dye | knit | spin


November 12, 2019

Thank you for your comments on my last post (in)visible mending. I read them all but did not manage to reply…the last couple of weeks have been rather fulsome and I’ve been needing to rest more.

Normally, I am a utilitarian maker, I make things to be worn or used, I make practical, durable things. If I experiment, it to make something more durable such as the Tuff Socks Naturally project or to find out something I don’t know such as in the Waysides: Local Colour in Our Home Grounds project. I don’t often just play…for fun or whimsy or curiousity. Yes, I am a little on the earnest, literal side of the spectrum!

I am however a dedicated de-stasher and recently found myself playing around with my left over stock of English Leicester hand dyed locks. You can read more about how I made these locks here. They are such beautiful beasties and too precious not to be used. So I shook off my utilitarian shackles for while to make some beautiful, silly things.

I tail-spun a batch of blue locks and a batch of fuschia. Tail spinning English Leicester locks is about the best method I know for preserving the wave and lustre of the locks into a yarn. Knit the yarn as normal, pulling all the locks through to a single side before setting with a warm soak and block. The collar sets of those locks magnificently I think. Imagine this in a natural silver or dark grey…it gives me chills to think of it.

Here is the cape…whoa…a large departure for me…colour…texture…bulky yarn…a lie down is perhaps necessary.

The cape contrasts the tail-spun fringe with wolf yarn for the main body. Wolf yarn is an art yarn method where a soft internal core is spun at the same time as wrapping that core. It is best made with long stapled, wavy fibres from the Long wool family or Angora goats. It makes a light weight, bulky single and is very strong and very warm. In the picture below, you can see wolf yarn on the left and tail-spun yarn on the right.

Now, I am getting excited…there’s all kinds of garments to be thought of. I might need to make more locks.

Does anyone else suffer from utilitarian shackledom? What happens when you shake it off?

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  1. A lie down is truly perhaps necessary accompanied by a cold cloth on the forehead!
    Holy Cowgirls……did you get hit on the heid? I am truly on the ‘grey’ literal side of the spectrum!
    BUT I am totally impressed with your departure. Please, NO offense…I am amazed 🙂
    I wonder what that says about with me? The grey side of dark. So glad you explained Wolf Yarn.
    Let’s see……you will wear this to the local? LOL

    1. I know huh! I said it was a departure. I followed the fleece which is what we always tell ourselves to do! I am familiar with the grey side of dark also but sometimes it all just feels so restrained doesn’t it.

  2. Haha! This so whimsical and lovely. I feel you need to take a photo of you eating a Unicornetto while wearing the cape (warning: unicornettos taste awful). 😉 xx H

    1. Thx love…totes agree on taste of unicornetto. I think they get the flavour from grinding down unicorns and adding sugar.

  3. That’s awesome Rebecca, you need to do more of that. Not to say your other stuff isn’t , but letting it rip definitely becomes you.

  4. Wow. Those blue locks would look incredible as a collar over a plain dark winter coat.

    I too am very earnest and literal. I wouldn’t say that my spinning is necessarily utilitarian, but I do plan and work for consistency; there’s definitely no play. The closest I come to that is letting the fibre dictate how it wants to be spun, which is really just another form of planning.

    So lovely to read your words again. x

  5. Oh my! I am a big fan of whimsy.. On other people lol! I do lots of things simply for fun or practice and then almost never wear them,. They sit in the drawer taunting me until I give them away or frog them back and repurpose the wool. Symptom of a very Calvanistic upbringing I’m afraid and impossible to shake. Love those colours. I have a bag of similar locks that have sat in my stash for 4 years now.. Perhaps it’s time to do something with them. Thank you for the reminder.

    1. Our upbringing and self concept are so very hard to shake aren’t they. Perhaps we can start by just jiggling the edges.

  6. Beautiful! I too am a pretty utilitarian, if not austere, maker. And using up what’s in the stash is one of the ways I tend to have a break out too! I think my longwool locks wound up as tea cosies…

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