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Mushrooms sprouting from fleece

Mushrooms sprouting from fleece

15-Jul-2020 14:13

The cross-over from wild to domestic, arts to crafts, can be quite blurred for me which follows through into what I create.

As you know we rescued two sheep (and now have 4). After shearing them in May I have the huge task of processing their wool.

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With ideas of using some as stuffing for a mattress topper and some for making the 3D mushroom sculptures, I started washing and sorting it. A perfect summer job as the fleece dries in double quick time in the sun.

Ranging from dark brown to cream the gradation through soft neutrals is quietly beautiful and makes for very mushroom-like colours when spun and crocheted.

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I've also been experimenting with natural dyes.

This month I found myself with an abundance of red cabbage in our veggie box.

Normally I wouldn't use food for dyes as, well, food is for eating. But with so much and thinking the chickens would like it after it had been heated to extract the color. I set to testing a variety of fleece and fabrics.

The results were surprising and very beautiful.

Silk and felted fleece takes this dye the best with no mordant. The pre washed sheep fleece shows a hint of colour, I think with more washing it could become a lovely shade of pink/brown.

More about this another time.

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Buoyed on by these experiments I started to spin some of the washed fleece.

I tried half uncarded, the other half carded. The uncarded spins up into a nice fine yarn. The carded is better if you want a thicker yarn without lumps in it.

One spun and set, the yarn is ready to turn into a new set of 3D mushroom sculptures.

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Have you tried natural dyes, spinning or crochet sculpting? Pop a comment below and tell us about it

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