Friday, June 22, 2012

Daisy...and Suffolk

I just have to make it known that Daisy came home today. She is the new addition to our family here.
At just 7 weeks old she has a lot of growing to do, but since we saw her at 3 weeks, she seems to have at least tripled in size. She is a blue merle Australian Shepherd.

The personalities of the Aussies have suited our lifestyle very well.

Welcome Daisy!!
Daisy @ 7 weeks. June 22/12.

To keep this fibre related I will mention that I scoured a Suffolk fleece this week & this morning before we got Daisy.
The fleece was very muddy, so I split the fleece into several groups to fit in all of the large pails I have, filled them with water, added the fleece and soaked outside for 3 days.
I changed the water once.
On the third day, I drained the buckets and scoured in hot tap water using Power Scour only. I did two washes and several rinses. I did not use the Fibre Rinse by Unicorn yet. I figure I will spin it up first and then wash the skeins. The rinse will be used after any dyeing I might do. The final use of this wool is as yet undecided.
The only thing certain is that I will card & make rolags for woollen spinning.

I must get back to Daisy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Walnut Dye

And today, the last of my three days off I boiled up some walnuts a friend had given me last fall. They had been sitting in plastic bags on my deck all winter and just the other day, a critter of some sort had nibbled into a bag. So without looking at them more than I had to, I loaded them into my dye pots & boiled for 1 and a half hours. It did look inky. The smell sort of reminded me of the smell of chocolate baking. Just 'sorta'. Otherwise it was bearable; not too bad.  

The fibre selected was 104 g BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) which I soaked in soapy water then did an iron mordant for 45 minutes at a simmer. Afterwards I washed & rinsed the fibre. The dyebath was prepared by now & I strained one pot for this to be a strong dyebath. I added the fibre & simmered for 1 hour. 

After removing the fibre from the dyebath, I placed the fibre into a container of very hot tap water to which I added 4 T. vinegar. I let it soak for 10 minutes. 

Fibre was then washed, rinsed, washed and rinsed several times until the water was fairly clear. After wuzzing, I spread it out to dry in a sunny & breezy spot.
Here's what it looks like drying.
BFL walnut dyed. Iron mordant. Vinegar rinse.
 Not quite as dark as I had hoped.

More Dyes of June 2112. Woad. Indigo.

And then the next day I used the plants from which I did an extraction the day before.

From extracted woad leaves. BFL top.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dye Days are Challenging

Isn't this lovely? Wouldn't you like to spin this?
This is the result of painfully using a dog comb to remove dandruff -thick, sticky- from this lovely wool fleece and then using my drum carded to card it into batts. Using my woolcombs wouldn't remove the dandruff; I suppose they are too coarse for such work.
I'm not clear if this is Suffolk or an E. Friesian yearling fleece. It wasn't labeled when I received it, and the fact the shepherd gave me three fleece in one box and confusion set in by the time I arrived home.
This took a lot of work, but I had a great time doing this project & learned a bit in the process.
Here is the spun 2 ply, and it is semi worsted spun.
I have about 383 yds. of a nice heathery blend.
Some of the colours were dyed with rhubarb and some with Greener Shades dyes. This looks rather grey in the photo, but it is livelier in person & I am pleased with the results.
Should be enough here for a hat & mitts.
Here is some of the blending process.