logging into this account is like entering fort knox by now:( first it doesn't recognize my password (I had the right one, because I put them down in writing!). then, when I finally get a code to change it, I get complaints that it's not safe enough! I tried and tried - and finally, when I chose a very insulting one, it worked! apparently you have to use swearwords now to get into your account:) but don't forget to add a number or a sign - or you'll get another complaint....
ok, so here I am. change of plan - instead of more gardening I am going to stay inside - it's raining... I measured and calculated all my finished skeins of yarn instead and labelled them... well, nearly all of them. I didn't bother with two. one is a small sample from a fibre book I took part in years ago. I threw out most of them eventually (too high-risk for moths!) and kept only special ones. I think this one is very special - it's not made from wire! but it feels like it:) no idea why I kept it - maybe because it's a natural brown?
I lost the label in the bag, so I don't know which breed it is. but it must be something double-coated! some double cuts as well, but I was able to pick those out before or during carding. some very long brown guard hair - which I tried to pull out. some wiry, dark brown "hair" and medium grey-brown main fibres. I wouldn't call it down - more like pot scrubber feeling, but I spun it anyway. and either it was poorly scoured or not at all - it was quite greasy, but didn't smell like unwashed. mystery fibres anybody? long story cut short: not something I'd buy in a hurry - I think I might give it to a friend, who can unspin it again to use as a dwarf's beard.... it's too small to be saved for rug weaving - maybe a massage glove?
the second small skein that I won't measure is - boucle! I've been spinning for so long, but I've never tried boucle before. I was re-reading part of Sarah Anderson's book about yarn design and because I had also found and spun a sample of white mohair, I thought I'd give it a try. of course it was late and I was too lazy to dig around for a base yarn, so I chose a dove blue commercial 2ply, I think a mix of viscose or silk or something else shiny with linen? anyway, plying the first time wasn't terribly difficult - as long as the base yarn has the extra twist released regularly! I thought maybe I should put it on a spindle and let it dangle, but as I said - it was late and I kept going.
some spots are ok, nice and loopy....
in others I didn't have enough "room" for the loops, they plied too tightly to push up properly - like here. the loops can't open if they don't have enough yarn to even form loops!
and of course the yarn turned out quite hard - entirely my own fault, because I used a white linen yarn (commercial) for the binder. did I mention that I found the fine (and much softer) silk a day later? well, it looks like boucle, but there is loads of room to improve! I started a fine white alpaca for the 2nd try - I put the fine silk aside already - all I need now is a reasonably soft yarn as base. because it gets more twist added during the ply I think I should be safe with a commercial wool yarn... of course Sarah Anderson is absolutely right in saying that using all wool/silk makes dyeing your boucle so much easier! maybe I shouldn't spin all my stash - we might be doing a "worldwide spin in public" event in September - I hope I have enough fibres left by then for a day of spinning:)
I couldn't leave without a picture of my favourite fuchsia right now! it didn't look like much after spending the winter in the polytunnel, but after re-potting and fertilizing it again, it has recovered splendidly! I like fuchsias in general - they have such interesting flower shapes, but this one has a very pleasing tone-in-tone colour, whereas most of my others have a strong contrast, either white-pink, white red or, very common here and even growing wild is "fuchsia" with a purplish corolla... and it has nearly round buds - most of the others are much longer and thinner.
they don't mind the rain as much as petunias, they really flower all summer long, they even form edible berries (no great taste though) and they are easy to grow from cuttings - what else could a gardener want?:) they look like little ballerinas with flowing skirts, arms outstretched!
off to do a bit more alpaca spinning - and finishing my second shopping net. I changed the design of the base - so now I am going to change the handle as well!