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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

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Hand Felted Cushion Cover

Something new.  Wet felted square,   backed with Magee Tweed designed and loomed in Donegal Town.  this cushion cover is suitable for a pad 12" X 12"  or 30 cm X 30 cm.  a small cushion but it is as large as I can make in my kitchen,  starting off measuring  over 16 inches square.  The buttons are hand made from Irish Sea polished ceramic.  These buttons just add the finishing touch to the cushion.  With that lovely tweed and felted wool a special button is needed.  no plastic for me!!  I have put it up on my Etsy and will also bring it to Betra Country Market on Saturday.   Full details can be seen at

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Lichen Dye

This is Lobaria pulmonaria ,  common name lungwort.  An easy to use dye plant, just simmer it in soft water (rain water will do )  and you will get a very dark brown.  Safe to use in your kitchen,  needs no mordant.  It was used as a cure for lung disease as the back of the plant resembles a lung.  At this time of the year the winter storms blow if off the trees and I gather it up.   It is slow growing and needs unpolluted air to grow and so needs to be gathered with care.
The photos show a bucket of gathered lichen drying and two of it growing in the woods.
At this time of the year I gather the lichen that is storm blown for use later

Friday, 26 December 2014

Art Yarns

Two recently made art yarns.  The purple made by spinning only Wensleydale locks into the yarn and then plying them to stablise it.  Not that slow a process as the fibre is fairly fast to prepare.
The turquoise a slower job altogether.  Firstly I need some nice long locks in the same colour way that I have some carded batts.  Then I mixed the different colours of the carded wool together and spun one fairly thick yarn which I then navajo plied attaching in  the locks .  The second lot of batts I spun finer with a lot of twist .  I then used this as the core and core spun the 3 ply yarn and tails onto the finer yarn spinning counter clockwise
These are now listed on my Etsy

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Natural Colored Yarn Very Dark Brown

This fleece is really a dark chocolate brown.  The tips a little bleached by the sun.  I am spinning it up chunky weight as it is very lofty and has a fairly short staple.   The fleece was given to me by a friend who farms in south Donegal along with a grey one.   The grey is mostly spun and gone to the US and this is destined for Canada.  hopefully I will get enough for a sweater out of the whole fleece.   Jacob sheep are a small breed and one fleece is not a huge amount of yarn

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Art Yarn Winter Moss

Just put this up on Etsy.  A slow process starting with getting some lovely locks that were about 10 inches long and plying them into a yarn spun from the same color lot with a little garnet added and then core spinning it onto more of the same base yarn.  No commercial core yarn used and all pure Wensleydale wool  220 grams and only 32 yards. I can see it as a lovely collar on a cardigan

Monday, 17 November 2014

Soaps for Christmas

I have felted these lovely soaps made by Majella from The Soap Box in bright and glittery colours.  Almost ready  gift wrapped  or you could use them to decorate your house.  They come in lots of lovely scents,  rose, aniseed, jasmine just to mention a few.  They are for sale in my Etsy Shop,  some local markets and hopefully in a new shop that is opening in Lower John Street, Sligo on December 1st.