Category Archives: dyeing

Product names I never thought use…

As well as dyeing yarn and fibre and trying to weave as much as possible, I am also a teacher… and last week I worked three and a half days supply in a school that, although not massively far away from me, required a chunk of motorway commuting, which is the only reason I can account for the fact that it took me nearly an entire week to stumble across Countess Ablaze’s post about her response to some plagiarism.

It’s a funny thing, dyeing… in many ways there is only so much you can do that is innovative in terms of technique, so that brings the distinguishing feature for a number of us down to colour. What dyes we use, how we mix up our own combinations from the originals, how intense we make the dye solutions and so on. Those of you who know me well will know that I have made no secret of how much I love the work done by Jon of EasyKnits, and I think you could see that starting point in my own dyeing as I set up the busiess, in as much as I love to use bright intense colours at times. But for all I love Jon’s dyeing, I tend to avoid his social media presence these days, because I am utterly petrified that I would inadvertently copy one of his colourways. So to find out that someone has purchased a skein of If I Want Exposure, I’ll Get My Tits Out, an limited edition Countess Ablaze colourway sold specifically to raise money for a cause, and then produced their own version to sell for profit is infuriating.

But the thing about the Countess is, she may be ragey, but she’s classy ragey. She has released the name into the wild and encouraged other indy dyers to make their own version, inspired by the original colourway, with at least £3 per skein going to a charity of their choice. Its since been widened out to designers and notions makers too, with a percentage again going to charity. All products will launch on individual sellers’ platforms at 12 noon BST on Sunday 1st July and sellers can choose how much or how little they sell, and how long for.

So, baring in mind I decided to jump in at less than a week’s notice to launch, I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve come up with. First up is If I Want Exposure I’ll Get My Tits Out With The Sheep, dyed on one of my favourite fibre blends, 70% Grey Shetland and 30% Tussah Silk. I use magenta, violet and orange on coloured fibre quite often because I love the way the coloured fibre gives a depth and richness, but I’ve used a stronger concentration than I normally would. Each braid moves from dark to lighter tones and features magenta, orange lemon, purple and violet. I’ve dyed 6 100g braids which will sell at £13, with £3 per braid going to my chosen charity, The Joshua Tree.

With the Sheep - Grey Shetland Tussah Silk

In terms of the yarn, I’ve gone for handpaints. Every single skein of yarn is painted separately, so every single skein is different – in some, the colours have spread out more, or blended together more. This is the joy of hand paints! Again, I’ve used magenta, orange, lemon, purple and violet in stronger concentrations that I do usually. This colourway is If I Want Exposure I’ll Get My Tits Out Halfway Up A Mountain and I’ve dyed 6 skeins of Mobberley 4 ply, my custom blend of 70% Exmoor Blue Face 30% British Alpaca (100g, 333m).

Halfway Up A Mountain - Mobberley 4ply
I will also put some pre-orders up for other bases, which will of course, take the dye slightly differently, but I’ll save that for another blog post at the weekend. It’s looking like there will be at least one brand new base though! Again, £3 for each skein will go to The Joshua Tree. This is a charity providing support to families across the North West of England and into North Wales who are dealing with childhood cancer. As a teacher I’ve seen the upheaval childhood cancer can cause in family life, particularly in terms of education of the child with cancer and, often inadvertently forgotten,  their siblings. The Joshua Tree provides emotional and practical support and their help is beyond value.
So… watch out over the next few days as the woolly social media is flooded with the #titsoutcollective hashtg. I never thought I’d be be getting my tits out, but it seems like I am…

Artboard 1@2x

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Fancy A Voyage of Discovery?

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It seems amazing to me that we are already looking at the end of the first moth of 2018. It feels like but a short time ago I was halfway through college, and now look where we are!

If you want to know about my recent college journey and what I’ve done since it finished, I recommend you catch up on the last few episodes of the podcast (Episodes 96 onwards). Whilst I was reviewing the weaving journey I’ve been on, and also thinking about my visit to Skye last year, I dreamt up the Voyager Fibre Club.

The Voyager Fibre Club is a chance to widen your horizon with a fibre and exclusive colourway inspired by a geographical, historical or scientific journey. Every other month you will receive 100g of fibre, dyed in an exclusive colourway inspired by the journey theme. The fibre might be 100% breed specific, or it may be a blend, but will always contain at least 70% British or British Overseas Territory wool. Some months the fibre may be a familiar friend; other times it may be a custom blend specifically created for the club!

You can choose to order a parcel of 100g, 200g or 300g of the fibre; prices start from £15 for one instalment of 100g or £40 for three consecutive instalments of 100g.

Clubs will be sent out by the 28th of the month in March, May, July, September and November and the price includes postage within the UK. Additional postage will apply for locations outside of the UK.

The deadline to register for the March 2018 instalment is March 14th unless the club sells out beforehand. Registration opens to the public on the 1st February and spaces are limited. I can’t wait for you to join me on this Voyage!

Nic x

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Guest Blog: Diane from Eco-Stitch

Today sees the first in a number of upcoming guest blogs linked to the Cheshire Fibre Festival. Without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Diane
Hi,

My name is Diane and I’m the founder of Eco-stitch, based in Cheshire in the UK.

We source top-quality linen yarn from just across the Channel, where you can find the best flax-growing area in the world, which results from ideal climate conditions and centuries of know-how in flax cultivation and linen production.

We hand-dye this beautiful fibre using low-impact, non-toxic dyes and transform it from this:

Diane 1

into this:
diane 2 Diane 3

Knitting has been my hobby for years, and I recently took up crochet again. I love natural fibres, but I only discovered linen about 18 months ago, and I just fell in love with this beautiful, ancient fibre with so many natural qualities. It is also a very eco-friendly yarn which can be used in many different crafts, hence the name “eco-stitch”. I felt that linen yarn was really quite under-represented in the UK and wanted to promote its wonderful natural qualities, which you can read about in more detail on our website, www.eco-stitch.co.uk.

I will be attending the Cheshire Fibre Festival on October 1st with our hand-dyed linen yarn. You will be able to see all the different colours and skeins in real life.

CFF logo

In the meantime, you can take a look at what we have to offer on our website shop.

Hope to see you soon at the event,     Diane.

 

Thank Diane. I have to admit I have mainly used linen in weaving, where I love the fabric it creates. I can’t wait to see the line of products at CFF in October.

Cheshire Fibre Festival

Saturday 1st October 2016

10am-4pm

The Hall at Marthall

Sandlebridge Lane

Marthall

Knutsford

WA16 7SB

Free entry and parking

Refreshments available (proceeds to Bloodwise)

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Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble…

I swear, when those dye pots start going, I cannot stop myself stooping over, wringing my hands and cackling like one of Macbeth’s witches. I just want to show you a peek here of some grey yarn.

Ok, so the picture isn’t that fantastic, but can you see the sparkles?! This is a new base, 96% Falkland merino and 4% Lurex, which is giving it the sparkle factor. It is a UK spun DK, with 240m approx. in 100g. I haven’t yet got a name for this little beauty, although some lovely people on Facebook have made suggestions. So this is your chance! All bar one of my yarn bases are names after Cheshire place names, so what should this one be? I’m thinking the sparkle suggests some glamour, so have at it people! make some suggestions!

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A Sneak Peek!

I’m planning on casting on a Hansel Hap by Shetland Trader to join in the Knit British Hap-a-long that starts tomorrow. I was originally going to use some Rowan Scottish Tweed that has been in my stash for a v.e.r.y. long time, but it is only in 3 colours and there is only enough for a Half Hansel.

What to do?

Well, doh! I could dye some yarn…

I have a new base, a toothsome North Ronaldsay 2ply, 550m for 100g, so I decided to have a play yesterday. Seems I went a little mad…

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Oops! This yarn will be ideal for colourwork where you need grippy yarn. It is rustic and ideal for out wear like the Hansel Hap. I am so looking forward to winding up a cornucopia of mini skeins and launching them in a few weeks. Keep a look out!

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Just a little something…

Ok, so I know it’s a bit quiet over here as we build everything (who am I trying to kid? As my web designer friend builds everything!) but I thought I would show you some yarn…

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Mobberley Aran in Bewitched

Last year I dyed a colourway, Bewitched, on my Mobberley 4ply base. Mobberley is a custom spun yarn, 70% Exmoor Blueface, 30% British Alpaca. It proved popular, but someone messaged me on Etsy to ask if I had it on any heavier bases. Not one to refuse a challenge, I picked up the gauntlet ad set to to dye it on both the DK and the Aran weight bases. I’ve had to change the technique slightly, as I heat set the original 4 ply in the microwave, and that has now bitten the dust, but I still love it! Both can be found in the shop.

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Inspiration

I’m often asked what inspires me, but I never have a simple answer. Sometimes I’m influenced by the seasons and the colours I see in the garden. Often in the autumn I find myself dyeing with rich oranges, russets and browns, as if I am trying to capture the very leaves in my dye pots.
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In the Spring I often end up dyeing lots of fresh greens and purples. It must be the crocuses!
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Sometimes I’m just in a particular mood and want to explore the limits of one particular colour or combination of colours. Lately, it’s been greens and blues:
Cheviot Blue and Green Music

Cheviot Freshwater 2

Wherever my mood takes me, though, it’s great fun exploring!

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