I thought I would talk a little bit more about why I post what I do on this blog. If you came to this site looking for knitting patterns or tech editing services, it may seem strange to find blog posts on hand spinning and natural dyeing (I’ll be posting more on both topics soon). The short answer is, of course, because I’m interested in those topics. But it’s also because they inform my design work.
I started out my professional career as an engineer working in environmental research. So I care about how my clothes are made, and where I source my materials. And I also care about using the best materials for the job.
As I said in my recent post about spinning different sheep breeds, I started learning to spin in large part to learn about different types of wool, and I wanted to share some of the things I’m learning. I love the feel of working with wool, and there are so many different bree specific yarns becoming available to knitters these days, which is great for us designers. I know some knitters don’t like wool at all. And there is a perception, I think, that the only advantage in trading off less softness in wool is durability. But sturdiness isn’t the only quality some ‘scratchier’ wools have – some of them have a beautiful sheen or come in gorgeous natural, undyed shades (something I’m particularly a sucker for). The shawl pictured her, for example, is probably my favorite item I’ve knitted. It’s made from Romney, which is more of a longwool breed, and definitely not the softest. But it’s plenty squishy, thanks to being knit in garter stitch, and the wool has a beautiful sheen to it. I used one shade of natural, undyed grey, and one that is overdyed with weld, a natural plant dye. The depth of color in the dyed yarn is just incredible – whenever I am out in the sun I can’t stop staring at it and noticing how the colors shift. The photo doesn’t do it justice. That sheen that lends a special depth to the colors isn’t something I would find in a superwash merino. Which is one reason I chose to use Tukuwool Fingering, a Finn sheep blend, for my Rionnag cowl. The depth of the colors is just incredible.
I highly recommend that you seek out some breed specific yarns if you can, and try them out. And I hope you’ll join me in my spinning and dyeing adventures as I try out as many breeds of fiber as I can find.