Lab Goddess Fibre Club January 2016

This month, credit for the woman scientist who served as the colourway inspiration goes to a club member, who recommended Inge Lehmann as a potential candidate.

  "Core Shift" on Humbug Jacob

"Core Shift" on Humbug Jacob

Inge Lehmann was a Danish geophysicist and seismologist who was active throughout much of the 20th century (she lived to the ripe old age of 104!). She is known for being the first person to identify that the Earth has a solid core, in contrast with the theory at the time that the inside of the Earth was completely molten.

Her use of seismic data to identify discontinuities in the Earth's mantle and crust helped to identify differences in the upper surfaces of the Earth, and have impacted seismology every since. 

This is not the last geologist who will feature in the Lab Goddess Fibre Club, as I happen to live with a geologist who is full of suggestions of people to include! This month’s colourway comes from my mental image of what a cross section of the Earth might look like – brilliant pale yellow for the ultra hot core, shading through orange and red as we move up to the surface, where the molten outer core finally cools to form the solid mantle. I couldn’t resist adding in a pop of green for the biosphere, the outermost layer of Earth. The name reflects the dramatic shift in the understanding of the Earth's structure that her discovery provoked.

I’ve dyed the colourway this month on a custom blend of Jacob wool. Jacob sheep are typically raised for meat, as their wool tends toward the sturdy end of the spectrum. These sheep are unusual in two ways: both sexes have two to six horns, and in one animal’s fleece you can find multiple colours – black, grey and white. This makes their fleece difficult to sell in the UK, as more effort is needed to separate the colours. The blend I’ve used is an equal ratio of white, grey and black Jacop tops, providing a darker undertone to what would otherwise be a fairly bright colourway. I like to think of the combination of colours and dark base as a touch of reality, as we can’t actually see inside the planet.

I love how the colours took to this base, as the darker wool gives great depth to the colours - expect to see more of this fibre at Unravel coming up next month!