Friday, 15 September 2017

Perth Festival of Yarn, and a bit of dyeing

So it was Perth Festival of Yarn last Sunday, and this was my stall. I was really pleased with how it looked.

In fact, I was really pleased with the entire show. It was excellently organised, laid out with masses of space around each table, there were tables rather than stalls so you could see across the whole room, and the venue itself (Dewars Centre in Perth) was good too - catering worked well, there was never a queue for the loos, and plentiful parking.

We had originally planned just to visit, spending a night in Perth, visiting the show in the morning to see if it would work for us next year, and a leisurely drive home in the afternoon. But I was offered a table a month ago, and it seemed a shame to turn it down. And then, of course, our accommodation cancelled on us a week out due to flooding, so there was a panic finding somewhere else. We ended up with an 'ecopod' at Whitemoss Lodge B&B. Incredibly peaceful and quiet, and only 20 minutes drive from the show.


On the way up to Perth last Saturday we managed to get up to Stirling early enough for a visit to the Wallace Monument. Mark climbed it (at £10 a go, I decided that as I'd done it when last in Stirling for Knit Camp of most unblessed memory was recently enough) whilst I sat with the pupz at the bottom, observed some owls and birds of prey, and watch a re-enactment of the Battle of Stirling with two re-enactors and a very big claymore.


It was a very long and tiring drive home on the Sunday evening, with the weather too bad to allow me to snooze, so I've booked the accommodation for three nights next year. The organiser's planning a two day show next year; let's hope I get a stall. 

And I sold out of Copper on fibre completely, so this is a bit more. 


This is Warrior Scarlet on black bfl/silk and plain oatmeal bfl - I've had a request to take some tomorrow, when I'm teaching a workshop over near Blackpool. 


No rest for the wicked, or even moderately naughty; I'm teaching nearly over on the West coast tomorrow, then we're trawling over to the East coast to finally catch Propagansey near Robin Hood's Bay on Sunday.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Dyeing fleeces from Orkney


I bought a few samples of fleeces from Orkney last year, on the recommendation of someone who'd seen the sheep in question and recommended them to me. It's a small handspinner's flock run by Orkney Shepherdess, with some interesting cross-breeds and generally lovely wool. She also sells by part fleece, has them well photographed and described on her FB page, and is well worth an investigate.

So I posted on FB earlier this year that I was planning to buy a few bits and pieces, and a friend in the US asked if I would dye some up for her and post them on. So here's the stuff that I've dyed - mine hasn't been fully scoured yet.

A large cardboard box arrived at work a few weeks ago, smelling of sheep. They're used to me at work now! All the wool inside was packaged like this, clearly labelled and bagged, and a photograph of each sheep attached. Really nicely done. 


And this is how White Tag's fleece looks like scoured. She's a Cheviot/Shetland, and whenever I've come across wool from this particular cross it always seems to get the best of both breeds: crisp, nice and white, with a good handle and surprisingly soft. 


Rosie is a Texel/Cheviot/Shetland cross - very similar, perhaps a tiny bit softer. This is her second clip - I bought a small amount last year so I knew it was nice. I have a bag of this too.
 This is Rosie's wool, dyed in midnight blues. As you can see, it's kept the fleece structure well, though it's open enough to process for spinning beautifully.
 And this is White Tag's wool, dyed in greens and blues. There were suppose to be golds in there too, but the greens decided to overwhelm the dyepan (sometimes happens when I'm trying for intense colours) so I had to add a little of Daisy's fleece in golds). Again, this has held structure through careful scouring and dyeing, but will open up to carders or combs perfectly.
There's a last little bit of fibre in the pans at the moment, for Perth Festival of Yarn next weekend. I've had a couple of requests in, and as I do my tops dyeing 300g or 400g to the pot, I might as well do a few other colours while I'm at it. And at this time of year I'll get it dried in time for labelling.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Perth Festival of Yarn and Bakewell Wool Gathering

Just come back from a wonderful week in Somerset and Cornwall, and things are suddenly happening.


There was no wifi in our field above Zennor - just lots of wind and rain and even more wind and perhaps a gale or two - so I had to toddle down to the Tinners Arms or the cafe in Zennor to communicate with the outer world.

On one such trip, I was delighted to get an email from Perth Festival of Yarn, to let me know I've got a last minute stall there. So an extra show for Freyalyn's Fibres before Bakewell Wool Gathering in October. 

We'd planned to go up and visit the show as visitors, but I'd sent an email enquiring about vending for next year and they kindly offered me this year too! Better check the dyepans.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Fungus inspiration!

So the fungus-inspired colourway of the last couple of weeks now has a name: Versicolour.

I've done a couple more now, one on white Southdown (crisp and bouncy) and one on oatmeal BFL (the colours more muted and subtler than on white).


It's very different from my usual dyeing, but this has been popular enough that I think I shall keep doing it, even if I can only do this one 200g lot at once in a dyepan.


Anyway, while I had the dyepans out I did a quick bit of Nightfall, over both black and oatmeal BFL/silk. Someone had contacted via Etsy regarding this colourway, so I put all four up on Etsy and she bought the one she wanted straightaway. The other three are still up there.




Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Last week's inspiration...

So last week's sudden excitement over dyeing fibre to match a rather gorgeous photograph of multi-coloured and curvilinear fungus has turned into this:

There's 200g of a gradient in each of these braids,and spun up they are going to mimic the colours in this photograph pretty well. Knitted up into a shawl, either a plain centre-increase garter stitch triangle, or something with wide sweeping Old Shale, it will imitate the fungus beautifully.


This is what it looked like in the dyepans. Nothing like my usual technique, and more time-consuming and fiddly than normal. But I got the exact effect I was aiming for, so all is good. 


The current five sets I have are all spoken for; if you're interested,
leave a comment. 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Fungus as dyeing inspiration


Spotted this on Twitter this morning - on the @planetpics feed. Isn't it glorious? I'm planning to dye this at the weekend on white fibre, so that it can be spun out and knitted straight into a shawl - either a hap or a plain triangle.

Can anyone who wants some please comment, with your Twitter handle, so I can work out how much to do. It will be over white Blue-faced Leicester tops.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Grampian Guild - teaching in the Far North!

So, the weekend before last Mark and I went up to Aberdeenshire, to teach a workshop for Grampian Guild that has been three years in the organising. It's a long way to go, and more than a night's accommodation, and has taken some sorting to find a date.

We had vile weather for the drive up on Friday last (23) until North of Stirling, and equally vile when we returned on Tuesday, but the weather up there was remarkably good. We'd been booked at the apartment at Wark Farm and it was wonderful; so peaceful and still, and full of rarebreed sheep and cattle. (Very tasty sheep and cows too - there is a farmshop with their own meat). Mind you, we had to keep a beady eye on the pupz. And there was plenty of space to unload the vast amount of equipment and fibre I ended up bringing with me.

This was a view we had to stop at on the way up - Cairn o'Mount.


Of course, as usual, I failed completely to get any photographs of the workshop. We were in the village hall at Chapel of Garioch. But it was an agreeable and hardworking group: we spent Saturday working on handcarding rolags and spinning long-draw. This is my original workshop, and one of my most popular ones, being developed and growing all the time.

The second day was supposed to be looking at combing wool and spinning worsted-style. But we started off with an ad hoc fleece and wool discussion, as everyone brought out all sorts of breeds and wools and fibres for examination and discussion. I think we all learned something. I demonstrated carding with the three sets of combs I'd brought, we played with the drumcarder, did worsted spinning, some people went back to yesterday's long-draw woollen spinning, and generally had great fun.

This was just down the road from the village hall, and I managed a quick visit on Saturday morning. The Maiden Stone.


The Monday was my day off before we went home (Mark and the pupz having been pottering around for the two previous days, which I think largely involved the country park at Alford - livestock-free and lots of lawns for Hector to speed around).

We tried to find the Whitehills stone circle, but failed completely to find it in a forestry area. But look at these: flowers in logs! Rather magical.


And then we all climbed Mither Tap, the last outcrop of the Cairngorms as the drop down to the East and the North Sea, and part of an excellent leisure area run by the forestry lot.
We came home a longer route, as neither of us have ever been over the Tay Bridge or the Forth Road Bridge. So we did this time. Even if it was raining and raining and raining.


I am very lucky that I can visit such a wonderful part of Scotland (and not one we'd ever visited before) while sharing my skills and love of wool. Let's hope I can go back.