First, I have a Turkish spindle! I mean a real one, from Turkey and everything. Well-used, entirely handmade, with elaborately carved crosspieces, and carefully carved so the two interlocking arms of the “whorl” fit precisely together. A friend of mine went to Turkey and spotted it in a bazaar, along with a bunch of other junk–but he knew immediately what it was, and grabbed it for me. I am one happy camper.
The only downside to this spindle–which would be perfect for spinning the heavier yarns I want to try–is that the hole in the center isn’t circular; it’s more of a lopsided oval. This leaves me with a dilemma: either I hand-carve a shaft to fit the spindle (which may be beyond my carving skills–in addition to fitting through the hole, it also has to be well-balanced) or I re-drill the holes to make it align, thus mutilating a lovely piece of handwork. I’m much more inclined to carve my own shaft, personally. If I really need a Turkish-style spindle, I can buy one; but I can’t re-make the spindle.
I have been taking a break from knitting and sojourning into dyeing and sewing. Exotic Silks, which is a silk importer in my area, had a 25% off sale on all fabrics, so I went in and bought three pieces of heavy silk crepe remnants for about $25. It was enough to make myself the jacket I wanted–barely–so I dyed it gold in my kitchen stockpot, cut it out, and sewed the jacket. (It’s almost done, I just have to hem the sleeves.)
That, of course, was not nearly enough, so I went back to Exotic Silks and bought fifteen yards of heavy China silk (heavy enough for lightweight garments), and twelve and a half yards of white raw silk. I’m planning to make another set of dye samples, and since I mostly seem to be dyeing silk fabric/yarn these days, I figured I’d do it on silk fabric rather than winding endless skeins of wool yarn. A 7×7 swatch of this raw silk is almost exactly 5 grams, making the calculations easy. I intend to dye several batches at a time, in a big Dutch oven filled with canning-jars.
I’m also going to try using a different set of dye colors. Dyes, in theory, work just like printing, so the base colors are yellow, cyan, and magenta, rather than red, yellow, and blue (which are more for pigments). I’ve done dye triangles (which represent nearly all the shades you can get by mixing three colors) with the standard primaries, but haven’t been able to get some colors I want, like a good mixed purple. So now I want to try a set with yellow, cyan, and magenta. And maybe other colors. Dyes don’t have “ideal” primaries, so working with multiple mixes is necessary if you want to get the colors you want.
Me, I’m just playing. Mostly.
The book is continuing to crank along; I’ve strengthened the chapter considerably and am impatiently waiting for my transcriber to deliver more tapes so I can add in several more stories. It’s going well, very well.
I have almost extricated myself from hell at work: after the latest reorg, it was looking like I was going to wind up as a sustaining engineering project manager–which would have been excruciatingly boring–but there are signs now that I’ll get something significantly more challenging, like designing and implementing processes and metrics for the entire division. That would be interesting, and would likely involve traveling to the UK, Japan, and quite probably Russia and India, none of which would suck. 🙂 Another fine alternative would be going back into engineering project management, and trying to build an engineering project management group in the platforms division–but I don’t know if that’s likely to happen.
I do, however, now have the prospect of something more useful to do than sit there and stare at the wall, which makes me very excited.