Dye-a-day #6: Cozy, in bulk!

A cheat post today.  I spent most of the weekend winding yarn into skeins for scouring and dyeing, and re-winding dyed yarns into retail-size skeins.  This is a box full of the ‘Cozy’ yarn I showed you yesterday; each skein is about 50g.

The bottom right of the box contains the “J’s choice” yarn that was actually featured in yesterday’s post; doesn’t it look different rewound?

My favourite, though, is the purple-bown-grey mix to its left.  Do click on the picture to biggen; the small version really doesn’t do it justice!  It’s another cold, grey day here, and I really, really wish I could curl up in the yarn pile and nap.  But not yet!

Dye-a-day #5: Cozy yarn for a chilly day

Wintery weather in Cambridgeshire – we had heavy, blowing snow this morning, and though it hasn’t settled, the air is bitterly cold and damp and the sky is still grey.  It’s just the sort of day to wrap up in warm, soft woollens – whether you’re outdoors or on the couch – so let me present ‘Cozy’!

This is a chunky singles yarn with low twist, dyed in mixed blues, purples and greens.  I’ve been working on some simple patterns in this yarn to showcase the lovely, saturated colours and squishy, warm texture.  Watch out for neck warmers, fingerless gloves and perhaps a hat or two in the near future!

My partner, J, chose the colours for this one, so until it finds itself another name, this colourway is “J’s choice”.  Oh – but the pink/yellow area at the top of the picture is one of those surprises that sometimes happens with dye – and all of a sudden, my manly man wasn’t quite so sure he wanted his name associated with these colours, after all!

Dye-a-day #4: Thick and thin yarn, and springy colours

Today, let’s look forwards to spring whilst still staying warm!  The super-springy ‘New leaves’ colourway is one of my favourites, and here I’ve used it on a luscious, thick-and-thin singles pure wool yarn that knits up quickly and creates really interesting texture with even the plainest stitches.

On a ‘photography’ note, this is the first of the dye-a-day photographs I’ve taken myself.  It didn’t use any fancy lighting, just a white back drop and my on-camera flash.  It’s OK, but not up to the standards I want!  I can see the texture of the background, there isn’t enough light, and what light there is, is bouncing back at the camera too much.  I didn’t really expect this to work as well as it did, because every time I try something as simple as this, I have massive problems with colour balance.  Perhaps it’s something to do with the greens and browns, which my camera captures really well!  Anyway, it’s a ‘baseline’ for my ongoing search for a simple and successful (and preferably cheap and compact!) yarn-photographing-setup.

Dye-a-day #3: This time, let’s have some yarn!

Bunnylace in ‘bramble vine’!  Bunnylace is a 2-ply heavy-lace-weight yarn, 80% wool and 20% angora.  It has a gorgeous, soft halo and feels unbelievably soft.  As a base yarn, it isn’t bright white, but has a slightly brown-grey hue; because of this and the angora content (I think), it takes dye more softly than other yarns, resulting in some really magical, ethereal effects.

This is one of my absolute favourite yarns to dye, and I have been longing to share it with you, but it is also unfortunately very difficult to photograph.  So here’s a swatch!

This is a solid colourway, ‘Granny Smith’, knit up in the Maple Leaf pattern from the shawl of the same name in ‘Victorian Lace Today’.  I love the definition of the stitches combined with the subtle halo – but oh, I wish I could blog in pet-o-vision!

Dye-a-day #2: Wensleydale roving in ‘Florentine’

How much fun?!?  Like the sheep themselves, Wensleydale roving is a bit unusual.  Wensleydale wool is *the* finest lustre longwool.  It’s not all ooshy-gooshy soft like merino or BFL – but it’s a lot of fun to spin, and it makes fantastic, strong, striking yarns.  I’ve spun a Wensleydale blend to laceweight for my Mystery Shawl 3 project, and it was easily the most consistent quantity of laceweight I’ve ever spun.

Wensleydale sheep themselves have an enormous quantity of cascading ringlets – see?

…and the ringlets come through in the roving as that marvellous ‘wave’ you can see in the roving1.

This is another wool that I can buy locally, and it makes me very, very happy indeed.  Wensleydale sheep are considered ‘very rare’, and if I can help support the breed, that’s got to be a good thing!

1 I can remember going to the Yorkshire Show as a child, and seeing a Wensleydale sheep in full fleece who was having a bit of a grumpy moment as its owner attempted to lead it to the ring.  It was bucking and rearing, and all that fleece was flying around it like a tangly, woolly halo.  My little brother thought it was the best thing he’d ever seen.

Official launch and dye-a-day!

Wheee!!  Launch time!  Welcome, welcome, welcome, everyone.  I am *so* excited to be launching this blog officially!

To celebrate, I’m going to follow the lead of Janet and her Scarfaday blog.  Yes, I’m going to make dye-a-day posts for the rest of February!  By the time the month is up, I hope I’ll be well into the habit of posting here, and of taking photographs of my fibre and yarns – the hardest part of the whole process!  The rules that I’ll try to stick to are as follows:

  1. This challenge initially runs through the rest of February;
  2. I’ll commit to posting on weekdays, though if I get really inspired I might post at the weekend, too;
  3. I’ll try to post a mixture of colourways and yarn/fibre types;
  4. Preparing for Textiles in Focus temporarily trumps the blog.  If need be, I’ll miss a day.
  5. Family trumps everything else, even yarn! I might wind up missing a few days if something big comes up.

Let’s start with this gorgeous Bluefaced Leicester roving, in ‘Peachy’:

…and own up to the fact that this is a massive ‘cheat’.  Yes, I dyed it, but I certainly didn’t take the photo.  This is the standard to which I will, over time, aspire.

Bluefaced Leicester (aka ‘BFL’ or ‘biffle’) is a type of wool that is becoming increasingly popular.  It is *fantastic* to spin, being almost as soft as merino, but with a longer staple, so it’s easier for beginners.  It felts well, if your tastes run that way, and produces lovely knitted and woven items that will be as non-scratchy as wool can be, and soft and warm to boot.

As a side note, I also love working with it because it is relatively easy for me to buy BFL that has been produced in the UK.  This is really, really important to me, because I aim to produce fibres that have as gentle an environmental impact as I possibly can.

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