What’s new in Dyeables

There are so many awesome things to which you can add color! Wool, silk, mohair – locks, top, yarn. Each fiber and prep works a little different with the color. Luster, staple length, breed. These factors effect how the fiber takes the dye.

For quite some time I’ve been offering ecru combed top in various breeds. Basically whatever I’m currently dyeing is available for you to dye too. When I get a new 22 lb bump, I set aside two to three pounds and offer them in 8 ounce bags.

Now that I’ve started dyeing yarn more regularly, there’s yarn in the shop! Right now you’ll find 4 ounce hanks of Targhee in heavy worsted weight.

Greener Shades heavy metal free dyes are perfect for all protein fibers. If you aren’t quite ready for that, try splashing on a bit of Kool-Aid. It smells fruity and gives you some pretty jazzy colors.

The fibers can be dyed before or after spinning. I like to do both. Dyeing the fiber first gives you a lot of options if you don’t like the way the color comes out. You can card the fiber or rearrange the layout as you spin. However, spinning ecru fiber and dyeing after is fun too! There are so many ways to experiment and play, it never gets old.

What goodies can you pick up at the Studio?

  • Blue-faced Leicester Wool/Silk combed top (8 oz bag)
  • Targhee Wool/Silk/Bamboo combed top (8 oz bag)
  • Cheviot Wool combed top (8 oz bag)
  • Ecru Sampler combed top (6 oz bag)
  • Natural colored domestic roving (2 oz ball)
  • Firestar nylon (1/2 oz bag)
  • Mohair combed top (2 oz bag)
  • Mohair roving (30 g bag)
  • Heavy worsted weight Targhee Wool yarn (4 oz hank)
  • Silk scarf blanks (35″ SQ, 21″ SQ, 8″x72″)

tiptoe into comfort

For some reason I had the desperate urge to try wet felting. It’s likely due in part to my dad planting the idea in my head. He wants a pointy felted hat. He sent me links with patterns. He asks if I looked at the links. He whispers “felted hat” into my ear when he hugs me. So that might have something to do with it. INCEPTION! Regardless, I found myself alone Saturday afternoon and decided to give this thing a shot.

I started with child sized slippers, as recommended by the book I was referring to, Felting by Hand by Anne Einset Vickrey. The instructions were easy enough. Wool? Check! Soap? Check! Water? Yep! And instead of doing test samples, I just got into it. I don’t swatch either.

best three attempts

The first slipper came out great. Or at least my definition of great. It felt even and solid. The shape was pleasant. It’s at the front in the picture. The second one (second in the picture) came out weird. There were thin spots and it just didn’t look as sturdy. The third one is not pictured because it failed completely. And by the fourth I needed some spice, so I threw in a few locks of dyed wool. They ended up approximately 6 inches by 3 inches, just to give you an idea. Next I’m making a pair for me!

first slipper

fourth slipper

need to detash

It’s been on my mind lately. My woolroom is overflowing with so much fiber that I’ll never get to all of it. I know that isn’t unusual — stash enhancement beyond life expectancy is rather common among us. But, I just know there are things buried in here that I will never use. I can’t get to it all, and I’d rather have space for things I want! Therefore, I’ve gone through my stash and pulled out all sorts of things that I want to unload. There’s lots of spinning fiber. Bits of fleeces, weird batts, dyed roving, undyed tidbits. And yarn too, but it’s all commercial. Some are brand new balls, others have been used a bit. At least I don’t have very much of that hanging around.

It will first be available at the Autumn Fiber Event (Stashbusters Swap Meet). There will be a table in my booth with all of the DESTASH goodies. I’m planning to sort through the fiber and price it based on size/weight. But there will only be 2 or 3 different prices. And I’m not labeling things. I’ll do the same with the yarn. Used balls will be one price and unused another price. After the event, I’m going to take whatever is left and make grab bags. Those I will have listed in the shop.

Honestly, this represents seven years of collecting. There are a few items in there that I bought when I first started spinning. It’s just not interesting to me anymore. Time to move on. Time to clear it out!

follow-up: dye day

There are a few things I am good at.

  1. Procrastinating.
  2. Making a mess when cooking.
  3. Dyeing colors that clash.

mismatched colors
Handdyed locks. Corriedale cross. Romney. BFL/Merino cross.

As you can see, these are the locks that I dyed on Monday. Individually they are okay, but together… ugh! I am not the type of dyer that has a pretty little palette of colors in her head when she gets to work. Instead I pour this or that in a pot. Not even thinking about it as I go. Sometimes I take a bit of dye out of one pot and add it to another. Colors blend and swirl. It’s always a bit of a mysterious adventure.

bfl/merino cross
Handdyed locks. BFL/Merino cross.

I suppose a few of these could work together without assaulting the eyes. Now I’ve got to get them bagged up, weighed, and labeled before the weekend. Will you be coming to Woolfest?

Back to those batts…

I spent two days last week working with my drumcarder, experimenting with color, texture, fiber. It was much more interesting than any other time I’d spent with Whiskers. The sandwich technique helped me to incorporate several different colors/fibers without overblending. I used to put one color through, than another, and card it again and again. It blended them quite effectively, but perhaps too much. Plus I wasn’t using high contrast colors. So they were nice, but not striking.


I realized that, having an older machine with short teeth, I will never have those huge, lofty batts I’ve seen other places. It is what it is. Rich suggested layering a couple batts to get a heftier weight, since individually they are rather small. Also, I’ve been working on a few different tagging options. Along with the ribbon, I have a small, brief tag or a longer tag with more info. At this point I am not sure how I want to display these or label them. Suggestions?

Longer, more informative tag.

Smaller tag with logo only.


batts  batts

friday’s question

Several years ago, when I was in college, I was given an older Fricke drumcarder. It was being discarded by the university art department since they no longer had a fiber program. Someone rescued it for me and ever since it has haunted me. They usually cost$500-700 new, so to get one for free is amazing. However, I was intimated by it for a long time. I used it a bit at first, just making batts of a single color. Then I tried a bit of blending, but nothing too exciting. Seeing how popular art batts are right now, I wanted to try to make them, but I had no idea how to get there. Until I came across a video on YouTube posted by Ashley Martineau of Neauveau Fiber Arts. It talked about making a “sandwich” with the fibers and then sending it through the carder. Of course, mine aren’t nearly as thrilling as the ones she makes, but generally I’m excited to be making these and more importantly, using my drumcarder!

a day of carding

Question: Is there anything you have been intimated to try? How did you overcome your “fear” of it? Have you worked on anything new this week? What encourages you to try new things?