I am lucky enough to live on a ‘green’ island where our electricity is mostly from renewable sources and green issues are important to a lot of the population. All my products are made from wool sourced as locally as possible. I always consider the environmental and animal welfare standards of my suppliers to ensure that only the best quality wools used. As well as using ready combed fleece, I buy raw fleece such as silver gotland fleece from the Kilbrides of Croft Wools & Weavers.
Preparing the Wool
I then prepare the wool on carders to align the fibres. I also use the drum carder for blending different fibre types and to blend colours.
I have now started to dye some of my fleece using natural dye extracts and a combination of conventional and solar methods. I think this gives the best results with the least environmental impact. I use alum as a mordant which has no real impact for disposal and finishing the dyeing process with solar makes for a stronger and more colour fast result. The colours produced are great to work with and now I can dye angora and silk to match other fleece. I’ve found so far that Bluefaced Leicester gives the best results which is super because I can get British fleece.
The wool is then rolled into a sausage shape known as a rolag so that it is ready for spinning and I spin the single ply yarn on my beautiful Hebridean wheel which was hand-made for me by Rod Grant of Leithen Spinning Wheels.
I then steam the yarn to relax and fix the twist and wind the yarn onto a cone ready to begin knitting
Once the knitting is done, I wash the piece and wrap it in a towel to remove excess water, and then pin it out to dry, stretching it to the desired shape and size.
When the piece is dry, I remove it from the blocking mat and pack it ready for despatch.