Monday, 21 April 2014

"Mule" Fleece - the second fleece

Further to my earlier post regarding my buying of 5 "mule" fleece, this is what I did with the second fleece.

The Second Fleece

The second fleece that I have chosen to tackle I didn't make a note of how heavy it started out at  before any washing or preparation but after being washed and combed there is 1400g of clean combed top ready to be spun.  This time I wanted to have a go at dyeing all of this fleece, in different lots and different colours.  I got a lot of different skeins from this fleece between 7th March 2014 and 21st April 2014, all of it was dyed and all of it was spun as 2-ply.

The first yarn I actually combed some of the fleece first and then dyed it using ColourCraft All in One Dye in shade "Orange" but it is more of a pale peachy orange than bright clown fish orange.  I split the amount into two and just spun it as it come and plied it to make a Worsted weight 2ply yarn, 2 skeins weighing 220g/410m total.

For the second yarn, again I combed some of the fleece first and then dyed it using ColourCraft All in One Dye in shade "Lemon" and again I split it into two equal amounts, this time making a Double Knit weight 2ply yarn of 143g/420m total.

There was still a lot of dye left in the pot after dyeing the lemon skein so I grabbed a load of fleece and just threw it in the dye pot and left it there for a good while to see what would happen.  Well, I didn't get Lemon, I got Daffodil yellow!  After combing and spinning I made 2 skeins of Double Knit weight 2ply yarn of 262g/883m total.

The fourth and fifth yarns were a bit of mish-mash of colours, with the dyes not seeming to be taking hold on the fibre at all and me kind of doing an impression of The Muppets Swedish chef, with everything just getting thrown in the dye pot.

I hope you will be able to keep up with what I did.  After dying the two lots of yellow wool, there was still some colour to the water so I thought I would try my luck at getting some more pale lemon and threw in the last of the fleece but as it turned out the dye was more exhausted than I thought and all I got was a couple of patches of "urine yellow".  I decided to go green and chose ColourCraft All in One Dye in shade "Leaf Green" but even after 30 minutes that dye did not appear to be taking at all and when I lifted the fleece out of the dye pot it all appeared to be white.  I made up another green dye from ColourCraft, this time in shade "Emerald Green" and added that to the pot also, just in case there was something wrong with "Leaf Green" dye.  I left it with the heat on for 20 minutes but still not taking up any dye.  Totally confounded, I added a good glug, glug, glug of white vinegar to change the acidity of the dye pot in the hopes that this would solve the problem.  It didn't work.  Here is where I really lost the plot and turned to food dye.  Yes, food dye!  One bottle of green food dye followed by one bottle of blue food dye.  Arh, a bit of dye uptake but too patchy to be useful.  What to do, what to do...  I know, there is some Chestnut Brown dye in the dye kit that I am unlike to ever use on its own so by throwing that into the pot as well is not really wasting it seeing as this fleece seems hell bent on remaining white.  I made it up, threw it in, gave it a stir and made a forest!  This is my "Autumn in a Dye Pot".  I really don't know what happened, why it wouldn't take the dye in the first place but that brown dye worked like magic and the fleece turned all the colours that had been thrown into the pot.

So, the fourth yarn I made by separating some of the colours and combing them into individual coloured nests and spinning them randomly so that when they were plied I would get a barber pole yarn.

I got a huge skein of Double Knit weight 2ply yarn weighing 156g/568m.

The fifth yarn I used the other half of the "Autumn in a Dye Pot" fleece, this time blending all the colours together to produce a Khaki coloured Sport weight 2ply yarn weighing 166g/626m total.

So, it just goes to show that sometimes you can make something half decent out of a right old mess.

I decided that I had had enough of "mule" fleece and sold the other 3 washed fleeces on.