How to spin milk

– What? How come? Milk? Real one???

Wrinkling me forehead, disbelief and then intense research. That was my first reaction to the news that you can get and spin milk protein fibre. I got surprised equally much a few minutes later when it turned out the fiber is older than me by a couple of generations and was a way to combat shortages during World War II. But let’s start from the very beginning:

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Winter art-yarn impression

I have recently ordered a set of tops of my dreams. Literally. After a period of testing wools coming from different sheep breeds (there was an idea to write a series of posts covering this.. this might be worth rethinking), now the moment came when I want more fun. I have also more trust in my own capabilities, and I feel I can surf on slightly higher waves.

Among blends I wanted to touch and turn into a yarn there was this divine blend of merino wool present here in 3 colors – white, blue and raven and .. a flax. At the end of the braid you can see how beautifuly it distinguishes itself from the smooth woolen fibres.

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Scottish spindle

Some time ago I described here my true Icelandic spindle, now time came for Scotland 🙂 It is Scotland, from where one of the least popular and least known spindles come from. In apparence, it resembles an ordinary piece of wood that hardly can promise anything spectacular.. and you could not be more wrong! Of all the spindles I’ve used, the Scottish ones are the closest of my soul.

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Spinning hemp

When I was moving to a small house in the countryside this spring one of my first thoughts was how to organize my new backyard space. My original plan was to create 3 different plots – herb and vegetable garden, dyeing garden and a microscopic hemp field. While the first two ideas have succeeded entirely, the third one was effectively knocked out by our Polish reality and legal restrictions. My conclusion from this adventure was that if one would like to cover all the way from hemp straw to a ready-made yarn, the best way is to find someone growing it on a large scale and buy from him few armfuls 🙂

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Dziady 2016

It’s 0:46 at night. Cold night between 31st October and 1st of November is witnessing a return of souls of those who passed away and today, all cold and hungry wander around searching for a way to their former homes.

Old Slavic custom is not to be afraid of them, but help them find their homes so they can spend this special night with their families. As it is difficult today to burn the fires along a road, my fiance and I took our old lantern wit candles and walked along the path leading from the village to the fields. Again and again I could hear rustling and crackling coming out of the thickets on both sides of the dirt road. Souls? Ancestors looking for their old homes? Who knows, I’m sure a few of these sounds belonged to a cmall black creature that gracefuly pierced the darkness and began to rub against our legs 🙂

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Dyeing with celandine

Everyone that has played The Witcher or used to spend summers in the countryside knows how to treat warts and what is the main ingredient of swallow potion 😉 When cut, a bright yellow sap comes out of the celandine stalk. After applying it on two moles on my face (just in case!) a thought came to my mind to try it on wool. The idea seemed to be quite interesting as the is sap rich in color and the lower part of the plant you take, the darker the sap is reaching deep orange in roots.

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Slavs and Vikings Festival, Wolin 2016

Long time has the Wolin Festival waited for this relation. A week has already passed since warriors and craftsmen have left the big open-air museum on Wolińska Kępa in Poland, and I still keep going back there in my thoughts and wonder if I can show you at least a tenth of the charm of this early medieval melting pot of cultures, languages and religions. To warn you in advance – this post will be filled with photos!

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How to prepare fleece the “woolen” way

Before you can spin the wool, the fleece needs to be well prepared for that. And this you can do in two ways – woolen or worsted. Fleece prepared the worsted way (top) will have fibers parallel to direction of spinning. Yarn spun from such a top will be strong, with tightly twisted fibers and with minimum amount of trapped air. “Woolen” is a completely different story – here the fibers are arranged perpendicular to the direction of spinning, making the yarn to have more chaotic fibre arrangement. It is also more stretchy and fluffy.

To travel the entire route – from fleece to finished fluffy and airy rolags you just need the fleece and a pair of wool carders :). Some time ago I got a package with Norwegian lamb fleece. Recently, when organising my resources I rediscovered this bag, patiently waiting for its “big time.” Therefore it came 😉

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