Sunday, 20 January 2019

First dyeing of 2019

 Dyed yarn drying. Most of this is a commission; the two skeins on the left are sock yarn that got stuffed in to fill the pans. Rather pleased with the brightness and colour-depth.
 Off the needles this morning, cast on on Friday morning, spun on Thursday evening. Mark needed a plain beanie, no bright dragons or disreputable deer, so this is woollen-spun Shetland 2ply, for warmth, and a simple 2x2 rib that I really enjoy starring into the crown.
New spinning. This is all merino d'Arles, semi-woollen spun from tops. The dyed is a Northern Lights colourway that's been for sale a bit too long. Really pleased with the spinning, but think I need more. No undyed of this fibre left, but there's some more in the boxes.

There's my first show of the year a fortnight today: part of Bradford's Bishop Blaize Festival at the Industrial Museum. Dyeing proper will commence afterwards.

I have quite a few guild workshops booked in for this year, in spinning, fibre-prep and felting, and I want to do a post about spinning from tops too.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Last year.

Bit of a sod, really.

In January, we lost my precious girl, Lunil. Her back legs gave way over a weekend, and only left us two days to say goodbye. She was only 11.

But life went on, and Hector the elegant blond lurcher carried on with us. It was very strange being in Wales for Wonder Wool with only one dog. But we had a good tome in Edinburgh in March, visiting Holyrood, walking lots, and seeing Tidelines for the first time. 
This was a very hot day in May, walking back from Ilkley over the Moor. This is one of the ancient art worked stones up there. 

  I seemed to do more teaching than usual this year. This was the spot we stayed again when I did a weekend's workshop for Grampian Guild at the end of June. More baking weather. 

In July we went to Scotland again, for the final Runrig gig. And then Arthur came to us; another rescue, private this time. He came called Thor, but he's got bigger, fluffier, and turned into an Arthur. 

Back to Scotland in October for the big AOUB independence march - flailing against all the horrible politics going o this year. 

But we're here at the end of the year, and I'm spending New Year's Eve quietly spinning. Hang on to the good things, and be kind to each other next year. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Sweater from scratch!

Remember this - couple of lumps of naturally dyed fleece I bought at Edinburgh Yarn Festival in 2017?

Which I then played with on one of the drumcarders and made these?

And then I spun it up into this yarn. Under this is about half a Portland fleece, which I dyed bright blue with indigo and spun up to match. It's all a heavy fingering weight 2ply yarn, all spun quickly and long-draw on the Suzi Pro. This was all done a bit quick and dirty, and I made no organised notes on wpi or even length of each skein. 

And this sweater was designed completely on the fly. I worked out how many stitches to go round me with lots of space, cast on - and didn't realise there was a twist until I'd done about five rounds of the corrugated rib. Oops. Couldn't be bothered to unravel, so I just knitted over it. You can't really tell.

I pulled the colourwork patterns out of Pearson's Traditional Knitting, and centred them on front and back. The armholes and neckhole were steeked. I didn't bother sewing the steeks back - as you can see I crochet-reinforced the edges before cutting, but have just left them free inside the sweater.

Really pleased with how the colourwork looks - two shades of blue (the pale was a handful of Mule fleece I stuffed in the indigo vat to exhaust it), yellow, two shades in the middle and one madder-red. 

When Mark took this photo for me, a couple of days after Wonderwool as we were walking along the Wye valley from Builth, the green in my hair was still quite rich. It's faded quite a bit now. But I'm really pleased with this sweater. I've washed all my winter woollies and put them away, but this one's staying out. 
And there isn't even any green in it! Hector was watching ducks I think. 

Shows 2018. So far...

Failing miserably at regular blog posts this year. So here's a couple of photos of the stand at Wonderwool Wales this year. I was really pleased with the way it looked. 

And this was exactly a week later - Wharfe Wool Fair, in Ilkley. We came back from Wales a day earlier than usual, but it was a lovely little show. Lots of friends and catching up. I also taught a short workshop on Visible Mending too.

This was what I ended up with after teaching at North Cheshire WSD Guild a fortnight ago. I'd had a cough for a few days, but luckily (and with the help of vast amounts of tea and cough-sweets) my voice held out. But I did manage to forget a spinning wheel, even though I'd brought the basket with all the Majacraft bobbins and tools. 

But the workshop was my How to choose a fleece and what to do with it and didn't really need a wheel. I'd brought a selection of five very different washed fleeces and one unwashed Jacobs, so we discussed and handled all the fleeces, I demonstrated washing, combing, carding, spun quick samples on my spindle (of course I'd brought a spindle) and it went very well.

The Guild also hit my fibre rather more enthusiastically than I was expecting, so an emergency dyeing session of blue and purple had to happen the following Sunday.

And this was the Saturday just gone - Leeds Wool Festival at Armley Mills industrial museum. We rather baked in the room my stand was in, but it was a very successful show for me. I saw lots of friends, made new ones, discussed how to use a slow-cooker, did someknitting, had gin from the Gin Palace, and we were home and packed away by 6 that evening!

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Where and when in 2018!

Somewhat late for the Where and When Freyalyn's Fibres will be this year, but better late than never!

I will be at Wonderwool Wales on 28/29 April, in the heart of Wales. There will be the usual fabulous conglomeration of wool, yarns, brilliant colours, amazing animals, crafts, demonstrations, garments and tools, in one of the most beautiful parts of the British Isles.

The following weekend, Saturday 5 May, I will be at Wharfewool in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, both with my stall and teaching a short workshop on Visible Mending. Please see the website for details.

Saturday 5th June is Leeds Wool Festival, a one day show at Armley Museum in Leeds. This is the one where the vendors are tucked among all the amazing exhibits of one of the country's best industrial museum, in what was once the largest woollen mill in the world! With added alpacas to pet and take for a walk, Luddite demonstrators, and possibly the best cake stand of any wool show anywhere. (And I hear rumours of a gin palace - luckily I get driven to and from this show...)

Then a long gap until Perth Festival of Yarn on 8/9 September in Scotland (this is the one I got into at the last minute in 2017, and had a wonderful time). This is a show that's bursting forth into a two day show after a couple of years as a one-dayer, and this will be amazing. Wonderful suppliers of wool, fibres, yarns and all sorts of things, mostly from all over Scotland but some of us from the North of England too. The plans for this year's show are amazing.

Bakewell Wool Gathering in Derbyshire comes up next, 13/14 October. The Peak District is one of my favourite parts of the world, and in October it will be lovely even if it rains. It's a small but very carefully curated selection of suppliers, and within walking distance of Bakewell town centre and its pudding shops!

And last but not least, I hope to be at Kendal Wool Gathering this year, but applications have not yet closed so we won't know for a while.

As for this year's teaching, I will be at North Cheshire Guild on 26 May - How to Choose and Prepare a Fleece.

On 16 June I will be looking at Blending Colours and Fibres on Drumcarders and Handcards at Eden Valley Guild.

The first weekend in July I will be up in the North again - another visit to Grampian Guild (second year running) with a two day workshop, this time looking at dyeing fibres on day one and all sorts of ways to spin it up on the second.

For all these workshops, I will of course bring my handdyed fibres, so if you would like to come and have a look please get in touch with the Guild secretary and see if you can visit.

Please feel free to contact me for more details about my workshops.

Hope to see you at a show this year.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

The Brian Close collection, now at Yorkshire Cricket Club

Today there was a lunch at Headingley to thank the donors who have made it possible for Dad's collection to be part of the archive and museum at Yorkshire Cricket Club. I went with Mum, Lance (who has come up from Tunbridge Wells), and Mark. 

There was a lovely talk and slide show by David Warner and the chairman of the archive, and I wasn't the only person shedding a bit of a tear. 

Random photos: 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Possibly the best fun you can have with wool!

I'm sure some people will disagree, but there's not much to do with woolly crafts that's more fun than differently coloured nice fleeces and a drumcarder. I love blending on a carder (or with handcards, for that matter) and it's always vastly popular when I do this during a workshop.

So, here's some naturally dyed Shetland wool I picked up at last year's Edinburgh Yarn Festival.  As it's been maturing in the fibre stash behind the telly since then, I thought I'd try and do something with it before this year's show.

When I do natural dyeing myself I tend to dye yarn rather than fibre; wool tends to get more handling/movement with natural dyes than synthetic, and it's much easier to felt loose fleece than yarn. But this fleece has been dyed very nicely, it's still in the original fleece/lock structure and pulled apart easily. 

I did wonder whether to hand-card it and allow the natural variation of depth of colour in the fleeces to give a marled and variegated look to the final yarn. But then I had one of the drumcarders downstairs from another project yesterday, so I decided to play.

And here we are! Two batts of the original red, two of the original yellow, two of a perfect in-the-middle, and one each of a colour between those. Eight altogether.

I didn't do any weighing or formal measuring. Each colour was quickly done on its own into four small batts just to open it up. Then those batts were each split into four and recombined into four again. blending the single colour evenly.  Two of each of those were put aside into the four outside batts in the photo above.

That left four batts, two of each colour, to mix up. I do this by splitting each batt into four strips and combining them by proportion. Much easier than trying to weigh accurately.

And, of course, you get such a lovely heathery quality of colour when you dye in the wool and then blend, rather than dye the spun yarn. Not that there's anything wrong with flat dyed yarn, but it's different.

Now - what shall I do with them? I feel in a bit of a spinning mode tonight.