Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Updating - at last.

Sock yarn - bamboo falkland

Slowly getting around to updating my Etsy shop; most of the sock yarns are up.

Sock yarn - bfl

A few more odds and ends to go up, yarnwise, and then there's the fibre.

And the dyepots are always ready to go on, if anyone wants to get in touch with a specific request, or dye something that I've run out of.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Fine fleece

This is a finer fleece than I have been dyeing up, but I could resist the colours when I saw it at Woolfest, and it's from a breeder that I have bought from before, with excellent results.

It's a merino x shetland x wensleydale, in all sorts of greys and browns with a few streaks of white, and I did photograph it washed and damp but Flickr seems to have eaten it.  Extremely soft but with a bit more character than just plain merino, not to mention the colour.

This is it dyed in basic primary colours:
Merino shetland dyed and damp

I shall have to charge rather more per 100g for this than for the standard fleeces - let's see how it sells.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

No rest for the wicked.

Poll Dorset fleece dyed

And here we go again - this was washed and dyed up on Sunday, the day after Woolfest. It's a Poll Dorset fleece, and really rather nice, a lovely Down fleece. The further colours are more accurate - the nearer ones were washed out by the flash. It was grey outside when I took this photo at 7am.

I had a sudden panic halfway through Saturday at Woolfest, when I realised quite how much of the dyed fleece I'd sold, and that there'd be only a small amount to take to Fibre East if I didn't do something about it. The fleece area had been pretty well picked over by the time I raided it, but I found the nice Poll Dorset above, and then a group of a few Mules. I wish I'd bought more than one now; this one is lovely, nice and ringletty and a good lustre.

Mule fleece, dyed

I also bought two coloured fleeces from the Coloured Sheep Association Stand, both from a supplier I usually buy from every year.  One is a silvery-grey Merino x Shetland, that was so fine and beautiful I thought a friend in the US would like it overdyed; good call on my part, she wants all of it!  The other one is perhaps a tiny bit warmer in the pale greys, with Merino/Shetland/Longwool breeding.  It will overdye beautifully.

As I have an extra drying rack (Mark found it in the last expedition to Ikea) I hope to get the latter fleece started this afternoon. As we're both due at the gym later this evening, the bath will be required and can be called into fleece-washing duty.

The plan is this week for fleece dyeing (and I may yet raid the fleece stash upstairs...), and stocking up on bfl tops and bfl/silk tops.  Next week I shall dye up more bfl tops. The week after I shall finish off any packaging I have not already done, and perhaps a few skeins of sock yarn if I have time. I've just had an offer to go and spin in the Rare Breeds Survival Trust's tent at the Great Yorkshire Show the day before we leave for Fibre East, so I must make sure I'm all ready by the end of Wednesday 11th!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Woolfest 2012

Stall plus both

Well, we survived and saw lots of lovely people and had a successful show.  The tale of our trials and tribulations, weather-wise, is over on my Livejournal blog.

Thank you to everyone who helped to make Woolfest the usual wonderful event - despite the worst that the English Summer can throw at us.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Freshly dyed sock yarn!

 Just so people know, I'm in a different row at this year's Woolfest - halfway down Row H instead of at the top of Row B. Just look for my caparisoned sheep and the bunting!

 BFL/Donegal sock yarn

This is a new base for me, superwash Bluefaced Leicester with little neps of Donegal tweed. I love how this has dyed up and have ordered more to collect at Woolfest.

Silk blend sock yarn

Falkland merino/silk 50/50 blend - lovely yarn. I didn't get much of this - I love it but think I'll have to charge rather a lot for it.

Falkland/bamboo sock yarn

A tabletopful of Falkland merino/bamboo yarn. A nice basic yarn, but doesn't dye quite as brilliantly as I'd like. I'm taking thirty skeins up to Woolfest, and have a further ten left undyed.

There is also a huge pile of superwash BFL/nylon, which is a beautiful high-twist yarn that takes colour perfectly and knits up brilliantly. I'll try and remember to take a photo before it gets bagged up.

 Pink gradations for Betty 2

And the last bit of dyeing done at the weekend.  This is for Mrs Boss's birthday (tomorrow) and as it's the last one they'll be here for (retirement being imminent and all) I thought I'd do her something rather special.There's about six-hundre metres here, starting off with a 20 metre skein and increasing by approximately half as much again each time, which meant I could use the same amount of dye and just microwave each skein in the jug of boiling, acidulated water until it ran clear; automatic gradation of colour intensity.  And I actually remembered to bring it to work this morning together with a card.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The imminence of Woolfest

Dyed yarns 2

Am quietly going crackers here, trying to get everything finished before Woolfest, and bearing in mind that Fibre East is only three weeks after that. The photo above is the thirty skeins of bfl/nylon sockyarn I dyed on Saturday (that's the stuff that's all twisted up) and the skeins hanging are another thirty I did yesterday afternoon and late into the night of Falkland/bamboo sock yarn, in another range of colours.

Dyed yarns 1

There's the last little bit of fibre that hasn't been stuffed in a bag yet hanging on the left, and the bright red stuff in the middle isn't my dyeing; it's a sweater than Ma started and then realised that her carpal tunnel syndrome wouldn't let her finish.  It smelt revoltingly smokey and I wasn't very happy with the proportions (EZ's Icelandic overshirt) so I pulled it back and washed the yarn, and am now thinking of what to do with it.

Apart from vast amounts of dyeing, I've been buzzing away on little projects, like this lovely Nancy Bush sock pattern from some extravagant naturally-dyed alpaca sock yarn I bought from The Mulberry Dyer at Wonderwool.
Jubilee socks detail

I had great intentions of spinning and knitting the Manx fleece into a garment for Woolfest; barely half is spun, and none plied. But at least I know what I'm doing with it.

It's been wet and cold for a couple of weeks here, with floods in various parts of the country. Apparently the jet stream is much further south than normal for the time of year, so the clouds that should be speeding out of the west and flying north of Scotland are instead dumping all their rain over England.  We're just praying it will be dry - not even warm, just dry - for Woolfest.  In a week and a half - eek!!!!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

'The Cold One'

Lunil, Wonderwool 2012

This was the only photo I got around to taking at this year's Wonderwool.  It rained, and was windy, and rained some more, was extremely windy - and bloody freezing.  I ended up wearing layer upon layer down at the stall (two skirts and trousers, woolly socks and walking boots), including my Leaf Coat, which only got taken at the last minute but I was really glad it came.

Naturally, the room in which I was teaching both days was overheated, so nearly everything had to be stripped off then replaced for the trek back down to the halls.

But it was great fun - we saw lots of friends, met new ones, ended up eating out in Builth with Denise for two nights because there was no catering on site in the evening ('The Lamb', excellent basic pub-type food), and the tent survived - we remained dry all three nights.

Poor Bil got cold and damp; he was extremely glad we'd brought his pyjamas.  Lunil sat out in the rain whenever she could, and watched the world go by, getting up to investigate most of it.

I did not need to buy fleeces.  So naturally I came home with half a creamy-beige Corriedale ewe's, and an unusually pale moorit Manx.  Neither of which have been washed yet.  And some expensive naturally-dyed blue/green alpaca sock yarn from The Mulberry Dyer, dyes in turquoise, olive green and magenta from the place I usually stock up at, and some dyed yak fibre from Mandacrafts.  Extremely restrained, which was the idea really. 

To add insult to injury, driving home yesterday we hit sunshine and blue skies as soon as we'd left Wales.  Our tent dried in an hour on Ma's washing line.  Bah humbug...

Monday, 23 April 2012

Copper on white shetland, spun

Oddly I tend not to spin my own stuff, which is silly, as I also tend to dye the colours I love. And also the quality of my dyeing makes me very particular when it comes to fibre from other sources.

Anyway, I ended up with lots (and lots) of white Shetland dyed up in various combinations of my Copper colourway, due to me getting confused over a big order.  So I quickly spun 100g up for me over the last couple of days.  I split the top down the middle and spun and plied it into two equal lengths of hopefully matching yarn.  And they were equal too - 72 and 70 m in each half respectively.

More or less all fibre and yarn stuff sorted for Wonderwool now.  Tomorrow I shall sit down with pen and notepad and make the list to ensure all the camping stuff/tea-making-stuff/clothes and what-have-you get packed.  Not to mention the unmentionables....

And I hope this horrible sore-throat/cough/chesty bug thing I've got is gone soon.  I really don't want this for teaching - I canbarely talk.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Nearly dyed up!

This is the last of the fibre I'm going to be dyeing for Wonderwool:
Shetland ready for dyeing
The brown is moorit Shetland, the grey is also Shetland, and the white is a generic British blend that's actually rather nice.  They're all laid out in the long pattern.

And this is it with the colours on, before baking:
Shetland, with dye

I have more yarn to dye, but I'm going to stop on the fibre now.  The weather is so vile - grey and cold and very, very damp - that it's going to take longer to dry, and I really want to have all the fibre packed by the weekend.

I've found a big cone of a woollen-spun silk/wool blend yarn, so that's been skeined up into seven skeins of 300m/approx 120g each, and now I have to decide how to dye it.  With stuff like this, ie not sock yarn, I tend to do most or all of it in one colour so that it can be sold to someone who wants a garment's worth.  So, I was thinking of four skeins in Gothick and three in Dryad.  (Because then if no-one wants to buy it I wouldn't mind using it myself).

Sara's Copper and Littleheart

This is an order I've just finished up - it's rather a large one, so even though it was just before Wonderwool you really don't turn down orders like this.  There's my Copper colourway on both white Shetland and moorit Manx Loghtan, and then some more based on a little crocheted heart that was sent with the order.  The colourway with pink, purple, orange and green in it has delighted my inner colour-monster so much that quite a few other fibres were dyed in it too last week, for general sale.  Let's hope she likes it.

Monday, 16 April 2012

The imminence of Wonderwool

Not long now til Wonderwool - less than two weeks.  I have a few more commissions to dye, and whatever I can get done and drying by, say, Thursday, then the weekend to finish packing, listing and pricing.

This was a commission a friend asked me to do - the colours from a photograph of Cornish skies and sea:

Silver Sky, white bfl

She bought all of it straightaway, and there was enough interest that I shall dye a few more of it for Wales.  I don't normally do pastels, but this one has come out rather well, especially on the silk/bfl blend.

 Guinevere long, black and white Masham

The Arthurian colours are still coming out.  This is Guinevere, and I love how different yet matching they seem when dyed on the same wool in different colours - in this case white and black Masham.

Flora long, black and white Masham

Same fibre, Flora.

I love the long colourway, too.  I have moved away from the merino this year, though I still have a little, including superwash. But my stall this year will be much more based on British wool, and coloured British wool at that.

I'm hoping to be knitting a pair of socks in Copper on white Shetland while I'm there, to show people what it looks like, and I must remember to pack the (unworn) Dryad long pattern socks on oatmeal bfl that I knitted at Ganseyfest in October.

I must also plan the little workshop I'm teaching both days at Wonderwool, on handcarding.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Birchbark and more

I'm having to take the dyeing a bit slowly at the moment - there's a distinct lack of energy around here and most afternoons after getting home I'm fit for nothing but lying in heaps on the sofa.  At least not going out to train nearly every weeknight has meant that lots of knitting has been done, when my shoulder lets me.  Anyway, to the colours:

This is Birchbark.  I was up in Buck Woods the other day, and was absently peeling bark from a birch tree, as you do.  The tree itself was purpley-copper, and I was surprised to see the fresh bark underneath was bright olive green/yellow. I've got the colours fairly well in my dyeing, but it's one of those colourways that just won't photograph just right - this looks too yellow and maroon.  But the depth of colour is right.  This is oatmeal bfl dyed in the long pattern.

Birchbark long, oatmeal bfl 

I've dyed it in long pattern, short pattern, and on various fibres.  This is merino/silk:
Birchbark long, merino silk

Same fibre, short pattern:
Birchbark short, merino silk

Another new colourway, Nightfall, long pattern on merino/silk:
Nightfall long, merino silk

I'm trying to get the effect of a cold early Spring evening, looking West just after sunset, seeing the gold of sunset fading into green, blue and finally deepest indigo.  At the moment Jupiter and Venus are shining brilliantly in the West at this time.    Oatmeal bfl again:
Nightfall long, oatmeal bfl

This one - Grail - is a colour that I almost made by mistake last year, and didn't particularly like myself, but it's been fairly popular.  It looks very good spun up, so we'll see how the long pattern version of it goes.
Grail long, oatmeal bfl

Old Forest is one I rather love (of course, it's green) so here it is long pattern on grey shetland/silk.
Old Forest long, greyshetland silk

It comes out a little brighter on white merino/silk.
Old Forest long, merino silk

This is a new colour fibre for me - black bfl.  It's what is blended with white bfl to make the oatmeal, but I've only recently come across it.  I have to be careful what colourway to use - some work better than others - but I'm really pleased with it.  This is Guinevere;
Guinevere long, black bfl

And to compare, this is Guinevere on oatmeal bfl - still muted but much brighter.
Guinevere long, oatmeal bfl

And to finish, two Arthurs; one of black and one on oatmeal bfl.
Arthur long, black bfl
Arthur long, oatmeal bfl

I shall be at Yarnival on Saturday - it's a little show, first time of running, so we don't know how well it will do.  But there will be friends there, Mark's coming with the pupz (we used to live round here and know some good dog walks locally) and there will be tea and cake!

Thursday, 9 February 2012


A quick order I've had after a sale on Etsy - the customer bought six lots of mostly BFL then came back to me with a request for camel/silk in various colours, having come across it in a workshop.  So I popped in to Adelaide Walker's on the way home from work a week or so ago and stocked up on black and oatmeal BFL, moorit shetland, and this lovely camel/silk blend.

From the left we have Gothick, Lorien, Copper, and Dryad.

I dyed up 100 of each (along with other fibres) so I have 50g of each to add to the stock for this year's fibre shows.