I love sunsets, they are so fleeting yet spectacular while they last. I take a lot of pictures of sunsets. Here’s a selection from the last few months:


This week has been good for sunsets (we’ve had clearer skies than we’ve had for a while and some lovely warm September days). I’ve been wondering if I could use a sunset as the inspiration for a yarn.

It’s quite a common practice for a picture or an object to be the inspiration for a yarn. It’s the approach taken in Creative Spinning.  It’s also the approach I took when designing and spinning my Doctor Who yarn.  The structure, the colours and even the materials chosen to create the yarn can all be inspired in this way.

But how abstract can the yarn be? I could select colours that are in the sunset: gold, red, peach colours as well as blues and greys, then blend these together to produce a marled yarn. From a distance it could look fairly brown or beige (depending upon the strength and balance of the colours selected), but up close the colours would be obvious and give a pleasing depth to the final piece.

Alternatively, I could keep the colours more distinct, and produce a yarn that gives more of the appearance of the sunset when it is made into a fabric, but would still be very abstract and would be moderately uniform over the whole piece (like a fragment of the sky repeated over and over).

Finally, I could try and capture the whole sky from dark blue furthest to the east to peach and pale blue nearest the western horizon, with the reds, golds and greys of the clouds illuminated by the setting sun. This could be a yarn that contains a picture that’s revealed when it’s turned into a fabric.

I like the final idea. A yarn that when it’s woven or knitted could be an impressionist’s painting of a sunset, made with wool instead of paint.

I did some dyeing a few days ago. I used Sugarflair (artificial food colour) on white Blue Faced Leicester. I think the ball at the front contains many of the colours of the sunset. A starting place for my sunset yarn (the idea is likely to brew for a while, not least until I’ve cleared some works in progress off my wheels).


A Great Wheel and Coreless Core Spinning

Though not coreless core spinning on a Great Wheel!

Some of the mohair I mentioned in my last post was carded into two batts with some natural white Shetland.


I then corespun this without a core (the core is made while spinning, just moments before it is wrapped in fibre):


This has become my entry into the Ashford UK Spinners (AUKS) “First Challenge” on Ravelry.  It’s been a year since AUKS was born and we now have well over 300 members.  To celebrate our first year in existence Elaine (one of the group’s moderators) has worked very hard to organise a spin-along with some fantastic prizes.  The challenge was to have a first go at spinning something, be it a new technique, a new tool or a new fibre.  This was the first time I’ve spun with mohair and my first ball of coreless core spinning.  It’s been lovely seeing what other members have chosen to spin, and this week pictures of the final skeins have started to be posted.

I still had most of the mohair left, so while at Creating Space a few days ago, I handcarded that into clouds too.  I added some glitter and started drum carding again.


Which I finished off with a late night carding session.


All ready for my next coreless experiment!

While at Creating Space I had the wonderful opportunity to try spinning on a Great Wheel.  She’s called Catherine (after St Catherine the patron saint of spinners) and belongs to the Guild of Longdraw Spinners.


I’m concentrating very hard (thank you Norma for the opportunity and the photo):


I’m now wondering if I should get a quill for one of my wheels!

The Garden and Dyeing

I got back from all the time away in August to find the neglected garden was doing very well with brambles, that had acquired triffid like proportions, creeping, crawling and scrambling over and through everything.  One bramble had sent a branch soaring upwards, through the crab apple tree (at about 8ft high) and was just touching the ground on the other side.  The lawn had almost totally disappeared.  So, I’ve been hacking (loppers are a girl’s best friend), shredding and mowing to slowly return order to a large proportion of the garden.  There is still much to be done, but today I bought a wide variety of spring bulbs and some winter violas to plant in the recently cleared herb bed.  I’m looking forward to the garden being a real treat in the spring.

About half of the garden has been neglected for a much longer time and is under a frightening scramble of brambles.  I’ve been ignoring this and will continue to do so until I have the rest under control.  I then have plans to work on it over the autumn and winter and eventually to plant a range of fruit trees to make a tiny orchard.

Despite all the gardening I managed to do some dyeing one evening last week.  I dyed up some BFL tops and BFL, kid mohair and Wensleydale fleece.  I did all the dyeing in the oven in some large roasting pans.  The pans fit (just) two at a time in the oven and mean that I can dye four batches of fibre in one session.


The fleece, despite the warm weather, took two whole days to dry on the line.  I hang the fleece in net laundry bags, but I shall have to find a much better way to dry it in the future.  The BFL top was completely dry, fluffy and airy after just a day.


I’ve started using the mohair, and it’s the first time I’ve used this fibre.  Initially I thought I’d felted it, as it was very difficult to tease apart the locks, but, I think it had compacted during the dyeing.  The mohair doesn’t have the elasticity or bounce of wool and I hadn’t understood how it would behave.


I’m currently teasing the mohair apart and carding it with hand-cards to get fluffy coloured clouds.  I have a plan, but that shall be in my next post…