Wednesday 7 March 2012

Woolly Wednesday - The Ring(s)

 The first Wednesday of the month, so that must mean it is Woolly Wednesday over at Spinspiration.  So what has February seen me doing on the woolly front?  I have been taking advantage of the warmer weather and getting some of the Portland fleece washed.  A first for me, washing a fleece, and not as bad as I thought it was going to be!  I am hoping that some of the bits come out when it is carded, at least that is how it worked with the alpaca. 

For this wool I have already washed, I have great plans!  I need some green wool for the rings that we are producing at the guild.  So in the spirit of learning new skills, I thought I would have a go at dyeing the wool I have.  So I pop along to the Guild and ask what would be the best way to get a green colour, and I get pointed in the direction of Teresinha who is a fountain of knowledge, and just happens to sell natural dyes.  She was wearing a green jumper she had dyed using weld and woad, which was the perfect colour that I was after. Next day saw me on her website ordering the necessary ingredients. 
 I haven't taken the next step yet, a bit nervous to be honest.  I am assuming that I dye it one colour, and then remordant it, as the weld and woad follow a different dyeing process, and then over dye it with the other colour.  I am also assuming dye weld first to get the yellow, and then overdye with the woad.  If anyone has any ideas on this I would be very, very grateful!!  Oh, and another question regarding dyeing.  Is it better to card the fleece first, or even spin it first?  Or do I just dye it as is?

As far as the rings are going I have done something on each of them.  The background for the seascape, for my 2-d one...
 ... and a robins nest and eggs for my 3-d attempt. 

I am looking forward to getting a bit more time to work on them, as I hope they will turn out as good as they are in my head!!

Looking forward to seeing other things people have been getting up to with wool this month.


  1. I used to dye yarn with natural dyes at a 16th century re-enactment centre - to be honest woad is quite a strong dye, so I would dye the yarn with that alone (the yarn I dyed was spun and tied). Perhaps the lady you bought the dye from could give you more advice? However, if you get the dyeing bug a good book to get hold of is "The Craft of Natural Dyeing" by Jenny Dean, published by Search Press. Can't wait to see the results :)

  2. Glad the portland has washed okay, I was starting to worry what I'd sent you but my experience was it washes up lovely.

    Great to see your ring progress - are you making 2 then deciding which to enter? Really must get on with mine!

    Not heard of dyeing it with both weld and woad, I'd ask advice from Teresinha - have bought from her before too. I have two wonderful dying guru's at the guild who I quiz often! I have a book written by one of them and the Jenny Dean one - both invaluable. Both weld and woad are really strong colours so I'm not sure how you'd do this - do let us know though.

    As far as dyeing the wool or dyeing the yarn - it can be done either way. Whichever you prefer really, carding dyed wool blends any differences in the dyeing anyway. For a solid colour I've usually dyed the wool first, but there's no right or wrong way.

    Right, better go and write my WW post ;-) Have done the linky but not my spinning post.

    Dawn x

  3. Sounds exciting! I agree with Dawn, you can dye the fleece or the spun yarn. Make sure you have washed the grease out before you start dyeing and bring the temperature up really slowly, don't let the wool boil. Resist the temptation to poke the dye pan too much or you will felt the wool. It may save time to dye the wool before carding because the fibres will get a bit messed up during dyeing so you will end up carding after dyeing anyway. Hope that helps - have fun!

  4. Really out of my depth here but I'd go for woad first, as it's more complicated, then the weld, as you can track how the yellow's changing the colour. Look forward to seeing the results!

  5. To learn dyeing the wool is in my priority list. Just ordered a book for in-depth study of this new craft.
    It will be very interesting to read about your adventure in dyeing fiber.

  6. No help here, I'm afraid. I wish I had known, as I could have asked the lady on Saturday. I was very taken with the woad dyed wool.
    Love your wee nest xx

  7. How exciting, I have hardly any experience dyeing but it is on my list of things to learn more about. What surprises me is I would require a 'recipe' style notebook of what to do as I have a head like a sieve. I can't wait to see your results. Your 'rings' look so lovely, I am working on mine on Saturday :)

  8. Exciting days! I am keen to try natural dyes in the future once I have got the hang of spinning!

    I love the seascape and am very impressed with the nest and eggs!

  9. Those are great projects you're embarking on! I look forward to seeing what you end up with.
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  10. Hi Claire
    I remember going to a spinning demonstration a few years back and one of the spinners there who loved natural dyeing was wearing a handspun sweater dyed with woad. The colour was really incredible. Since then I have always wished to try dyeing with woad and weld. Please do share your results with us. As for dyeing fleece or yarn, I would say it is your choice. I have dyed both fleece and handspun (not with woad or weld) and gotten really pleasing results with both so long as the ties on the handspun are loose so the dye can penetrate the bits with the ties evenly. I would also ask the lady you bought the dye from for any tips to ensure you get really good results. Good Luck! I love your seascape.


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