This week I had my first dyeing disaster. I have had many occasions when yarn or fibre has emerged from the dye pot looking completely different to what I had intended but this has always been either a nice surprise or something that can be easily rectified by over dyeing. So this week I was dyeing four lots of spinning fibre and three came out perfectly, but the fourth (a blue faced leicester and silk fibre) felted really badly for some inexplicable reason. Well, I say inexplicable but we all know it’s because I overcooked it! (Next time I will use a thermometer. Probably.) I initially thought the fibre was destined for the bin, as I couldn’t even pull pieces off it so drafting was definitely out of the question, which would have been a shame as the colours were perfect.
So what to do? Well, I could have used it for a felting project, either on my felted art pictures or on a nuno felted scarf. Or my favourite idea, at that point, I could prise the fibres apart width ways and make it into a cobweb felted scarf. Before starting any of these projects I thought I would first try to see if there was any way to revive the fibre and still use it for my original spinning project.
I have to warn you that I did not exactly treat the fibre in the way I normally would and I’m sure a lot of people will be horrified by this, but I didn’t really have a lot to lose. Fortunately, it did work out very well and I didn’t damage my carders.
First I pulled the mangled, felted fibre out width ways as far as I could (it was still all in one long piece as I was unable to pull it apart lengthways) and I carded the end off and rolled it into a rolag. I spun this first rolag before bothering to make any more as it was quite hard work and didn’t want to go to all that effort if the finished product was not going to be up to scratch. It spun up very well; a few tiny bumps occasionally which I could twist flat with a finger and thumb or just pinch off.
Disaster averted, I continued to card all the rest. To keep the variation in colour I tried, where possible, to only card each section twice. I wanted to avoid the colours from completely blending together.
The singles were not as smooth as I would normally expect Blue Faced Leicester and silk to be but once plied they became much better and I don’t think anyone would suspect its origins and journey to that point. The real test will come when I have knitted it up but so far it’s looking good.
So, felted spinning fibre can be revived and spun. Obviously it would be preferable to treat your fibre better and not to felt it in the first place. It would save time too!