Carding waste – I nearly threw it on the compost heap. I’d been spinning some hand-dyed fleece and was left with the shorter fibres, the little matted blobs and generally unhelpful stuff that was making spinning frustrating. I didn’t quite know what to do with it, but kept it for a while and hovered over the compost heap with it one day, but couldn’t quite throw it in. I’m not good at throwing anything textile-related away and I’m an ardent recycler. It occurred to me that perhaps I could mix it in with some other carded fleece, but hadn’t got around to trying it. Then I came across some blog posts over at Local and Bespoke which showed some rather becoming trash batts which use carding waste (and a second go at diverting waste from the rubbish bin or compost heap), so I thought I would give it a go.

Carding waste
Carding waste rolag

It has taken me some time to get round to it, but it is an activity that fits nicely in to small slots of time (which is all I have had lately) – as usual spun on a drop spindle. I have a spinning wheel, a flax wheel, but I have limited space in which to use it at the moment, and it isn’t ideal for spinning wool, so I migrate back to the trusty little spindles that live in a bag, always next to my favourite chair. Larger projects (like curtains) have been somewhat on and off as well.

I was aiming for a tweedy grey, using the grey Ryeland fleece that I have in copious quantity. The results were more variegated than tweedy, but still, I would happily knit it up. The colour comes from a blue woad dyed fleece and a rusty orange, dyed [I think] with onion skin on copper mordant. Labelling up your dye samples comes in handy; in this case the label had dropped off.

Grey Ryeland tweed yarn

I decided to knit the yarn into a beret, with single line stripes of the rusty orange. I made the pattern up myself, rather than rifle through all the patterns I have to find one that would fit the wool gauge – although this is approximately dk or worsted thickness.


I was aiming for something a little larger and floppier, so perhaps I was knitting a little tight, but here it is. It might end up with a pom pom on the top….