Thursday, 10 January 2008

Fibres for spinning and a little on inks

Over the last year my spinning wheel has been calling plaintively to me from a corner of my sitting room. Every now and again I dusted it and wondered if I would ever get back to spinning. You have to understand 1. I don't knit ,can't knit 2. I don't weave- hence my love for crochet and only free form crochet. This is because I cannot be creative and count! 3. I am an evening spinner. Until last January my evenings were not really free as I looked after my dearly beloved father and he was usually here till 9pm then somehow I could not get my head round it and then I found ( and this shows how long it is since I spun) my lendrums's string for the single drive band bit had perished which I might add caused me to go into total panic mode but fortunately I was rescued by Martin of PM Woolcraft.
This Christmas DS's firmly plonked the TV into our sitting room, and suddenly here we are back to DH watching TV a little and me watching along with him and spinning! What am I spinning? A Shetland /Ryeland cross that my dear friend Anne persuaded me to buy. I have been washing and dyeing it throughout this winter with I might add the intention of making up packs of it for the wool festival Wonderwool. I gave some to Anne -mistress spinner- to sample and loved the resulting textured yarn so much I decided to do some too! ( quite different from Leigh's ( Leigh's fibre Journall) beautifully spun Shetland !)Plus I love love love the colour I have dyed it. It has been multidyed with extract dyes. Green from Living Colour and logwood purple, logwood grey from Earthues. Then I had a mad moment and ordered some bowmont from Lesley Prior. What am I thinking of I need a new project like a hole in the head.
This alongside the rapidly expanding project looking at natural dye inks!, My now fully booked workshop next week Leaves of Gossamer Felt ( and I have all the packs to do) a commission to dye 1.5kilos of merino tops for medieval felt maker Rachel Frost, a commission to make a bag ( for which I need to dye the fibres. ) Quite mad!
On the Inks. I now have the Artists materials that Dorothy of Dot's fibres to Fabrics recommended in a previous post. I am waiting for a book on medievallpaints and a few people directed me to Forty Centuries of Ink by David Carvalho which I have now ordered too. In the meantime the subject has inspired Natural Dyes Online and Ruth Schooley has kindly sent me a couple of papers on Chinese ink which I started reading today.
One of the interesting comments that came out of Natural Dyes Online is that whether something is ink or paint depends on what one does ie writes or paints. Although the more I think about this the more I think that this is not quite right still maybe my reading will illuminate this. I can't help thinking that inks are fluids and paints originally solid at least in the West.
The other I like is that apparently cornflowers were used to make a blue ink so I will need to grow some cornflowers.
It's getting late so off to bed.


  1. Going to bed, I'm still working!!! Hope you haven't forgotten my merino tops to go to Rachel as well!
    Must admit that reading your blog is inspiring me to and play again. I sympathise with the not being able to spin because of time - evenings are no longer my own!
    I'm working with lots of filament silk yarns at the moment for the National Museum of Wales, so thanks for the inspiration even if I can't put it into practice at the moment - One day we'll play together again!

  2. Helen, that yarn is absolutely gorgeous!!! I love the color and the texture. It's making me hungry for something besides the plain vanilla spinning I've been doing lately.

  3. Hi Debbie the Fishwife -sorry should hve added your commission to the list-350g of madder dyed merino tops! I haven't forgotten! I hope that you are not working too hard although filament silk yarn sound intriguing.

    Thnaks Leigh for your praise- I know just what you mean one can get a real hunger for colour!