Wednesday, 1 June 2011

A Crafty Collaboration!

Last week, Sue from Amazing Beads wrote on the Fondelifair website about her Scottish Mountain Sheep. This lead to comments going back and forth about sheep and wool, and as a result, a few days later, a big parcel winged its way to my door.

Wool! Real sheepy goodness!

Sue had warned me that it was smelly, and yes, the wool was very…erm… fragrant, but I was too excited to worry if my neighbours thought I was hiding a flock of sheep in my flat.

I washed the wool in a bucket first, and then in my bath tub. I washed it quite a few times, and afterwards sat in the kitchen and picked the twigs and the lumps of soil out of the fibre.

It was hard work (very labour intensive), but also very satisfying. It would have been easier, however, if I had an extra utility room, because there was fibre everywhere, and some later made its way into my dinner… Also, I think if you wash wool in bulk, you need better equipment and a proper comb.

I decided to do some wool dyeing, and  separated the whitest wool from the rest, and left it to dry. That’s the wool I want to spin undyed. The other wool was divided up in heaps, and I dyed it in bright textile dye I had left from dyeing cotton yarn about two years ago.

I never dyed sheep’s wool before but remembered with a shudder that I once ruined a natural white Aran jumper which I tried to dye black!  This time, I did  much better, but know now, that I probably should have used some proper wool dye. The colours came out rather pale, and I had the feeling that the fibre didn’t really soak up the dye. My attempts to tie dye also did not work – there were no groovy stripes and shapes on the fibre. However, there is a lovely effect in that some of the tips are darker than the rest of the fibre.

I have now a big pile of colourful wool  still drying in my bathroom, thanks to Sue and Fondelifair!

The next step will be to spin it…

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