Spinning cotton

spun cottonA while back , Hilary brought in a bulk purchase of cotton to spin and we could buy it a tiny prices. Marina had decided to spin hers and she found out it spins far better on a bigger, older wheel than on a small wheel. You need a strong pull on the fibre to get the cotton to spin nicely, so a wheel where you have a good chance of changing ratios and tension. The dyed cotton wasn’t actually something we thought looked particularly good but now we have seen it spun up it looks great and can be plied with itself or some silk and makes a really nice yarn. If you don’t try things, you don’t know. Looking at it tells you nothing. Cotton is good for bags, tops and wash cloths. It is totally sustainable and cotton growers are getting smarter at using less water. As a plant based fibre it is easily composted. As a lightweight, breathable fibre it is good to wear next to your skin so learning to spin cotton gives you more yarn choices for projects. Some people are allergic to wool.

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Rose Fibre

Rose fibre is obviously celullose based. It is one of the plant fibres which is becoming increasingly popular , partly because people are experimenting with unusual fibres and partly because vegans do not want to use animal based fibres. It is completely sustainable and eco-friendly. It can be mixed in with other fibres to increase the drape of the knitted, felted or crocheted fabric. If you are going to dye it, you need to ensure you are using a dye suitable for cellulose based fibres. It’s easy to spin but if you watch the video you can see how the woman pulls the fibres apart and loosens them before she spins them. It adds sheen and shine. We are all looking forward to using our rose fibre which we have bought this year but haven’t yet worked out how we are going to use it. Are we going to spin it separately , as this woman has, or are we going to mix it in with other fibres? Rose fibre is regenerated and similar to bamboo. The plats are broken down to the cellulose and the fibre is made from that. Different from cotton which is produced directly from the plant.

Avocado dye

avocado dyeWe have put this avocado dye video up before but this saves you looking for it if you are interested. Dyeing with avocado has these surprising pink rewards. Cathy dyed some Border Leicester cross, which she’d spun , with avocado. She used 5 halves of the skin and two pips for mordant and you can see the colour and adjust yours from there. More skin and you’ll get a deeper pink. You clean the flesh out of the avocado and leave the skins to dry. They go hard. Cathy simmered the skins and pips for 2 hours then left overnight. meanwhile the wool was washing and soaking with a little bit of hand wash and a little bit of bicarb. Adelaide water is very hard. The next morning she slow simmered the wool with the avocado for an hour and left that in the pot until the evening. Once rinsed out she could see  the lovely colour she had in her wool. All natural dyes seem to co ordinate really well and you can get some effective colour gradations. The pot contents went into the compost bin so natural dyeing is an environmentally friendly practice.

Chair which knits a hat

Christine shared a video from Buzzfeed which was on Facebook and you can view it here if you are on Facebook. It explains how this rocking chair which knits a hat was designed by the University of Art and Design in Lausanne.  What a great project. We are showing you the YouTube video which shows you the chair but doesn’t give you the inside information. How nice it would be to have a rocking chair like that!