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KeepsakeQuilting

Indigo Fructose Dye Vat

There are many ways to prepare an indigo vat, some use soda ash and spectralite, some use some use sulphuric acid, some use iron and some urine. For this indigo vat, I am using a fructose base. You can also use ageing fruit instead of fructose sugar.

The fructose indigo vat was developed by Michel Garcia. The addition of the fructose sugar acts as a reducing agent to the Indigo. The sugar removes one of the oxygen molecules from the indigo making it soluble in water.
The addition of the Calcium Hydroxide (slaked or hydrated lime) changes the pH from an acid to a base. The proper pH to get good colour on wool should be about +9 and for cotton and cellulose +10.

When the yarn or fabric is dipped into the indigo dye vat, it turns a green colour. When the yarn is raised into the air, the oxygen molecules from the air, bind with the indigo and turn the green into blue. To get darker and more intense blues, the yarn needs to be dipped into the indigo vat and raised into the air to oxidize several times. The colour builds up onto the yarn or cloth in layers. Keep dipping and airing out the yarn until the desired level of colour is achieved.

An Indigo vat can be re-used and kept alive for several weeks until all of the indigo has been exhausted.
If the Vat still has indigo but has turned blue, reheat the Vat to 50 deg C. Check the pH. Add about a teaspoon of fructose crystals and wait 15-30 minutes.
The Vat should turn green. If it is still blue add some Calcium Hydroxide. pH should be +9 for wool, or +10 for cellulose.

The Fructose Indigo Vat uses a 1-2-3 ratio of substances.
1 part Indigo
2 parts Calcium Hydroxide
3 parts Fructose

I purchased some Tamil Nadu Indigo from Wild Colours.
I decided to make a starter indigo vat using 25 grams of Indigo. In theory, 25 grams of Indigo will dye about 1 kg of fibre. This will vary depending on the strength and depth of colour that you produce, and the Vat can be kept alive by checking pH and adding more Calcium Hydroxide or Fructose as needed.

I put about 200 ml of hot water into a large Kilner jar and added the Indigo powder. I stirred this until the indigo was dissolved.

Indigo Fructose Dye Starter Vat

Indigo Fructose Dye Starter Vat

I then added more warm water to fill the jar almost to the top.

I measured out 50 grams of Calcium Hydroxide
and 75 grams of Fructose.

Indigo Fructose Dye Vat

Indigo Fructose Dye Vat

I added the Fructose into the Indigo mixture and stirred until it was dissolved.
Then I slowly added about half of the Calcium Hydroxide, trying not to introduce air bubbles into the mix.

The Indigo starter needs to be kept warm while it reacts, so I placed the Kilner jar into a slow cooker filled with warm water. I left it on a low setting and gently stirred the jar about every 20-30 minutes.

Indigo Fructose Dye Vat

Indigo Fructose Dye Vat

After about 3 hours, a bronze film had developed on top of the water, and the indigo bath had turned green.

Indigo Fructose Vat

Indigo Fructose Vat

Indigo Fructose Dye Vat

Indigo Fructose Dye Vat

I let this starter vat sit overnight and kept it warm by wrapping a towel around it.

The following day the Indigo starter had separated into several lovely layers.

Indigo Vat Layers

Indigo Vat Layers

I put 10 litres of hot tap water (50 Deg Celcius) into a large plastic pail.
I carefully lowered and submerged the jar of Indigo starter into the pail. I gently tipped the jar to pour out the indigo taking care not to introduce extra air into the water.

Indigo Fructose Vat

Indigo Fructose Vat

I gave the Vat a gentle stir and let it sit beside the warm radiator. More patient waiting…

A few hours later:
Indigo Fructose Vat: pH +11.2 Temp 30 deg C.
The Indigo Vat looked like it was ready to go.
A coppery finish had formed across the top and the dye water looked green.

I tested a few wool yarn samples and dipped them into the Vat. They came out green, but quickly turned to blue in the air.

Indigo Fructose Dye Vat Sample No. 1
For my first real test piece I dipped in a skein of handspun bleached flax. I dipped the skein into the Vat, pulling it out after about a minute and let it air for about a minute. I repeated the dipping 5 times and got quite a dark blue that I was happy with.

Handspun Flax
60 gram skein 160 m
approx. 260 m/100 gr

Handspun Bleached Flax

Handspun Bleached Flax

Handspun Flax in Indigo Vat

Handspun Flax in Indigo Vat

Indigo Fructose Vat Dye Sample No. 2

I tied a silk scarf with some marbles and elastics, creating a Shibori type of effect.
I dipped the scarf (dry) into the Vat, swirled it around and pulled it out to air for about a minute. I repeated the dipping 5 times.

Silk Scarf dyed with Indigo

Silk Scarf dyed with Indigo

Silk Scarf dyed with Indigo

Silk Scarf dyed with Indigo

First set of samples drying outside.

Flax and Silk dyed with Indigo

Flax and Silk dyed with Indigo

After you have finished dyeing your pieces, rinse them thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear. Add a bit of vinegar to the final rinse, to neutralize the high pH of the yarn or fabric, as this can be damaging to your yarn if it is left.

Indigo Shibori Silk Scarf

Indigo Dyed Silk Scarf and Linen Yarn

Indigo Dyed Silk Scarf and Linen Yarn

I put a lid onto the Vat and have it placed near a radiator to help keep it warm. There is still LOTS of colour left in the Vat – I will try dyeing something else in a few days.

NOTE:
Calcium Hydroxide is very corrosive and can cause serious eye and skin damage. Wear protective goggles and gloves when working with chemicals.

Indigo Dye Vat – Project #3

Tsukidashi Kanoko Shibori Linen Shawl

Tsukidashi Shibori Linen Shawl

Tsukidashi Shibori Linen Shawl

Indigo Dye Vat – Project #4

Hishakinui Shibori Cotton

Hishakinui Shibori

Hishakinui Shibori

Indigo Dye Vat – Project #5

Hitta Miura Shibori Linen Shawl

Hitta Miura Shibori Linen Shawl

Hitta Miura Shibori Linen Shawl

Indigo Dye Vat – Project #6

Madder Root/ Indigo Habotai Silk Scarf

Indigo Madder Root Silk Scarf

Indigo Madder Root Silk Scarf

Indigo Vat Dye Supplies

NOW Foods Fructose Fruit Sugar – 3 lb
Voluntary Purchasing Group Hi-Yield 33362 Hydrated Lime, 2 lb.
5 Pounds Ferrous Sulfate Powder “Greenway Biotech, Inc. Brand” Heptahydrate 20% Water Soluble Iron Sulfate
Sellstrom 88210 PVC Indirect Black Vent Chemical Splash Goggle, Green Tinted Body/Clear Anti-Fog Lens
3M Particulate Respirator 8233, N100
MedSoft Vinyl Exam Glove, Powder Free, MD, 100/Box

Indigo and Shibori Dye Books

Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing
Shibori Designs & Techniques
Shibori for Textile Artists
Shibori: The Art of Fabric Folding, Pleating and Dyeing
The Weaver’s Studio – Woven Shibori: Revised and Updated

Resources

Natural Dye Workshop
Maiwa – Natural Dyes Indigo Fruit Vat
Indigo Natural Fermentation Vat
Riihivilla – Indigo Fructose Vat
George Weil – Indigo Yeast Sugar Vat
Graham Keegan – Indigo Vat Basics
Wearing Woad – Natural Indigo Dye Vat Troubleshooting
Julie Ryder Textiles – Indigo Blues
Jenny Dean – Indigo Fructose Lime Vat
Spin Flora – My Ferrous Indigo Vat

 

Ebay Finds

Hand Dyed Alpaca Locks Spinning Fiber Fleece Needle Felting 100gr mixed colours - Current price: $15.00

Hand Dyed 4 ply Fingering Yarn 50gr Rainbow SW wool silk knitting 151 - Current price: $18.00

Tencel Roving Top Vegan Spinning Fiber 100 grams Lyocell rayon - Current price: $6.50

Pearl Infused Cellulose Roving Top Vegan Spinning Fiber 100 grams - Current price: $11.00

Spin Flora not Fauna - Bamboo Staple

Bamboo Staple

Bamboo staple fibre is produced mechanically via a retting process, similar to flax production. The woody bamboo stems are crushed and natural enzymes break down the stems so the fibres can be combed out and spun. This is a very labour intensive process.

Bamboo Staple Fibre

Bamboo Staple Fibre

I have spun bamboo staple fibre before and the fibers were quite long and easy to spin in a worsted spinning style. For this particular batch of bamboo fibre, the fibers are quite short and feel much like cotton. So I decided to use a cotton spinning method. I carded some of the fibre on my drum carder and rolled it into small rolags.

I reduced the tension on my brake to slow down the takeup on the bobbin.
I used the point-of-twist drafting style allowing the twist to enter the enter the tip of the rolag and then pull slowly to release the fibre from the bundle. The resulting yarn is a bit lumpy, bumpy as I didn’t card this to a smooth roving. I wanted to have a bit of texture in this yarn. I plan to leave it as a singles and use it as weft in some handwoven.

I also thought that this bamboo staple would be lovely when blended and carded with wool. I carded a 20% bamboo, 80 % merino blend and also spun this.

Handspun Bamboo Staple and Merino

Handspun Bamboo Staple and Merino


Handspun Bamboo Staple Single Ply
30 grams
350 m/100 grams

Handspun Bamboo Staple 20%/ Merino 80%
100 grans
145 m/100 grams

Saxon Blue Indigo Dye

Saxon Blue is a natural Indigo dye extract that has been made from an 18th Century recipe using indigo, sulphuric acid and calcium carbonate. Although you could mix up your own Saxon blue, I prefer to use a ready made mix as Sulphuric Acid is highly corrosive and the fumes are toxic. On the other hand, Saxon Blue extract is quite easy to use, even for the beginner natural dyer.

Fill the dyepot with clean water and the required amount of Saxon Blue extract. Put in the wetted fiber and bring the dye mixture to boil and simmer for about 30 minutes.
To dye 100 grams of yarn, I put 10 grams of Saxon Blue extract into the dyepot. I put both skeins of yarn into the dyepot (merino/bamboo blend, and bamboo singly ply)
Dyebath pH +3

Dyeing Bamboo with Saxon Blue Indigo

Dyeing Bamboo with Saxon Blue Indigo


The colour after about 15 minutes in the dyebath looked hopeful, so I let this simmer for about an hour. The merino/bamboo blend soaked up all of the dye, but the bamboo singles was almost white – lighter than it had been earlier.

I removed the merino/bamboo blend yarn and added a bit more of the Saxon Blue extract. I also decided to change the pH of the bath to +9 by adding some washing soda to see if this would help the bamboo fibre to retain more colour. After an hour, the blue colour did darken, so I turned off the dyepot and let the yarn sit in the dyebath overnight. In the morning when I pulled the skein out of the dyebath, it had turned a lovely turquoise blue. Unfortunately, when I washed it, most of the colour washed out.
Conclusion:
Only use Saxon blue on wool, not on cellulose.

Handspun Merino/Bamboo dyed with Saxon Blue Indigo

Handspun Merino/Bamboo dyed with Saxon Blue Indigo

I purchased the Saxon Blue extract from DT Craft and Design.

Buy Bamboo Staple on Etsy

Resources

Bamboo Textile – Wikipedia
About Mechanically Processed Bamboo
Bamboo as a Renewable Textile Fibre

Spin Flora

Spin Flora – Banana Viscose Fibre
Spin Flora – Rose Viscose Fibre
Spin Flora – Bamboo Top
Flax dyed with Indigo Fructose Vat

Handspinning Books

The Practical Spinner’s Guide – Cotton, Flax, Hemp (Practical Spinner’s Guides)
Spin Flax & Cotton: Traditional Techniques with Norman Kennedy
The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning: Being A Compendium of Information, Advice, and Opinions On the Noble Art & Craft

Natural Dye Books

Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes
A Heritage of Colour: Natural Dyes Past and Present by Jenny Dean (2014-06-10)
Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes
The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

 

Ebay Finds

Hand Dyed Alpaca Locks Spinning Fiber Fleece Needle Felting 100gr mixed colours - Current price: $15.00

Hand Dyed 4 ply Fingering Yarn 50gr Rainbow SW wool silk knitting 151 - Current price: $18.00

Tencel Roving Top Vegan Spinning Fiber 100 grams Lyocell rayon - Current price: $6.50

Pearl Infused Cellulose Roving Top Vegan Spinning Fiber 100 grams - Current price: $11.00

Spin Flora not Fauna - Bamboo

Bamboo fibre for handspinning is now available in 2 forms – one is a smoothly combed viscose top and the other is a rougher staple fibre. These require different methods of spinning.

Bamboo Viscose Top

Bamboo Viscose top is produced from Bamboo pulp (like other viscose pulp fibres). The bamboo is crushed and made into a pulp. Natural enzymes, hydrogen peroxide and chemicals are added to further soften the fibrous pulp. The resulting pulp is wet spun and forced through a spinneret to produce fine bamboo filaments in the same way as other pulp based fibres. The bamboo fibre is white and silky in appearance and is a cool as a result of its high absorbency, due to the fibre being full of cavities.

As this bamboo top is very smooth and silky, similar in handle to the previous Rose viscose tops that I spun, I used a similar spinning method for this yarn.

I spun this yarn with a tight twist, using the smallest whorl on my Kromski Sonata spinning wheel, 14:1. This top is quite slippery so I loosened the tension on the brake in order to slow down the takeup speed as much as possible, so that I could spin finely without having the roving fly away on me. I also turned the bobbin around, so that the brake was around the smaller whorl of the bobbin.
I used a worsted drafting method, taking care not to let the twist enter the drafting zone and go into the unspun roving.
I plied this as a 2 ply yarn, changing the wheel ratio to 9:1 in order to create a soft yarn.
A more detailed explanation on how to spin fine yarns can be found in my previous article on how to spin rose fibre.

Handspun Bamboo Viscose Top

Handspun Bamboo Viscose Top

Handspun Bamboo Viscose Top

Handspun Bamboo Viscose Top

Ivy Natural Dye Recipe

I have seen several references to dyeing yarns with Ivy vines, but none of them seem to have any detailed instructions. Since Ivy is very plentiful in the neighbouring fields and paths near me, I thought I would give it a try.
I picked a small shopping bag full of Ivy leaves (about 150 grams) and chopped these up and put them into my dye kettle. I added enough water to cover the Ivy and put it on to simmer for a few hours. A murky greenish colour did emerge from the Ivy leaves so I was hopeful they would yield some colour. I turned off the heat and left the Ivy stew to sit overnight.

Ivy Leaves Dyepot

Ivy Leaves Dyepot

The following day, I strained the dyebath liquid into one of my slow cookers that I use for dyeing only. I put the leaves into an organza mesh bag. Many plants react to different pH levels, so for this bath I thought I would try a high pH. I added about a tablespoon of Soda Ash to the liquid, to change the pH to 9. The liquid immediately turned to a dark olive shade.

I had premordanted the handspun Bamboo overnight in an Aluminum Acetate mordant. I put the Bamboo handspun into the dyebath along with the Ivy mesh bag. I turned the heat on the dyebath and allowed it to warm up. I put the lid on the slow cooker and let it simmer on High heat for a few hours. When I checked the yarn, I was happy to see there was some colour coming through onto the yarn – not a true green, but perhaps a very light avocado shade?

Bamboo Dyed with Ivy

Bamboo Dyed with Ivy

I turned the heat off the dyepot and let it sit overnight, hopeful that the yarn would absorb a bit more colour. The next day the colour was a bit greener but still very pale, so I let it sit for another day. The natural dye process is a slow one and is not to be rushed.

Handspun Bamboo dyed with Ivy

Handspun Bamboo dyed with Ivy


Handspun Bamboo dyed with Ivy Leaves

Handspun Bamboo dyed with Ivy Leaves


Yes, I think this is a green tone – a creamy shade of avocado perhaps?
There is still a lot of colour left in the Ivy dyebath, so I think I will sit it outside and let it ferment – and try dyeing something else in a week or two.

Handspun Bamboo Top dyed with Ivy Leaves
320 M/100 Gr
14 TPI
25 WPI

Handspun Bamboo dyed with Ivy Sample

Handspun Bamboo dyed with Ivy Sample

Aluminum Acetate Mordant

Aluminum Acetate 5% Solution
Dissolve Aluminum Acetate (5 grams) in hot water and add to dyepot. Add 100 gr yarn into the mordant pot and simmer on warm for an hour. Do not bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow the yarn to sit in the mordant overnight.
I re-use my Aluminum Acetate mordant solutions rather than discarding them each time. After you have mordanted a skein of yarn, there is always some mordant residue left in the water. It is difficult to tell how much, but I estimate that perhaps half has been absorbed into the previous yarn. So I dissolved another half (2 grams) in hot water and added this to the existing mordant bath and then topped up the mordant solution with more warm water.

Buy Bamboo Top on Etsy

Bamboo Staple

Bamboo staple fibre is produced mechanically via a retting process, similar to flax production. The woody bamboo stems are crushed and natural enzymes break down the stems so the fibres can be combed out and spun. This is a very labour intensive process.

Bamboo Staple Fibre

Bamboo Staple Fibre

I will be spinning some of the Bamboo Staple next so:
…MORE TO COME HERE…

Resources

Bamboo Textile – Wikipedia
About Mechanically Processed Bamboo
Bamboo as a Renewable Textile Fibre

Spin Flora

Spin Flora – Banana Viscose Fibre
Spin Flora – Rose Viscose Fibre

Spin Flora Fibres can now also be purchased in my Paivatar Yarns Web Shop.

Handspinning Books

The Practical Spinner’s Guide – Cotton, Flax, Hemp (Practical Spinner’s Guides)
Spin Flax & Cotton: Traditional Techniques with Norman Kennedy
The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning: Being A Compendium of Information, Advice, and Opinions On the Noble Art & Craft

Natural Dye Books

Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes
A Heritage of Colour: Natural Dyes Past and Present by Jenny Dean (2014-06-10)
Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes
The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

 

Ebay Finds

Hand Dyed Alpaca Locks Spinning Fiber Fleece Needle Felting 100gr mixed colours - Current price: $15.00

Hand Dyed 4 ply Fingering Yarn 50gr Rainbow SW wool silk knitting 151 - Current price: $18.00

Tencel Roving Top Vegan Spinning Fiber 100 grams Lyocell rayon - Current price: $6.50

Pearl Infused Cellulose Roving Top Vegan Spinning Fiber 100 grams - Current price: $11.00

How to Weave Pickup on a Band Loom

Further to my previous article about weaving pickup on a band loom, there is a quicker method that you can use. Previously, I had woven the pickup by individually picking up each pattern thread by hand. This method works but it is slow and is prone to errors, as it takes a lot of concentration to correctly pick up the pattern thread by thread.

Band Loom Pickup

Band Loom Pickup

The threading of the loom is done in the same way as I previously described. The ground warp is threaded through the 2 sets of heddles. The thicker pattern thread is not, so that it floats freely in the centre between the 2 ground warp threads.

The pattern threads can be set up for easy pickup by adding ties to the warp behind the heddles. Each warp thread that is to be picked up on a row has a corresponding pickup tie. All of the threads that are to be picked up on that row are then grouped together and numbered, so that it makes it easy to pull up on the threads as you weave. This is much like tying up the pedals on a jack or countermarche loom, or setting up the pattern sequence on a drawloom.

Weaving Pickup on Band Loom

Weaving Pickup on Band Loom

When setting up the loom it is necessary to analyze the pattern draft to determine the pattern sequence that is repeated. Each pattern pickup row is then raised in order of the pattern.

In order to tie the pickup threads, the pattern must be analyzed to determine how the pattern repeats.

For example in this simple 7 pattern thread design, there are 6 rows of pattern changes before the design repeats. So to set up this design, you will need to tie 6 sets of pattern thread groups.

The first one row picks up Pattern thread No. 1 and No. 7 – so tie thread loops around those 2 threads – and tape them together and Label as No. 1. To help me distinguish which row is what, I also use a different coloured pickup thread for each row.

The second row picks up Pattern threads No. 1, 2, 6 and 7 – so tie loops around those 4 threads – and tape them together and label as No. 2.

And so on until you have set up the 6 Pattern groups.

7 Pattern Thread Draft

7 Pattern Thread Draft

In this pattern, the pickup threads are the same, but the weaving sequence reverses going from 1 to 6, and back to 1.

7 Thread Pattern Draft

7 Thread Pattern Draft

I work from the side of the loom, so that I can easily reach both the front of the warp and the back, behind the heddles.
I use a small net shuttle to hold my yarn, so that my right hand is free to pickup the pattern groups. The small netting shuttle also acts as the beater for the weft. The shuttle is light weight so that when it drops, which it often does, it doesn’t put a lot of strain on the band, and the weft yarn doesn’t unravel and go all over the floor.

To weave the pickup, press on one of the foot pedals to raise the shaft.
All of the pattern threads should be floating in the centre, between the open shed.
With my right hand, I pull up on the first pattern group, No. 1. This raises only those pattern warp threads. Pass the shuttle through, under the raised pattern threads and the top ground threads.

Pickup Weaving on Band Loom

Pickup Weaving on Band Loom

Change the shed and beat.
Because you are weaving with a very tight sett on a narrow band, the warp has been pushed together very closely, the pattern threads tend to stick a bit. This needs to be cleared before you pick up the next pattern row. So make sure that all of the pattern threads are now again sitting in the middle of the warp, between the raised and lowered ground shafts.
(I have one set of pattern threads tied from the bottom, so that I can easily pull all of the pattern threads down when they get stuck.)

After you have cleared the shed, with your right hand, pick up the next pattern group and pass the shuttle through the raised pattern and ground threads.
As I work my way through picking up the pattern groups, I move them to the back of the loom, and then to the front again as I reverse direction. This helps me keep track of where I am, should I get interrupted.

Pattern Pickup on Band Loom

Pattern Pickup on Band Loom

Band Loom Pickup

Band Loom Pickup

11 Thread Pattern Draft

11 Thread Pattern Draft

Band Weaving Books

Band Weaving: The Techniques, Looms, and Uses for Woven Bands
Handwoven Tape: Understanding and Weaving Early American and Contemporary Tape
Norwegian Pick-Up Bandweaving
Tape Loom Weaving… Simplified
The Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory: 400 Warp-Faced Weaves

 

Ebay Finds

%% Antique Iron Fan Model/Home Decorations/Photography Props/Collection - Current price: $151.46

BRAND NEW LOT OF 40 COPIC SKETCH MARKERS NO DUPLICATES FREE SHIPPING - Current price: $179.87

Sennelier Extra Soft Pastel Wooden 175 Traditional Set - Current price: $749.70

- Current price: $159.90

Spin Flora not Fauna - Rose Fibre

For my next Spin Flora not Fauna project, I thought I would spin a bit of rose top. Rose fibre is another one of the ‘new’ vegan handspinning fibres, made from roses. The rose fibre has been extracted from the natural waste of rose bushes and stems. The fibre has been stripped and processed to create a luxurious and soft handspinning spinning fibre, similar to silk.

Rose Fibre Top

Rose Fibre Top

Rose Top for spinning can now be purchased through my new website: SpinFlora.com

After spinning the Banana fibre, I found the rose to be quite similar, yet the rose top was a bit finer and the staple was shorter in length than the banana fibre. The rose fibres were about 18-20 cm in length, a bit longer than merino top.

Rose Fibre

Rose Fibre

How To Spin a Fine Yarn

I wanted to try to spin this fibre a bit finer than I had done with the banana fibre – so I made a few adjustments to my spinning wheel. I replaced the rough brake band that originally came with the wheel, with a smoother and finer hemp yarn. Changing the brake band to a finer yarn, reduces the tension on the brake, as it slips around the bobbin. I removed the metal spring on the brake band with a short elastic band. This allows me to make finer and smoother adjustments to the brake tension.

In order to spin finer yarns, the tension on the brake needs to be reduced, to slow down the speed of the yarn takeup onto the bobbin. This gives your hands more time to draft a smaller amount of fibre during spinning, reducing the thickness of the yarn. There is also less friction placed on the fibres as they are being pulled towards the wheel, so less fibre is picked up by the spinning action of the wheel. By making these small adjustments to your wheel, you can significantly reduce the thickness of your handspun yarn, while keeping the speed of your treadling, and your hand drafting the same. You don’t need to spin faster than your normal spinning rate – let the wheel do the work for you.

Again, I spun the rose fibre using the smallest whorl on my wheel, 14:1. I slowly adjusted the tension on the brake to as slow a speed as I could, making small adjustments at a time, until I was happy with the thickness of the yarn that I was spinning. I wanted the plied yarn to be about a fingering weight.

2 Ply Rose Yarn

2 Ply Rose Yarn

If you wish to spin an even finer yarn, and you are not achieving it easily with the above adjustments, there are a few more things you can do.
If your bobbin has 2 sizes of whorls on it (such as on a Kromski wheel) turn the bobbin around and use the smaller one – normally I spin using the larger size. A smaller whorl size has less surface area, so the amount of tension that is put onto the bobbin will be less, so the drafting speed will slow down even more, allowing you to spin a finer yarn.

Lacing the yarn around the hooks on the flyer will also slow down the drafting speed of your bobbin. Wrap the yarn around the hooks on the other side of your flyer and back again to the side you normally spin on. Some flyer whorls have the second set of hooks on the same side of the flyer – this makes it easier to do the lacing. On this flyer, the other set of hooks is on the opposite side, so I have wrapped the yarn around the edge of the flyer and back again. I think I will add some additional hooks to the top side.
The photo shows black merino that has been laced around the arms of the flyer.

Lacing the Flyer

Lacing the Flyer

Rose fibre is very fine and quite slippery so it needs to be spun with a tight twist. The easiest way to tell if your yarn has enough twist, is to pull back about half a meter of the yarn from the bobbin, hold the length between both hands and give it a good tug. If it holds together, then the yarn is strong enough to be used as warp in weaving. If it pulls apart, then more twist is needed.

Using the smallest whorl size of my wheel (14:1) I used a worsted spinning method with a short forward draw, spinning from the top of the fibre bundle in my hand, and carefully drawing out a small amount of fibre at a time and not letting the twist get into the fibre bundle.
These finely spun viscose yarns are also best if you also ply them. Plying takes a bit of extra time, but it helps to create a stable and balanced yarn that will not stretch and pull apart.

2 Ply Rose Fibre Yarn
330 m / 100 grams
14 TPI

Rose Yarn Spinning Sample

Rose Yarn Spinning Sample

 

Yesterday’s Roses Natural Dye

I had a bit of rose fibre singles left after I had plied my 2 bobbins of singles together. Not being one to waste good handspun, I plied the leftovers with a single ply merino yarn.

I also had some yellow roses that had seen better days. I thought that I would experiment with a rose natural dyebath. Roses dyed with roses seemed like a good idea… I chopped up the roses, leaves and stems into a pot of water and heated the dyebath for a few hours. I then let the rose dyebath cool and sit overnight.

Yesterday's Roses

Yesterday’s Roses

Yesterday's Roses Dyebath

Yesterday’s Roses Dyebath

I put the small sample of the Rose/Merino fibre yarn I had spun into an Aluminum Acetate mordant solution overnight.
The next day I reheated the Yesterday’s Rose dyebath and added the pre-mordanted Rose/Merino handspun yarn. I let it simmer for about an hour in the dyebath, turned off the heat, and waited patiently until the next day.  Dyeing with plants is not to be rushed.

Rose Fibre Yarn dyed with Roses

Rose Fibre Yarn dyed with Roses

Madder Root Natural Dye Recipe

Put Madder Root chips (30 grams) into a mesh bag and let them soak overnight in water.
Heat up the dyebath and add pre-mordanted yarn 100 grams.
Simmer for 1 hour and then turn the dyebath off. Let cool and allow the yarn to sit overnight in the madder dyebath.

For this yarn, I used the left over Madder Root dye that I had made a few days ago, as there was still plenty of colour left in the dye bath. I reheated the dyebath and put the rose handspun into the bath. I let it cook for about an hour and then turned off the heat, leaving the yarn to soak in the dyebath overnight.

Handspun Rose Fibre Yarn

Handspun Rose Fibre Yarn

Aluminum Acetate Mordant
Aluminum Acetate 5% Solution
Dissolve Aluminum Acetate in hot water and add to dyepot. Add 100 gr yarn into the mordant pot and simmer on warm for an hour. Do not bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow the yarn to sit in the mordant overnight.

I like to re-use my mordant baths rather than discarding them.
I had some Aluminum Acetate Mordant solution left over from my previous dyebath. I dissolved another 2 grams of Aluminum Acetate in hot water and added this to the mordant bath. I added some more water to the mordant solution and added the rose handspun to soak overnight (no heat).

Plant Dyed Rose Fibre Handspun

Plant Dyed Rose Fibre Handspun

More Spin Flora not Fauna

Spin Flora – Bamboo Top
Spin Flora – Banana

Buy Spin Flora fibres at SpinFlora.com

Handspinning Books

The Practical Spinner’s Guide – Cotton, Flax, Hemp (Practical Spinner’s Guides)
Spin Flax & Cotton: Traditional Techniques with Norman Kennedy
The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning: Being A Compendium of Information, Advice, and Opinions On the Noble Art & Craft

Natural Dye Books

Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes
A Heritage of Colour: Natural Dyes Past and Present by Jenny Dean (2014-06-10)
Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes

 

Ebay Finds

Hand Dyed Alpaca Locks Spinning Fiber Fleece Needle Felting 100gr mixed colours - Current price: $15.00

Hand Dyed 4 ply Fingering Yarn 50gr Rainbow SW wool silk knitting 151 - Current price: $18.00

Tencel Roving Top Vegan Spinning Fiber 100 grams Lyocell rayon - Current price: $6.50

Pearl Infused Cellulose Roving Top Vegan Spinning Fiber 100 grams - Current price: $11.00

Spin Flora not Fauna - Banana Fibre

The banana plant has been cultivated in Japan since the 13th Century for use in making fabrics and textiles. The tender shoots of the banana plant were harvested and boiled in lye to soften them. The banana fibre was spun into yarn and woven for making kimono and kamishimo.
In Nepal, the trunk of the banana plant was used instead of the shoots. The aged bark or outer layers were soaked in water and allowed to decay to dissolve the chlorofyl leaving the cellulose fibres that are softened into a pulp. The pulp is dried and spun into yarn.
Banana is a strong fibre with a shiny appearance. Banana is a light weight fibre with high moisture absorption as well as quick moisture release, so banana fibre dries quickly. Banana fiber is bio-degradable and has no negative impact on the environment.
With the recent invention of banana fiber extraction machines, banana fibre waste can now be processed into high quality silk grade fibres that are now readily available to handspinners, weavers and crafters.

Banana Fibre Extraction – You Tube

How to Spin Banana Fibre

Spinning Banana Fibre

Spinning Banana Fibre

Banana fibres are quite long, very fine, silky and slippery. Banana fibre also has a lot of static, so don’t try to tear the fibre into smaller sections, as it has a tendency to fly all over the place. Keep the finely combed top together as much as possible. Pull off a short length 20-30 cm from the length of banana top. I find it easier to begin to spin from the strands that you pulled from the length of top, not from the compressed end as the fibres are open and easier to draft.

The spinning method for banana should be about the same as spinning a fine silk. Use a worsted spinning method and a short forward draw taking care to not let the spin enter the drafting zone and into the unspun top. You can very quickly get a tangled mess. If that happens, stop, break off your end and shake out extra twist from the top bundle.

Because the fibre is quite slippery and doesn’t have much crimp as wool yarns do, in order to keep the yarn together, Banana fibre requires a high twist. I set my wheel onto the smallest whorl at 14:1. I am using a Kromski Sonata wheel for this project.

Handspun Banana Fibre Single Ply

Handspun Banana Fibre Single Ply

Handspun Banana Fibre 2 Ply

Handspun Banana Fibre 2 Ply

2 ply Banana Fibre Yarn
160 m per 100 grams
14 TPI
18 WPI

Banana Yarn Sample

Banana Yarn Sample

In looking at this yarn sample, I think I should try to spin the banana a bit finer next time.

It only seems right that vegan plant fibres should be dyed with plants – so I will be doing a bit of natural dye sampling as I work with these Flora handspun yarns.

Weld Natural Dye Recipe

Put Weld chips (30 grams) into a mesh bag and let them soak overnight in water.
Heat up the dyebath and add pre-mordanted yarn 100 grams.
Simmer for 1 hour and then turn the dyebath off. Let cool and allow the yarn to sit overnight in the weld dyebath.
Aluminum Acetate Mordant
Aluminum Acetate 5% Solution
Dissolve Aluminum Acetate in hot water and add to dyepot. Add 100 gr yarn into the mordant pot and simmer on warm for an hour. Do not bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow the yarn to sit in the mordant overnight.

Handspun Banana Fibre Yarn

Handspun Banana Fibre Yarn


Handspun Banana Fibre Yarn Dyed with Weld

Handspun Banana Fibre Yarn Dyed with Weld

Spin Flora – Fibre Suppliers

Wingham Wool Work – Plant and Protein Fibres
George Weil – Spinning Plant Fibres
Wild Fibres – Plant Fibres

Handspinning Books

The Practical Spinner’s Guide – Cotton, Flax, Hemp (Practical Spinner’s Guides)
Spin Flax & Cotton: Traditional Techniques with Norman Kennedy

Resources:
Textile Exchange Online

More Spin Flora not Fauna

Spin Flora – Rose Viscose Cellulose Top
Spin Flora – Bamboo Top

Spin Flora Fibres can now also be purchased in my Paivatar Yarns Web Shop.

 

Ebay Finds

Hand Dyed Alpaca Locks Spinning Fiber Fleece Needle Felting 100gr mixed colours - Current price: $15.00

Hand Dyed 4 ply Fingering Yarn 50gr Rainbow SW wool silk knitting 151 - Current price: $18.00

Tencel Roving Top Vegan Spinning Fiber 100 grams Lyocell rayon - Current price: $6.50

Pearl Infused Cellulose Roving Top Vegan Spinning Fiber 100 grams - Current price: $11.00

Spin Flora not Fauna

I am very pleased and delighted to hear that my workshop is full for the upcoming AGWSD Summer School 2017. This summer school will be held at Sparsholt College in Hampshire, August 13 – 20, 2017.
The Summer School is hosted by the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, UK and is a bi-annual week long event where participants spend their days working in intensive workshops on their passion. Here is a diary of the AGWSD Summer School 2015.

Kukka Transparency Hand Spun Flax

Kukka Transparency Hand Spun Flax

My week long workshop will focus on handspinning flora not fauna – so plant fibres instead of animal. I will try to cover a number of different plants, depending on what will be available at the time. Spinning fibres such as flax, hemp, soya, banana, bamboo, seaweed, ramie, corn, rose.

Over the coming weeks as I make samples, I will try to write a few preview articles about spinning and working with these new fibres.

Spin Flora – Banana Fibre
How to spin using banana fibre.
Sin Flora – Rose Top

Spin, Weave and Knit with Flora

Spin, Weave and Knit with Flora

Handspinning Books

The Practical Spinner’s Guide – Cotton, Flax, Hemp (Practical Spinner’s Guides)
Spin Flax & Cotton: Traditional Techniques with Norman Kennedy

 

Ebay Finds

Hand Dyed Alpaca Locks Spinning Fiber Fleece Needle Felting 100gr mixed colours - Current price: $15.00

Hand Dyed 4 ply Fingering Yarn 50gr Rainbow SW wool silk knitting 151 - Current price: $18.00

Tencel Roving Top Vegan Spinning Fiber 100 grams Lyocell rayon - Current price: $6.50

Pearl Infused Cellulose Roving Top Vegan Spinning Fiber 100 grams - Current price: $11.00

Nalbinding Stitches

Nalbindning, nålbinding
Over the past several weeks, I have been studying how to do nalbinding and the various stitches. I found it all a bit confusing at first, but after a bit of study, I realized that most nalbinding stitches have similarities in their production.

To start, you have to begin with a chain or a circle, such as in crochet. There are many ways to make the beginning chain, using the variety of nalbinding stitches. I found that I was getting hung up on producing the chain correctly, and not progressing much farther than this. I then realized that the beginning chain is just that – a beginning, and decided to not worry how the beginning looked but to move on to work the following rows.
Once you do this, the never ending loops start to make a bit of sense, and you can then see how they are formed.
The first 5-10 stitches in nalbinding never look quite right, as all of the loops that are needed, haven’t been made yet. So continue on and keep working. Eventually it starts to look better, and you can unpick the first few offending loops when the rest of the project has been completed.
Once you have formed a beginning chain, it becomes quite straight forward to continue with the stitching.

 

Nalbinding Start

Nalbinding Start

So – moving onto row 2 where you are picking up and adding new stitches…

There are 3 basic steps to forming any nalbinding stitch.
Most of the nalbinding stitches start with 1 loop on the thumb, and the new yarn is wrapped around the thumb.

Nalbinding Stitches

Nalbinding Stitches

Step 1
Tthe old row where you are picking up stitches from (as in crochet, but working from the left to the right.
The new yarn is wrapped around the thumb.
Working from the Right to the Left
Pick up the new loop from the previous row onto the needle.
Pick up an old loop from the previous row onto the needle.

Pick up Old and New Nalbinding Loops

Pick up Old and New Nalbinding Loops

Step 2
Pick up stitches from behind your thumb.

Nalbinding Loops

Nalbinding Loops Behind the Thumb

These will be the older loops that you have just formed from the previous stitch you created.
The number of stitches that you pick up in this step will vary depending on which nalbinding stitch you are making.
The direction that you pick up these stitches will also vary depending on which nalbinding stitch are are making.

Nalbinding Loops behind Thumb

Nalbinding Loops Picked up behind Thumb

Step 3
Pass the needle through the loops that are still on your thumb.
The number of stitches that are still on your thumb will vary depending on which nalbinding stitch you are making.

Nalbinding Stitches on Needle

Nalbinding Stitches on Needle

Step 4
Pull the needle through all of the stitches that you have picked up, and tighten your yarn.
At this stage, you can also adjust the tension of the stitch if you like.
If you use your thumb as the stitch size, this is ok, but all thumbs come in variety of sizes, so you will have some inconsistency in getting an even and uniform stitch size.
But you can tighten the tension of your stitch, by using the nalbinding needle as your tension guide.

Nalbinding Loops

Nalbinding Loops on Thumb

Form the new nalbinding loop on your thumb.

Nalbinding Loop on Needle

Nalbinding Loop on Needle

Drop the new loop onto the needle.

Tighten Nalbinding Loop

Tighten Nalbinding Loop

Give a bit of a tug to tighten the nalbinding loop, using the nalbinding needle as your guide to how tight the loop should be. It should be snug, yet loose enough to allow you to pull the yarn through. This will help to give you consistency in loop size, much as with knitting needles or crochet hooks, where you work your tension to the size of the needle.

Nalbinding Stitch Summary
There are many good videos on You Tube on how to make the various stitches. I will not be reinventing the wheel, but am providing some links to these.

York Stitch

This stitch starts with one loop on the thumb and the new yarn wrapped around the thumb.
Step 1 Pick up 1 new and 1 old stitch from previous row.
Step 2 Pick up 1 loop from behind the thumb, from the back of the stitch,
so no twist is added.
Step 3 1 Loop is on the thumb.
Pick up the 1 loop that is on the thumb and the new yarn that is wrapped around your thumb.
Pass the needle through all of the loops.
If you wish to tighten the stitch, drop the loop that is on your thumb onto the needle and tighten, before passing the needle through all of the loops on the needle.
York Stitch on You Tube

Oslo Finnish 1+1
This stitch starts with one loop on the thumb and the new yarn wrapped around the thumb.
Step 1 – Pick up 1 new and 1 old stitch from previous row.
Step 2 – Pick up 1 stitch from behind thumb, from the front to the back, and turn your needle so that it point down towards your thumb. This creates a twist in the stitch.
Step 3 – Pick up the 1 loop that is on your thumb and under the new yarn that is on your thumb.
Pull the needle through all of the stitches.
If you wish to tighten the stitch, drop the loop that is on your thumb onto the needle and tighten, before passing the needle through all of the loops on the needle.
Oslo Stitch on You Tube

Mammen (Korgen) Finnish 1+2
Step 1 – Pick up 1 new and 1 old stitch from previous row.
Step 2 – Pick up 2 stitches from behind the thumb, from the front to the back of the stitch. Turn your needle so that it point down towards your thumb. This creates a twist in the stitch.
Step 3 – Pick up 1 loop from the thumb and under the new yarn that is over your thumb.
Pull the needle through all of the stitches.
If you wish to tighten the stitch, drop the loop that is on your thumb onto the needle and tighten, before passing the needle through all of the loops on the needle.
Mammen Stitch on You Tube

Finnish Stitch 2+2
This stitch starts with 2 loops on the thumb and the new yarn wrapped around the thumb.
Step 1 – Pick up 1 new and 1 old stitch from previous row.
Step 2 – Pick up 2 stitches from behind the thumb, from the front to the back of the stitch. Turn your needle so that it points down towards your thumb. This creates a twist in the stitch.
Step 3 – Pick up the 2 loops that are on your thumb, and under the new yarn that is over your thumb.
Pull the needle through all of the stitches.
To start the next stitch, you will need to transfer the most recent old stitch that was formed back onto your thumb, before you pick up the new and old stitches, so that you are starting with 2 stitches on the thumb.
Finnish 2+2 on You Tube

Nalbinding Books
Nalbinding – What in the World Is That?
Nålbindning – The easiest clearest ever guide!
Nålebinding (Danish Edition)

 

Ebay Finds

- Current price: $9.99

This page last edited on January 13, 2017

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All Fiber Arts by Paivi Suomi is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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