Quiet Vacation

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It is turning out to be a very low key vacation.  We had expected to do tons of work over at the Beorningstead this week but Bry has been down with a cold for well over a week.  He took two days off work last week, missed two Sundays in a row at Church and has been just plain tired and sickly for a long time.  The kids have both got it, too.   I'm the only one not sickly.  That's a bit of a change.

My Umbrella Swift (aka Umbrella Fish - Maxx is great!) and all of my various yarns arrived last week.  They have been pre-washed are now drying.  I'm pondering color palettes and record keeping. 

I started out my dyeing career with keeping records.  I used to have a nice home made swatch book that had a 2 small squares of fabric - one cotton and one silk - for each dye color I had.  That fell apart years ago.  I don't even know where the swatches are anymore.  I don't usually dye for specific color outcomes.  My process is much more intuitive than that.  I've learned enough about how colors overlay and how they may or may not shift on silk as compared to cotton that I just throw things in a bucket and know that the result will be pleasing - or at least interesting. 

That will all change with this new line of threads.  I need to develop reliably reproduceable colorways and learn how to dye with procion on wool blends.  Wool is usually dyed with acid dyes but some of my wool has rayon or bamboo blended in and acid dyes won't touch the plant fibers at all so I have to use procion for those blends.  I also want my colorways to "translate" across the line of threads I've got so I'll hav eto be using the same dyes and colors.  I will have to do several swatch tests to learn how colors interact on the wool and wool blends before I jump in headfirst and dye up all this yarn.  I'm a little intimidated, but excited, too. 

This is a good thing.  On Thursday, Don Mandigo stopped into the Arts Council to do some Valentine's shopping for his wife and he asked if I was creating anything new.  We chatted for a minute and our conversation reminded me that one can't grow as an artist or a person if one is too comfortable, mucking about doing the same old thing all the time.  

Well, I won't be mucking about with the same old stuff all year this year!  I also got a shipment of acrylic felt to cover my print table with last week so I'm all set to play with breakdown printing , too.  I'll be setting up my printing screens for that when I prepare my first test batch of wool fibers. 

Gearing up for these two new processes feels a bit like jumping on the swing at my Grandmother's house.  The monkey swing swooped out over a big drop off where the driveway was.  If you planned your swing just right, you could swoop around the tree, spinning out over the driveway, swing back and wrap halfway around the tree on the way back, landing on your feet.  If you planed badly, you could slam against the tree or scrape bits of skin off your knees or elbows or fumble your landing and end up in the dirt.  

Sadly the tree and the house are gone now.  I took this photo on the last morning of the house - it was a very rainy and sad morning.

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