Earlier this month (December 2016), my cousin created the logo for this website. While I love my day job, it does not pay as much as one would expect. So instead of paying her in cash, I made her a scarf!
My cousin lives in Canada so the winter does get a little chilly. I chose a Dorset sheep fleece (below) for the durability and warmth.
As you can see, the fleece did not start out too pretty. It was a fairly cheap fleece because this sheep loved to roll on the ground, and the farmer was not sure what this sheep was crossed with. I can definitely see the dorset horn characteristics. It might have been crossed with a fine wool breed as it has pretty heavy lanolin.
After skirting the fleece (taking out fiber that's too short, or matted, or covered in poop), I soaked it over night in cold water to remove some of the dirt.
Since there are too much vegetation matter in the fleece, I decided to dye it before I fully scoured it. To dye the fleece, I soak the fiber in water and vinegar (around 4 ph), then bring the pot to a simmer (about 200 degrees fahrenheit) This process break down the plant matters and encourage dye particles to stick to the wool. It also removes a significant amount of lanolin.
After the wool cools down and dries. I card it into batts for spinning. I decided to add some silk noil which I dyed a couple months ago, and some angelina fiber (mylar) for a little sparkle.
The next step, of course, is to spin it into yarn! I used my Spinolution Hopper, a gift from my wonderful boyfriend.
Yes, my dog is very patient with my fiber shinnanigans. After I finished spinning the yarn, it needs to be "set". To make the yarn more durable, I felted it slightly by submerging it in hot water, then in cold water.
We got some snow when the skein dried, so I took some pictures outside (below) to show the "true colour" of the skein.
Next step, is the weaving process. For durability, and to show some contrast, I used a pale blue commercial yarn. Don't worry, fellow yarn snobs, it is 100% superfine merino wool. I warped it onto my Ashfor Knitter's loom, a rigid heddle loom that folds to save space!
Note to Weavers: I used the stock 7.5 dpi heddle, threading every other dent. Warm is a light DK weight.
Some might notice that it is a very loose weave, and you can see some space between all the yarn. Part of it is because I am still pretty new at weaving, so sometimes I am not very consistent with how much I beat the weft (yarns going horizontal). How about we pretend that I had intended to felt the piece a little bit for durability?
Once again, my dog patiently models my art work.
After I took the scarf off of the loom, I washed it gently in cold water. Then I put it in my dryer and set it on high for about 40 minutes. This process felted the scarf to a thicker fabric.
I really enjoyed the process! I really hope my cousin likes it too!