Fleece processing, dyeing and spinning

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Over the holiday, more local fleeces arrived.  This is the view down into a chicken feed sack full of greasy fleece.  I washed, I dried wet fleece in summer heat, I even managed to do some carding. I now have various wools dyed with woad or indigo exhausts as well as good old naturally brown or grey wool. I have taught a few beginners to dye at our evening spinning group at the Guild in the last while (or at least, I’ve been one of the people helping them to learn) and sometimes people are just so overcome at being given wool.  In the future they will know that the real gift is time and effort. But I do try to let them know that I have a lot of wool and that I am happy to share.

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People were generous to me as a beginner spinner, and I love to share spinning (as well as wool).  I finally spun some llama fleece a friend at the Guild gave me in the spirit of adventure.  It came out OK but it did have a lot of guard hair in it, so I’ll have to give thought to what it might become.

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Here’s a another skein–woad on grey, I believe.

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And here are indigo and indigo dyed over yellows. I realise it is better practise to dye blue first and yellow after, but, well, I didn’t like the yellows too much and just decided to dye and see!  I love these colours. But my thoughts are beginning to turn toward eucalypts and their oranges and reds again…

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7 Comments

Filed under Fibre preparation, Natural dyeing, Spinning

7 responses to “Fleece processing, dyeing and spinning

  1. Great colours, just makes your hands itch to get into spinning them!

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  2. I am in Morocco at the moment with a group of women doing textile workshops and the other day we were taught to spin by an old Berber woman on some spindles hand carved by the plough carver in the medina. I did a shocking job but can’t wait to get home and practice rolling it against my leg and onto the spindle. Have wanted to learn this for years! Thanks for your post and lovely pictures. K

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  3. Rebecca

    You are developing such a fine skill with natural colour. A life’s work in this alone really, not to mention your other interests. Do you find that the Eucalyptus dyes roughen the yarn more than the indigo/woad? If I have asked you before, forgive me, my memory is as water. I have wondered if it is the Eucalyptus chemistry or the higher temperature I dye at. But you have dyed with solar heat so you might have a better comparison.

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    • Thanks, Rebecca! I think the answer to your question would have to be yes, sometimes. I think it is the higher temperature and longer dyeing time. But… careful washing also makes a difference and etc dyed yarns sometimes pill less, suggesting I get some felting, and long term owners of etc dyed garments say they resist moth attack! I haven’t solar dyed with eucalyptus. India Flint says heat is crucial to release the dyes in eucalyptus and I haven’t found solar dyeing produces colour the same way, with this plant. So I assume that’s the explanation!

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