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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Happy Olives and Happy-Ending Wool

Happy, smiling olives in brine, just waiting for the time when we can eat them - 10 jars! They'll need to be soaked in clear water for 24 hours before we add herbs or garlic and olive oil, and we're really looking forward to sampling our own home-grown olives.  I tasted one before I bottled them and they were quite peppery with lots of flavour.  Apparently they need to stay in the jars for between one and two months before they're ready. Clock's ticking!!

Remember the alpaca Jak was helping me to card?  I spun a bobbin of it, navajo plied it (for non-spinners, that just means that instead of plying the wool from two bobbins which gives two strands twisted together, this was done from one bobbin in a sort of chain - one strand is continually pulled through a loop to create 3 strands twisted together) and then washed it.  I thought it would be a really nice white after washing, but actually it just looked dirty.

No problem, I decided to dye it.  A friend had just given me some pomegranates so I chopped them up and dyed the wool.  It should have come out a nice muted yellow colour . . . but all that happened was that it just looked a little bit dirtier.

OK, still not a problem, the pomegranate acts as a mordant because of it's high tannin content (which helps the wool absorb the dye and makes it "fast" - in other words, it's not going to wash out) so I decided to throw it into another dyepot, this time carrot tops. Again, it didn't quite turn out as planned, in fact it just looked dirtier still!

By this time I was getting a bit fed up, so I left the wool in the pan, drained off most of the liquid, and randomly poured in some red dye and also some hot pink.  After half an hour on the heat, this is what came out :-

which I was really quite pleased with.

Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turned out, after all that activity - wash, dye, dye, dye, wash - it had started to felt and the strands stuck themselves together.  It took a bit of separating whilst I was making it into a ball, but the nice thing is I ended up with really soft, floofy wool.

Nice little tufty bit!

Now, my last problem is, can I repeat it and make another ball?


  1. My mouth is watering thinking about those olives!

    LOVE the pink.

  2. Yes, we can't wait to try our very own olives! Maybe a special treat at Christmas.