Filed Under (Dyeing, Ramblings, Weaving) by jennyk on 21-05-2005

First, here’s a look at the silk scarf (or belt or hairband or however the recipient wants to use it) which I entered in the Berkshire Guild Challenge. The theme this year was “Nature’s Colour Palette”. We got the results at today’s meeting. Mine didn’t get a prize, but that’s fine by me as there were 15 entries, all of them very good, and I loved the prizewinners.

My Heathers silk scarf.jpg

Technical details: warp – 16/2 silk dyed with acid dyes, weft – Gutermann’s sewing silk, plain weave. It was sett to make it very drapey, but I think it may have ended up too sleazy and unstable. The judge didn’t say that, though, so perhaps it isn’t too bad after all.

After the meeting, we took a friend home. While we were there we got some photos of the blue tit nestlings being raised in an old cylinder vacuum cleaner ouside her house. It seems that the hole where the hose went is just the right size for the adult tits.

Peggys birds1.jpgPeggys birds2.jpg

She keeps silkworms, and we had a look at her current ‘crop’. She doesn’t have any live moths at the moment, but she has some beautiful dead ones for display at demonstrations. She does have a lot of larvae at the moment, though. Moth-phobics are advised not to read on. :-)
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Filed Under (Dyeing, Knitting, Spinning) by jennyk on 22-02-2005

The postman and my friends have been really good to me over the past few days. I have been sent fine lace knitting needles (US #00) by Sharon, and beaded stitch markers from Tricia, who makes lovely markers and also row counter bracelets:


The blue ones were a gift, and fit sock needles and fine lace needles. I was so impressed I bought the red ones (with that lovely bonus one) to use with thicker needles.

Then yesterday, the postie brought a package of hand-reeled silk from Michael (a.k.a. Oaken King) You can read more about the different types he sent.


If you are at all interested in silk fibre or silk moths, you must explore Michael’s web site.

As for what I’ve been doing since my last entry, I finished the corrugated ribbing on the first Sanquhar glove, but it is on hold while I try to come up with a chart I like for the initials block. I realised that when I put my ALF aside weeks ago, I was actually within 20 rows of finishing it. I’ve decided it makes sense to finish it before getting back to the shawl I started more recently. ALF was intended for me, but it will also serve as a fall-back for hte scarf exchange if I can’t finish the other shawl by the deadline.

Now I have to eat some Haagen-Daz Chocolate Midnight Cookies ice cream, so I will get back to blogging another time …

Filed Under (Dyeing, Other fibre/textile crafts, Weaving) by jennyk on 15-12-2004

It’s been a while, but I can finally post pics of some of the things I’ve been doing this autumn. though others haven’t reached their recipients yet. I wove some bookmarks for an exchange, as I had a warp I needed to use up:



The warp and weft were 12/2 white mercerised cotton. I used fibre reactive dyes to dye the finished bookmarks. The dyeing wasn’t completely successful as too much of the dye washed out, changing the colours, so after those, I wove a few for Christmas presents using lilac 12/2 weft.

I went back to bobbin lace after a long break to make the rest of my exchange bookmarks, and I have really enjoyed that. I have done 3 so far, with one more to do, but I’ll make a couple more for presents.



Filed Under (Dyeing) by jennyk on 23-10-2004

… about keeping my blog up to date, partly because both my current fibre projects are ones I can’t talk about too much here.

One is mittens for an exchange, and I don’t want to risk spoiling the surprise for my exchange partner. I was preparing Shetland fleece but it has been slow going as the fleece has a break just above the base so I’ve been combing each lock to get rid of that part before I can drum card it all.

I’ve finally decided I can’t get that done in time, so yesterday I mordanted a lot of merino top and both bombyx and tussah silk. Today, half of it is in the dye pot cool dyeing. More will be hot dyed tomorrow, and then I’ll do an exhaust bath on Monday. If I get a good enough colour contrast, I will probably do stranded colour work, but if I don’t think the colours will work, I’ll card it all together to spin a heathered yarn and knit a textured pattern.

My other project is weaving samples for a medical research company. I can’t say much more than that, but the first samples are at 120 epi. They are small samples, thank goodness!!!

I probably won’t post more details or pictures of the mitten project till after they reach my partner, and unfortunately I won’t be able to post pictures of the woven samples at all. I do have some workshops coming up though, so I should be able t report on those, at least.

Filed Under (Dyeing, Weaving) by jennyk on 15-05-2004

I can’t resist a little bragging. The cushion got 2nd place out of 18 entries … :-)

Filed Under (Dyeing, Weaving) by jennyk on 14-05-2004

Tomorrow is the Annual General Meeting of one of my guilds, and also judging day for the annual Challenge. This year, the challenge is to make something with the two largest dimensions between 9″ and 15″ (in other words, the smallest thing you can enter would be a flat object 9″ square and the largest would be a 15″ cube).

I decided quite early on that one of my entries (as it turns out, my only entry) would be a cushion cover, as my other guild has that as its June challenge (a convenient coincidence). I couldn’t decide which technique to use until about a month ago when I saw an article in the then-latest Handwoven (March/April) about a black Tencel-and-metallic eyelash evening jacket (Sara Nordling’s Evening Star Jacket). The structure interested me, so I adapted it for 10/2 nm (metric count, slightly thinner than #5 pearl cotton) unbleached mercerised cotton.

I dyed some of the yarn in two shades of pale brown (which turned out pinkier than intended) to add variety to the warp and for the pattern weft, and wove it on my Louet Kombo table loom as I have another project on my floor loom. I sampled some variations on the structure but ended up with the same one as in the article. I took the fabric off the loom yesterday, washed and dried it, and this morning I sewed the cushion cover. I’m quite pleased with it.

tufted cushion.jpg

Here is a closeup of the fabric:

tufted cushion - closeup.jpg

The back is just plain weave, so it shows the warp colour sequence better:

tufted cushion - back.jpg

Filed Under (Dyeing, Spinning) by jennyk on 05-04-2004

Each year, Kennet Valley Guild holds a skein competition. This year, we were given an ounce of washed mohair locks and asked to combine them with an equal amount of something else and bring the finished skein to the next month’s meeting.

I haven’t had much experience with mohair as I find commercial mohair yarn too scratchy (yes, even kid mohair/silk blends). I considered doing something wild (leaving it as locks and letting the curls hang out of the yarn, or adding in feathers, perhaps), but as usual I left it too late, so I decided play safe.

I blended the mohair with Blue Faced Leicester (my favourite wool breed) on a drumcarder, split the batts into pieces and dyed them separately and then recombined them on the drumcarder, Deb Menz style. The picture top left is the dyed sections. The one below it is after one pass through the carder. I was disappointed with how quickly the colours were blending (I think because there was so little of each colour so the layers were very thin) but I still needed to do another pass to get the batt even enough to spin easily.

I was pleasantly surprised by how it actually spun up. It wasn’t as bright as I’d intended but the combination of the shine of the mohair and the subtle colours reminds me of the splitting of light by a thin oil film on water. No, it didn’t win, but it got enough compliments to make me happy. :-)


Filed Under (Dyeing, Weaving) by jennyk on 25-01-2004

Well, here are the results of a week’s dyeing:


The skeins in the middle row are the ones for the actual sample warps, along with some commercially dyed yarn (not shown). There are 153 skeins in all, ranging from 10 yds to 200 yds each. The yarns are a 6/2 weaving cotton and a 10/3 crochet cotton in white and various starting colours and a 5/2 unbleached weaving cotton.

I used a total of about 70 dye combinations, using Procion MX dyes and the ‘polythene bag’ method. For this, the skeins were dipped into a small amount of the dye mixture, not even enough to cover them, and squidged around to push the dye through the skein. The dye was then squeezed out and the skeins put into a polythene bag to sit for at least an hour before rinsing out and washing in the washing machine, then drying in a tumble drier. At first, we were putting the skeins into pillow cases and net lingerie bags for the washing and drying, but we found that we could put the loose skeins into the dryer without tangling problems, and that speeded up the drying.

The source pictures (cut from magazines) which I am using as inspiration are these purple flowers, which I think may be encased in ice, and this seascape. Originally, I was trying to use these leaves, with or without the rose, but as you can see, my attempts at subtle grey-greens kept turning out sludgy olives, so I turned back to the seascape. I’m more likely to base a real project on the purple flowers, though.

[You need to close the pop-up window between pictures, or it shows them all in the same size window, which crops some of them.]

DH’s sources (much brighter than mine) are these orange wallflowers(?) and purple tulips and this underwater scene.

Oh, I’ve just realised I haven’t mentioned that the tutor was Janet Phillips and it was her Colour in Fabrics workshop. I’ll post pics of the sample warps eventually.

Filed Under (Dyeing, Knitting, Lace) by jennyk on 10-01-2004

I showed my mother the yarn I dyed for ‘her’ EG scarf, though she doesn’t know that yet, and she loves it. Phew! Here it is:

EG dyed yarn.jpg

I’m currently knitting a new swatch as the dyed yarn will probably not match the gauge of the undyed swatch. With luck, I’ll get to start the scarf itself tomorrow.