A while ago I came back from a local op shop with a number of silk scarves and hankies, and leaf prints and indigo in mind. Then this weekend I managed to get hold of some Eucalyptus nicholii leaves, thanks to the local parrots who are currently “pruning” all the local trees and scattering the contents within easy reach. Nice.
I decided on simple and laid one scarf out on a piece of calico, dropping some leaves onto it as though they’d fallen that way, then placing another scarf on top and wrapping them up in a small bundle. They were placed in the steamer for around two hours, but I can’t be sure of the exact time.
After cooling slightly, the bundle was unwrapped with a pleasing result. The leaf prints appear slightly darker on one scarf, which was opaque, but one the translucent scarf they add to the blowing-in-the-wind effect rather than looking stationary.
Not bad for a first attempt. I did however notice that the prints in the centre of the bundle were paler (where the steam hadn’t penetrated as much) and the tighter end was a little ruffled. Point to remember for next time: wrap around a bamboo cane of at least 1/2″ diameter and steam for longer.
I’ve come back from the supermarket with the occasional odd item, but I guess this counts as “eccentric” rather than plain odd. It just so happened that I was in the veggie section while the onions were being made more presentable, and immediately clapped eyes upon a box full of dye material.
I had to think twice, three times, before actually asking for them, but then eccentricity took over from reserve and the result speaks for itself.
The guy did say I was welcome to help him sort the remaining red onions; I would have liked to have returned the favour, but I think I may have pulled off all the skins and left naked veggies.
In the meantime, hands off – they’re destined for a workshop.
This is definitely a fleece that prefers combing, and spinning from the bottom of the staple in the grease. Flicking didn’t work, as at the bottom end there are a lot of shorter, finer fibres. With combing, I was able to remove these and set them aside to see what they spin up like. I’ll probably scour them and then put them through the wool combs.
I did scour a couple of lots of uncombed staples prior to spinning, but due to the high micron count, leaving the grease in is kinder on the hands (and everything else). I have yet to decide how to tackle these.
Back to the combed staples. The longer fibres were easy to manage, and quick to spin and ply. The resulting yarn is quite pleasing for a first attempt – definitely too coarse for much other than a carpet, but still with a degree of softness. After scouring the skein, it came out whiter than white. I look forward to seeing how well it takes dye.
The next step is to spin some singles for warp. As the total fleece weight was 2.7Kg, there should be enough to experiment with.