Time to Dance!

Introducing Dance…

Dance is one of my most favourite yarns that I dye, but I haven’t mentioned it much on the blog until now.  It has made a few quiet appearances in my Etsy shop, but the person who holds most of the stock is Affinity Yarns.  And, this month, Affinity Yarns are giving away a skein of Dance to one lucky winner!  Go see how you can win (I’ll wait…)

Dance is a sock weight/4-ply yarn in a decadent mix of 55% Bluefaced Leicester (superwash) and 45% Silk.  It has a wonderful, soft lustre without being completely in-your-face with the shiny, and it takes colour amazingly well.  Scarily well, you could say.

(By the way, if you haven’t met Bluefaced Leicester (or BFL) wool yet, you’re in for a treat.  It’s a wonderful, slightly shiny long-stapled wool that is so, so soft.  Some of my favourite spinning experiences have been BFL).

Because of the high percentage of silk in Dance, fabrics knit up from it have quite a heavy, drapey hand.  It does have some memory and ‘spring’, but not as much as you’d get from a pure wool.  Because of this, it blocks beautifully for fingering weight shawls, and I am absolutely itching to knit a cardigan in it: the swing would be divine!  Perhaps for springtime, eh?

And yes!  This is a sockweight yarn.  But you will get best results if you pick stitch patterns with built in elasticity if you want to knit socks in this yarn; that silk content makes for drape, shine, warmth and beauty- but not bounce.  Plain stockinette socks in Dance will probably slump – but there are plenty of more complex patterns out there to set your needles dancing!

So near!

Tomorrow is setup day for Textiles In Focus, and I am so near to ready.  Not so near that I can take the night off, of course; all my roving braids still need to be labelled:

Gorgeous, aren’t they??  Unfortunately, I still haven’t decided on the best way to label these puppies, so it might not be a quick job.

I decided only to create small braids for this fair; 50 g each.  I wanted lots and lots of variety on the stall, and I believe that felters will outnumber spinners by a significant proportion, so: small pieces, many colours. I hope the decision doesn’t come back to bite me!

Official launch and dye-a-day!

Wheee!!  Launch time!  Welcome, welcome, welcome, everyone.  I am *so* excited to be launching this blog officially!

To celebrate, I’m going to follow the lead of Janet and her Scarfaday blog.  Yes, I’m going to make dye-a-day posts for the rest of February!  By the time the month is up, I hope I’ll be well into the habit of posting here, and of taking photographs of my fibre and yarns – the hardest part of the whole process!  The rules that I’ll try to stick to are as follows:

  1. This challenge initially runs through the rest of February;
  2. I’ll commit to posting on weekdays, though if I get really inspired I might post at the weekend, too;
  3. I’ll try to post a mixture of colourways and yarn/fibre types;
  4. Preparing for Textiles in Focus temporarily trumps the blog.  If need be, I’ll miss a day.
  5. Family trumps everything else, even yarn! I might wind up missing a few days if something big comes up.

Let’s start with this gorgeous Bluefaced Leicester roving, in ‘Peachy’:

…and own up to the fact that this is a massive ‘cheat’.  Yes, I dyed it, but I certainly didn’t take the photo.  This is the standard to which I will, over time, aspire.

Bluefaced Leicester (aka ‘BFL’ or ‘biffle’) is a type of wool that is becoming increasingly popular.  It is *fantastic* to spin, being almost as soft as merino, but with a longer staple, so it’s easier for beginners.  It felts well, if your tastes run that way, and produces lovely knitted and woven items that will be as non-scratchy as wool can be, and soft and warm to boot.

As a side note, I also love working with it because it is relatively easy for me to buy BFL that has been produced in the UK.  This is really, really important to me, because I aim to produce fibres that have as gentle an environmental impact as I possibly can.