Sunday, 18 December 2016

Portland Fleece - Part II

I've thought about what I want to do with my Portland yarn.  I will dye the fingering weight yarn a different colour to the other 3 and the the 3 skeins of double-knit weight yarn will be used together on one project that I have already chosen, and so will dye these specific colours to be able to make that.

First up is the fingering weight yarn, which is 106g/369m.  I dyed this using Greener Shades dye at a dye depth of 1% in shade Sunrise Yellow.  A 1% dye depth means that you use 1g of dye for every 100g of yarn.

I had decided that I wanted to have a go at trying to obtain a set of peach yarns.  Peach can be a difficult colour to achieve, getting the tone right is a nightmare, nevermind having to try to get three different shades.  I was using my micro scales to weigh out the tiny tiny amounts of dye needed in the percentages of each colour required and a milk bottle screw top cap was "the bowl" to weigh the dye into.

This first yarn is 105g/300m, dyed using Greener Shades dye at a dye depth of 0.1%, made up of 75% Sunrise Yellow and 25% Sunset Orange.  A dye depth of 0.1% means that you use 0.1g of dye for every 100g of yarn and then this total amount of dye is split 75/25 between 2 colours.  Can you imagine weighing out 0.075g of dye and 0.025g of dye to make up that one-tenth of a gram of dye required!

This yarn is just as I had hoped for.

This yarn is 104g/317m, dyed using Greener Shades dyes at a dye dept of 0.2%, 75% Sunrise Yellow, 25% Sunset Orange.  Technically this is just a dark shade of the first yarn.  The colours and percentages used are exactly the same, its just the dye depth that is increased, which means that I use double the weight of dye for the same amount of yarn which produces as stronger/darker shade.   Not too bad, a tad orange, but maybe that was my dye weighing.  The micro scales that I have are not the best as a really really good accurate set cost a lot of money, which I hope one day I will be able to afford to get.

The final yarn in the set of three is 105g/296m and again dyed with Greener Shades dye at a dye depth of 0.2% made up of 75% Sunset Orange and 25% Ruby Red.  With hindsight I am thinking that instead of shifting dye colours and introducing Ruby Red that perhaps I should have just doubled the amounts of dye used on the previous 2 skeins again to make a 0.4% dye depth or even calculated for a 0.3% dye depth.  I am sure the contrast will work on my chosen project though.

 And finally a pretty photo to show all 3 colours off together.

Want to know how I made the yarn for this shawl?  Just click Portland Fleece Part I

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Portland Fleece - Part I

I brought a kilo of Portland fleece online from Farnell Farm in Kent back in July 2014.  Portland is one of the many breeds that are classed as a conservation breed where they were close to extinction but efforts have been made to dramatically increase numbers and save the breed.

They are a small breed and the fleece washes up to be a warm shade of white.  There can be red kemp in the britch area of the fleece, and I did encounter some.  Kemp is a very coarse hair like fibre that you really want to remove during the preparation process.  The photo below shows a couple of locks, with a small amount of "seconds" attached, so called because it is the very short fibres produced when the shears go over a sheep a second time, shortening the fleece that is remaining on the sheep, and some will inevitably stick to the fleece as it is removed.  These are easily removed by wool combs during the preparation for spinning.
 The photo above, on the left, shows a clump of washed fleece with lots of red kemp in it and the photo above on the right shows a washed lock and an unwashed lock of fleece.

At the time of spinning the yarn my camera had broken and I didn't have a decent camera on my smart phone and so, unfortunately, there are no photos of the wool being combed, or of the combed nests or even of the spun un-dyed yarns.

I can tell you though that from my unwashed fleece weighed 1086g and after washing and removing a small amount of coarse fibre, including the red kemp, I was left with 675g of clean fleece ready to be prepared.  After combing I was left with approximately 420g of nice, clean, soft fibre to spin.  I spun 2-ply as usual and made 4 skeins of yarn, one in a fingering weight and 3 in double knit weights.  I decided to dye the yarn and will cover this in Part II.