Monday, 7 March 2011

Talking Textiles - Spinning and Dyeing

In January I was at a vintage fair in Stockport and met a wonderful lady called Judith Beckett. I was looking at her lovely stall and we got chatting. She offered to give me a tutorial in dyeing and spinning yarn. I very quickly accepted her offer and just a month later I went to her beautiful character filled home for my tuition. She has an amazing ‘woolly room’ where the spinning is done, filled with her gorgeous wool skeins, books and equipment. I was immediately impressed and the session was every bit as good as I had hoped.
Judith taught me about mordents (which for anyone who doesn’t know are used to treat the fleece or yarn prior to dyeing it) Each mordent creates a different colour when the dye is added.
We used sheep’s fleece, natural and synthetic yarns which initially looked like this.

They were washed gently and were then added to a hot water boiler which was heated gently. The brazil wood dye was added in a muslin bag and the water heated to near boiling. Every so often we would check the colour and see the differences that the mordents had made.

Finally the wool was taken out of the boiler and hung up to dry. Gorgeous colours from very pale through to vibrant hues.

Whilst the dyeing process was happening Judith taught me to card fleece. It began with fleece looking like this

We first used hand carders which has a knack to it and takes a little practice. Then it was on to using the drum carder.

This produced a soft batt of fleece which is suitable for spinning or felting.

Judith showed me how to use a hand spindle which was really difficult and I was very glad to move onto using her beautiful spinning wheel. It was not as easy as it looks and at first the wheel went backwards when I treadled but I eventually got the hang of it. Ok, so I wasn’t great at it but with help I managed to spin a skein of wool which I was more than happy with for a first go! 

If you want to know more about the process or about Judith’s tutorials take a look at her link here.

1 comment:

  1. This is a lovely post. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...