecting weeds. The straight-faced answer I had ready was "I'm a witch and need some alliaria petiolata for my cauldron".

That's not far from the truth. I read a few weeks ago that this plant (aka Jack-by-the-hedge or garlic mustard) can be used as a garlicky flavouring for lamb or salad. When I first spotted some, I excitedly rubbed some leaves but decided with some despondency that lots of imagination was needed to mistake it for garlic; it did have a distinctive flavour, not much scent, but what really grabbed my attention was that it really stained my fingers green.

That's why I've been spending some of my Easter holiday scrabbling around under hedges and boiling up leaves. Annoyingly, without much success, as it turns out. The corriedale has come out with hardly a hint of green in it.

I've not given up on this. I do have a lock that I dipped in early on which has dried out looking quite green. I'm going to try again another day.

While I had the mordanted fibre in my hands, I decided to try some cammomile. I've read that the flowers give a lovely yellow colour, and I have some in the kitchen (which I sometimes use in an infuser to make a drink).

The result: well, not very successful, but it is yellower than it appears in the picture. I deliberately only dipped it up to its waist in the dye, so that I'd get a mixture of the yellow, the natural white and any green which might be perceptible. When this is dry I'll spin it to see what it looks like.

I've also been playing with a turkish drop spindle (and videoing it). I've really enjoyed using it. It's nice to use - it's nice and light but spins well. The fun part is that it slips apart when you've finished spinning or plying, leaving your yarn in a neat ball.