This week was filled with doing custom orders and something very exciting: the birth of a new blend soon to take centre stage , so keep your eyes peeled : hopefully in the next month or so all will be revealed. Safe to say, I have been having a ball trying to put different fibres together. People often ask me how do I determine a new blend? Is it by colour? By micron? by softness? What determines a nice blend and what fibres can be put together?
Safe to say, I am not a “purist”..lol…I do tend to mix and match all different fibres with all different gradients and all different levels of softness and staple length.
Ofcourse there are “rules but it is so much more fun thinking outside of the box. There are rules in spinning mills because they don’t want to soil the milling process so all needs to be one particular colour, they don’t want to mess up and get short and long staple lengths together because the machine will cough up nepps and short bits all over the place. BUT, we are not machines, when you do things by hand or on a small scale, like using a mini mill or blending by hand using a blending hackle or combs or a drum carder, you can make a magical blend of anything you want !. That way it is so much fun to spin and make your own magic happening! Be surprised at the different elements coming together in your own hand spun yarn.
I guess I have always been a dreamer and thinking of new creative things, whether it be in fibre, painting, writing or discovering new ways of doing things. The most important thing about being a dreamer is remembering the dream when you wake up and act on it immediately or write it down. Don't ever let it slip away. Dreams can come true and you are the onlly one who can make it happen. Never ever think along the lines of: I cannot do this or cannot do that. the worst thing that can happen is that you have tried and it comes out differently than you anticipated and maybe even better ...!
When you think about it: a lot of great inventions or beautiful things have been created by mistake. Mistakes, trial and errors are good for the soul: so, open your mind, let your dreams colour your soul and most of all: Have fun and say to yourself; Anything goes !!!!!!
This week I can show you two types of yarns I have been working on: a uniformly spun 3ply luxury yarn: made up of angora, lambswool, cashmere and mink no less (a NEW IxCHeL yarn!!!) and a 4 ply hemp bunny and hemp cotton yarn.
The hemp bunny yarn was carded up together with some ice blue sparkles and is a blend of 50% angora and 50% hemp: it is luscious and soft while still having that strong character the hemp fibres give to it. The other one is a soft strong shint hemp cotton yarn:; the hemp was spun very fine and then plied with fine cotton thread. So those two different yarns are on offer to you this week ! Enjoy!
I am continuously preparing fibres and yarns and dyepots, this week was no different. So this week I wanted to tell you all about dyeing with Osage Orange (Maclura Pomifera) is a tree that grows in North America where it is also known as the hedge apple. It bears large inedible orange fruits and the heartwood provides the dye stuff, like shavings, chips or as a concentrated dye powder. If you are using wood chips soak them overnight before starting the dyeing to obtain a stronger dye. Dry them after use and re use them for a lighter colour !.
Osage orange to me is very special. It always meant a very magical tree for me and in Native American culture it was a very important and versatile wood: it is a great wood for making bows. I am fortunate to own beautiful osage orange spindles and a needle case :
Do you need to use mordants? Yes you do. The type of mordants you use has a huge effect on what colours you getThis time yo can use alum as a mordant.
So, here is a recipe to dye with osage orange:
100 grams of protein fibres
5grams of concentrated dry osage orange powder or a 100grams of sahvings or chips you soaked over night
about 4 liters of rainwater (yes, rainwater is best, because the chemicals added to drinking water will change the colours or have different effects on your natural dyeing)
alum as a mordant...10grams
cream of tartar as a modifier, 7 grams
if you are using the concentrate powder , make a paste first and then add it to the water, if you are using chips of shavings make sure you have soaked them overnight! And ! keep them in a muselin or onion bag in the dyepot, otherwise your yarn will touch the wood and you will get it all over the place in your yarn or fibres (talk about vm..lol) also this direct contact can make your fibres “spotty “looking so beware !
Add your yarn or fibres to the dyebath and simmer it on low. Never let it boil! Do not take the fibres or yarn out of the dyebath. Let it all cool down naturally or, until you like the depth of colour in your yarn or fibre.
Take it out, rinse it all in luke warm to cool water and dry in the shade. Voila! Your own magical osage orange recipe ! Welcome to the magical world of natural dyeing !
Dates to Remember:
Sunday 29th-September 2013 from 9.30am to 3 pm
And now: drumroll!!!!
Hand dyed IxCHeL Luxury 3 ply yarn
a unique IxCHeL blend of Angora Rabbit (50%) Lambswool 30%, cashmere 15% and mink 5%
this yarn has 400meters per 50grams , it is super light, is the perfect super soft exquisite yarn for your special luxury project !
IxCHeL Handspun Hemp yarns
It is a 3-4ply weight yarn and has appr 530-540meters ! AU$32
It is super special yarn,, weighing 127 grams, a 4-5ply weight and has +/- 520-540meters. A unique yarn for a unique project ! AU$35