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Friday, 19 June 2015

Swap You!

Just recently I joined in my first ever fibre swap on Ravelry.  Our group, DIY and Dye, is only a few years old and was formed originally as a team in the annual Tour de Fleece event.  We do keep in touch throughout the year though and have formed quite a friendly little community.  So when our intrepid team leader suggested we do a swap I thought, why not?

We all filled in a questionnaire giving a bit of basic information about ourselves (favourite colours, if we have any allergies etc) and also about types of fleece and fibre we'd like to try (or avoid!).  We were then paired up with a suitable partner and given full permission to start stalking!  A deadline date was also given to produce and send the goodies by.

My partner, Karen from Denmark, was quite easy to stalk as she'd very obligingly put a list on her profile page of things she'd like to try in the future.  That made my job a whole lot easier and gave me lots of ideas - thanks Karen!

This post is all about the package I sent to her - I'll show you what I received in a few days hopefully.  A couple of weeks ago my camera suffered a fatal fall onto our tiled floor from the arm of a chair - hasn't worked since.  We ordered another from Amazon France and waited . . . and waited.  Yesterday, Eric found the same camera on another site - cheaper, with free postage, and they'll send it in 2 or 3 days.  No contest - we cancelled the Amazon order.  So that's why I can't show you what she sent just now.

Anyway, here's what I sent for Karen.  The first two items were pretty easy as I knew she wanted to try some merino . . .

Fluff from Maco Merinos

. . . and Falkland

Fluffy stuff direct from the Falkland Islands
Little edit here - just realised that when I labelled this fleece I put New Zealand as its origin.  In fact this was bought direct from the Falkland Islands courtesy of a friend who used to live there.

So then I added in some lavender mice to keep the moths away.

I also wanted to send her something ready to spin, so got out all my bags of fleece and fibre and produced this :-

It's made up of all sorts of bits and pieces, some hand-dyed Falkland, some sparkly commercial merino, silk dyed with woad,  Firestar, Tencel.  I  blended them all on my drum carder (I think there were three batts totalling 100g), laid them on top of each other, rolled them up and tied with a ribbon - easy peasy!

The next item was a no-brainer.  This ball of yarn was spun in last year's Tour de Fleece using Kool Aid ice cubes to dye it (Hope's Kool Experience).  Karen had put this in her favourites file on Ravelry, probably because she wanted to save the info on the dye process, but, as she'd also said she'd like to try knitting with someone else's hand spun yarn, I popped this in the box too.

There was also a section on the questionnaire that dealt with other items we'd like to receive, so in went a bar of felted soap (pictured below), a bar of raspberry dark chocolate (no camera by this time!), and a little box of home-made Orangettes.

The next item was a bit inspired I thought.  On Karen's list on her Ravelry profile page she'd said she wanted to try natural dyeing.  So I made her a natural dye sampler kit - alum, copper and chrome mordants, cream of tartar to assist the alum, some dried logwood chips and madder root that I sent for, and a bag of dyer's chamomile collected from the garden and dried in the greenhouse.

By this time there was only one more thing to go in - a hand-made item which I can't reveal yet.  We all had to include a mystery package to be opened on 4th July, the day the Tour de Fleece starts.  I'll show you this, and the one I received, when we open them (itchy fingers here - the package kept beckoning to me, so I've had to hide it from myself!).

And here's the package half packed (again, no camera by the time I'd finished) :-

I got a lovely package in return, which I'll show to you as soon as I get my new camera up and running (the order's being processed as we speak!).  I had a lot of fun working on this project, more than I expected.  It's nice to receive, but it's so much fun to give as well!


  1. Oh wow, that is an awesome collection you managed to assemble there! And the mice are totally cute.

    1. Thank you - I did enjoy doing it, and Karen was very easy to stalk! The mice are so easy to knit - the felting probably takes longer than the knitting!