Cabbages and Kings, Eggplants and Irises

In the previous post I showed how I dyed fiber this summer on the fire pit.  I have done that a couple of times now.  I have also dyed fiber inside, in a crock pot, in a roaster/cooker and on the stove top, one pot at a time.  So all of this dyeing has resulted in lots of colors that just beg for combining and blending. 

The fiber that I am using most right now is alpaca.  There is a farm about 1/4 mile from my house that raises alpacas.  They have between 20 and 30 animals.  They shear them every year (spring) and sell the fiber.  I happened to ask about the fiber when they had a large back stock and were selling last year’s fiber at a deep discount.  So I have probably purchased too much for me to work up quickly, but it was such a good deal that I could not pass this up. 

I am trying to focus on buying locally grown produce, milk and eggs whenever I can, and to be able to include spinning fiber in this locavore movement is just another way to conserve fuel and to send my money right back into my own community.  Actually, my own neighborhood.  If I had a neighbor that was raising sheep or llamas, then I suppose that would be what I was spinning and dyeing.  It is just so nice that my neighbors are a herd of alpacas.

I really like it that I know the people who are raising these animals.  All of my money spent goes to directly to the people creating the product.  There is no money spent on transportation from lets say Peru (Peru to Maine = a lot of fuel).  There is no money being paid to a warehouse to store this product.  There is no money being paid to advertise or label this product.  So, I got a great deal on fiber (my entertainment for the winter) and my neighbors got  some cash to do whatever with–buy grain or pay a vet or fuel for their tractor that harvests hay.  That just feels good.

I have been carding some of the dyed fiber into batts.  These batts can be spun or felted.  The combining of colors and fibers at the drum carder is a ton of fun.  I have started to spin some of these batts, and as I am finishing with them, I will post photos of the yarn.



Blueberries and Cream





These photos of the Eggplant just don’t do it justice.  This was the best combination of a deep dark eggplant-y purple and an olive green.  This was my favorite of the bunch.

Cabbages and Kings




These are two views of the same batt–Irises.  Inside and outside.  This one was a lot of fun to do.  The blues were all so different with a little bit of brown and purple and just the slightest hint of orange and yellow.

These batts are so much fun to make.  And to spin.  But the making is a lot of fun.  This is why I like to dye lots and lots of batches of colors, then work on the drum carder.  When you have all of the colors spread out, it’s like painting.  A bit of this, some of that, a lot of that….just fun to do. 

I tried selling some of this at the farmer’s market in Farmington this summer.  I will talk about that in a later post. 

So after Christmas is over, I will have a whole winter’s worth of spinning from the dyeing I did this Summer.  I’m not spinning right now, as the month before Christmas is NOT the time for spinning.  This is the time for baking and knitting and making.  Not leisurely spinning!









One thought on “Cabbages and Kings, Eggplants and Irises

  1. Really enjoyed this new segment of your blog and am learning more about this process and how much is actually involved. As you know I am an avid knitter and am more appreciative of the end product after seeing more and more of the process. I really love the colors in the Iris batts. Could you show us the drum carder and perhaps tell us how it works?
    The fact that you are trying to use more and more local products and supporting local small businesses is definitely a good thing and things that we all should do more often.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s