And so to the final parcel of this round of the Non-Wool Club. The next 3 month round still has a few spaces, you can subscribe here. I still have a few new fibres to introduce to you, so this next round will hopefully be interesting for everyone, and of course the colour palettes are completely different.
The May round features 2 different plant fibres, and a different form of silk.
I've recommended you start off with the silk first, as it will be the most familiar to you. Muga Silk is an Indian form of silk, produced in Assam. It has a shimmering golden colour, with slight green undertone. It very much reminds me of the colour of the 9 carat wedding band that was my Grandmas. This silk will increase with lustre with every washing, the staple length is longer than Tussah Silk, and it really has a beautiful sheen and fineness. the staple length is longer than Tussah Silk, closer to the length of Mulberry Silk.
The next fibre we have is cotton. Cotton is a plant fibre, but very different to any we've spun so far. It's very fine, and very short stapled. It's hard to over twist cotton, and to will still feel soft even when you add a lot of twist. Cotton work best when spun as a fine single, if you want a thicker yarn you usually combine multiple strands. I can really recommend the Cotton edition of Ply magazine to learn more about this fibre. Use the fastest ratio you have, and you are looking to draft using a modified form of long draw straight from the end of the combed sliver. Keep adding twist and pulling your hands apart until the lumps even out and you can't draft any further, this is the point at which your yarn has enough twist to hold it together. You can add lots of plying twist as well, this fibre can handle it! If you own any lightweight spindles this might be the ideal fibre to spindle spin, and if you own a quill for your wheel this is the perfect fibre to spin from the point.
Our final fibre is flax. When spun this become linen thread. We're going to treat this exactly as we did the Hemp last month, so traditionally this is spun in the opposite direction to normal with an S twist (is your wheel going anticlockwise). You will find it helpful to wet you front hand as you go along, this really does help to smooth the fibres and to hold the yarn together. We are spinning flax tow, these are shorter fibres that will naturally spin in to a more textured yarn that you would get if you were spinning from flax strick. Just as with the Hemp I recommend a gentle boil in a mild washing soda solution to soften the hand of this yarn once it is plied.
Of course you can't mention April without talking about Wonderwool Wales. It's the high point of my spring, and this year it was my only big show. Friday night and Saturday were wet and wild, but still nowhere near as bad as the year it snowed... 2012 was my first show, and in hindsight it's a miracle I decided to carry on with shows! Woolfest the same year was biblically wet as well!
If you couldn't make it to Wonderwool here's a quick peek at what we had with us....
Earlier in the month I got chance to have a go at something new. Our guild hosted Lucy from Tidekettle Paper for a paper making weekend workshop.
I failed completely at taking photos, but I did have a lot of fun putting all sorts of fibre inclusions in with the more traditional paper pulps. The one above uses some pieces of hand dyed silk laps. I also got let loose with the dyes on the Sunday afternoon, and got in far too much of a mess turning paper pulp all sorts of pretty colours!
I've also been carrying on with my sewing, and turned a piece of Liberty lawn in to a new top. My selfie skills haven't improved, though my ability with the sewing machine is getting better! The pattern is the Rochester by Maven Patterns, and it was a real delight to sew, though next time I might modify it to have long sleeves.
I've also been doing more tapestry weaving, with another couple of traditional hangings, one using the new Naturally Dyed Superfine Merino, and also using up the leftovers from the silk sampler pack I used to weave the rainbow silk scarf.
Duck fans will be pleased to know that Clarissa has managed to lay another egg following her egg bound drama. Though at the moment if she's laying anymore she's hiding them somewhere in the garden, which is now fenced the entire way round to stop them escaping... there were a couple of scary mornings when Quentin got out on to the main road, requiring humans to flag down lorries whilst still in their pyjamas.
It's starting to feel like summer is on the way, and whilst my useless House Martins have yet to return, we did spend a lovely morning on the beach watching the Sand Martins. The House Martins now have an artificial nest to use, and did eventually arrive last year at the beginning of July.
I'm away at a couple of events over the next month.