Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Woolly Wednesday October....

September was a month of two halves - at home, dyeing and spinning silk and away, knitting and a bit of spinning, but a lot of woolly things...

First home and silk dyeing - I have been experimenting with different dyes on silk - acid dyes I have found do not penetrate the silk well, even after extended soaking, Procion Dyes on the other hand do and you need a lot less dye powder.  The natural dyes (cochineal, lac, Coreopsis petals and madder) I have tried so far also work really well on silk

Bottom row: from right to left - madder on mulberry silk. madder on Tussah silk, lac on soy fibre,
Middle row: -Coreopsis on Mulberry Silk, Procion Raspberry on Tussah, Cochineal on Mulberry Silk, Lac on Mulberry, and Lac on Tussah
Top: - Violet Navy (Procion) on Tussah Silk, some natural samples and top left Merino/Silk - dyed with black and claret.

Then we went to Yorkshire for Yarndale and the Masham Sheep Fair!  Yarndale was OK, nothing really new and very focused on knitting, so lots of indie dyers and commercial yarns.  Very little for the spinner and very crowded.  There was no where to sit down if you couldn't get up steps, and the food outlet was slap bang in the middle with no extractor fans - so the awful smell of bacon was everywhere and the queue went down the aisles so that it was impossible to get to see some of the stalls.  Oliver Twist packed up and went home as they were next to the cafe area - really an impossible situation - would you want to buy silk that smelt strongly of frying bacon?

There was a stall selling pre-loved reconditioned spinning wheels at ridiculous prizes - e.g. a 1970s Ashford Traditional (not very well reconditioned) for £225.00 and a Haldane Orkney for £325!  Really hope that no one was daft enough to pay that sort of money.

Masham was completely the opposite - all sheep and fleeces and a terrific day out!

Some photos of sheep

A beautiful Border Leicester ram, slightly unhappy as his wives were in the show ring!

Lincoln Longwool - champions in the long wool classes

Three Borerays - these won the Primitive Breed class

Kerry Hills, these were supreme champions in each of their classes and were really outstanding - sadly I was unable to nab one of the fleeces, beaten by another spinner who knew her fleeces!

I did however get a shearling Border Leicester £10 and prize wining White-faced Woodland £7 and a superb Llanwenog £4 - not a bad haul! I did turn down what look like a very nice cross Texel/Beltex for £3 because there was a break in the locks!  Was tempted by Badger-faced Welsh Mountain £4, but again although cheap there was a break in the locks - clearly this last year hasn't been kind to sheep.  There were some beautiful Corriedale/Manx Loaghtan cross fleeces, but they were huge. although a bargain at £10, I really didn't think that I could fit another fleece in the car/caravan for the trip back home.  Still there is always next year..............

Sadly there were no Masham fleeces, but I did managed to get a small sample from a lovely lady at  Yarndale, thus adding to the breed samples for SpinDyeWeavers.

This is my fleece haul from Masham with a small amount of North Country Mule from a ewe called Postie, because she had been found in a ditch next to a post box!

With the weather warm and sunny while we were away I did managed some outdoor spinning and have a sun burnt nose to prove that I did!

First up Toasted Teacakes

This is Perendale fibre, a New Zealand Sheep created by crossing a Romney with a Cheviot - interesting spin, but not the softest of yarn, from Southern Cross Fibres

I also spun up some some more natural dye samples - this one is from Rowan Berries - not what you would expect from such a vibrant red berry - light tan.

On the knitting front I finished my Clarice Again Shawl - not blocked as yet and began another...............

This one is Pizzicato by Linda Choo that I am knitting using some handspun/dyed silk and merino.

Oh, and I did get to visit World of Wool - fibre heaven and while there made a modest purchase of carefully selected fibre.................... 


  1. Love all that dyed fibre, setting you up for some wonderful colourful days spinning x

  2. Thanks for the Yarndale review - I didn't make it so it's good to see what other people thought.

    Pizzicato looks a gorgeous pattern. Look forward to seeing that developing.


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