For large amounts (in my case 5-7 skeins in a pan!) LARGE Saucepans with lids feature at the top of the list!! Saucepans need to be dedicated dyeing pans as you MUST NOT cook food in them after using them for dyeing!!
We also use large tray like pans for inside the oven and plastic bowls with clingfilm wrap for smaller batches of hand painted yarns, though these do not go in the oven or on the hob.
Spoons! I have a variety!! Wooden for stirring the dye pans, teaspoons for measuring out dry dye stuffs and dessert sized spoons for hand painting smaller batches of yarns.
A heat source! In our case it’s our wood fired Esse.
But for the clingfilm wrapped ones a microwave will fix the dyes too!!
And that is about it other than a huge collection of glass jars for mixing dyestuffs and colours in!!
Clothing as previously discussed in the first blog post of this title
Bedding, both blankets and duvets or Baavets (as one company call themselves!!)
Mulch or weed suppressant mats to put round plants. There is also the added benefit of moisture conservation!
Fertiliser. It takes a while to break down, but when you toss wool into the compost pile, it adds beneficial nutrients, including calcium and sodium. It’s about 9% nitrogen, 1% phosphate, and 2% potash, too
Pet wares, horse blankets, saddle cloths, pet beds…
Upholstery the stuffing for chairs etc and the fabrics to cover them
Insulation for homes. It has an excellent R value and also provides an acoustic buffer
Insulation in outer wear coats etc
Uniforms for firefighters as some types like merino have the right properties
Furniture and soft furnishings like cushions
Packing boxes for thermal packaging as an alternative to polystyrene
Bricks. Mixed with seaweed and added to bricks to improve durability and environmental impacts
Lanolin products, salves, balms for all sorts including one of the best for breast feeding mummas!! But lanolin can also be used in cosmetics, lubricants and adhesive tapes!
Cleaning products, especially for soaking up the spills due to its absorbency!
Pianos, woollen felt covers the hammers inside the piano!! It also makes acoustic insulation for machinery!!
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the benefits of wearing and using wool! so I thought it might be a good idea to get some of these thoughts out into a blog post!
Benefits of Wool:
Natural, renewable fibre – Wool comes from sheep and is a renewable source of material! Using wool in clothing is great for the environment and far better than using the synthetic alternatives!!
Wool is a natural protein fibre found on the backs of the millions of sheep you see over the world. It is considered one of the most effective forms of all-weather protection, and man-made fibres with the same properties have yet to be produced.
It’s biodegradable That’s right, it naturally decomposes into the soil releasing valuable nutrients back into the earth. Compared to synthetic materials, it’s a very quick decomposer too!
It’s renewable For as long as there’s grass to graze, sheep will grow producing a woolly fleece, a renewable fibre source. And woolgrowers actively work to protect the natural environment, enhancing the sustainability of the wool industry to enable future generations to benefit from this warm natural material.
It’s breathable As wool fibres are packed together, tiny pockets of air form allowing the material to absorb and release moisture. This could be moisture in the atmosphere, or perspiration from the wearer. This makes wool an extremely breathable material and helps you avoid any clamminess when you head inside from the colder outdoors.
It reacts to your body Wool is also able to react to any changes in your body temperature. It’s an active fibre that helps you to stay warm when it’s cold and cools you when it’s warm. This makes it the perfect material all throughout the year, helping you minimise your wardrobe and maximise the sustainability of your closet!
Wool keeps you dry. Wool fibres wick moisture away from your skin and can absorb around 30% of their weight before you feel wet. This moisture is then released from the fabric through evaporation.
It’s static resistant As wool can absorb moisture from your body or the surrounding air, it rarely creates static electricity like synthetic fibres do, keeping you cosy and comfortable and avoiding any awkward clinging.
It’s easy to clean As its primary function is to protect the body of a sheep to the surrounding environment, wool fibres have a natural protective outer layer. This helps to prevent any marks or stains from being absorbed, so the dirt sits of the surface and is easily removed.
It’s anti-wrinkle Each wool fibre is structured much like a coiled string, allowing it to return to its natural shape after being bent, so woollen items tend not to crease or wrinkle. This makes them the perfect addition to you everyday bag or great items to pack when you’re going on holiday.
It’s odour-resistant As wool can absorb the moisture from your skin, and therefore the sweat when you perspire, wool can even help to absorb any odour from sweating that is only released upon washing. So wool clothing is great for layering up in post-workout when you need to brave the cooler air outside.
Wool doesn’t stink! Wool products are also highly odor resistant due to natural, anti-microbial properties that don’t allow bacteria to bind and subsequently grow on the fibres in the fabric.
It’s eco-friendly – wool has eco credentials! It’s a natural, renewable product that biodegrades much quicker than synthetic fabrics. It’s got a long lifespan and is frequently and easily recycled and reused. It is also a carbon store; pure organic carbon makes up 50% of the weight of wool. And research is now investigating the health and wellbeing benefits of wool. Wool bedding and sleepwear has been associated with a better night’s sleep, promoting sleep onset and improving sleep efficiency. Merino wool has also been found to help people that suffer from chronic skin conditions, despite misconceptions of it being “itchy”, due to its moisture and temperature management qualities.
Warm even when wet. When fibres absorb moisture, they also release small amounts of heat, which can help you stay warm on a cool, wet day.
High warmth to weight ratio. A wool shirt is significantly warmer than a synthetic shirt of the same fabric weight.
Soft skin feel, not itchy. Wool fibres are often treated to reduce the prominence of natural scales, which cause the rough, itchy feel of old wool products. This increases the carbon footprint of the wool production process though and there are many breeds of sheep that produce next to skin soft wool naturally!! For example some of our beauties here!!
Very low flammability. Wool naturally extinguishes itself and will not catch on fire. It will also not melt or stick to your skin like synthetics will.
Have you got your tickets!!!???!! I am super excited about meeting all sorts of knitting people!! Plus there are a few patterns going to be released for the show!!
If you want the heads up about any yarns left after the show going live for sale then head on over and sign up for the newsletter!! You can get priority notice on new releases yarny and patterns!! And occasionally the odd discount code!!
A friend from a smallholding near to us here finally sold her property for a BIG move. She had to down size her animal collection. Most of her sheep went to market but a few, her pets, remained. She made the incredibly hard decision that she couldn’t take them with her. So we said that we would take them on! Initially three, but as Coal still had a lamb at foot we ended up with four!
Coal, who was originally blackie but we thought she looked more like she had rolled in coal dust! Indie (if you ask the eldest she is actually called Indoraptor) and Lamb Chops a big chunky wether.
A wether is a boy sheep who has been neutered.
They arrived one cold evening in December 2020 while my friend was deep in the final throes of moving!
And they joined the flock with gusto! I think it helped that the three witches were some of the lambs from the flock from the previous year, and I think we reunited at least one mother and daughter!
They have upped our numbers of callable sheep, at first it was just Hairy Legs, but now Coal and Lamb Chops are readily available as long as a bucket is rattled!
Indie follows Coal every where so that makes her easier to catch too!!
All four of these are Llanwenog, which is fast proving my favourite yarn to work with!!
If you are interested in knitting with some of the yarn spun up from their beautiful fleeces then head over to our Etsy shop!
She is a welsh white type sheep and was a bottle lamb that one of my neighbour’s wives acquired to raise.
We acquired her when she had transitioned into the neighbour’s garden and was spending more time munching flower beds and pooping on the front doorstep than cutting the grass! Particularly the pooping on the front door step!
We got her about Christmas time and popped her into the field with our guys and she looked at the other sheep as if to say what are these things…. and why why why are you leaving me with them! I think she would have followed us to the house and come in through the front door if she was allowed!
She is a lovely little sheep and is always at the gate after some sheep nuts and a fuss, as long as she has heard us coming. Once in a while we make it into the field before she spots us and then the little leaps and gambols she does are just adorable.
She has the most beautiful thick fleece too!!
Wolfie’s wool is blended into the Rustic ranges of wool we have in our Etsy shop here!
So we have done Wanda’s Story and Baarbara’s Story….
Here is the story of the three witches!!
Basically we swapped three sheep for some large bales of haylage the summer after we had Wanda and Babs!
Not a hugely exciting story, but we ended up with Garlick, Og and Weatherwax, which for the literary savvy among you will tell you I like reading the Terry Pratchett books!!
These three are all Llanwennog sheep and James cannot tell the difference between most of our Llanwennogs!
So in this picture we have Weatherwax, who is the biggest of the three up front to the left, Og in the middle front, she is easily recognisable as she tore out one of her tags early on and has a funny little left ear. Garlick is getting increasingly difficult to spot as she and a more recent acquisition are remarkably similar now the recent acquisition is growing up!! But she has a petite slim face and is the smaller of the three witches!
So our flock grew from 2 to 5! The hope was that these three would be relatively tame and join Wanda, but no they joined the suspicious Baarbara and hung round at the back, not coming close enough to hand feed but always within range of thrown nuts!!
They are hard to catch and a bit wild, but this has provided us with entertainment, in he form of Weatherwax diving under James when he was trying to catch her, her boosting him up and him effectively riding her as she ran round the pen! She was eventually caught, wormed and hooves trimmed!
If you want to find out more about Llanwennogs as a breed click here