Friday, 31 July 2009

Preparing ahead!

Tomorrow is Experimental Spinning at the guild and we're looking at spinning fat singles, dyeing them and slightly felting them. There are quite a few of these yarns for sale in the gallery and they are bright and interesting, so I had been requested for a session.

Spinning the singles is pretty fast and easy spinning. Take wool top, decide how much you need to split to get the thickness you want, split it and spin it. There's no drafting and very little twist. You want them to hold together but not overtwist. Too much and the yarn will be too harsh, dyed or not.

The dyeing is a different matter. We spend our time trying not to felt our yarn, now I want to felt it a bit, just enough to have the yarn hold together and look a little felted but you definitely don't want it to felt to each other.

My usual random dyeing methods are a good start. I use very little water, so this time I brought it to the boil, before putting the yarn in, hoping that the shock would start the felting process without too much agitation at this early stage. (Note to self: next time put a bit more water in then you wouldn't have to top it up at this stage!)

I sprinkle my dye and usually leave it to very,very,very gently simmer. This time I just let it boil, played with it too much and hoped that this would be enough for the effect.

I wound some balls of wool and waited till I was happy and was going to leave it to cool down, but thought that as a last insurance policy effort I would cool it down suddenly, again shocking the yarn.

This done, I now have to wait for the final dried yarn. I am happy with the result though am not sure how felted it was. I'll post another picture when dry.

For Experimental Spinning tomorrow, I'd like to try:
1. the same process with a slubby yarn. I assume the thinner bits won't felt as quickly as the fat bits.
2. using fleece. The problem here is that tops give you a very even yarn. The solution should be in using a drum carder. The final yarn should be different?
3. using a mix of wool top and machine washable wool top. Not sure how I'm going to spin that, and my machine washable top is a mix of grey and cream.
Enough experimenting for one day!

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