Maybe mohair

The goats on our farm are not pure bred angoras, but they are the reason I learned to shear, spin, and knit.

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The mohair from them is not perfect, and because we have not had any young goats in a few years the mohair isn’t as soft as it could be. However it shines beautifully and the past few weeks I have been dyeing wool and mohair in my solar ovens, as yarn and as un-spun fibre.

ImageI used onion skins, and walnut leaves for the orange and green, then spun the mohair and wool mix on my Ashford Traditional.

I also dyed mohair and wool with avocado skins, which the cats loved.

Pinkwool2

I am planning to blend these together, but first I carded the wool and mohair separately.

Battsandwool

 

The white wool is from our sheep, and the off-white is from the small spots of grey that I occasionally find on the fleece.

Most angora goats can be sheared twice a year, but I am not sure if these goats produce enough hair for shearing twice. However, this year I may try to shear earlier and get a better quality fleece, (these samples are slightly matted). If I leave it too late then the hair starts to matt and comes off by itself.

goatsandsheep

Even though these goats, my “old ladies”, are not pure bred it is nice to know I can still make beautiful objects from their hair.

 

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique

Here are some unique yarns, spun by me. The yarn is a mix of mohair, from my semi-angora goats with wool from my sheep. I washed the wool and mohair separately, passed them through my wool picker, and then passed them through the drum carder to blend the two fibres. I spun the wool on my drop spindle and on my wheel.

These photographs show the yarn being dyed in my solar oven with onion skins and walnut tree leaves.

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Yarn

Stitching, something new

I love colour. I love coloured wool and yarn. I love all the beautiful ways yarn and wool can be used to make art, (except maybe crochet, I just can’t get my hands to work comfortably in this medium, sorry).

A couple of years ago I learned some stitching techniques with my mother-in-law. I liked the idea of sitting and stitching and I loved how variegated yarns looked in the different stitches. However, when I used my own hand spun, the yarn wasn’t consistent enough to look nice, and so I put the stitching to one side.

While I was in Santiago having my eye examined, I found a small shop that sells stitching kits. Esterillas is located in Pueblo del Ingles, and has a great selection of stitching yarns, patterns and kits. They range from small, child friendly kits to complex pillows and floor coverings.

I bought two simple kits, made with thicker wool, for my daughters. My youngest jumped right in with her cousin, and my oldest daughter says she will try it…soon.

And for myself I bought a more complicated pillow cover.

Flower

I am not sure if I am using the correct stitch, some look the same at the front but the back is worked differently. But I love the colours and watching it grow.

Flowerclose

The best part is I can see how very simple designs can be made beautiful depending on the yarn. I used some of my solar dyed yarn, (the pale yarn) in a simple square pattern and I really like the effects. Reminds me of geological maps.

Squares

With what I have learned I am going to spin and dye some wool for stitching. I think my spinning has improved enough to use, and the subtle changes in solar dyeing will look great.

Starting with the studio

It has been a while since I have written about fibre fun. This is not because I have not been doing anything, quite the opposite. I have been doing so many different things that I don’t know where to start. I feel scattered, too many things to tell.

So I will start with my new studio. I have taken over the building where we used to make cheese and I love my new space.

I have lots of windows and light.

Electricity and water means I can listen to music and make a cup of tea.

My collection of woolly dolls to keep me company.

And a separate room for getting messy with felting and wool picking.

In this new space I can work on different projects at the same time. Like this weaving on my table loom.

With the four harnesses on this loom I can weave more complicated patterns, like the raised pattern on this scarf.

I have also been able to complete some projects that have been sitting around for a long time. A certain felting project that didn’t turn out right, (when felting doesn’t work) is finally finished.

I divided the strips into two colour groups and then wove them with a wool warp to make two separate wall hangings.

This month I have also been busy with my weaving class. We have been displaying are work at school shows.

There was a lot of interest in what we are doing, with a few sales and the possibility of new students.

 

Add teaching felting classes, and shearing, spinning and dyeing mohair, I have been quite busy.  But I will leave those for another post.

Quick, before the sun goes

Yesterday it was warm and sunny, it has been all week, so I thought I would do some solar dyeing.  I decided to dye wool before carding or spinning. I am not sure if this is going to give me good results, because the wool may still be greasy and there are bits of vegetable matter.

I put the dye material in first; avacado peels, onion skins, ivy and eucalyptus leaves.  These are all things I have in abundance. We eat a lot of avocados, as do most Chileans, so I have been saving the peels in the freezer.

Ready for the water and a spoonful of vinegar.

Then I stuffed some wool on top.  Most dyeing books recommend plenty of space and water when dyeing, but because I am going to leave the jars for a couple of days I think it will be okay all squashed in.

By yesterday afternoon there was a little colour starting to show.

And this afternoon a bit more colour.

I will leave the jars in the oven for another day and see how the colour develops.

Of course this morning there were mists rolling in from the ocean and there was not a lot of sun.  This is normal weather for La Serena, misty mornings, winter and summer.  Because our farm is outside of the city we get more sun than in town, but the further up the valley you go the more sun and drier it gets.

I have also been spinning some wool that I bought a couple of years ago, already dyed, (and felted).  I am not sure what the wool was meant for, it was too matted to spin, (I put it in my wool picker, then through my drum carder), and too thick to use in a weaving.  I think someone saw pretty roving on the internet and said “I can do that, who cares what it is for!”  It was cheap and at the time the first roving I had seen on sale in La Serena.  So the spinning is bumpy and full of  lumps, but the colours are pretty.

And Sheldon quite liked it!

A Spanish post – Un post español

Soy inglesa y normalmente escribo mi blog en ingles.  Pero, vivo en Chile, cerca de La Serena, y creo que aveces debo hacer mi blog en español.  Mas que nada para ver si alguien esta interesado en que hago.  Yo trabajo con lana.  Tengo ovejas y lo esquilo yo misma y después hago cosas con la lana.  También trabajo con lana que compro.  En este post voy a incluir “links” a otros posts mios que estan en ingles, pero que muestra mas fotos del tema.

I am English and write most of my blog in English.  However, since I live in Chile, near La Serena, I think I should sometimes do parts of my blog in Spanish.  I am doing this to see if there is interest in what I do amongst Spanish speakers.  I work with wool.  I have sheep and shear them myself, and then I make things with the wool.  I also work with wool that I buy.  In this post I will include links to my other posts that cover each theme in more detail.

Con la lana que compro me gusta hacer cosas de fieltro, como bufondas.  La lana de mis ovejas no es tan buena para hacer fieltro, porque no es tan fina.

Bufandas de fieltro / felted scarves

With the wool that I buy I like to make felted objects, like scarves.  The wool from my sheep is not very good for felting, because it is not as fine.

post de fieltro/ felting post

Para empezar, primero saco la lana de las ovejas esquilando y lo lavo suavemente para sacar algo de la lanolina y suciedad.  Cuando esta seca yo paso la lana por un “wool picker” (que yo hice), que abre la lana y deja caer mas mugre. Luego, paso la lana por mis “hand o drum Carder” para peinar la lana.

Maquina para abrir la lana / machine that opens the wool

Lana sin lavar, lavada, abierto, y dos vellónes peinado/ wool unwashed, washed, picked, and two carded batts

To start I remove the wool from the sheep by shearing and then I gently wash the wool to remove the lanoline and some of the dirt. When the wool is dry I pass it through my home made wool picker, which opens the wool and allows some of the dirt to fall out.  Next, I pass the wool through my hand or drum carder to card the wool.

post de ovejas/sheep post

post de esquilar/shearing post

post de como hice mi “wool picker”/ how I made a wool picker post

post de cardar/ carding post

Ahora la lana esta lista para hilar.  Yo hilo con husos y ruecas dependiendo de donde estoy.  Los husos yo puedo tomar a todas partes porque son chicas y livianas.

Lana hilada con una rueca/ wool spun on a spinning wheel

Lana hilado a mano/ hand spun wool

Now the wool is ready to be spun.  I spin wool with drop spindles and spinning wheels, depending where I am.  The drop spindles I can take with me anywhere because they are small and light.

post de husos/ drop spindles post

Yo puedo tejer o usar la lana para telares, o yo puedo teñir la lana en mis hornos solares.  Yo teñía con colorante de comida o con plantas naturales.  Mis favoritos son cascara de cebollas, que hace un color naranja y hojas de el árbol nogal, que hace café o verde.

Lana con cascara de palta en el horno solar/ wool with avacado peels in the solar oven

Lana teñida con cascara de palta y cebolla/ wool dyed with avocado and onion skins

I can use the wool to knit or weave, or I can dye the wool in my solar ovens.  I dye with food colouring or natural dyes from plants.  My favourites are onion skins, which give an orange colour and walnut tree leaves, which give brown or green.

post de teñir en hornos solares/ solar dyeing post

Este post es solo una introducción a las diferentes etapas del procesamiento de la lana.  Si alguien esta interesado en algo específico me puede dejar consultas en la sección de comments.

Gracias por la visita!

Lana de mis ovejas/ yarn from my sheep

This post is only an introduction to the different steps in processing wool.  If anyone is interested in something specific you can leave questions in the comment section.

Thanks for visiting!

Box of softness

Before my daughter became sick I had ordered some wool from Wingham Wool Work, http://www.winghamwoolwork.co.uk/  and while my Dad was visiting family in the UK he was going to bring it back.  Unfortunately he left before the order had arrived and the package was passed on to my Mom, who later sent it.

The box finally arrived when my daughter was in the hospital, and even though it was a lovely surprise, I couldn’t even think about doing something enjoyable untill she was better.

Mixed wool and alpaca

Once my daughter was out of the hospital and feeling a bit better, I let her choose some wool to spin.  I spun a mix of blues with white at the same time.

Hand spun yarn

My daughter has also been learning to knit, and wanted to use her hand spun to knit something.  She has only learned knit, not purl, and needed something small, easy and quick.  She made little wrist warmers, and was very pleased that she did them mostly alone.

Wrist warmers in the garden

She still had some yarn left over, so now is going to try a neck warmer.

The beginning of a neck warmer

She will need more yarn, but is happy knowing she can spin some more or use some of Mommy’s.