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Friday, 24 February 2017

Selection of Yarns, Soay, Grey and Jacob

I have just set the spin on all these yarns today.
Left, is Soay,  a lovely natural brown fleece that is really soft as this was all the under coat of the sheep.  Soay are an ancient breed that sheds its fleece and this has to be gathered off the ground making it difficult to get and difficult to clean!
Middle, is a natural grey fleece that I have mixed with hand dyed silk noil.  I am knitting a chunky cardigan for myself with this.
Right,  pure Jacob that I have over dyed with Gaywool Raspberry.  This is a very effective way to produce Jacob. There is only a certain amount that you can do with grey wool but this brings Jacob into a new dimension giving the yarn a natural heathered look

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Weaving Yarn

These yarns are spun from my hand combed pure Wensleydale tops giving a lovely worsted yarn that is very suitable to weave with.  These yarns are about 4 ply and very strong but soft.  They look like silk and I am going to use them to make scarves.  Small quantities for my rigid heddle loom.  Spinning with my hand combed tops is a joy.  Fast and easy, just keep your hands well apart because of the long fibres and use a short draw. 
Suitable to spin into a very fine yarn and of course there is nothing to stop you knitting with them

Thursday, 19 January 2017

My New Workshop

This is my new workshop.  Small but all that I need .  It is in the Markree Home Farm complex which is a group of self catering cottages in the renovated farm yard at Markree Castle.  I have taken the smallest which basically is a room with a bathroom.  Removed the bed and put in my big table (great for felting)  My shelves,  all my roving at a glance, and of course my spinning wheels  and I have a small stove and fridge.  Here I can run small, small in numbers, workshops.   I can walk from my house to get to work, collect my dye plants outside the door, almost. Callers are welcome, just check I am at home via phone 086 8198543. I am there most days

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Weaving on a Rigid Heddle Loom

Christmas has come very early to my house, with the arrival of this weaving loom.  Ryan very kindly put it together, not as easy as it first appeared and then I was straight into using it.  This is my first piece, a small table runner.   I used natural Galway yarn and then over dyed natural grey yarn that is a little too scratchy to wear.  Delighted with the effect and now to get more items made and to become more skilled

Friday, 4 November 2016

A Flecked Yarn

I am always trying out new ideas and this is the latest.  I have been asked to produce a 'flecked' yarn and after a few different ideas this is the best I can do.  This is natural black Zwartbles wool and the coloured batts are hand dyed silk noil.  I dyed the silk in a steamer a bright turquoise and pale brown.  It is difficult to get the dye to saturate the silk because the silk is like a blop of papier mache.   When it was dry I then carded it several times to separate the fibres. 
Then carded it into the Zwartbles fibre to make this yarn.
Hopefully I will improve it with practice.  

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Hand Carding in the Garden

Carding wool is a very dusty job and when I am doing it I have to wear a substantial face mask to protect me from the dust and tiny wool fibres that are in the air.  I feel like someone doing a dangerous scientific experiment and all I am working with is wool!
This afternoon the weather was perfect for doing a few hours in the garden with just enough of a breeze to blow the dust away and not too much so my wool was not flying around the garden.   
This is a lovely grey fleece that I got from a farmer in Skreen.  It is so clean and soft it is a pleasure to work with.  Some of it is heading to Germany next week.
Before I worked with this fleece I carded some Alpaca,  Alpaca is so dusty to work with.  At the moment  I am carding a black fleece and I think that this Alpaca was out in a shower and then had a dust bath before she was shorn the fleece is so dusty that it is almost brown rather than black until I wash it after spinning.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Blue Faced Leicester Locks

A custom order for some B.F.L.  locks in shades of blue and purple. 
This fleece is one that a local farmer had thrown in the back of his shed.  He thought it was useless but it is perfect for locks as they are very fine and tightly curled.  It is very dirty but washes out fairly well.  The tight, fine curls are almost impossible to process to spin with as they knot up into tiny balls but it is lovely as locks.  They separate out easily but I only sell like this as I do not want to spoil the lock definition.
I dye them in lots of about 50 to 60 grams