Monday, 12 January 2015

More amazing colour blending with Katie Weston

We had a brilliant start to 2015 with another excellent colour blending workshop with Katie Weston.
Building on skills we learned during her visit last year, we produced even more sophisticated hanks of yarn, with some amazing variegated effects.
Firstly, Katie showed us how to make "punis"/ mini-rolags of blended fibre, taking a wispy but uninterrupted length off the drum carder using a dowel (to which the wool sticks) and a knitting needle (which slips out of the puni easily, so that the dowel can then be removed).  With a bit of practice, and not too much bad language, we all produced mini-rolags, ideal for using with a drop spindle.
Our next task was to make a tri-coloured fibre blend which can be spun to make a yarn with gradual colour changes.  Using Katie's gorgeous coloured fibres, we blended three separate batts of wool, silk, bamboo, Angelina...... and then teased them out to three thinnish slivers which were drawn onto the drum carder so as to make a single batt with vertical stripes. Then, working down the batt in the direction of the fibres, we "Z-stripped" it into a long sliver which clearly showed the change in colour along its' length.
Finally we made another three-coloured batt and took it off the carder using a diz.  Like puni-making, this requires practice, and a certain amount of non-Sunday language could be heard as the fibres fell apart and fingers were stabbed on the carding cloth.

Katie shows how to make a "puni" - a tiny rolag of fibre wound between a dowel and a knitting needle
And now a larger batt...

.. which comes off the carder in one piece, with three distinct areas of colour (looking from left to right),

and is then separated and "chained" into one long piece with the three colours running separately along the length.
Supporting the component fibres on a chair prevents them falling apart and thereby avoids grief and gnashing of teeth.

Stripes in the making.
Everyone produced large quantities of luscious fibre, and rushed home to start spinning.  We can't wait to see the results - (an idea for a Guild Challenge, perhaps?).
Very many thanks to Katie for her patient and expert tuition, and to Bryn for organising the event.
We take a break from Llanfair during the depths of winter, so our next couple of Sunday meetings will be in private houses. (Probably just as well:  driving past the hall this evening I noticed that the playing fields at the rear are flooded, and the river is very, very high). We are meeting as usual on the fourth Monday evening of the month in Abergele and will be back in Llanfair TH in April for our Friendship Day.


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