Painting a wool batt

Mixing colours and making wool batts is creative and can be fun. You need to master the carding skills and then you can use colours and your imagination to come up with original and interesting wool batts. painting them adds hints of colour which creates a richness and colour depth. it is also a good way to use up odd bits of carded fleece which would otherwise go to waste. Hints of colour are what make colourways interesting!


Show and tell

show and tell 23rd July

Jan shared fluorescent yellow wool she had dyed in the round in Landscape Sulphur Yellow. The second wind was tight to adjust the colour.  She also had 4 skeins she had spun from Michelle Mignon’s art batts – one rust-red, one red and two blue.

Karin shared a ball of natural brown and fawn alpaca and three pastel dyed cakes of merino which she had solar dyed.

Beth had made a felted scarf in lovely soft outback colours and had finished the felted hat she had started 3 weeks ago. It is silk lined . Blues, fawn, pink and black.

StrickspielnadelnChristine had crocheted two baby tops in lime and orange sorbet. She was also keen to show us and recommend her new sock needles. She said she can knit faster with them and Alexis mentioned they are great to finish hats and to knit gloves on too. She added the woven belt she finished during the session which she’d made on her new Ashford portable loom.

An eye for colour

dyed wool battWho, but Alexis, would know the dyed wool batt next to her electronic spinner is going to turn into a yarn which fits the Pantone 2018 profile? It is no accident Alexis has this keen sense of colour nor can you merely pass it off as talent. It is skill. It is knowledge. It is experience. If Alexis is good with colours and can produce attractive results it is because she has applied herself to knowing all about colour. Not all of her wool is naturally dyed like the pictures here, but she is an expert in natural dyes and uses them a lot. She can match colour and project easily.

dyed wool

natural dyesShe has a journal where she has collated her dyeing with natural colour so she can see exactly what she is going to produce and has a record of it to refer to. Marjorie is another one in the group who keeps careful notes about her dyeing and it’s the reason these two know a lot about dyeing. Jan knows a lot about colour because she has always worked and experimented with it. Alexis has moved away from as many chemicals as she can these days and has a sound knowledge of natural mordants and ways of improving colour without harming yourself or the environment. Her knowledge is helping us all to move onto safer and more sustainable ground because personal health and looking after the environment are important , aren’t they? Alexis will sometimes use rusty nails and bolts to help the uptake of colour but she happily subscribes to natural mordants.

She recommends the following books as valuable sources of information for natural dyes:

Dyes from natural sources – Anne Dyer ( 😀 )

Shetland Dye Book  – Jenni Simmons

Traditional Scottish Dyes – Jean Fraser

Alexis also works with local plants for colour and is particularly fond of eucalyptus:

Eucalyptus Dyes 

Alexis is always a good person to ask about colour and how to match colour because she knows and she knows because she has learned all about it.


Carding an art batt

Next week is our carding workshop . Some of us need to learn to walk before we can run, but no harm in looking! Sometimes it is good to look at what you can achieve if you make the effort to learn the skills. The people in this group have different ways of preparing their fibre and sometimes they buy it ready to spin. Carding adds choices and if you can make art batts it adds colour and interest. Some spinners prefer to hand card or comb because it it relaxing and unhurried. Art batts are easier on a drum carder but you need to think about how you are going to do it and that is what this video is about.