Saturday, 31 July 2010

Cat in a bag

Flora in silk

This is tussah silk, baby camel and silk, and kid mohair, all dyed in Flora.

I'm basically just doing a few exotics and bits and pieces for Stirling in a fortnight before I do lots of sock yarn next week. I have plenty of my staples - superwash merino, Aussie fine merino. I'd like to have more coloured BFL but my supplier is out - I cleared him out of his last three kilos a few weeks ago. I may go up for more silk next week, though. And I have a stash of grey Shetland tops around here somewhere....

Sunday, 18 July 2010

More dyeing

Flora british merino sock yarn - 900g

Sock yarn this time, I have an order for 500 of my new British Merino sock yarn in Flora, so I did a full oven-load of 900g yesterday afternoon on getting back from Guild and it's dry already.

The remainder will go up to Stirling with me, along with lots more yarn and more fibre. There's some more of that hanging up drying/dried, but I've learned from experience that it doesn't photograph well on the drying frame.

And I have also now learned from experienced that my sodding Cat can destroy fibre even more than I already knew. I had a 100g piece of white BFL dyed in Pink out on my bed, having photographed - it was a special order and I wanted to send a photo to the client before askign them for money. Luckily I'd dyed 300g for a 200g order, as by the time Tid had rolled and chewed and sucked and kneaked most of the length of the fibre was pretty solid. Buggrit.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Hot and steamy.

Trying to clear the decks a bit before I go away for the weekend, (not to mention find space to pile stuff I'm taking) I washed the last two fleeces from Woolfest last night: a Teeswater and a rather large WensleydaleXMerino. The latter could probably have done with being done in four parts rather than two, but really I just wanted it clean enough to put away. They are now up on the drying rack (aka the thing for bashing Mark on the head, aka a Discovery dog rack!) smelling of wet and clean sheep. There's also a chunk of kid mohair fleece up there, nearly dry - in fact, I've done what I normally try to avoid, which is having fleeces of the same colour drying at the same time. I'm being careful not to confuse the fine Teeswater with the mohair.

I still have a Romney shearling, a Romney Ram, and a Polled Dorset ram to wash, but I think they'll have to wait til next week. The latter ram will be fun to spin - the staple is only about 2 to 3" long, but beautifully structured and crimply, and very soft. I shall handcard this (there's a lot of it!) and it will make the most incredibly stretchy, bouncy yarn. Boing. The Romney ram is much longer, about 8" I think, and will comb into a long, silky top.

I'd dyed up a bit more of the coloured BFL in Safflower, a couple of commissions (Murex in camel/silk, a couple of other colours in this), and they've all been packaged, along with about a kilo of Clun fleeced I've dyed up and bagged. I don't know how well that will sell this weekend, but I always take my 'shop' up to Alston Hall for our weekend away, and even though it's always just after Woolfest I do well.

While I was washing fleeces I thought I'd do a bit of fibre prep too. This is a handful of three fleeces I garnered while at Denise's on Saturday, helping to shear her sheep. I managed to restrain myself from actually bringing a whole fleece home, but I grabbed bit of the brown because it was pretty and nice quality, the darker grey was from a fleece that was largely discarded because of quality (and the tiny beginnings of fly strike - ick!), and the little bit of very dark brown at the bottom was from the fleece that Mark actually sheared himself. (See my other blog).
Mark's hat 1

I quickly ran the wool through my hand combs, which got rid of well over half the fibre. I'm intending to make Mark a hat, so I won't need that much, and there were lots of short bits and rubbish in there. The tiny bit of black fleece was 2" long or less, but combing it (carefully) was worth it to remove the realy rubbish. There was a lot of colour variation in the grey wool.
Mark's hat 2

This is Lunil's undercoat, a bit from last year and a bit from this. I never manage to save that much as I have to remember to brush it out in a very narrow window - while just the undercoat is shedding so it's not contaminated by her much longer and coarser guard hairs, and before it starts to matt. It's very soft and fine, and it's had a quick wash too.

And this is what I ended up with after I'd blended it on the drumcarder. I wanted two distinct colours, so I added Lunil's fluff to the brown to make it paler, and put all the darker colours together - this one feels particularly silky. 96g in total.
Mark's hat 3

This is some fleece that I dyed last week, vaguely thinking about a bit of yarn based on Red Riding Hood! Both colours were left over from previous dyeing batches, the green from a recipe gone wrong with the main dyeing before Woolfest, and the red left over when I dyed the finishing yarn for the Mystery Thing which I must finish tonight!

I didn't bother combing the fleece before it went through the carder, so it's not quite as 'silky' as it could be.
Red green 1

I added about 10% of a very soft sparkley stuff I have, pink to the red/purpley wool and green to the green, as well as about the same amount of Lunil fluff.
Red green 2
I mean, if Lunil's eyes were yellow and her ears a little smaller, she'd be indistinguisable from a wolf anyway.
Lunil being pictureskew

Monday, 5 July 2010


... on coloured Bluefaced Leicester fibre. I spindle spun this into three equal parts at Woolfest, wound each spindle's full onto a little ball of screwed up paper, and plied them all together last week, when I got back.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Tour de Fleece

So, somewhat rashly, I have decided to participate in this year's Tour de Fleece on Ravelry, joining Team Tale Spinners. As if I don't already have enough to do. There is extra dyeing being done for next weekend, at Alston Hall, but I shall blog those colours and fibres when all is dry.

In the background is 150g of one of the fleeces I picked up at Wonderwool this year, a Shetland/Corriedale/Romney cross in lovely creams and caramels. Soft but still crisp and characterful. The silk is a Fyberspates tussah that Mark bought for me two years ago at Woolfest, 50g.
I passed the fleece through once, then passed it through the Hedgehog twice more with the silk, making four batts totalling 200g.
Then another one. The darker green is Falklands roving from Amanda Hannaford, bought at this year's Wonderwool. It felt a bit 'overhandled' but given that it's roving rather than tops, it was probably much easier to overhandle while dyeing. Gorgeous green though. The shinier stuff is a merino/silk blend I picked up from Denise/Willo Alpacas at Woolfest, specifically to mix with this stuff. So I blended this is more or less equal quantities, only putting it through three times to leave it slightly underblended which I think makes a more interesting yarn.

These have been hanging around for a while. Cheviot fleece, the Redleaf is one of my standard colours, the blue I don't think I kept the recipe for. This particular combination of colours justs says September to me. I've been planning these for colourwork socks for ages now, I love Cheviot for socks.

Perhaps I'm a bit optimistic, considering I need to start preparing for Alston, I have a throw sitting on the rigid heddle just started, and lots and lots of other things on the go, and we're out both days this weekend. Oh well, faint heart never won fair lady and all that....