Dyeing and Spinning Workshop 2017

Dyeing and Spinning Workshop 2017

I will be holding another beginner’s spinning workshop on the 28th and 29th of October. This year, it is two days and will include learning the basics of dyeing with natural materials. I will have it at my studio and students can also meet my sheep and see where it all begins. The first day will consist of choosing dye materials, discussion on mordants and doing a little spinning. The second day we will actually dye a skein of wool and each student will have the finished product to carry home. On the second day we will advance on the spinning wheel. It should be lots of fun and space will be limited to 5 students. If you attend and have your own wheel or access to one, please bring it along. We will break each day for a light lunch (provided). Below are the details on time and cost but if you have any other questions and if you want to attend, you can contact me on this website or on Facebook at Meet the Wool. Hope to see you soon! Where: Alder Cottage, Callura, Ballinruan, Clare When: 28/29 October 10AM – 5PM Fee: €135 includes all materials and lunch each day Name(required) Email(required) Website...
Autumn Workshop for Dyeing and Spinning

Autumn Workshop for Dyeing and Spinning

I’m organizing my third autumn spinning workshop for beginners this year. One day just hasn’t been enough time for students to practice much on the wheel, so this year’s will be held for two days….28th and 29th October. Also this year I’ll be showing how to dye wool using natural materials. On the first day, each student will choose his/her dye material and will prepare the materials. We will also be going over the basics of carding and spinning on the wheel. The second day will be spent dyeing each skein in the chosen material and spending most of the day practicing on the spinning wheels. Should be lots of fun for me as well as the attendees. More details are on my workshop page. In addition to getting organized for the workshop, I’ve been watching the lambs grow up. All three are healthy and already growing nice fleeces for next year. I’ve also been going on long walks in the forest with the dogs. The weather has been pretty good and I get ideas for colours for the yarn. This week I saw an unusual fungus growing along the edge of the path. Haven’t tried to identify it, but the orange colour would be great for yarns in autumnal colours. My new washing/dyeing shed has been busy, too, as I’m trying to get all this year’s fleeces clean and ready for the wheel. My least favourite job, but must be done. So, I’m up to my eyeballs with...
Cragganowen Spinning Day 2017

Cragganowen Spinning Day 2017

Yesterday I attended the 2nd Annual Cragganowen Spinning Day. Craggaunowen is a 16th-century castle and an archaeological open-air museum in County Clare, Ireland so it is a very appropriate venue for the ancient craft of spinning. The day was held inside the castle which provided just the right atmosphere. The women who attended traveled from as far away as Blarney to join in the spinning, sharing, and of course, laughter. We had quite a few interested visitors who were also able to observe weaving on a simple loom. The wool hanging on the wall are all dyed with natural plants. I attended last year and am already looking forward to the 3rd Cragganowen Spinning...
New:  Wool Washing and Dyeing Shed

New: Wool Washing and Dyeing Shed

I wanted to update you on our lambs, Zack Angel and Eliza. They are now 5 and 4 months respectively and continue to provide us with love and laughs. They will also be providing me with lovely, soft fleeces next summer. zack 5 months angel 5 months eliza 4 months I also am very proud and happy with a new shed that has been installed especially for washing, dyeing and storing the fleece. It was getting quite crowded in the spinning studio and my back was suffering from washing in the bath tub. Now I have huge wash tubs, a cooker for dyeing and space to store raw fleece and all my dyes and supplies. Makes life a lot easier! Washing/dyeing shed Huge wash tubs Cooker for dyeing Dyes, mordants and supplies Loads of fleece storage Now that lots of wildflowers and hedgerows are in bloom, I’ve been doing more experimenting with natural dyes. The most recent were with meadowsweet flowers and heather tops. meadowsweet and heather heather tops The meadowsweet gives a subdued yellow on its own and then I overdyed with indigo, resulting in a green. The heather tops provided a nice rich taupe colour.   I’ve also frozen some dye plants for use over the winter and will see how they turn out. I will be planning a couple of dyeing and spinning workshops in the autumn, probably late October or early November. I will be posting the details on this website in about two weeks. The lichen (Ochrelechia) dyed wool which I posted about previously has been spun into a lovely yarn. I blended the...
Dyeing Wool with Lichen

Dyeing Wool with Lichen

All the lambs are well and thriving, but Daisy seems a little stressed these days due to rearing triplets. I’m now learning about our Irish lichens and the methods for identifying, collecting and preparing them for dyeing. There are some ethical guidelines for collecting: 1. Use a field guide for your geographic region. I’m finding Lichens of Ireland by Paul Whelan helpful. 2. Use only those lichens that are abundant. 3. Leave nine-tenths of the lichens undisturbed at the sites where you collect. 4. Do not purchase or sell lichens to other dyers. 5. Do not use lichen dyes for large textile projects. 6. Avoid group collecting. A very good source book is Lichen Dyes by Karen Casselman. Using lichens can become technical and time consuming, but very much worth the effort. I was fortunate recently to receive lichen from a friend who had already prepared them for dyeing. Lichens normally need to be fermented in ammonia or boiled in water in order to extract the colours. I then boiled the fermented lichen to make the dye bath. I was very conservative and used 15 grams of lichen to 100 grams of wool. The first result was a beautiful deep purple. There was still enough colour in the bath to dye 300 grams more wool, 100 grams each time. These are the resulting shades of purple. The more I dye with natural plants, the more amazed I am at the results. I still have a lot to learn about natural dyeing, but will enjoy discovering new colours from new plants. Happy...