Monthly Archives: July 2009

Some more dyeing

Back at the beginning of June I went on a dyeing workshop with Fiona Morris.

The first three samples are mini-skeins of 4ply superwash bluefaced leicester. They are all dyed in a pot on the stove, you sprinkle the dye powder in as the mood takes you but don’t stir while it cooks, creating a (totally unrepeatable) multicolour effect.




It was fun to do, but my control freak personality doesn’t really gel with this method ๐Ÿ™‚ It is quite hard to predict how the colours are going to come out, and in fact they often change as the yarn cooks and more dye is absorbed.

Next I had a go at dyeing with fibre reactive dyes. These are the kind of dyes you use for plant fibres, and you use a cold dyeing method.

First some cotton dyed as a semi-solid in a plastic bag. You just measure out your dye, bung it in the bag, stick the yarn in on top, squish around for about 10 mins or until you have had enough, then leave it for half an hour.


It came out rather paler than I was expecting. The fibre reactive dyes don’t seem to exhaust as well as the acid dyes. I found it rather worrying how much dye ran out as I was rinsing.

Finally, using the fibre reactive dyes again, this was dyed in a tray, pouring the dye on and then leaving it. I was surprised at how well this one took the dyes. The yarn is 50% merino, 50% tencel, so I was expecting it to come out a lot paler as the merino wont take the fibre reactive dyes as strongly as the tencel.


A fun day.ย  I enjoyed trying some different techniques, and being able to play with the fibre reactive dyes without buying a whole load of colours myself. I haven’t worked out what these are all going to become but I’m sure I will think of something soon ๐Ÿ™‚

A bit of pre-tour yarn

With all the excitement about Le Tour de Fleece I failed to blog about some yarn I finished shortly before the tour started.

This is some superwash Bluefaced Leicester dyed in the fibre by me. I used the left overs in shades of red and brown from the dyeing day at Ash.


I like how it has come out, mostly red,ย  but with little bits of brown and a variety of shades of red. There is 232m and 100g and it is about a 4ply ish weight, bits of it are a bit thicker ๐Ÿ™‚ It is going to become part of my handspun waistcoat which at the moment exists only in my head.

Le Tour de Fleece: Day Twenty-Three

Well today is the final day of the tour. For me it has been a sprint all the way to the line to finish off this yarn.

First off here is the finished yarn from yesterday.


Today I spun up 50g of BFL:


Then plied it until one of my BFL bobbins ran out:


This was 103g, 279m.

Then I plied the remaining grey Dorset with both ends of the BFL to create a 3 ply again, until the BFL ran out. This was 14g, 41m.


The remaining 1g of grey Dorset I chain plied to create 7m of what feels like garden twine. I’m afraid I didn’t take a photo of that (you aren’t missing much). I think part of the problem was that the Dorset isn’t very soft, and part of the problem was that I plied far too tightly.

I am pretty impressed with what I have managed to achieve in the Tour de Fleece. I have just had a tot up and have spun 730m of 3ply out of the Dorset fleece, which works out as 2190m of singles! This is not including the bobbin of black Shetland which I haven’t measured. It has also been fantastic to see everyone else’s spinning, it has given me loads of ideas for things I would like to try. Roll on next year! (I think I might have a bit of a rest first)

Le Tour de Fleece: Day Twenty-Two

Exciting finish on the top of Mont Ventoux today! I have actually achieved quite a lot in my spinning too.

First here is the finished skein from yesterday. This is one strand of white Dorset, one of grey Dorset cross and one of superwash Bluefaced Leicester. I have 93g and 278m. I still haven’t managed to measure the thickness but am guessing around 4ply / fingering weight.


Then I spun up my remaining 18g of superwash BFL:


and plied it with the remains of the grey Dorset and BFL. Here is the plied yarn on the bobbin:


and on the skeiner:


This weighs 43g and measures 124.5m, a similar thickness to the previous skein.

I still have loads of grey Dorset and the first bobbin of BFL left so I went for a dig upstairs and found another 50g of BFL, and I will spin that tomorrow to ply with the remnants.

In celebration of the newly fixed washing machine I have washed the sheets today, so I had better go and put them back on the bed so I can get a reasonably early night. Finish of the tour tomorrow!

Le Tour de Fleece: Day Twenty-One

I started my plying today. So far 278 metres done. I haven’t measured the thickness yet, but it looks to be about a 4ply weight at a rough guess. Here it is on the bobbin:


And here on the skeiner:


I am plying together one strand of grey Dorset, one of white Dorset, and one of superwash bluefaced leicester. I have now run out of the white Dorset, but there is still quite a lot of the grey Dorset and the bfl, so I think I shall spin up the rest of the bfl fibre I have (there was about 18g that I couldn’t fit on the bobbin yesterday), and ply that together with the leftovers.ย  I am really interested to see what this will be like when knitted up.

Le Tour de Fleece: Day Twenty

Today was a race around the Lac d’Annecyย  in the individual time trial. I don’t have a lake here, and racing round our pond would be a bit tricky with the hedge in the way, so I settled for spinning like mad in the living room. I feel I gave even Alberto Contador a race for his money today with my spinning!

My bobbin of superwash bluefaced leicester is finished!


I think this is the fastest I have spun. I managed a whole bobbin in only 2 days. It is fairly fine too. Barring major disasters I should be able to finish this yarn before the end of the tour.

So, eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we ply! (ok I have been dying to say that for ages – apologies for the bad pun)

Le Tour de Fleece: Day Nineteen

Today is challenge day! It was also knitting group at Ash which was lovely as always. I managed to get another sample for the Patchwork knitting workshop finished. However being out most of the day I didn’t get much spinning done. I have done a bit tonight. My challenge to myself was to see how much of my 100g of superwash bluefaced leicester I could spin. This is certainly faster than the Dorset fleece!


The plan is now to spin up a bobbin of this and ply it with the grey Dorset and the white Dorset, and see what happens.

Better dash, it is washing machine repair day tomorrow and I want to take down the utility shelves tonight so the repair person will have better access to the machine.

Le Tour de Fleece: Day Eighteen

It has been an exciting day here! I didn’t manage to watch any of the cycling as I was out at band practice during the highlights programme, but I have done a bit of spinning, and admired a few new arrivals.

I was woken up this morning by the postman, but he did have 3 lovely parcels so that made up for it. A book on spinning merino by Margaret Stove:


My Moo mini cards:


and my fibre from Jo at Lime Green Jelly. Here is 99g of 50% merino, 30% baby alpaca, 20% silk in Poison Ivy:


and 48g of 50% faux cashmere, 50% silk in In Dreams:


I feel I am a proper member of the Lime Green Jelly Tour de Fleece team now ๐Ÿ™‚

As promised here is the picture of my spinning from yesterday. This is black Shetland spun on Suzie. There is a little short of a 100g. I have another 200g to go.


In a fit of productivity today I finished my white Dorset fleece! Hooray! This was partially because the last couple of bags were rather felted. Still it is finished.


I am going to spin a 3rd bobbin with superwash bluefaced leicester and then ply them all together. I would really like to finish this during the tour, but we shall see how it goes.

Le Tour de Fleece: Day Seventeen

Today is the second rest day. It was also spinning group at Tilford, so a change is as good as a rest and I took Suzie and did some more on the black Shetland. I left it too late again for photographs, and really there is no way to get decent photos of dark brown yarn in my lounge at night so photos will come tomorrow.

The washing machine decided it was no longer my friend last night, and has developed a worrying grinding and whistling noise when attempting to spin fast. All the clothes were wetter than normal too. I managed to book an engineer through the helpline this morning (who will come sometime on Thursday, those who have to see me before then will be pleased to know I do have enough clean clothes to last me) and was rather amused that while I was on hold for what felt like hours the music they chose to play at me was Handel’s Water Music. At least someone there has a sense of humour ๐Ÿ™‚

Le Tour de Fleece: Day Sixteen

We are in the middle of birthday season for my in-laws at the moment, so we had a lovely day with them today and not much spinning was done. I did manage a bit later on, and then had to take some bad indoor photos. So here we are:


The good news is that with my new ultra-picky policy there are now only 2 bags of fibre left!