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!!!!