Quite literally, too, as I woke saturday morning with a rotten head cold that doesn't want to shift. Aches, pains & a temperature, have got the lot. And as a cold sore sufferer, I've now got them around my nose spreading up my nostrils. Eww. Feeling crap is an understatement.

On the plus side, the 2 patterns are finished. The first is all done and dusted, approved and winging it's way to it's intended recipient. Kerrie asked me to design a crochet Hat for the next issue of Yarn Forward, so look out for that in the new year. Strange really, that my first design to be published on real, live paper should be a crochet one....

The 2nd pattern is basically done but in need of tweaking. Thankfully, the deadline for submissions has been extended by a few days. This is a real bonus, as my design mojo seemed to be drying up, and the finished article was not as funky as I'd hoped. Infact, I was rather disappointed, until some additional details sprung into my head whilst trying to sleep last night. No re-wrting needed, just a few more bits and bobs and that's all done. Phew.

This last week has taught me a lesson or two, must be said. The main problem seems to be designing patterns to order. Some folk work well this way - Erssie and meself have had long chats about this, and she's one that can sit down, do it all on paper then work methodically through the process. I can't. I need to play with the materials and see what grows... invariably the finished result bears no resemblance to the original idea, if there ever was an idea to start with.

So when given a criteria, the trouble starts. For instance - the style of Hat Kerrie was after should have proved no problem, as it's a shape I know inside out. But it ended up becoming a real torment. Why? Hmm... think it's because my creativity starts to feel like it's had it's wings clipped, rebellion kicks in, conformity battles to the surface and before long I've got one big headache. Ludicrous really, as the finished design is perfectly fine, and as said, something that shouldn't have troubled me at all.

Anyhow, there's been no definite conclusion reached. Having patterns published is a good business move so won't turn my back on that avenue completely. Just gotta maintain the balance.

And that balance is about to be restored! Temptation arrived on monday, by way of a whole Wensleydale fleece from the BWMB. It's been sitting there, staring at me, filling the flat with a wonderful sheepy aroma, trying to talk me into washing and dyeing it. So last night it went into the bath for it's cold wash to remove the excess dirt. And boy, it's filthy. 4 soaks on and the water is still muddy.

Working from raw fleeces is still a learning curve for me. The last one, that North Ronaldsay that I bought at Woolfest suffered as a result of my inexperience. That wasn't hugely dirty, just very heavy on the lanolin side. Fairy liquid did a naff job at removing the grease, and after too many hot baths even the best parts of the fleece are full of nubs (little felted clumps)

This time I've armed myself with the proper detergents - Sythrapol and Kookaburra's wool scour. Sorted. These babies gently remove the grease in cold water - cold water, baby! - greatly reducing the risk of felting. About 300g are nearly clean, having been no way near hot water, which is grand. That little lot will have one dip in a hot soak today to remove the last of the lanolin and then we're on our way. And I do seem to have been rather lucky, as the fleece looks a pretty good one, with lovely soft, fine curls.

After that, there's 2 kilos of raw Kid Mohair in need of a bath. That's no problem though... no lanolin and much less dirt. Hopefully then the want to get dyeing en masse will be kick started.

Man, I want to spin. Have hardly touched my wheel all week and I miss it.

AuthorWoolly Wormhead