Sunday, February 9, 2014

Yarn design

Not so many posts lately, but there are definitely some yarn/fiber-based projects (and other unspeakable horrors) lurking  in the depths of the Jungle!

Some months ago, I got Sarah Anderson's "Spinner's Book Of Yarn Designs", with clear explanations on how to make 80 different kinds of yarn. It's like having a private spinning teacher at home - so much practical information! And I love her focus on spinning the right yarn for a specific knitting, crochet or weaving project; a yarn that looks great and is functional knitted up as well (and not just pretty in a skein only).
Here some pictures of my spinning projects.  Most of them are spun from natural white Corriedale wool from Spinnvilt's webshop, the two on the bottom are spun from handpainted rovings I bought on Etsy.

Flame yarn (Thick-and-thin single plied with a thin single)

Slubble crepe yarn, 3-ply (Flame yarn plied with another thin single)

Fat single
Flame yarn in skein


Balanced 2-ply

All four together - ready for the dyepot!

Flame yarn, handpainted roving

2-ply Falkland, handpainted roving

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bilberry hunting season

Most of the bilberries became jam, some were eaten raw, the lucky ones made it into a pie, and about 2 kilograms of berries ended up in the dyebath.
That was more than enough to dye 500 grams of yarn (mordanted with alum and cream of tartar) a deep purple colour, hovering between blue- and red-purple. I read somewhere that the colour is not very lightfast so I hope the bilberry "overdose" helps a little.






The colour of the yarn is much deeper and darker
in reality than is shown on the photos.



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

More wool combing, spinning, dyeing and band weaving

Here is how I spent some of the long summer evenings on my veranda, defying the gnats and mosquitos and  occasionally stirring the simmering dye pots:
From front to back: Spælsau - natural white; Blæset sau - natural black; yarn dyed with St. John's Wort (no mordant used); another skein of the same white spælsau; yarn dyed with  birch leaves (alum mordant) and dyed over with parmelia lichen; and the same black blæset sau.

My first tablet woven band, all wool. Pattern draft from Eqos.
1.9  cm wide, 170 cm long.
Flower band, woven on a rigid heddle. Unbleached linen and pattern threads of green embroidery wool.
1.5 cm wide,  222 cm long.

On top: yarn dyed with St. John's Wort (no mordant). The yellow skeins were dyed with birch leaves (alum mordant); the light green yarn was dyed with Lady's Mantle and some lupin flowers (alum mordant).

My new mini wool combs.
Handspun 2-ply wool, entirely from scratch!
Skirted, washed, combed, spun and plied - a long process, but quite satisfying. The wool has a beautiful lustre but is a bit scratchy. The white wool is from Spælsau sheep, the black from Blæset sau (crossbred), from local animals wandering  in the higher mountain areas all summer.

Zig zag band; linen and wool. 2.1 cm wide, 182 cm long. I treated myself to a beautiful "Sami style" weaving shuttle from Ampstrike on Etsy, the best shuttle for pick up weaving that I know of!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Dyeing yarn with lichens

Lately, I have been roaming the ancient forest tracks like an old witch, looking for fallen lichens on the path, and for some on trees and stones. I also scraped a lot of lichens off a recently felled tree in our garden. The lichens I brought home are excessively abundant in my area, so no harm is done to their diversity. Here are some pictures of the beautiful colours that appeared:


Usnea, from fir trees, ammonia extraction.

Tree moss (elghornslav), pseudeverina furfuracea

Iceland Moss (islandslav), cetraria islandica

Unknown lichen from stone.

Parmelia saxatilis, I think, (grå fargelav) from a stone, orange colours from simmering,
 the light brown colour  from ammonia extraction.

Parmelia? This lichen gives exactly the same shades as parmelia saxatilis.
It looks different though.


My first and new spinning wheel! A Louet Julia. 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hand spun and hand knitted

Here are two projects made almost entirely from scratch: A yak down hat and mittens from corriedale sheep wool with a pattern from Joelahtme in Estonia.
I spun the yak down on support spindles and the sheep wool with drop spindles. Pattern and technical  details on Ravelry...




Leftover yarn from knitting the mittens, and my homemade nøstepinne from rowan wood. 




Mitten madness

Some photos of finished pairs of black and white mittens that I have not been able to part with:





 

Sheepskin blanket

Last year I attended a course in making blankets from sheepskin, "skinnfell", a traditional craft from Norway. Before modern blankets, duvets and bed sheets, people used two blankets made of sheep skins: one to lie upon and another as a cover, with the wool on the inside and the skin on the outside. Sometimes the skins were decorated with wooden printing blocks.
My sheepskin was made from 4 skins, big enough to serve as a cozy afghan on cold winter evenings. The most difficult part of this project was designing the printed skin-side, and deciding which printing blocks to use. There were so many beautiful patterns to choose from!









Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sixteenth century scarf


Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their houres;
And clouds their stormes discharge
Upon the ayrie towres.
Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups o'erflow with wine,
Let well-tun'd words amaze
With harmonie diuine.
...

Thomas Campion


Pattern from "Schoen Neues Modellbuch", Nurnberg 1597,  
 for all to see on the Internet, thanks to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. 
Made with lace weight wool and a 1.75 mm hook in the ultra-modern (18th century?) yarn technology named crochet.