Happy Sheep Make Beautiful Yarn

Farm-Raised Natural Wool Yarn

Farm-Raised Natural Wool Yarn

Over the past two days, my sheepies’ yarn has taken up residence in my kitchen – dye books and recipes on the kitchen table, dye pots on the stove and counter-tops, various stages of yarn soaking, cooking, cooling, rinsing…and finally, hung to air dry. Dyeing is a wonderfully creative and rewarding process…to see color ‘bloom’ right before your eyes. Especially at this time of year when we anxiously await the awakening of Spring and all of nature’s splendor – hurry up springtime!

In the pic is a basket of my farm-raised 100% wool yarn. The heather yarn is a combo of my Shetland sheep wool. Shetlands produce 11 ‘main’ colors, with any combo in-between. White, spotted, soft grays, silver, shades of brown and black! If you like au natural, Shetland sheep would be a great choice! The white yarn is produced by my Corriedale, Pooh Bear, and the natural brown is from Morning Glory, my colored Corriedale. Don’t ya just love the basket? I bought it at a fiber show a few years back.

Hand-dyed yarn - it's pretty just to look at...

Hand-dyed yarn - it's pretty just to look at...

And here’s my results, fresh from the dye pot…my sheepies’ yarn. It’s difficult to see all the variations of color, some shades deeper/intense compared to lighter/pastel shades as I work to ‘exhaust’ the dye pot. BTW, this wall mounted drying rack is hanging in my dining room. LOL  I’ve collected prim/antique drying racks for a number of years and use them primarily in the garden for drying herbs. Normally, I’d be hang drying my yarn outside, but it’s been raining here!

I used Jacquard (and Cushing) Acid Dyes on this batch, but there’s many reliable dye manufacturers out there. I also enjoy dyeing with natural plant dyes…but that comes later during the growing season when you’ve had opportunity to harvest losts of dye stuff. More on that, how to, later in the growing season? I probably should mention that most of my wool (I usually hand-process several fleeces myself) is processed, that is, washed, carded, produced into roving or batts or spun, at a fiber mill right here in Michigan near Charlevoix – Stonehedge Fiber Mill, LLC  (www.stonehedgefibermill.com) .

As the weather warms up, I’ll take my dyeing outdoors (cuz it can be a bit messy) and kick it up a level, hand-painting some creative variegated yarns. That’s when the creative juices really get going!

A needle felted nautical pinkeep, shelf sitter or...?

A needle felted nautical pinkeep, shelf sitter or...?

Before I go, thought I’d share another fiber art project with you. I completed this a while ago…back when I was hooking regularly. The inspiration for this piece came from Edyth O’Neill, a talented, well-known, rug hooker extraordinaire! It’s a needle felted ship (remember, I often refer to NF as painting with wool) on a  wet-felted base from my sheep’s wool. Since I’m ‘cleaning’ the dining room concurrent with its re-do, I thought I’d put this piece in the shop for sale.  Perhaps someone near the water or with an interest in sailing will enjoy? It’s sitting on top of a floor cloth I made a few years ago.

Well, the sun is shining so I think I’ll switch it up today and play out in the greenhouse; maybe pot up some wheat grass and mesculin mix salad greens. YUM! Peace and blessings to you. Have a great weekend!

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