Friday, 23 February 2018

Spinning and dyeing

Throughout the autumn I have been spinning. My working life is very busy at the moment so when the evenings and weekends come I have been trying to do stuff that will be relaxing. And Spinning is always relaxing, soothing and still productive. I was given around 3 kgs of carded Jacobs sheep wool by someone. It was very old but still good, although the carding was pretty ropey and there were lots of lumps in it. I decided to dye it and had a great dyeing day doing mostly greens and blues, but also some rosy reads. This has provided the bulk of my spinning resource from October to now, and I also spun some staples in a variegated colour scheme (blue-green and yellow-red) which I have spun as novelty yarns, either plying it with a handspun or a commercial single wool.

Here are some of the examples of what I dyed and spun:

The top skein is the novelty yarn, a thin version using some left-over staples, I also made a different yarn that had much thicker staples in it. The skein below is the spun yarn from the slightly lumpy Jacobs wool. It too the dye very well and as most of it was quite course and I am not that good at spinning knitting yarn I decided that I would just spin lumps and all and then use it in tapestry weavings.
Here's a detail of the novelty yarn. I have this thin commercial single wool yarn in blue (not sure it is indigo, but it is that sort of colour) and used it to ply with the staples of the blue-green. This was a very satisfying process and the  result looks and feels great, now I need to see what it is like in a weaving.

The colours in this picture do not reflect the livelier green of the actual yarn, however you can see how coarse the Jacobs is and you will see that I spun it very hard and so it is not a perfectly balanced yarn - my plying technique could be improved a bit.
I also have a fair bit of very dark alpaca. In tidying up some of my stash I unearthed even more of it, and this needs to be spun. At my Guild of weavers, spinners and dyers we had a bit of a stash-share and I got some dark brown silk noil which complements the alpaca very well.
So I plied these fibres in different permutations - pure alpaca and alpaca silk plied, which has created some smooth yarns with a bit of sheen. I also had some dyed silk which I spun into some of it to create interesting textures.
The alpaca-silk yarns.

The silk-alpaca yarn is to the right here, and the other green yarns are spun from left-overs, merino, more silk, something I don't remember.
This is a close-up to show the textures of the different mixes, you might be able to see that the merino yarn on the left is Navajo plied so it is a bit thicker.
The silk-alpaca in detail to show the different thicknesses, this was also Navajo plied which was not easy as I was spinning in the silk as I went along which turned into a knotted mess at times along the way.

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