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Dyed Wool and Fibres

Dyed Wool and Fibres

Last week I decided to dye some wool and fibres. I used up quite a lot of my dyed texturey wools when making batts recently, so I wanted to to restock those and thought I’d do a few fibres while i was making a mess. I ended up having to do it over three days, and it made a right mess, but it was worth it in the end 🙂 I bought some white Kent Romney lambswool to try for adding texture, I had a little bit of scoured Falkland fleece left over too so added that:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve bought commercially dyed silk noil before, but it really isn’t good compared to the small amount I dyed once, so I thought I’d give that another go:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also dyed some Tussah Silk tops – a good tip for anyone wanting to dye small amounts of fibre tops is to separate the amount you want to dye while the tops are dry, and soak them separately, it isn’t easy when they’re wet!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used the same shades to dye some Soy top as I had on the Silk, and though they look similar, they soy definitely looks a lot shinier:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANeither of them come close to the colours and shine of the Milk though, but I did do these on a separate day and they weren’t the same lot of dyes:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the last minute I decided I wanted to dye some Gotland, Teeswater and Wensleydale locks. These were all raw, unwashed, so the night before my last lot of dyeing I gave some locks a shampoo and rinse. From top to bottom: Gotland, Teeswater and Wensleydale.

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Teeswater locks
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI do have some more stuff waiting to be photographed, some Bluefaced Leicester wool and locks, soy staple fibre and carded lambswool, I’ll add those to my ‘supplies’ album on flickr when I get good enough light. The last one I’ve got for now is Trilobal Nylon (sometimes labelled as ‘Firestar’ and sold at exorbitant prices) cheap nylon tops. The photo hasn’t really picked it up, but it has a lot of sparkle and these dyed really well:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf anyone is interested in dyeing smallish amounts of fibres, I did a small tutorial on it a while ago: http://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/direct-dyeing1.pdf  luckily this time, I had my fold out table for a larger work area! I used acid dyes which are good for protein fibres (animal fibres, soy, milk, silk, and nylon too as it is a synthetic version of silk).  I have tried it on bamboo before too and got some nice, pale results, so it’s worth trying a sample or two 🙂

Teeswater and Needle Felting

Teeswater and Needle Felting

I know the last post I did about natural wools and fibres featured Viscose as well, but after Ruth’s post about Wensleydale, I thought I’d show a piece that I’d made using ‘curly’ wool too, though this is Teeswater. I do have some raw Teeswater locks that I bought from Sara’s Texture Crafts, but for this I just used commercial Teeswater tops. Tops can be quite deceiving as it isn’t always obvious what the characteristics of the wool are, and they often all look quite similar. Until they’re felted that is. You don’t get quite the same results as using washed and combed or carded wool, but a lot of the features do ‘come back’ once the wool has been wet. By hand,  I blended some black viscose in with the Teeswater tops for the top layer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhere the wool and fibre are blended well it has a greyish look to it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd some parts are a bit more defined.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the back of the piece, I just love the look of felt like this 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADoing a needlefelted piece for Marilyn’s Monet Challenge got me in the mood for doing some more. So far I’ve wet felted the backgrounds for 3 pieces, and finished one of them. I played around with a photo I took a few years ago at the beach in Crosby, not far from Liverpool:

Then I needle felted a piece based on it:

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Finished Texture Piece

Finished Texture Piece

I mentioned in my last post that I’d finished my white texture piece that I’ve talked about recently.  Here is the photo from the last post of it all sewn up.  I finally managed to get a bright enough day to take a photograph.  With all of the locks it’s really quite big, so I had to take it outside and photograph it on a large piece of cardboard.  It’s roughly 16 inches x 11 inches, but the locks at the bottom are almost 11 inches long.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wanted to try something different, so when I laid it out I left a space in the centre without any wool then added a piece of cotton gauze after the second layer of wool.  It was here that I added the wool locks around the edges as well.  I then added another two layers of wool. The surface texture around the edge of the gauze is soybean top, a piece of cotton gauze and silk noil.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn this close-up, you can see a few wisps of wool have crept behind the gauze.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe wool locks all kept their shape really well and none of them tangled together.  The Angora, Wensleydale and Teeswater locks in this next photo show how nicely they turned out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI kept the whole texture piece soft and spongey by using wools like English 56s, Swaledale, Texel and Cheviot.  For surface texture I used cotton gauze, scoured Bluefaced Leicester and Wensleydale as seen in this photo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also used Mohair, wool nepps, raw Gotland, Teeswater and Wensleydale locks, and embellishment fibres soybean top and silk noil.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m really pleased with the way it turned out, especially the gauze panel in the centre.  Doing this piece has given me some good ideas for future projects.

January Projects

January Projects

I’ve been trying to find ways of having a few projects on the go so I can work on them for a few minutes at a time where possible. A few months ago, I posted about a couple of felt pieces I’d made with the intention of practising stitches for the Take A Stitch Tuesday challenge. I didn’t keep up with the challenge, so had the pieces spare. I decided to add some stitching to the first piece. This is how it looked originally. I started by machine stitching around the patches of colour.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOver the next couple of days, I added some hand stitched straight stitches, first in in yellow and then added some in orange.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother project I got started on this week is a white texture felt piece. Liz from That Fuzzy Feeling blog, recently made a gorgeous piece of texture felt and it inspired me to make one. I decided to make a natural white one, so I got to play with (and smell!) my collection of wool, alpaca and mohair locks. They are mostly unwashed so my hands felt really nice afterwards.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first day I managed to get as far as laying it out and sewing up around the edges.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere are some of the gorgeous locks I positioned around the edges:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo far, I’ve managed to add the stitches from the top to the bottom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanks to Ruth for encouraging us to find ways to fit in a few minutes of fibre time each day, I’ve managed to get a lot more done this week than I otherwise would have. It might not be much each day, but before long, it all adds up to finished projects I wouldn’t have had without the challenge 🙂

Felt Birdpods and natural wool

Felt Birdpods and natural wool

I really liked the way my first bird pod turned out last week, so I decided to make a couple more. I recently got some dark brown Corriedale and thought it wold be nice to try one with that. Like the first one, I started off with a couple of layers of Merino, natural brown this time, and again added the locks before the top two layers of Corriedale. I added some washed Gotland fleece and some bamboo fibre to the top for extra interest and really liked how it turned out. The bamboo started to look ‘rusty’ in places. I gave this to my mum today and she really liked it.

The last pod I made was an all white one for my girlfriend. I made this a little larger because I wanted to use extra locks. I started this one with two layers of English 56s. The locks I used were Teeswater, Mohair and older Angora goat locks. Teeswater locks are really long, some of the ones I had were 15 or 16 inches, I used those across the top to come out at both sides. The top two layers were merino 64s, then for extra texture I added some combed teeswater tops, Angora and Mohair locks, some very crimpy Bluefaced Leicester, and some carded bamboo fibre. Even if we never get birds nesting in these, they’ll look good with the locks swaying in the wind 🙂

Staying with the ‘natural’ theme, one of my other natural wool and fibre combinations I tried recently was grey Norwegian tops and Milk protein fibre. I liked the way the crimp and wave of the Norwegian wool appeared after felting, it really gave it an interesting texture. And the way it pulled on the milk protein fibre, which was already waving from being pulled by the shrinking felt, gave that an interesting texture too, and made it more rippley. I really like the way those two worked together. I’d be interested in any of your favourite wool and fibre combinations.

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