The Art of Spinning and Dyeing

A while ago, I joined my local Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. And so grateful that I did. I have so far attended one meeting, where I felt a bit out of place and very much a novice. All the women there had their looms and spinning wheels and were confidently working and chatting away at the same time.

I finally plucked up the courage to approach a lady with her spinning wheel and asked her if she would be happy to teach me how to use a drop spindle. And before I knew it, I was sat down and part of a circle, spinning away. And what was lovely was that everyone was so encouraging, despite me spinning a very uneven yarn. I really enjoy the process. I’d like to spin more and create 2 ply, 3 ply maybe even 4 ply yarn.

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A couple of weeks ago, I went to the annual dyeing day. I had to prepare by getting some undyed wool and create skeins (I used the back of a chair), and then washed them and put them in a pot with mordant – alum and cream of tartar. The following day was spent with a  a number of women from the guild, all bunging their skeins in to vats of onion skin, chamomile, daffodil heads, fustic chips, brazil wood and indigo. It was fun, intense and lots of quick decision making on the spot. As a complete beginner I did have any agenda other than to experiment. I learnt that next time, it would be a good idea to somehow tag or label my skeins after bringing them out of the dye pot, because by the end of the day I couldn’t remember which skein had been dyed with what, especially when it came to me mixing things up, creating greens by putting the yellow skeins in to the indigo, and viva-versa.

I don’t know what I’ll do with these yarns as yet. Maybe the next step is for me to rent a loom from the guild and learn to weave?!