About this blog space

This blog space is a place for me to primarily put all my wool gatherings, adventures, experiments. I am now a mum of two astounding daughters, and I used to be a DIY musician and co-ran a tiny independent label (Slampt), so this punk can-do attitude plus feminist analysis and Art school experience somehow informs my wool work! I am also deeply moved by GREEN, trees, weather, colour combinations in nature, and texture. I aim to source wool from round the corner or at the very least UK grown and processed, and to create no toxic waste. This means I get to see sheep as often as I can, sometimes at wool fests.
I am on Ravelry and Etsy as FatHenWildWool and Facebook as Rachel Holborow.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Hot Off the Wheel MHE yarn

This is a 2 ply yarn I spun over the christmas period. I really love the colours, and it was thrilling watching them unfold into singles and then a further blending into a 2 ply. This extra fine merino wool was dyed by My Heart Exposed, using plant dyes, and is called " Nature's Perspective" from the Lady Mya collection. I prefer to work with non merino wools, but I loved this colourway... I found that I was glowing with happiness as the greener and redder shades came through, and was a little restless if  I hit a patch of blue! Probably that means something other than I obviously dislike blue! Some pointer to where I need to do more soul work?
 But what shall I knit with it? It turned out a little thicker than I was hoping for my lacey shawl project, so I will have to find some other use for it.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Wool in every room

I fell asleep last night with the comforting thought that there was wool in every room of the house! Here are the photos and I'll explain...
1 Top: Bath of wool
2 Middle: Shelf of wool
3 Bottom: Bobbin of wool
The most comforting of all, is that some of  a Texel fleece (this one from Woolfest), is currently cleaning in the bath overnight. I aim to do it over night, and through most of the next day, so as to cause the minimum of disruption to my family. It will soak overnight in hot water with some washing soda, and then in the morning a hot rinse, and then another later on. Then by bathtime i need to have moved the fleece up to the loft to start drying , as it's winter, flat on a sheet.
I love to be washing a fleece, as it means lots more to spin. The only hassle is when you're having to do it in a hurry. I also love the fact that I know exactly where this fleece is from, and that only gentle cleaning products have been used on it, and that no electricity has been used to produce something spinnable.
And somehow, the whole process gives me a secret smile of satisfaction...
Photos 2 and 3 are both from the living room, and show last night's spinning from my own hand blended hand plant dyed batts, and "the wool basket", which has all sorts in, currently a dry felted Mother Earth who needs fixing, my Christmas present from the family (a niddy noddy), my current spindle spinning of hand blended batts in a red/brown/purple colourway of merino, silk, waste nylon glitz, blue faced leicester and other random bits, plenty of handspun, some hand dyed, hand blended singles, and some a My Heart Exposed fibre artist dyed two ply, also various knitting needles, a bag of knitting (currently a bootie), and small left over balls of yarn, which i constantly use to tie things up.
Both photos 2 and 3  have yarns in process which are very slender for me, as I am hoping to get something usable for knitting a lacey shawlette.
So that's the bathroom and the living room. The kitchen has some red and green two ply, handspun by Fay my 8 year old daughter, drying after having been set. Mine and Marc's bedroom has a basket and two boxes of unpun wool, mostly tops. One of the boxes holds my Etsy shop contents, mostly plant dyed tops at the moment. I happy to say that I've needed to do a slight restock recently as people have been buying it for spinning and dry felting. Hooray!
The loft has fleeces needing washing or carding in it, and my precious stash of yarn. The girl's room has Fay's stash of yarn, and her tops for spinning, and what she's spun too! Which makes a houseful of wool.
(ofcourse there's always my knitting and Fay's crochet projects, which travel around the house too....)

Monday, 3 January 2011

Logwood dyeing

Strangely, all of the above fibres are dyed with logwood. As is often the case with plant dyes, if you process them differently, you get different effects. Logwood (usually bought as a powder or chippings from dye suppliers) I have found, produces colours ranging from red to magenta to purple to brown.
Red was obtained by solar dyeing the fibres (cotswold wool) in a large Kilner jar, using rain water. The chippings of logwood were put in the bottom of the jar on our East facing window sill in the hieght of sunny summer for a week, unmordanted wool and water were added.A bold red resulted!
This red wool when immersed for 30 mins in water with washing soda added turned magenta, excitingly!
A deep purple was obtained from (hard) tap water with Alum dissolved in it, soaking the logwood chips in it over night and then slowly heating it to simmer twice. The chips were strained off. The dye liquor was allowed to cool, then wool was added and heated up to simmer twice, slowly.  I left it in overnight, and a vibrant purple resulted.
The same logwood chips were allowed to soak overnight with tap water and Vinegar ( a whole bottle!), and in a similar process to before, I obtained a deep brown.
The logwood in the photos above has made the purple, brown and pinky red.
Aparentally it can also make blue. And I find it is a reasonably priced dyestuff too.