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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

More felt

Getting ready for the summer markets and festivals.  a small selection of my new felted items, cushion cover, kindle cosy,bags and a clothes peg holder.   Adding a bit of variety to what I normally sell.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Gradient Colored Yarn



This is a yarn that gradually changes color from violet to bright red created by mixing 2 dye lots of fiber in different proportions and so getting a gradual change of color.
To start dye the two base colors,  enough of make all the yarn that you want in the finished item.  I then blended them in different proportions on my drum carder. Each batt will need to go through at least 4 times  Starting with the middle color which was 50/50 violet and red.  I made 60 gram batts, so for this there was 30 grams of each color, then I made 40 grams red and 20 grams violet, 40 grams violet and 20 grams red,  50 grams and 10 grams for the next.   The last one is totally red or violet.
Spinning, I spun a single gradually working from the violet to the red and back again.  At this stage you need to be thinking what you are expecting to make out of the yarn as the smaller the garment the less of each color you need in each block.  I did this with an adult sweater in mind.
Plying needs to Navajo,  this is 3 ply but it means that the colors stay in blocks rather than getting mixed as they would with normal 2 ply

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Drying Weather

Three sets of wool drying in the sun.
 Busy, busy the last few days getting as much washed and dyed as I could.  Yesterday afternoon very busy as the weather is to break tomorrow so both my saucepans were on the go and my sink filled with wool for washing.  Out on my drying table this morning,    I have washed fleece from Zwantble sheep.  This is a really good quality fleece but sadly it has got badly mixed up in hay and straw so I have to comb it to get rid of as much veggie matter as possible.  Look what a wonderful colour it is,  as black as any fleece could be with just the very tips sun bleached.  The combing works but it is slow and wasteful  if this fleece was clean there would be next to no waste.
The green is pure Wensleydale,  always the slowest to dry.
 The pale purple Wensleydale cross,  really long staple which I will use for felting although it is so soft it could be used for spinning.  I will comb this and sell the combed tops as felting wool and in my felting kits.  the left over bits I will put through the drum carder and use myself for felting

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Felting / Spinning Fibers




These a bags of mixed colors for felting or spinning.  I use this fiber for both wet felting and needle felting.  A little coarser than marina wool which makes then useful for some needle felting projects and for making items that need to be hard wearing.  Each bag contains 50 grams of fiber and I have made them up in different color ranges,  blues,  reds/pinks, greens, browns and naturals and they are in my Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/MarkreeWoolCraft and a larger range in Inion Veigh Gallery,  Sligo.  Shades in the bags will vary but each bag will contain at least 4 different shades

Sunday, 5 April 2015

The First of the 2015 Lambs, Enjoying the Sun





today is the first really nice day since we started lambing and I took a few photos of the ewes and lambs at their evening feed.   Plenty of lambs this year and we have a rather complicated method of identification.  Firstly all the ewes are sprayed with a number and the lambs with the same number.  Single lambs get a blue number, twins red and triplets blue and red.  This means we can see who belongs to who at a glance.   These numbers do not last very long and the ewes loose it  fairly quickly but it is very helpful in the first few weeks.
The pedigree sheep have to be carefully tagged and recorded so that we can tell later in the summer exactly which lamb belongs to which ewe to register them.  So the lambs get a numbered tag in their ear at about 1 day old and this number is recorded and the ewe's number as well.  Towards the end of the summer their details are then sent to the Wensleydale Association and a pedigree tag is issued for each lamb with its individual number,  my flock number and the year it was born and this is put into the lamb's ear.

 Most of the lambs are not pedigree as I only need a few for replacement each year

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Combed Wool Tops dyed with Lichen


My latest dabble with natural dying.  I had hoped for a pinker color which I got the last time I used  Evernia prunasti and this time the wool picked up the dye in different shades.  This will add character to the yarn.  These little nests are 'combed tops'  the very best method of preparing fiber  for worsted spinning.  I have prepared them using a hackle and comb and then pulled the fiber off the hackle through a dis.  This gets rid of almost all the dirt and veggie matter and all the short fibers giving a continuous 'top' of fiber all much the same lenght staple.  There is a fair amount of waste fiber which I will pass through my drum carder and maybe I will spin this using the woolen method giving two yarns of the same color but different texture.
Dying with lichen is lovely as the wool needs no mordant which can do damage to the fibers,  making them soft, sticky or brittle depending on what is used.
This lichen is plentiful here at Markree enjoying the Temperate Rain Forest climate and clean atmosphere.  It grows on trees enjoying a fair amount of natural light and so is found on the top of the trees.  I gather it off the ground after storms, which we have had plenty of this winter

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Crottle Dyed Yarn

An ancient and traditional way to dye wool using crottle. A lichen found on rocks, particularly on stone walls.   It takes time as the lichen needs to be fermented in ammonia for several months and then dried before using.  It gives a reliable colour and dyes a lot of wool for a small amount.    No need for mordants and I just put the dried crottle in a old pair of tights and boil it with the wool.   A method used to dye wool for centuries. As with all natural dye stuff the colour is  soft hue that can not be obtained from artificial dye