Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I am my grandmother's granddaughter. As I was mulling over the huge mess of orangy-pink merino top that I dyed this weekend, it hit me. I am a decendant of Louise.

I was so careful with this hunk of fiber yet those microscopic scales on each individual strand of wool still tried to interlock into felt. Really, I don't know what happened. My first step was a soak in some burgundy "exhaust" from a batch of Black Cherry yarn I had just dyed. I wanted a rather random pinkish tinge to the fiber and using the left over dye from Black Cherry seemed to be a good idea. I pulled it from the dye and my fibers were still nice and lofty. Then I commenced to painting it with Kool-aid. (Yes, very weird, but it works...go here. Then go buy 40 packs of kool-aid and watch the expression on the girl at the checkout.) I carefully arranged it on many layers of plastic (on my white counter) and dabbed on the various colors--pink lemonade, black cherry, something watermelony and orange. I let it set for a while and when I checked on it, it no longer resembled nice lofty merino fiber. It had transformed into nasty disgusting pig intestines. What the heck? Well, I rinsed and rinsed and then hung to dry. I pulled and fluffed as best I could and I may be able to salvage 90% of it. Cripes!

But why did it felt? Because I carry the DNA of Louise. My grandmother was felting before felting was cool. We had no idea that what she was doing to hand-knit woolen sweaters was so progressive, trendy and fashionable. We had no idea that anyone would actually want to do that to a sweater intentionally. But, if it was wool and in her house, it was destined to be felt. Every time I toss a wool sweater (reclaimed from Goodwill) into a washing machine full of hot water I think of her. She passed away over 20 years ago, but until right this very minute, it didn't seem that long ago. Oh she had a way with wool, let me tell you!

So, what am I going to do with the fluffy pig intestine fiber? Well, I also dyed some cotswold locks with fruit punch and black cherry. I'm going to spin the merino and add a cotswold lock at random intervals. Or I might spin the fluffy pig intestines into a lofty soft spun single, knit something and felt the crap out of it. Wait and see.

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