It often gets written of Aquarian's that we have a tendency to travel through space and time, flitting around as will takes us, returning back to the here and now with a bump. I'm sure it's more to do with our tendency to daydream with a 'far away' look in our eyes, then suddenly throw something quirky into a conversation. But whatever it is, it's been one of those days. I'm really not here. To say I'm away with the fairies would be blaming them once too often so I'll just have to say it's due to the sun being out and the feel of Spring in the air.

This sense of being is a good thing, though. To say that I've got 6 Hats on the make when each only takes a couple of hours, is an indicator of my concentration levels. But it's a glimmer of the former Ruth, the quirky soul that exists when the depression has lifted. Days like this allow me to look into the blue yonder and see a future; a happy one. There's a sense of calm, warmth and an optimism that hasn't been felt since I don't know when. Everything's going to be alright.

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There's been a few incidents of late, when I've put some yarn or fibre into my big pot to dye on the stove, promptly forgotten about it then fallen asleep for a couple of hours. So this week I've taken to dyeing without the use of a naked flame. Actually, over the last couple of weeks there's been a steady flow of dyeing and spinning.

Firstly, here's some plain colours. I've been in desperate need of these, to trim and contrast against the huge amount of variegated yarns I have. Dyeing a flat colour is harder than you think... like Sue, my dyeing methods aren't scientific or measured and so to get a constant colour requires at the very least a stir and an even dye solution. I can do measured dyeing if I wish, but I don't. It makes my brain hurt.

A lovely 200g skein of chunky boucle wool that I bought from Winghams. It is a soft mix of heathery colours but the camera would have you think otherwise.

More gentle colour variegations, in a mixture of wools. The slate mix in the middle is lovely, and he grape/heathery mix will work up a dream too. I did say there'd been a fair bit....

And more in rusts, reds and browns. I didn't intend these to be this colour, and already have some knocking around that are similar. Yet this is what happens if you mix the wrong colours and they go a bit icky. Still, used against a bright plain colour, they'll be cool.

Here's one that is still a tad wet as it was done today. Left to dye, draped across 6 containers of different colours whilst I slept (for 6 hours) and then zapped in the microwave when I woke.

Some cashmere and silk. Yum. I don't think I've dyed cashmere before, and was rather surprised at how well it took the colour. The bottom skein was the first 50g dyed, and it's definitely sunglasses bright. So the 2nd 50g at the top (which is for a commission) is much paler - infact the dyes were diluted so much that they were barely visible before going in the microwave. The silk on the right is a weaving 2ply, 60/2 count, left over from my weaving days at Goldsmiths. This is going to be plyed with the tussah silk that I'm spinning at the moment (photo to follow) Lovely rich jewel tones which will add a subtle accent to the tussah.

And now some spinning. I love this yarn! It's my own hand dyed merino and wensleydale locks, just over 100g. The locks are spun in deliberately so they hang down, although there's sufficient spun with the merino base yarn to add colour and texture there too. Can't wait to knit this one... can you imagine what sort of Hat it will make?!

This 2nd one is commercially dyed merino, which will stripe. In a mixture of reds, golds and oranges and plyed with a fine red wool. It also has the sari silk threads which give a lovely texture. This is similar to the yarn I used for this Hat, so know how well it knits up. There's about 100g here.

This one on the left is my own hand dyed merino, with small amounts of commercially dyed reds and oranges for depth. Again, the sari silk threads for texture (a technique I'm rather fond off and keeps occuring). This one is for a commmission (same customer as the hand dyed cashmere) and has already started to grow into a Hat. When I started to dye the fibres, we'd discussed a colour scheme yet would the merino behave and colour they way I wanted? Would it heck, hence the addtional colours for depth. It's a lovely random spin which is looking great knitted up, yet I'm not happy with the Hat shape so far. There's just over 100g, which is plenty as my previous hand-spuns only yielded around 70g and still managed a Hat. So it will be frogged and more shape added. Actually, it's kinda scary sometimes, making a Hat for someone else... like, normally mine just grow as my mood dictates and how they turn out is how they're meant to be, and stay that way. This time though, I'm conscious of what's happening. The customer wants a 'Wormhead Original' (which she will get!) yet it's still a completely different ball game.

Here's the tussah silk on the bobbin. Bought an eon ago from Winghams as a hand dyed roving, it's been lurking in the bottom of my fibre stash bag until I felt confident enough to spin it. The colours are a mix of various greys, mainly charcoal, with the odd section of purple. I'm not spinning each colour section seperately, as I much prefer the eclectic and random. To be honest, it's not spinning how I thought it would, which is cool. So I did a bit of research to refresh the old grey matter. Tussah, meaning wild, is considered an organic and veggie friendly silk. The worms aren't boiled within their cocoons like the commercial mulberry silk (they live and are free!), and so as the cocoons are unravelled, the tussah doesn't produce a continuous filament. Hence, this tussah has a staple length similar to longer wools, and is spinning as such. Mind, having said that, the fibre has a slightly different grip and the stuff keeps trying to be a fine yarn, despite my best efforts. So it's taking forever to spin, will be plyed with itself and the hand dyed silk shown earlier. I am getting a bit bored of it, and there's only 100g!

I've also dyed a few random lots of silk noil, only about 10 or 15g quantities, which will be added to yarns as I'm spinning. They're not exciting enough to photograph. I suppose all this lot is more evidence that although the brain isn't firing on all cylinders, the hands are fine and still doing their stuff.

I want to keep this current mood, and stop it from going away. I have no idea how long it will last, or when it will return. But as I've been typing, there's an exciting brewing in my belly, as I need to phone a man about a truck...

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead