Sunday, 15 November 2009

Fine Stoles in natural dyes

Sunday 15th
When I was at the Real Colour Show at Llanidloes in mid Wales a local shop l'Amoire, bought all my fine stoles of which I had three, a fine felt collar and a fine felt scarf.,This means I have now sold all I have made which is enormously satisfying. So now I am starting to make some more! These are being made using 17.5 micron Merino that one of my students at Lincoln Summer School told me about-and which I got from Adelaide Walker in Yorkshire. Thanks to Bettina of Woolly Bits I have also bought a kilo of 16 micron merino from Germany. These are all Merino's from South Africa and so not from sheep which have been muled. Yesterday I dyed my first 100g of this -worried that being so fine it might felt-but it seems to be okay. Today however I am going to make a stole in terracotta using cashmere and silk as the first layer and 17.5 micron merino on the top. I dyed the cashmere and silk yesterday using madder, cutch, osage orange, and cochineal extracts of natural dyes. This is now hanging from a chair in front of a wood burner drying out. It is a still a little damp.The 17.5 micron merino I dyed some while ago as I have a commission to make a stole in terracotta. The 16 micron will have to wait-it is drying and I don't want to hurry it and perhaps felt it!
Thursday 19th
The fine merino stole is still sitting wet and damp on my table waiting to be further felted. It won't come to harm like this but I had to put it on hold as I had a commission to dye fine merino and silks. A welcome bit on money in a quiet month. Yesterday I decided to try spinning again with Abergele Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers which meets at a lovely village in Llanfair TH on a wednesday afternoon. However we have had a lot of rain and as I drove and saw the flooded fields Ihad mny doubts about my wisdom in going. If you click on the link you will see what met my eyes as I came down the long hill into the village.
This is the 16micron dyed and ready to be felted


  1. Hello Helen! Glad you got home yesterday and didn't have to swim. The water went down very quickly in the valley yesterday, but I suspect it will be on its' way up again this afternoon. But then, that's what a flood plain is for.
    The good news is that I have mopped up the mess in my living room, the chimney is not leaking today, and the house is considerably tidier than when you saw it yesterday!
    I hope we will get to see some of your 16micron merino work soon - are the individual fibres actually visible!??

  2. Love the colors you got..I'm just starting on my journey with natural dyes...mostly have pastels so far.
    I have worked with some 18 micro merino and the pieces were sooooo soft. I also mixed it with buffalo down....pure luxury.

  3. The two stoles look pure tenderness and elegance to me, and I love the colours of the right one!

  4. Hi AC- I will try to remember to bring some to the next spinning event.I don't know about seeing the fibres but it feels very very soft.
    OOh Buffalo down sounds fantastic we don't get that over here.(sigh)
    Hi Ladka-that's the stole was the one I did for me but it was the one the owner of the shop really liked!

  5. I like the guild's blog, but sorry to see the flood waters. I hope today's weather won't cause more problems.

    Well done on the success of your pretty stoles!

    Re. buffalo down, I'm going to have to talk to one of our local farmers again, he was telling me that someone had once spun the undercoat from his highland cattle and made him a jacket, I wonder how soft it is?