Changing my mind

The fibre I dyed a few days ago is now dry:


However, I’ve now decided that I would prefer to spin these on one of my wheels (perhaps at the next spinning group) and possibly use the resulting fibre to make something like: Semi-Precious.  I haven’t decided yet whether to ply them together or use them individually.

So, I needed something else to spin on my new spindles:


These are also dyed with food dye.  However, this time I’ve used only 1.5 oz of fibre for each so I can use these for smaller projects (perhaps fingerless gloves?).

My spindles have arrived and I’ve been using the heavier one (which is a 1oz spindle) and has a turquoise whorl:

spindle and fibre


I’m still getting the hang of using the spindle.  Initially I found that it wobbled a bit – but that may just be user error because when I get it spinning properly it keeps going smoothly for a long time.  However, I may just have to buy another spindle from one of the recommended uk makers to compare.

Spindles and Food Colour

I keep finding myself standing around and wanting something for my hands to do.  I think that the solution to this may be to have another go at spindle spinning – so I’ve treated myself to a couple of fairly lightweight spindles.

Now I’m waiting for the spindles to arrive and wondering what I’m going to spin on them.  So, last night I dyed up some Shetland tops using Sugarflair paste colours.  These behave just like acid dyes on wool, but are safe for me to use in the kitchen with the cooking equipment (in our new house I don’t have room for my saucepans, bowls, jars and other utensils I usually use for dyeing).  There are some lovely colours.  I experimented last night with Dusty Pink, Claret and Grape Violet (the dusty pink and grape violet both split slightly – but that just adds some interesting variation to the colours).

I’m finding dyeing with the food colours much more fun than dyeing with proper acid dyes.  I don’t need to take so many precautions about breathing in dust or making sure any spilt powder is thoroughly cleaned up before the children find it.  The colours are in a gel form in the jar (so not so easy to spill) and can be removed with a cocktail stick. In fact – I got so stuck in last night that I forgot to take the precaution of wearing plastic gloves – and dyed my fingers a bright red (fortunately that’s mostly washed off now).

My braids of top cooled overnight and were rinsed this morning and are now drying over the bath:


Dyeing on the first day of the school holidays

It’s the first day of the school summer holiday.  My son would like to do some spinning during the holidays.  To get started we dyed – using artificial food dyes and vinegar – some fleece.  When it’s dry we’ll card it up ready for spinning.  (This is the first time I’ve dyed fleece using acid dyes so it was a great learning experience for me too).


Spinning my own hand-dyed tops

I’ve been spinning my hand-dyed tops today.  I was at a local spinning meeting and received some compliments on the colours.  I’m pleased with how the singles are coming out.  I’ve split the tops lengthways so that the colours will blend from one to the next.  I’ll see how successful I’ve been when I ply them together. 

The slight felting that the wool suffered when I dyed it has resulted in a few noils.  I try and pick these out when I get to them.  I’m trying worsted style spinning for a change.   

I’ve also been using my new sliding hook flyer for the Ashford traditional wheel today.  I’ve applied three coats of finishing oil to the wood to seal it.  So far I like it.  It’s resolved the rattle that my wheel had and is easy to use.  The bobbin is also an impressive size (apparently 30% larger than the standard bobbin).

I’ll post a picture of a bobbin of singles and the sliding hook flyer tomorrow (when I have daylight).

Dyeing top

I’ve spent a good part of today dyeing some Shetland top.  It’s dyed with Ashford’s dyes.  I used purple, teal and yellow.  However, the purple looks more like pink to me (I’m going to check the bottles tomorrow and make sure I didn’t use the hot pink by mistake).  I “painted” the top with the colours – mixing them where they met.

The top’s currently drying and I’m hoping I haven’t felted it during the process.  I’ll be able to check when it’s dry and I’ll post up a picture too.