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.

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