I was getting lost around Etsy today and found what I’d want at my baby shower, you know, if I ever found a guy, settled down into a traditional lifestyle, and had kids. It’s a lot of ifs, but I LOVE this item.

This is the first actually cute diaper cake I’ve ever seen. I love the colors, not all pansy at all. Plus, it comes with a Cat in the Hat plush. That seems like a good one to get for a kid. Think of the trouble they could get into and then blame it on the stuffed guy!

I just wanted to share. Usually, these baby things are just so fruity looking, like pastel cloud vomit. This one looks awesome and I’d totally have to have it if I were having a baby shower. It’s epic. If I were to ever try my hand at making diaper cakes and such, you can bet it’d look more like this than anythign you’ve ever seen. You can get it here on etsy if you are planning for a little one in your life.

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Mondye July 19, 2010

July 19, 2010

You know you’ve been looking for it, your Mondye eye candy! Here’s the week’s work:

This week’s dye lot includes some new sodas, a custom order, some Wilton dyed, and roving, worsted weight and fingering sock yarns! The left side is worsted weight Peruvian wool and superwash roving both in Big Red soda pop. The earthy one next to it is a sock yarn I’m falling for myself. The top back left is Orange Crush soda dyed onto fingering sock and the top back right is Grape Crush on worsted. This Grape Crush came out a bit more saturated in color than the last one, which was made into this awesome bag. The middle right yarns, Grapette I’ll be sending to Oregon and Cherry Crush, are both worsted. I learned that Cherry Crush and Big Red dye to exactly the same color red. Both are much more red than the pink of Mountain Dew Code Red. Finally, in the front right we have a roving I’m calling “tumultuous sea”.

Here’s a close up of “Tumultuous Sea”:

Additionally, I’ve got a close up of the Big Red roving because the fibers are so delicious and close-ups so luscious:

My last big dyeing project this week was to start making a dye binder and color cards. I figure this will help me to get color combinations I actually want for my cake dyeing and also to track which sodas look good together, how dark they dye on different kinds of yarn and fiber, etc.

I hope you love all the colors. Let me know if you see something you would like. Most of the goodies pictured in the top dye lot shot will be heading to my etsy store as soon as I get them dried and packaged up.

It’s MONDYE!

July 12, 2010

I’ve decided to start a new weekly tradition for the hairballz blog. Every Monday, we’ll have Mondye! It’s a chance to oogle all yarn, fabric, wool, and even ungloved fingers that were dyed during the past week. If you have to start another week, you might as well do so with some fuzzy eye candy, right?

Here we have an overview of the week’s dyeing, most of which is destined for my etsy shop. It was my first time to dye roving! The yellow yarn that’s hanging in the back of the picture is 5 hanks of Mountain Dew dyed yarn for a custom batch order. I’m very pleased with how these came out. The color is perfect, and the subtle variation in color within the hank is ideal for adding that gentle interest to solid colored knit pieces.

Unfortunately, I had a rather high pain week and wasn’t able to do as much as I set out to do. Additionally, the yarn and wool I was expecting to receive on Thursday didn’t arrive until Friday. I started in Friday right away with some sock yarn and some professional acid dyes I ordered. Don’t get me wrong, I’m VERY happy with my food safe dyes and acids, but I wanted to experiment. So I got some acid dyes in black, grey and blood red. My intention was to dye some zombie/apocalypse yarn. This way I’d be plenty inspired for the upcoming zombie swap with the Odd Ducks of Ravelry. I envisioned a mottled grey yarn with black flecks and blood splatter. The goal was truly gruesome sock yarn to make some stunning mid-calf socks for myself. The black I ordered was a blueish black, and mixed with the red blood color made for lots of purple. Next time I’ll dye the grey, wait for it to cool, wash the yarn, then dye the red splatter, wait for it to cool, wash…. and so on to layer up the color rather than my current dyeing history of just keeping going and only washing at the end of all colors. This way I may be able to prevent some of the color mixing that caused my zombie yarn to come out so feminine. I’m calling the color “Punk Endtrails”:

I’m no longer content to have my socks made from this. However, I do like the color a ton. It just wasn’t what I was trying to achieve. It reminds me of colors a goth girl might wear. It’s very similar to my punk zombie doll. Who knows, if I swapped yarn dyed this color with my little zombie doll, then it could still be on theme even! I just don’t want this yarn for me though since the colors came out so un-gruesome. Unfortunately, this particular yarn got a bit knotted up. Thank goodness I’ll have a yarn swift soon! Since it does have about a half-dozen little knots in it, I’m calling it unfit for sale. I wouldn’t want any of my customers to have even one knot in their yarns! I spent hours hunting through sock patterns on Ravelry to find just the one. I decided I’ll knit socks out of this yarn anyhow, and I bet my mother would love these colors! I’ve got to get my holiday crafting done sooner rather than later, and she has a birthday around that time too. If the finished socks don’t seem very her, then surely they’ll be very me. Either way, I’m still knitting socks!

Next we have soda dyed rovings. I don’t want to leave the spinners out of the awesomeness of soda dyeing! Here’s the “Orange Crush” and “Grape Crush” both dyed on a superwash merino wool roving.

Both colors came out with tons of white area even though each is the same weight of wool and dyed in the same quantity of soda as my soda yarns. The superwash just sucks up the dye before I can even get all the wool into the pot! The orange is just varied shades of orange and off-white so it looks just like orange soda with foam. The purple came out with stripes on the inside of deep bluish purple in addition to the lighter soda foam areas. It’s a very interesting roving to say the least. I’m quite happy with how both came out and I’d love to spin that orange up! The purple is nice, but it’s just not my color.

I also dyed a roving with the blood red professional dye. I dipped it much like making hand-dipped candles. The color came out exactly like I wanted, but darker than I’d intended. I was just going to use the dye that was left over from my sock yarn to make some pink roving, but when I added a bit more dye to the pot, I got the most stunning color. I’m calling this one “Wild Strawberries” because looking at this roving makes me hungry and almost makes my mouth tingle with the tartness of a wild strawberry.

The final roving I had to dye, I wasn’t sure about what colors I wanted. Then guy pal suggested a waterfall over dinner. Every dyer seems to make a waterfall colorway, and I’m sure I will to at some point. I decided that since I’m in Colorado, and it’s the summer time, the appropriate color would be white water rafting instead! I used several Wilton cake colors to make acid dye for this roving. This color is truly one-of-a-kind. Be sure to watch out for those rocks on your rafting (spinning) adventure!

I’m so happy with this week’s dyeing, I don’t think I can pick a favorite. Even though I don’t like purple much, it’s a stunning shade. I’d love to spin up the white water colorway, but I know those colors don’t look good on me. The orange would be super fun spin and knit into socks. It’s superwash, so all you’d have to do is ply in some nylon thread! Then the wild strawberries I want to spin into a worsted weight yarn and actually make up one of the many free patterns for knit and crochet strawberries. Of course then I’d have to dye a stem green as well… The Mountain Dew always comes out great. It’s such a reliable and soft yellow. All geeks should knit their kids’ blankets out of Mountain Dew! As for the sock yarn, I’ve adopted it and someone on my list is likely to get some socks made from it…so long as this pattern works out well. I could see some great fingerless mitts there too. Send me a message if you’ve just got to grab one of this week’s dyeing. This is all there is from this week, so you’ll have to jump on it!

I’m still looking for the perfect name for this colorway and just wanted to get an update out before I go lie down for a bit. I got the first ball plied. I didn’t Navajo ply as I normally do because I didn’t want the yarn to bulk up too much. I have a REALLY small orifice on this wheel. Navajo plying tends to get the wool stuck. The only problems I ran into here was that my bobbin was just way too small. I had to remove the drive band and hand wind the yarn on since the bobbin was so full it was getting stuck on the flyer. It took much longer. I hope something can be done about the size of my orifice and flyer/bobbins soon.

I discovered a new trick (or at least new to me) for plying. The benefit of Navajo plying is that you go from one bobbin to one bobbin. You never run the risk of running out of yarn on one side and having a ton left on the second bobbin like you would doing a traditional ply using a lazy kate and multiple bobbins. I took the single I’d spun and ran it through my wool winder to make a center pull cake. Then I spun in the reverse direction (like for all plying techniques I’m aware of). The trick is, I spun the inside pull strand of the cake to the outside strand of the cake. You do have to be careful the cake doesn’t spin in circles on the floor tumbling around and tangle itself, and the last few yards takes more concentration, but all-in-all it worked fantastically well. You work with the inside and outside pull strands of the cake just like you would use the two strands coming off the lazy kate. When you reach the end of your plying, the end just forms a loop and so far seems to hold the twist better than just plying two cut strands together. The loop on the end prevents much twist from running off the end of the finished yarn. This also produces just as great of a balanced yarn as does traditional plying. The benefit of never having to worry about having one bobbin still partially full is awesome AND you don’t have to wrestle with the awkward and slightly bulkier Navajo plying.

Get out your wool winders and put them to use in your plying! I’m interested to hear how it works for you. I know this will be a huge future time saver in my plying. I’ve just got to get a bigger bobbin and flyer to hold a full size hank. I estimate this to be about 72 yards of a varied weight yarn. It varies from a thin worsted like Cascade 220 to a thinner bulky, not anywhere close to a chunky yarn like Jiffy Thick and Quick. It has some thick and thin elements, but is a rather nice yarn. The slight barber poling really adds to the character. Some parts are entirely red, some entirely maroon, and some with the poles. I really love this yarn. It’s going to be a hard one to part with. I’d love to see it in a hat and scarf set once I spin up the other batt. Just imagine it with a charcoal pea coat and snow flakes beginning to cling to the ever so slight halo of the yarn. I’m going to wait until I have a bigger flyer to spin up the rest, hopefully tomorrow…or rather later today. It seems I forgot to sleep once again.

I decided I need to see how well cake yarns sell on etsy compared to my soda pop yarns. The most obvious way to do this I figured was to make some and see how well they sell. So I dyed this one tonight. I’m not dyeing cake yarn with the same speed as soda pop yarn because the hand-painted dyeing process takes much longer than the kettle-dyeing process AND I really like to contemplate my colors when I paint.

For this yarn, I took a light blue soda pop yarn and over-dyed it with Wilton cake colors and acid. All color added to this once natural color yarn I bought is food-grade. I let the colors blend a bit and cooked them in. The finished product has been washed several times, including one soak in Woolite to be sure it’s ready for you to use.

Dyeing of yarn is a learning process and why I try out a hank of each new technique to make sure the yarn is nice to work with, clean, and colorfast. I learned the hard way on my hippie cake that incomplete rinses after cake dye can lead to very pink fingers that leave pink smudges all over the house. Now I’ve implemented a 3 part hand-wash cycle after every dye, regardless of what dye is used. Now there are no more pink hands. I have noticed that yarn turning hands and even wooden and bamboo needles fun colors is not a problem unique to hand-dyed yarns. One of my dear friends showed me her discolored bamboo needles a week or so ago. The color was caused by some bigger box commercial yarn! I would have thought that big companies would have developed a 3 stage wash cycle like I have. They’ve been dyeing yarn for longer than me.

Anyhow, I love this finished yarn. I still need to get it packaged up in a proper cake with a candle, but I’m quite hung up on what to call it. Does anyone have any ideas for this colorway? I think it looks like a candy, taffy or cotton candy. Maybe something like Cinderella colors or some other combination of the Disney princesses. Do any of you have ideas as to what to name this fantastic colorway? While it is one of a kind, I would like to have a proper name should I create a similar yarn later. I am keeping a ‘dye book’ with rough recipes for each yarn along with a small sample. This way I’ll get more predictable results as I gain experience. Check back on my etsy store to see the first cake yarns starting to appear! I’ll be rolling out cake yarns in addition to my soda pop yarns in the month of July!

Yay! I’ve received my first custom order of my self-striping hippie colorway! I’m still waiting to hear back on the thickness of yarn and the yardage requested. Remember, if you are ordering a custom cake, you get to pick everything, the colorway, the weight yarn, the yardage, literally everything. It will be a one of a kind, just for you cake of yarn.

To celebrate, I’m starting my first project with one of my own colorways…naturally the tie dye style hippie yarn! I’ve decided to use the pattern “September Scarf” available for free on ravelry. I’m kind of interested in the pattern just because of the name. I have a special history with the month of September. Both of the hit-and-run accidents I was in were in the month of September. There has to be some kind of awesomeness about starting this pattern right as the first hearing is getting underway–the finishing of one September while another begins. Some cyclical thing I guess. I’m also completely in love with how great my size 9 knitting needles look with this colorway. Check it out:

These are just the Hobby Lobby brand acrylic needles. They’re one of my favorite to use. They’re very slick so the yarn doesn’t catch.

I been really enjoying using some Boku yarn on a fair isle hat I’ve got on my needles at the moment. Boku works up with stripes similar to Noro, but the Boku is a nicer yarn and not full of knots like I’ve heard Noro is. I’ve enjoyed this Boku yarn so much that I decided I’d like to try my hand at hand-dyeing self-striping yarn. I had a hank of worsted white wool I’d found at a thrift store just sitting around, so I grabbed the yarn and my set of Wilton cake colors. I wound the yarn into 8 smaller hanks of varying lengths and tied them with acrylic yarn to prevent tangles. I didn’t cut the yarn at all, but left the small hanks connected. I then added dye to each one and microwaved it to set the colors. I let the yarn cool down in the remaining dye, rinsed, and was really wowed by the final product. The self-striping process is much more time consuming than soda yarn, but I think the result is worth a little extra.

Here is my first ever hank of hand-dyed self-striping yarn:

And here it is again wound up into a cake:

Finally, we’ve got to have a close up to fully appreciate these colors! I didn’t worry about getting the dye entirely worked into the yarn and have light spots as a result giving the yarn the look of tie dye. I call this colorway “Hippie”.

 

If you absolutely can’t wait to have some self-striping hand-dyed yarn of your own, send me a message via my etsy store and we’ll get a custom order going for you!