Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chillin' at OFFF (and dyeing conundra)

Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, that is.

Sue and I shared a booth again, this year. It was great fun, being able to sit and spin, and talk to people and sell stuff.

My marathon dyeing session was fraught with "issues" but everything turned out ok in the end. I was using some new to me roving, American Top from Columbia Scouring. This is a 20-22 micron top, made from US sheep, processed in North Carolina, and dyed by me. It was interesting that the dye took up very erratically on this, so I called Columbia about it. They said (after checking with their dyer) to check that the pH was 4. Mine was 5. So I added more vinegar, got 4, and continued with the last batch. There was a slight difference, but not much.

Gray BFL/Tussah on Left; Merino/Bamboo/Tussah on Right

Mohair yarn on top; Merino Bamboo yarn on bottom

Superwash sport yarn

Note the light colors on the roving at left and the light yarn on right

Kind of dilute color take up (sorry about the shade)
Gray BFL/Tussah on left; Merino/Bamboo/Tussah on right
 So, I called Dharma Trading Co. They have a chemist (or 2 or 3) on staff that you can talk to. I had pretty much narrowed my problem down, but needed to confirm. So, I asked if dye powder has a shelf life. He wanted to know how old my dye was - um, 4-5 years... He said that they were positively ancient, and I needed new ones... Good news for them, bad news for me, as I have another show coming up in November, and need to dye more stuff!!

I re-skeined the yarn, using my antique clock reel. You know, sometimes you just can't improve the mouse-trap. This little gem works so well, and is probably 200 years old, and I love it.

This was The Craisin's first big outing (that's my new car, a cranberry, 2001 Escort sedan). I managed to get everything in except the gridwall, which Sue took in her van. The space below was filled by a medium animal crate, which held 3 chickens for Michelle.

Also in this small space, I was able to pack my Country Craftsman spinning wheel. They look like this (This is not my wheel, just a picture):

Do you see a wheel in here?
 Once I took some of the stuff out, you can see it... In pieces.
I never cleaned off the table -doh!!

It was less than thrilled to be dismembered, but after whacking some pins back into place for the wheel supports, we were off and running.

I actually ran out of room for all my stuff. I'm also a member of the High Desert Woolgrowers, whose booth was right next to ours, so I put the roving over there.

One of the highlights of the show (for me, anyway) was helping a young couple with a spinning wheel. The husband came around the corner holding a frame upright wheel over his shoulder, and I commented that he had a wheel, but it was missing some parts. He asked if I knew what they were, and I did. So he pulled up a chair, and I started explaining what it was missing. As I did this, he started pulling pieces out of a messenger bag that he was carrying. Once all the pieces were displayed, I realized how it was to come together, and proceeded to install them, a drive band, a bobbin leader and had it spinning. I told them (by this time the wife had appeared) how to oil it, and care for it. We also turned it over to see if there were any maker's marks - it was a Clemes and Clemes. They were thrilled - I was thrilled! It's always nice to get a dis/misused wheel back in action.

Later, while talking to a customer, I saw him come steaming back in the barn with a big smile on his face. I pardoned myself for a moment, and he exclaimed that he had found the person who built the wheel! Small world. The builder is going to take it and tune it up, replace all the dried up leather bushings and get it completely renovated. How cool is that!!

I had a very good weekend, coming home with much less than I took. Sue took the wheel home in her van, along with the gridwall, which I will pick up today. I spent one more night at Linda's (we stayed up way too late all three nights, catching up), so I could go by Columbia Scouring in Portland and get more roving, since I was in the area.

Next year, I WILL start dyeing earlier, and I will bring some signs to put out on the lawn (where most of the vendors are) directing people to come see us in the barn. That's the one drawback to being in the barn - there's no advertising of our existence there. Corex signs are cheap - I just need to come up with a catchy statement!

1 comment:

  1. How about a big arrow, with "Come on in; the shopping is super!"