Creating Yarn

I started dying and spinning the other day, and thought I’d share my process with you.

I knew I wanted to blend Bluefaced Leicester wool top with Alpaca and Mulberry silk so I layered the fibers in my steamer.

The steamer basket is placed in the sink with hot water and Unicorn Power Scour (a soap used to clean raw fleece) to help the water penetrate and get rid of any oils which may be on the fiber, using only enough water to submerge the roving.

I use Dharma acid dyes and mix the colours with citric acid before pouring them on the fiber. Brilliant Yellow, Caribbean Blue, Deep Magenta and True Black are the colours I use most. I also have Silver Grey but haven’t played with it much. Some colours are harder to mix than others but I’ve found that using boiling water helps dissolve the dye powder.

When dying, I don’t disturb the roving, especially when dying fine merino as it will felt very easily which is why I use a steamer and not a pot.

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After the fibers are dyed, I steam them for about 10 – 15 minutes, let cool then rinse. If the colours are too bright for my liking, I might over dye them with black immediately, this typically gives me more muted tones however, Dharma’s “True Black” has a purple hue so yellows turn green and magenta sometimes turn purple.

Once cool, I press the excess water out and lay the fibers on a drying rack with a fan on them.

I love how the same dyes react differently on various proteins, silk is the most brilliant followed by alpaca and lastly, wool.

Before spinning, everything is blended together on a drum carder.

It never ceases to amaze me how colours change when blended and spun.

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Still Spinning!

Wow, time flies! Especially when you’re spinning… and now dying.

I’ve been using Wilton’s icing colouring with terrific results (IMO). The above roving I dyed in reds, blues and yellows then overdyed the roving in royal blue and black.

This one was almost pure colour, golden yellow, teal and royal blue, my favorite so far!

Also played with blue, I think this will be a really good colour to tone down the¬†yellow and blue skein. I’m still looking for a pattern to use with these. Any suggestions?

But all was certainly not perfect.

IMG_20170323_151430I tried Christmas red which turned hot pink then added another red which got worse. Added yellow then teal and when wet, looked like mud. After rinsing and drying, the result was something akin to clown puke.

There are aspects that I like but I have no idea what will happen when I spin it. Thankfully it’s less than 100g, I’ll keep you posted when I finally do something with it.

On another note, I’ve started a poncho with all the natural colours I spun in the first two weeks, no pictures yet but it reminds me of something from the 70’s. I know I’ll wear it when done and it’ll be warm and cosy.

Anyone else dye and spin or just spin?

You Spin Me!

img_20170221_155015So, two weeks ago, this happened!

I put a call out on my local Ravelry forum for a rent or rent-to-own spinning wheel and in just a matter of hours, a sweet and generous soul replied to my plea.

IamMo arrived the next Monday with this Lendrum double treadle in tow as well as her identical second wheel and enough fibre to completely cover my dining table. I thought she’d brought it to show me but she brought it for me to spin with!

Spinning looks a lot easier on YouTube.

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Here’s my first mess:

Ugly, isn’t it. I practised 4 hours every day, before and after work.

I am much better and certainly more consistent than what you see here but not as consistent as I aim to be but it takes time and more practise.

 
Here’s where I am today, 2 weeks later, a 2-ply worsted weight (worsted spun) which I can actually knit with!

 

Corriedale fibre is a great beginner fibre, it has a long staple and relatively easy to spin. I think I have enough to actually make a poncho!

Below are photos of some Polworth fibre I spun and plied in my first week, love the colours!