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Don’t get ready – get started!

For many years I’ve followed Felicia Lo from Sweet Georgia Yarns.  She started off dyeing when I did, around 2005 and went on to scale the heights while I dawdled through!  It’s so exciting to find someone who is on your wavelength and follow their journey.

So I was excited to watch her You Tube channel and hear her talking about her design process and how sometimes she feels a design paralysis. This is something I’m sure we all experience at times, especially when the stresses of life catch up with us and particularly with the demands that we place on ourselves as a result of social media- seeing other artists produce amazing work at a seemingly alarming rate can be a little disheartening when your own process is a little slower.

So Felicia’s take on it- just weave.  Just knit or just spin.   It doesn’t matter.  The doing of the thing is what helps us to improve, so just do.  It’s not rocket science, we all know that this is the case.  Stop overthinking..   It’s helpful to be reminded of this now and again, that we aren’t perfect, we’re just human.

So I had a lady unable to attend on Saturday’s weaving workshop, she had given me almost free reign to chose the colours of her warp for her so I chose Vintage Rose, Ilsa and Mrs Weston yarns. An almost solid colour, a neutral with a fleck and a variegated with light and darker pinks to bring it all together.  Even as i was warping it I knew i loved it. But rather than start weaving, I kept it for you know, someone else, a better time, when I had more yarn, i.e. a million and one reasons not to start.

 

So today, I am warping up with those same yarns in the same colours on my rigid heddle loom.  It’s going to be slightly wider but I’m getting started.  Will post how it looks (even if it’s not great), I promise.

Vintage Rose, Mrs Weston and Ilsa hand dyed yarns

Weaving workshops Lancashire

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Why we need Neutrals in Hand Dyed Yarn

Faced with a wall of bright hand dyed yarn with colours that pop, deep and rich purples and blues, cheery yellows and reds, pinks, pinks in every shade and saturation.  Solids, semis and variegated, speckles and spots these  days colours can actually make our mouths start watering and we can only feel pity for those who don’t  share our passion.

But what about the greys, beiges, and barely there creams? What about those shades that people turn their noses up at because they’re muddy, bland or boring? Do these have a place in the hand dyed arsenal of yarn?

Dyers will often plan a palette of colours and then pick the neutrals that will work with those colours, it’s a plan!

Neutrals used in a project whether it be knitting, crochet or weaving will make the brighter colours stand out, drawing attention to the lighter or  brighter yarns you want to show off.  Take this gorgeous shawl by Pook GB and see how the rainbow colours come forward because of the charcoal neutral.

Pook Yarns Rainbow Stripe Shawl

Neutrals are also timeless. That mustard shade that we all absolutely love right now may or may not be around two years from now but a neutral, well that’s an investment piece that will, stand the test of time.  Perhaps mixing the two is the answer.  Isabel Kraemer’s is the master of this

Isabel Kraemer Humulus
Isabel Kraemer’s A Girls Best Friend Shawl

See how the neutral acts as a foil for the brighter colours?  We see neutrals used in Fairisle patterns too.  Do you follow Loritimesfive on Instagram? Such gorgeous inspirational photos taken by Lori Ann Graham-Rushfeldt

Loritimesfive
Loritimesfive

In my weaving workshops, fledgling weavers often put neutral in their weaving to balance the scarves with wonderful effect.

So love those neutrals, they’re your foundation to wonderful design! To see my hand dyed neutral and more click here

Lazykate Textiles Granite Yarn

Lazykate Textiles Beach Pebble

Lazykate Textiles Beach Pebble

 

 

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Why I Choose to Use Wool

There seems to have been plenty posted around social media in recent months about wool and it’s pros and cons.  As with many issues there is some truth on both sides and at the risk of boring people with this issue that is everywhere, I feel I need to let people know how I operate.

 

There has been a backlash against using wool, partly driven by the vegan movement and partly by videos that have surfaced showing shearers treating animals unkindly and the use of mulesing in some merino farms in Australia.  These videos can’t be denied and it’s important that issues of animal welfare are raised and put right.  Unethical treatment of sheep is just not acceptable and I would never use fibre from sources that I wasn’t 100% sure of.

That said, to encourage people to use manmade fibres instead of natural fibres seems like a short term view.  Plastics are a huge problem that our planet is struggling to deal with so acrylic yarn, as much as it is a convenient machine washable fabric will not biodegrade or provide nutrients to the soil  as wool does.  Wool is a part of the fibre of this country, it certainly would look like a different place without the sheep that we see dotted on our hillsides.  Take a look at this info from the National Sheep Association:

More than 40% of our breeding flock is based in the uplands of the UK- and it is no accident that our strong sheep areas are also our biggest tourism areas, as sheep have created and continue to maintain our iconic landscapes.

As well as creating beautiful landscapes, sheep also support wildlife and plant biodiversity. Without sheep our grassland, and upland land in particularly, would become overtaken by scrub and coarse vegetation, becoming less valuable to many types of plants, small mammals and ground nesting birds, and at risk of environmental damage by wildfires. areas are also our biggest tourism areas, as sheep have created and continueto maintain our iconic landscapes.

In lowland areas sheep put lots of natural nutrients back into the ground that the growing of cereals and vegetables takes out. Yes, we’re talking about poo!

Sheep produce a thick woolly coat called a fleece to protect them from the weather, both hot and cold. Wool is the most sustainable fibre in the world. It’s a natural product of the sheep’s life cycle and the welfare of sheep is improved by them being shorn. Wool is a stable carbon store that is produced by little more than solar powered grass and herbage.

So I will continue to champion the use of wool, you can be assured it’s from a reputable source when you attend one of my workshops or buy one of my scarves.  Lets value this fabulous fibre.

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Why Indie Dyed Yarn makes Confident Weavers

Workshops are great fun, a real treat, sharing the day with like minded people letting your creativity run wild, right?

Not for everyone, sometimes the environment can be a little bit nerve wracking, learning something new can leave you feel kak-handed, maybe you feel everyone else is running ahead, you’re too nervous to ask a question. We’ve all been there and it isn’t a great feeling.

For all of those who come to a workshop with a fixed plan in mind, colours decided, goal in view there are others who feel overwhelmed at the choices

Hand dyed yarn choices

 

So, on the Weave a Scarf workshop I’ve tried to allay those fears by first of all using colours that people feel comfortable with. I’ll pick three main colours for the warp that fit in with the colour scheme you’ve chosen. You might have said ‘I love blues’ and that will be enough to point me in the right direction. Maybe and even more importantly you might have told me that you absolutely can’t stand pink, sometimes we don’t necessarily have strong feelings about what we like, but we certainly know what we don’t.

Mid weave

So the colours in your warp could give you a starting point to work with on the day. Three colours to chose from which can give you numerous options in terms of pattern or colour placing. I’ve found that for those who come along who are nervous this can give them a confident start. So don’t let fear of colour stop you creating something amazing.

Diane’s Finished Scarf

 

Scarf woven by Diane 13/10/18

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Why Yarn of the Month?

Having dyed yarn on and off for years, when it came to having my own range of yarn I wanted to have a definite plan of how yarn was to look. I wanted the yarn to work as a whole as well as individual pieces.

So with lots of experimenting in the months before my day job came to an end I arrived at a palette that I loved, I figured that I had to love it myself to feel enthusiastic and then hopefully others would love it too.

Myrtle during dyeing

So once the semi solid yarns were ready in the three bases, 4 ply high twist Bluefaced Leicester Sock Yarn, 4 ply Merino/Cashmere/Nylon and a Bluefaced Leicester Double knit, I then planned to add speckled or variegated yarns that would be released over time to complement the semi solid yarns. These would be released as a yarn of the month that people could see before buying – (I like to see what I’m getting – not a huge one for surprises, hence I’m not a sock club devotee. I know, controversial)

Ocean Deep, Myrtle and Dijon, complementary yarns

So over the next few months as each Yarn of the Month is released on the 1st of the month you’ll be able to see how the yarns will work together for your chosen project, whether that be knitting, weaving or crochet.

I hope by explaining my though process, the Yarn of the Month idea becomes clearer. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as i enjoy creating them,

https://lazykatetextiles.co.uk/shop

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Questions Beginner Spinners Want to Ask……

You know the feeling, you have a question, surely you’re not the only person who is wondering this but you certainly don’t want to look like an idiot.

Well the same questions come up again and again and we would like to put your mind at rest – there’s no question too silly, we’ve been asked them all.  And probably asked them myself before I learned to spin.  OK, well not the first one, I knew the answer to the first one….

 Are the sheep killed when they’re sheared?

No, they’re not.  A sheep will be shorn once a year, an experience shearer will have the job done in a few minutes and although this is probably not the best night out the sheep has ever had (maybe the equivalent to our visit to the dentist), it will feel better afterwards and more healthy in the long term

 I’ve never spun before, can I still come on your course?

Yes, of course you can.  You’re exactly who the workshop is for.  I will start you off from the very beginning and take you through the whole process.  If there are more than two on the course I will bring someone along to help out in case you need a bit of extra help (often I will treadle for you while you conquer the drafting process).

Beginners Spinning, Black Sheep Wools

I have a wheel but it doesn’t work, shall I bring it along?

Yes, bring it along.  I’ll have a look at it and see if I can get it to work, but I always have one wheel per person in case we can’t

I have some alpaca/mohair/dog fur.  Can I bring that and spin it?

Yes, of course.  I would normally get everyone started using wool, simply because it’ll be easier to begin with and we want to make the process as painless as possible.  Once you’ve got it like, then by all means have a go of any fibre you like!

I’m vegan, am I welcome at your workshops?

Yes of course you are.  If you let me know beforehand then I can prepare alternative fibre for you.  You’ll be very welcome and might be surprised of the amount of fibres available.

Beginner’s Spinning Workshop Lancashire

 

If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them, don’t hold back – in 10 years of teaching you certainly won’t be the first!  Have a look to see when the next workshop is click here

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Hello world!

Welcome to my first blog post and thank  you for joining me at the start of my new adventure.

For those who don’t know, I’ve been teaching various forms of textiles for about ten years now, spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidery but always had a part time ‘proper’ job in the background, working in a yarn shop. Since Friday last week that has sadly come to an end, but as the cliche goes, as one door closes a strange shaped hard to reach slip of a window opens and I’m going to climb through it and start out on my own!!

So here is my website, full of the yarns I love to dye, information about workshops and events I’m taking part in also – and this is the best, you can sign up for the VIP club and receive news about special offers and money off before it goes live.

This is a very exciting opportunity for me and I hope you’ll join me on the – ahem – journey.

For information about workshops, please click this link