At the Wheel

I am trying my hand at some gradient yarn spinning. I got this gorgeous fiber from Fiber Artemis on Etsy. I thought to split the roving and evenly down the middle as I could, then spin each one so that, hopefully, when I go to ply, the colors changes will be maintained. Since starting this, I have learned that I could have done a chain ply but… whatever.

This is, by far, my most even single I have spun yet. It’s still a long way from truly even but I’m pleased with my project. It is also the thinnest I have spun. The singles are still looking rather fuzzy but maybe that is the fiber? It’s a Romney, I believe, which I’ve read is a rougher, fuzzier wool.

I finished one bobbin last night and I have already started the second. I am really excited to see how this turns out so that I can figure out what to make with it.

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I Know What Two Pounds Is…

So in my excitement to learn to spin and my anticipation of my wheel arriving, I went ahead and ordered some fiber. After a little Googling, I saw that several people suggesting Romney as a nice, easy drafting fiber for beginners. Lucky for me, Paradise Fibers had a Perendale-Romney blend for sale. So the discount increased with the more you bought. 32 ounces was the cheapest quantity to buy. So, I thought, that doesn’t sound like too much. After all, I’m going to be basically wasting it at first while I get the hang of spinning. The more cheap fiber to practice on, the better, right?

Well, the shipment came in yesterday and, I have to say, I was pretty surprised by how much 32 ounces of fiber really is.

I totally thought I knew what two pounds was…

Here's the enormous fiber bag being investigated by one very large dog.

Here’s the enormous fiber bag being investigated by one very large dog.

Nifty Gifties

The lovely Aisling from my knitting group surprised me on Tuesday with two awesome graduation gifts. The first being a hank of her handspun (the color is Flannel Shirt). The second was a ball of some super soft and squishy silk/wool blend fiber. It’s so nice I want to save it for once I have gained some spinning skills and won’t mangle it.

I don’t have a project planned for the yarn quite yet so I’ve just been admiring it since Tuesday. Perhaps a hat…

Thank you, Aisling!

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Finished Project: Bias Shawl

I finished this shawl a couple weeks ago but hadn’t gotten around to taking pictures or posting, so here it is. This is my Self Fringing Bias Shawl by Greta Dise. I used Brooks Farm Yarn’s Surrey Duet. I’m not sure what the color is called but I’ve been thinking of it as fruity mentos colored. They haven’t gotten the yarn online yet but it is really awesome. It’s a soft, squishy mix of wool and alpaca with a light halo and a little sheen. The pattern was incredibly simple and easy to follow but did include the controlled chaos of dropping 8 stitches at the end to create the fringe. I may go back and add some beads to the fringe but I’m not sure. I’m not a shawl wearer so I need to find someone to give this to.

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Dessert Yarn: Part 2 – The Process

After my last Dessert Yarn post, I learned that Kool-Aid is actually better than Jell-O for dyeing with because it comes in small, sugar-free packets in a variety of bright shades. I realize now that Kool-Aid may have been what I originally heard of this process being done with, and I just got mixed up.

Researching the process got me all excited and I was determined to start my yarn dyeing project almost immediately. So I decided to rush around after work and make all the preparations. This included going to Madtosh in Fort Worth to look for undyed yarn because I know they have a section of it there. (I’ll leave out my grousing over the terrible traffic en route and my own terrible navigating). They didn’t have the weight I wanted at easy reach and I was trying to hurry to get out the door before they closed. I did get some Cascade 128 (which is a chunky yarn) to try out.

Cascade 128 Yarn

Cascade 128 Yarn

My next stop was to Jennings Street Yarn (just down the road for Madtosh) to get a replacement for my broken Dreamz needle and to pick up my new Nova set (YAY!). I decided to check out what they had as far as dyeable yarn and picked up a skein of worsted weight.

Cestari Traditional Collection. 100% Wool

Cestari Traditional Collection.
100% Wool

Then I trekked back to Arlington to hit the grocery store for dinner supplies and, of course, a trillion Kool-Aid packets. I wanted to do rainbow shades so I found myself in the Wal-Mart isle having to ask myself “what Kool-Aid flavor is indigo?”.

So much Kool-Aid

So much Kool-Aid

I won’t post a full tutorial of how to dye with Kool-Aid here because there are already some fantastic posts out there about it. I used the following two for reference.

Dyeing with Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid Dyed Yarn

I mixed each color into a disposable bowl and put roughly a seventh of the Cestari yarn into each bowl, then nuked them in the microwave.

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Bowls of Kool-Aid Dye.
Cherry Red, Peach Mango Orange, Lemonade Yellow, Lemon-Lime Green, Mixed Berry Blue, Mixed Berry/Grape Indigo, Grape Violet

I got pretty good at sectioning off an ounce and a half (the yarn is wet, so this isn’t really accurate) on the food scale and winding it into a mini-skein during the two minutes that the previous bowl was heating.

Makeshift swift

Makeshift swift

Yarn or spaghetti?

Yarn or spaghetti?

Then the yarn was rinsed and set out to dry .

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Drying Yarn

For now, here’s a list of random things about my dyeing process:

  • Did I dye my hands? Almost immediately 
  • Was there cat hair in the dye? Of course
  • I was the most happy with the Cherry yarn and how the color came out so rich
  • I was least happy with the grape and indigo. Both are a little dingy and the indigo didn’t pick up the blue and purple evenly.
  • The tutorial said that the water would turn clear as the yarn soaked up the dye and I didn’t believe it… but it really does!
  • O’Malley was really fascinated by my temporary chair swift and watching the yarn unwind.
  • The funniest part of the evening is when Cullen attempted to leap onto the table as it was covered in bowls of dye and I panicked and tried to block him.
  • He managed to land gracefully in an empty spot… but then knocked one over just walking past it.
  • While the yarn set, I did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, and wrote the post. 🙂

Additionally, I decided to dye the Cascade using a dip dye method.

Testing colors

Testing colors

This was far more complicated than the other process. It didn’t come out exactly how I wanted but I think it’s pretty. I had to dip a portion of the hank into a Pyrex pan of one dye color, nuke, rinse, then start over with another color. Finally, I dunked both hanks into a “wash” of Cherry Red.

Overall, the affect was nice, except I totally tangled the two hanks of Cascade.

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Left to right:
Pink Lemonade, Strawberry Kiwi, Watermelon, Strawberry, Cherry, Black Cherry