Nothing beats spun yarn. It has a life and texture of its own. It is very much a tactile experience. As a spinner you can spin whatever you want. You can dye your own fleece . You can buy ready dyed tops . We practise and extend our own skills and then like to support local people who are involved in producing hand dyed fibre and who sell fleeces. Each fibre and fleece feels different. If it is dyed it tends to feel dry. All of this is an experience which is far richer than working with commercial wool. Commercial wool feels odd when you work with it after you have worked with hand spun yarn. We can ply our spun fibre with cotton or acrylic fibre or a commercial yarn. That always ends up interesting . That’s the thing. There can never be enough texture or choice!
Show and tell this week was testimony to how energising our dyeing workshop had been and why it is worthwhile having dyeing days.
Cathy: Purple dyed fleece, pink dyed rose fibre and butterscotch fleece dyed with avocado pips, onion skins and lichen from Sonya.
Sonya: Green mermaid coloured fleece, rubine cake dyed over grey spun wool.
Karin: Plied cake. Opalescent dyed wool skein dyed on white.
Hilary: Oatmeal and green dyed wool and cake of orange and pink dyed in cake.
Margaret: yellow tiny teddy crocheted in once piece.
Wendy: Dyed pink , turquoise and opalescent spun wool
Anne: Dyed sunburst colour fleece and a pair of woodland colours knitted socks.
Marina: green and pink dyed alpaca fleece.
Jan: Turquoise and mauve dyed wool using icing food colouring.
Sheila : red, white yellow and blue dyed skein, grey dyed in balls. White wool dyed in rainbow colours. Her tip is the longer it sits the more the colours run.
Marjorie : knitted beret in pinky lavender and blue/green.
When you are thinking yarn art , it’s all in the colour. It’s in the choices you make, the techniques you use and then the combinations of colour and technique you select. Alexis is one of the people in our group who knows how to put the art in yarn. We love her colour combinations and then the ways she puts those colours together so that the visual impact is there. This week was no different.
She had brought in a felted scarf and a cake of dyed wool. No ordinary scarf and no ordinary wool. She called the wool Ugly Duckling Wool. It was dyed with a dye called Tomato but there were lighter flecks in there of off white. Visually it was really interesting and the tomato colour was attractive and then you’d find yourself wondering what you would make with that colour wool. There were a few moments of hilarity when someone thought she’d used real tomatoes to get that colour -which you can’t – and they wanted to know how many tomatoes and then the confusion that the dye was called Tomato. One of those funny linguistic misunderstanding conversations.
The wool, though, brought out the colours of the inlaid silk in the black felted scarf. It was a visual trick which worked well. The scarf is made from jet black First Editions wool and is very soft and pliable. It drapes well which often is not the case with felted scarves. The inlaid silk is crinkled and adds a visual dimension which brings out movement in the colour. Clever. Very clever.
Then we had the knitted felted bag to feast our eyes on. All the time it was sitting there next to Alexis’ electronic spinner, we were learning about art and colour. The wool batts are Tasmanian Blue gum leaves ( aka silver dollar) and the longer you brew the mixture, the darker the colour. That burnt orange is lovely. The knitted, felted bag is reminiscent of Kandinsky colours…like his Aquarelle avec taches rouges or maybe , if you want to go Australian, an Arthur Streeton like Evening Game. Alexis just knows how to blend a number of colours so they look good.
We had a really good meeting this week. Some are still away in the warmer weather and the winter bugs are still in our way. Show and Tell was very cheering this week.
Alexis : A cake of Ugly Duckling wool dyed with dye named Tomato
A black felt scarf with crinkled silk inlay made from First Editions black wool.
Margaret: Two pink , white and lavender beanies which she has knitted for the homeless as part of the Aldinga Spinners and Weavers call to action.
Wendy: An oatmeal coloured slouchy beanie from spun Bendigo Woollen Mills wool. Cable stitching.
Janette: 3 cakes of blue and grey yarn – wool mixed with alpaca.
Karen: An enormous ball of Alexis’ hand dyed wool.
Jan: Green/teal skein of First Edition spun wool