I wish I could say that I went to Chicago to the International Quilt Festival, and all I got was this lovely pile of hand dyed wool roving. I didn't go overboard, got a few other things, but this is my favorite.
It is from a shop called Wool & Needle in Fond du Lac, WI. (I would link to their website, www.woolandneedle.com, but it seems to be down right now.) There were several vendors there with roving, but this spoke to me--there's lots of variation in the coloring, which will be good for making natural looking landscapes. Even if the landscapes I make are abstract, I still want the play of light to figure in the composition.
These got me to remembering when I first started dyeing fabric. I was obsessed with getting the pieces evenly colored--you know, like commercial fabric. I don't remember what the lightning bolt was, but at some point I realized I should be looking for the happy accidents I find in watercolor painting--something they can't make 1000 yards of. Part of my plan for the summer is to go back to those fairly uniform pieces and overdye or paint them. Make them unique.
As for this wool, I'm thinking nuno felting to make some more landscapes. I have thought about buying an embellishing machine, but have decided for now to stick with hand felting with some hand needle felting thrown in. It's the process I'm after as much as the final product.