February Fill Dyke

So far the winter has been very wet and very windy, and February has continued this with astonishing amounts of rain.  We’ve been lucky so far and haven’t been affected by flooding and have avoided damage by winds (which last night were gusting locally to about 65mph).

On the crafting front there is progress on the spinning and the weaving.  But the problem with both of these, from the perspective of a blog post, is that they look about the same as before (bobbins and cloth beams are slightly fuller!)

I’ve also started a new project to revamp a plain cardigan.  I started by dyeing it with food colour, then I over-dyed it with tea!  I plan to add embroidery and needle felting or appliqué to make this a much more cheerful cardigan (there will be pictures in future blog posts).

For today though, I’ll leave you with a picture I took this morning.  A reminder that spring will be here soon!


The winter blahs!

Winter is, I think, getting to me.  Earlier this week there were signs of spring, and I managed a walk with my daughter, taking some pictures of lovely spring flowers.


Since then the weather has been cold and grey, and then the snow arrived. 

I’ve been feeling the need to counteract the colourlessness of the continued winter.  At this point if someone handed me a pot of multi-coloured paint and a brush I’d go round the house frantically painting blocks of colour onto plain walls.  Instead I’ve been grabbing lengths of tops from my supply, pots of food colour and large bottles of vinegar and been combining them with abandon.

A couple of weeks ago a friend suggested dyeing in the oven as a way to prevent the tops felting/compacting too much.  So these were dyed in my largest Pyrex dishes with foil on the top.  I found 150 degrees centigrade to be a good temperature, putting the prepared tops in to the cold oven, turning it on (it’s a fan oven), then turning off after an hour and leaving the wool in the oven for about an hour – or overnight in one instance – while it cooled a bit.  The first batch was very successful, the second I didn’t manage to work the colour into the wool enough.

The first batch is on natural white Shetland:




Overdyed fawn Shetland:


Overdyed humbug blended Shetland (the humbug blended tops are looser than the single colour tops, which I find makes them harder to dye):


Leicester Longwool rainbow dyed in two batches on a stove-top:


I have plans for the longwool.  I need a new handbag and think a woven bag with a mass of locks near the top would be totally impractical and completely mad (and a good test of light-fastness of food-colour dyed wool).  I need to finish a few more projects off though before I start on that one!