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Thursday, 2 April 2015

Combed Wool Tops dyed with Lichen

My latest dabble with natural dying.  I had hoped for a pinker color which I got the last time I used  Evernia prunasti and this time the wool picked up the dye in different shades.  This will add character to the yarn.  These little nests are 'combed tops'  the very best method of preparing fiber  for worsted spinning.  I have prepared them using a hackle and comb and then pulled the fiber off the hackle through a dis.  This gets rid of almost all the dirt and veggie matter and all the short fibers giving a continuous 'top' of fiber all much the same lenght staple.  There is a fair amount of waste fiber which I will pass through my drum carder and maybe I will spin this using the woolen method giving two yarns of the same color but different texture.
Dying with lichen is lovely as the wool needs no mordant which can do damage to the fibers,  making them soft, sticky or brittle depending on what is used.
This lichen is plentiful here at Markree enjoying the Temperate Rain Forest climate and clean atmosphere.  It grows on trees enjoying a fair amount of natural light and so is found on the top of the trees.  I gather it off the ground after storms, which we have had plenty of this winter

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