Monday, June 27, 2011

Colorful Wool

Before wool is made into yarn it is usually washed (sheep can get pretty mucky!) and sometimes it is dyed. It's easy to dye wool in a rainbow of colors, basically all you need is pigment and acid. The acid is necessary for the wool fibers to absorb the pigment so that it will be color-fast after the dying process. Heat is usually used to speed up the color absorption.
All of the wool in the picture ^^above^^ was colored with non-toxic dyes, either food coloring or Kool-Aid. Yup, Kool-Aid! One small package of Kool-Aid comes complete with enough pigment (food coloring) and acid (citric acid, ascorbic acid) to dye one ounce of wool. If I use plain liquid food coloring then I would add vinegar for the acid. I have fun mixing different flavors of Kool-Aid and/or drops of food coloring to get just the right colors!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Handspun Yarns

I wonder who first figured out that fibers could be spun into yarn and then made into a fabric? It's a skill that has been practiced for thousands of years.

Here's a collection of some handspun yarns:

In my next post I'll write a little about how I dye wool in a rainbow of colors...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Spinning Wheels Got To Go Round...

This is a picture of one of my spinning wheels. You can see that I took this picture a few months ago, during one of Vermont's wonderful winters. You don't live here if you don't like the refreshingly cool weather!
I actually use this old-fashioned spinning wheel to make the handspun yarns that I have for sale in my Etsy & Artfire shops, but mostly I'm tempted to use the yarns myself! They have so much more character than store-bought yarns and they are such a pleasure to work with :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Hello and welcome to my new blog! This blog will be devoted to everything about Vermont Homespun, a cottage industry where I create and sell unique & useful handmade items. I'll let you know what I'm working on, and when I complete a project I'll try to post a picture here. Thanks for finding the Unique & Useful blog, I hope you come back soon!