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.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Solar dyeing and tour de fleece

What a wonderful thing a sunny half term is: it has meant that I have been able to indulge myself with solar dyeing some wool and to "get in training" for the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry. I am slightly part of Team UK and our set training this week is to spin and ply a Chain Ply yarn, of whatever length. I took this as an excuse to blend some delicious baby batts on the mini drumcarder ( from predyed merino, recycled sari silk, a dash of soya fibre and red angelina) and then spin it from the fold. Halfway along I felt the urge to try spinning from the fold LONGDRAW, which I managed with ease. That's never clicked before, but I think the fluffy batts helped with that. I was really pleased with the resulting squidgey yarn, something I don't normally manage when Chain Plying. Although in the begining I didn't manage to put quite enough twist in for it to hold together in the ply, I soon worked that out. So there is a funny improvised patch in the middle of the yarn that I will probably cut out when I come to knit it.
 My treadling is improving, as I could go really SLOW when I needed too for the chain ply action.

 The fantastically warm sun in our backyard has meant I've been able to do some SOLAR DYEING which I love it's so easy and you don't use up any energy except your own (slight) and the abundant sun's. For the bluey greys and pinks I used lacs and black beans, put in a plastic bag ( NB No holes!)  after mordanting with mouldy rhubarb stems (oxalic acid). I dribbled patches of  lac dye directly onto the wool in the bag, then patches of black beans too. I topped the bag up a little with some water, so the wool was covered, and tied it tightly. I put it on an old baking tray and sat it in the sun for 2 days. One of the advantages of solar dyeing is that you have much less chance of felting, it's also really unmessy. I've had great results with doing it in jars too. Inside the containers it gets really hot: steam results! I've used a photo of the jars, as it's much more photogenic than an old plastic bag....

1 comment:

  1. beautiful delicate colours, I love solar dyeing too its just so easy to manage. Our garden is like a sun trap on the top patio so effortless really, its just the washing afterwards that does my arms in especially when I'm tired but even that done outside doesnt pose much of an issue as there is no mess to clean up in the kitchen :) Join team MHE Friends :)