Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bread end the old year and start the new year of 2015.

Wool Basket

This is the last completed project of 2014...a very much wanted to do basket...something I've always wanted to do. 
I bought the kit at the end of May and with Xmas always lurking and getting closer I never had time to do this. 
I vowed to myself I'd do it Boxing Day, but I just wasn't into it yet. 
But yesterday was the"right" day and sadly I broke a handle. 
My to the rescue husband made me another one to match and I completed the basket moments ago. 
I'm ecstatic. It may not be perfect, but it's something off my 'bucket' list. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Rugs in Living Room

I have had these rugs I made on the floor for several weeks now and we are really enjoying them. Recently fresh off my loom. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mohair Scarf Workshop

I have loved mohair ever since I was a kid. When I was older I bought a mohair throw made in Scotland; now that I'm on the farther end of 'older', I still have that mohair throw. It still looks good.

I just haven't gotten around to spinning much mohair yet, but will before the winter is over. Now I can say that I have wove with mohair, in fact I have made a lovely wintry scarf. 5" wide by about 5'.

It's a beautiful teal blue and is genuine British mohair. Soft and with a lovely halo! The Oxford Weavers and Spinners Guild had a workshop on weaving with mohair taught by Barb Jones on Oct. 25, 2014. Linda Wallbank was very kind letting the Oxford Guild use her studio facilities since our room at the schoolhouse in Woodstock has been without heat.

Discussing mohair properties
Barb and Ann
Fringe being tied
Suzi hard at work on mohair scarf. Linda in background.
Teal Mohair Scarf finished.
I learned how to handle it and the special considerations to take when weaving with it. The scarf was completed and wet finished all in one day.

Cochineal Dyed Mohair
Barb was also very generous and shared some of her stash with us. Some mohair with wool blended.
I soaked it; put an alum mordant on it; and dyed it with some leftover cochineal dye. This was the third time I used that particular cochineal vat.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Woodstock Fleece Festival 2014

Oct 18, 2014 found us at the Woodstock Fleece Festival once again. This shot is taken just before the doors open and we're ready to begin after spending many weeks getting ready. Every year just gets better.

I participated in the longest thread challenge to raise money for the Alzheimers Society and placed third. Lisa Wallbank was first place and Ute Zell placed second.
3rd Prize in Longest Thread Challenge for Alzheimer
Cheryl Roberts of Fullin' Woolens, Cavan, ON generously donated this prize package of gorgeous rolags of Italian Merino, Tussah Silk, nylon, pulled sari silk, and angelina. It's sooo pretty! Can't wait to spin it and weave it. Thank you so much!

Shopping Time...
Romney Fleece from Willow Farm
Millends stuffed in bag from The Black Lamb
I did a little shopping and got a bag of superwash mill ends from The Black Lamb and a gorgeous silver Romney fleece from Willow Farm. At this very moment it is in the scouring process and half of it is about to spun out and put out to dry on this very windy day.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Spinning Hemp & Happy 2014 Thanksgiving

I have a stash of hemp sliver I have been saving for a couple of years. Now seems like the perfect time to bring it out.
Last evening I began the spinning using my Norwegian style wheel, which I love spinning on. I'm using the mid size whorl and it took a few adjustments before I managed to find the sweet spot with the drive band tension.

The hemp is beautifully fine, shorter stapled than I expected...and much more difficult to spin than flax. I had to experiment with different methods.
I resorted to pulling out one of my reference books-thank you Stephanie Gaustad for writing 'The Practical Spinner's Guide-Cotton, Flax and Hemp'. It really helped me to understand the fibre & just what was needed to spin it successfully.

The fibre has been sitting a couple of years and was compressed. If I wanted to spin an even single minus slubs, I would have to rework the already prepared fibre. This I did with my hand carders. I just drew the fibres over the teeth & laid them gently on my fingers with just minimal pressure to feed & hold in place.
I tried a rolag, but did not like spinning that way - the fibre was too slippery.

The other characteristic of hemp is that it does not stick to itself. There are no scales as wool has & no pectin as does flax. It is slippery. You must not compress it!

You have to get enough twist to hold the fibres together, but not too much as that would snap it in two.

This is a photo of the singles twisted back on itself.
Hemp plied back on itself
3.25 TPI
When spinning, change hooks frequently to prevent the spun thread from rolling into the valley.

I would love to blend some of this with some silk for a scarf (?).  If I had more of this it would be nice to plan a larger project.
I'm beginning to like the challenge of spinning hemp. Dyeing will be fun.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Flaxen spinning

Though I must complete my Olds Level 5 final project, I have revised my plans. This flax was going to be dyed using fibre reactive dyes and used for a towel, but the woad in my garden had to be used and the flax ended being dyed with the woad that day.

I scoured 462 grams of spun flax to remove the waxes and set the twist in my singles using 1 T. laundry detergent,  2 T. washing soda and hot water in a large non reactive pot. I simmered the skeins in this solution for 45-60 minutes. Then rinsed in cool water.

462 grams flax spun into linen ready to be scoured.

The woad was harvested and prepared. The skeins were dipped 3 times and aired between dips. The result is a beautiful silvery blue colour.
Woad dyed linen singles. Oct. 2014.

Now back to the planning for my project.
This post has been revised.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

New Lunchbag

I made a new Lunchbag/satchel the other day. This is from thin strips of tshirts that we have loved in the past. Cut quite thin; warp at 8 ends per inch. 
Friday I will try it out. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Gradient Inkle

I had 8 X 20 yd. skeins to create a small project using a gradient dye on 2 ply linen I spun up.
Pretty cool!
% Dye Inkle on 2 ply linen

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cushion Covers

Nature dyed main colours. Acid dyed accents on lighter one. Darker one is all acid sued. 
Handspun wool. Some E. Friesian.
Some Lincoln Longwool. 
Wool waste for stuffing. 

Natural Dyeing BMS

July 30/14
BMS? British Milk Sheep
Fineness? a medium wool. Mitts & things similar.
Dyes? Marigold. Tansy. Yellow Bedstraw.
Mordants? Iron. Copper. Alum.
Photographed with my Iphone in the early morning light. Unfortunately the colours were not picked up very well, but you get the general idea. The tansy on alum (upper right) is my favourite. Pretty yellow.
Bottom to top: Marigold. Bedstraw. Tansy. Left to Right: Iron. Copper. Alum.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Greener Shades Colour Wheels

I have been doing some acid dyeing just for my own basic reference tool.
Greener Shades acid dyes have 2 blues - River & Coral Reef Aqua, 2 reds - Flame & Ruby, 1 yellow and black. Secondary colours - Sunset Orange, Amethyst Purple and Amazon Green are available too.
I created 4 colour wheels using the percentage system with slightly off white carpet wool. 2 Sets of the skeins were 20 yds. and weighed 10 grams each. These were dyed using .5% DOS (depth of shade) with Ruby Red & River Blue and .2% DOS which used Flame Red and River Blue.

The depth of the colour at such a low saturation point was surprising. The colours were very deep.
.2% DOS

.5% DOS
On another I used 10 yd. 5 gram skeins of the same type of wool, but the dye amounts were too small for accurate calculations with the syringes I had available. In these cases I used a small amount of water and only an eyedropper to measure by the drop. On these I added 10% black to each.
10% black added. Eyedropper measurement.
One more colour wheel, eyedropper method of measurement using 10% of the complementary colour.
10% of the complement added. Eyedropper method.
Then I took all of the colours I had from Greener Shades and did the same 5 variations with DOS on all using 10 gram 20 yd. skeins.
.2% .5% 1% 2% 3% DOS
Overall good reference tools. Now I must take a sample from each and make a traditional wheel of sorts to make comparison easier.

Monday, July 14, 2014

More on Mystery Fibre Dye

Mystery Fibre
The dye results really do not look quite like this - it really is not pink like this. I think the photo explains it all - the 5 different DOS (depth of shade) and how I managed it.

Walnut. Afr. fine wool, BFL nylon
I have had pails of walnuts sitting around all winter & half the summer. I did not husk them; just let them sit. I poured a small pail off through a sieve and just added some roving to a pot. The one on the left is African fine wool, the middle is Blue Faced Leicester, previously woad dyed, and now overdyed w. walnut. The last is some nylon roving.
No mordant needed.

Bedstraw Dye Results

The mordanted fibres were placed in open mesh bags and simmered at 180Ffor 1.5 hrs. I did the silk separately in order to use a lower dye temperature. I harvested some of the bedstraw I have growing even though it's very early in the season.

The fibre was 150 grams of combed Suffolk and 10 grams of bleached Tussah silk top. 
All of the fibre was mordanted in alum & cream of tartar 8 &8% and 7% respectively. 
The baths were made last weekend-one dye from the flowers and stems and the other from the roots. 
After dyeing I allowed the fibre to cool, then washed and rinsed. The water was squeezed out and they were place on a towel to dry. 
I am thinking about combining with another dyed fibre - something to add more softness. The one on the left is a little rosier; the one on the right is a light tan brown. The silk is like champagne.
Suffolk & Silk. Bedstraw dye.
I have a mystery roving. The fibres are unknown. The burn test revealed a soft powdery black ash. Some melted, some ignited. The smell was of burnt paper. Something to consider.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Gansey Socks

Just finished last night.
Will add to Xmas gift stash for a lucky lady with cold feet.  I just happen to know two young ladies that fit that description.
Gansey Socks

Also working on a new sweater project which will take me from unspun fleece to a finished sweater. 
This is a blend of Merino X Romney (which is incredibly soft), little New Zealand Merino, Alpaca top and Tussah silk top. 
As this time I am unsure about the colour - I may dye the skeins or maybe the carded batts will take a detour to the dye pot. Lots of time to decide. Right now I am at the sampling stage and carding.
Sample skein of Merino X Romney, Merino, Alpaca & Silk
The sample skein has been washed and I am waiting for it to dry to do the sample swatch. There are a few calculations to go through first. In another post I will go into more detail.
Fleece to Sweater Swatch

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Washing Fleece

I've been busy washing a few fleece(s) lately.
Shetland, Blue Faced Leicester and a BFL X Romney.

To wash the fleece:
First I open up the fleece and shake as much loose chaff out as I can. Anything obviously too damaged to use (too matted or just too much vegetation) I remove.
I fill some large buckets or containers with cold water and let the fleece soak outside for a few hours or overnight to remove the suint and loose dirt. I drain on the grass or into the gardens.
I then prepare a bath for the fleece of very hot tap water (140F) and use Dawn dish washing detergent with a tiny bit of Zep orange based degreaser. This is my default method.
Usually two detergent soakings for 30 minutes work well. Some fleece need 3 washes.

I have a portable electric spinner I use for fleece and before going into the wash water, I spin the fleece.
Again after washing I spin the fleece before the rinses. I do 3 rinses; the last rinse with some vinegar in the water. I spin again.

The fleece is then laid out on screening to dry.

Variations in washing: I sometimes add a spoon of Synthrapol/ or TNA soap to the washwater. I also used some Orvus to see how that would work. Truly I didn't notice any marked difference.

It takes a great deal of time to wash a fleece. Soaking time, washing time, spinning out water time.

The end result is a lot of beautiful clean wool available for a variety of projects.

BFL X Romney
Shetland 1

Shetland 2

Shetland 3

Shetland 4

Shetland 5. The nicest. A beauty

Summer Colours

Fun dyed Suffolk carded in small amounts ready to spin or blend.
I dyed and now have finished carding some Suffolk fleece. True it's not one of those fibres that you can ooh and ahh about being so soft, but it does have its uses. It's just as much fun to dye as any other fibre that may be softer.
I'm thinking of using this for an entrelac knitted bag, but that's just one possibility.  It could end up in a rug or ... I'm not really sure. There is time to change my mind.
I may blend the colours with a softer fibre in grey or white or some black even. They are all carded and beautiful now. 

The uncarded colours as seen above.

Dyed Suffok carded & ready to spin or blend.
This is the uncarded fleece, as seen in the middle of the red above.

Triad Dyed Suffolk. Carded & ready for spinning. These are 3 variations of each colour.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mood Indigo

I had the opportunity today to attend the OHS Southwest Region Seminar Mood Indigo in Strathroy and had a great time.
A good friend and a new acquaintance made the trip together. We met up with other members of our guild there too.
Regional guilds had beautiful displays set up with the colours and wares of Indigo, weaving, basketry, spinning and knitting.
Oxford Weavers and Spinners Guild display at Mood Indigo
The workshop I attended was about dyeing with Indigo. Two kinds of vats were made. One with pre-reduced indigo and the other an organic vat using banana and slaked lime.
Examples from H. Boon's collection

Also from H. Boon's collection
Harriet Boon was the keynote speaker and gave a talk all about Indigo and its use around the world. Very interesting and informative. Found out a lot of new information.