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.