Sunday, June 29, 2008

I took the plunge...

straight into the dye pot! Finally, it is about time. I conquered my fear and decided it was time to dye. I recently took advantage of Knit Picks 40% off sale on books and added the dyeing starter kit into my cart as well. With these jars in hand as well as the books Color in Spinning, The Yarn Lovers Guide to Hand Dying, and the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook, I finally had the ovaries to jump in and do it. I should preface this post by saying this is by NO means a tutorial.
I started by mixing some dye stock. The Twisted Sisters book said to use 2 tsp of dye to 1 qt. of water, the Jacquard site said .5 oz to one cup of water for a very concentrated dye. Well I had bought 1 qt. mason jars so I decided on following the former. Unfortunately I didn't read carefully and thought it was 1T. per qt. Well 3 tsp. is 1T. so it would just be a little more concentrated, which should be fine right? I started by mixing the T. of dye with a bit of hot water, making a paste.
I then dumped it into my quart jars and filled them to the brim w/ very hot water and then let them sit for 1 hr.
During this time my roving was soaking in some warm water w/ a squirt of dish soap. I could not find synthrapol when I did my shopping and my google searches reassured me that dish soap would suffice. (so now we have done two things wrong...oops...cross fingers). I bought this Coopworth Mohair blend roving at Los Vigiles Living Arts in NM last April, so it has been sitting around over a year waiting for me to put my big girl panties on and dye it.
Once everything was ready I mixed up my dyes in squirt bottles. I made a lovely red shade, a rich orange, a subdued purple and a teal shade as well as a small mess. I then laid the roving out in two matching zig zags on top of a layer of craft paper and then plastic wrap. I had two 4oz. rovings which I planned to dye to match. (ha ha). Once arranged, I carefully squirted on the dye in no particular pattern, well I did make a bit of a mess and some of the placement was a result of where the color spills were.
Over all it looked pretty decent, not quite what I was going for but hey this is my first time at this. I then put it on the rack in the electric roaster I purchased specifically for dyeing. There it was to cook/steam for 20 min. Oh shit, I forgot to spray it with the vinegar before placing my bundles in the roaster. Double shit, some of the roving has fallen into the water and some of the dye is bleeding. Out it comes, holy cow that is hot! I unwrap it and squirt it with vinegar and then back in it goes having been re-wrapped. Check on it 10 min later to find the colors are so much more vibrant now that I did the vinegar step. But still, with all these screw ups what exactly is going to come out of the roaster? A mess of brown muddy crud?
After cooling a bit and a vinegar rinse, and then another plain water rinse this is what became of my roving. Weird, I only remember using 4 colors to dye it and yet we have this rainbow of shades.
I am in love. Why did I wait so long to do this? If this is what I get when I completely screw things up imagine what the possibilities are! This could become really addicting.

I am on cloud 9. I have already rationalized my new hobby. I explained to dh that by learning all these new skills I am actually saving him money. You see I could go spend $100 on yarn and knit a sweater OR I could spend $ on fleece or roving and dye it, spin it, and THEN knit it. See all that entertainment and joy stretches the dollar so much further don't you think? Is Shuttles open on Mon? I need some more undyed roving stat.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Everything is coming up roses...

Unfortunately I was unable to plant a garden this summer, time just got away from me and I didn't get the ground prepared in time. But I have been enjoying all the beautiful flowers that were already a part of our landscaping. It has been a delight to discover all the surprises blooming around the yard, an unexpected bonus of purchasing a new home. Thuy the previous owner had a weekly Gardener who did a fabulous job planting so many gorgeous plants. We finally turned on the fountain and it looks lovely with the roses blooming in front of it. We also discovered the tree in our front yard is a plum tree and is heavy with an abundance of plums. Does anyone have some good plum recipes, I am going to have more than I will know what to do with and I am happy to share. The rest of the pictures need no commentary, just enjoy nature's splendor.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Friday, June 20, 2008


Estes was a blast this year. Last year when I went I had just learned to spin on a drop spindle so this is my first year there since my wheel purchase and the beginning of my fiber addiction. We were promptly greeted by this cute Llama. Last year I didn't go into the animal tents. I was on a time crunch since I was there w/ dh and ds. They were off fishing but I knew I didn't have that much time so I only hit the vendor's tent. This year I saw it all. I just love the alpacas, if only I could convince my FIL to get a couple to inhabit his 5 acres. Or perhaps a vicuna?
I decided I was going to focus my spending on undyed fleeces and fibers since I have found so many cool dyed rovings, batts and tops on Etsy. The alpaca tent was the first tent we visited and there I found Carys. I wasn't sure if I really wanted to spend $50 on a lb. of alpaca, but it was so unbelievably soft and Carys had won several blue ribbons at other festivals....and there was the fact it was named Carys, also the name of my bf's (who accompanied me) daughter. So when we returned at the end of the day and it was still there I decided to take it home.
Up close.
This was my other luxury purchase. 4oz. of Vicuna. If you have never had the pleasure to feel how soft this fleece is you must. It is incredible. I plan to save this until I am able to spin a true lace weight and then will knit a scarf or small shawl w/ it depending on the yardage I get.
This is 4oz of BFL. I love the colors of it, with the pretty cream tips.
I would love to figure out how to knit the cute scarves I saw that used the locks on the end as fringe.
4oz. of mohair.
And this is shows what a difference a little bath makes. I tested a bit in a glass of water and it came out so beautiful.
Some more in grey.

Lilli the Angora bunny provided me with 2oz of divinely soft angora. I saw some gloves there knit with angora on the cuffs that looked really cute, I may have to make a pair w/ Lilli.
This is a blue ribbon Rambouillet and Corriedale cross fleece, 4lbs total.
Up close:
Dyed mohair locks, 4oz, this one is called Goth Passion. I did break down and bought these already dyed because they were just too pretty and well the name sold me.
And another 4oz. of Iris.

This is the fleece I split with another lady who was in the booth. It is a Shetland/BFL cross, about 3lbs total. I washed a bit and teased it. It has a little bit more VM than I care to deal with so I sent it off to Spinderella's Fiber Processing, and hopefully they can clean it up a bit and save me a little work. It is delightfully soft though.

It has a really nice staple length and crimp.
I also purchased 4oz. of natural bamboo, but failed to photograph it. So now I need to get busy and wash the fleeces, they are sitting in the closet along with my wedding dress and the smell is not pretty. (I also desperately need to take my wedding dress to be preserved). I can't wait to get my drum carder for my bday so I can blend some of the fibers and play with them.
In the meantime I have been keeping busy with my spinning. These are the singles from the Dogwood from Spunky Eclectic in my previous post.
I Navajo plied it and ended up with around 24o yds from 4oz.
It is soo squooshy! I love it!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Happy Knitting. (and spinning)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fiber Heavy Post

As promised I am sharing all my yummy recent fiber purchases as well as some finished yarns. I will try to be less wordy and let the pictures do the talking.
This is from Spunky Eclectic, which for some reason I always want to call Electric, her colors certainly are! This is 4 oz. of superwash Merino in the Dogwood colorway.
4 oz of South African Fine in Mountain Majesty also from Spunky.
4oz. BFL in Hubba Bubba from Dragon Fibers.
3.5 oz. of Falkland in Picnic colorway from Squoosh.
4.6 oz of Merino from All Spun Up.
Forest and Sky batt, 4oz of a blend of BFL, merino,silk,camel down, bamboo,angelina from Wooly Treasures.
Also from Wooly Treasures this is Surf and Sand, 4oz blend of BFL, Alpaca, Bamboo and Silk.
And finally some spinning in progress and the end result. This roving is from Zitron, it was 50g. I received it in the FCS3.

On the wheel.
The finished singles. 145 yards, sport weight.
And the lovely Forest Fantasy batt I posted a couple post ago turned into this.
433 yards, 17 wpi, 2 ply lace weight.

Estes was a blast, so much more fibery deliciousness will be posted soon. I did manage to return with $6 in my pocket, pretty good for someone who always goes over budget!