I absolutely fell in love with the mini stripe/accent packs of yarn I worked on dyeing last night. So much so that today I went out to get more wool and soda so I’ll be able to make a few more of my stunning stripe kits. They will still be a very limited run. This is good because I’ll be keeping one at a minimum. I can’t tell you how much I love these colors! I want to make black socks with these soda stripes. I think I’ll even try and make a special stripe kit tag for the packaging honoring my childhood cat, appropriately named Stripes.

I also picked up a ton of Cascade 220 with my $40 shopping spree I’d earned by getting enough punches at my local yarn shop. I plan on ¬†using it to complete a project from my first big and original knitting pattern! This will be one awesome looking pattern sample. I can’t wait to get started knitting it up! Plus, all the leftovers of these stunning wool colors will get to be added to the 300 stitch afghan ūüôā I’ve got to get a few more projects off my plate first before tackling my new pattern.

Today and for much of last night, I’m trying to finish the Knitted Toys group’s July Mystery KAL. It’s shaping up to be such a cute pattern even made of cheap leftover acrylic! Unfortunately, it has way too much seaming. I hate seaming. I’ve already made a few alterations to the little sheep pattern to get around some of it. I’d so much rather work in the round. Pictures will be coming soon, just two arms, a leg, and a mini scarf left to knit. I’ve got to hustle because to be eligible for prizes. The deadline is the end of the month. Fingers crossed for a quick finish to the little guy!

On a final note, I’m about to load up on fresh wool to dye. Any requests? I’m looking at adding some 100% superfine alpaca, some 50/50 silk/Merino blend, and some alpaca wool blends to the shop in lace, sport, and worsted. Is there anything else you all would like to see? More sock yarns? I’m getting bored with just wool. Granted I LOVE working with it as evidenced by the major stashing today at Table Rock Llamas, but sometimes you just need some alpaca under your fingers. I’m also considering some cotton at my mother’s request. Soda dye won’t take to the cotton, but I will be able to get close to some of my other colors, like the tumultuous sea that she loves so much.

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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.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to see this review on Ravelry. This was posted by a fellow LSG group member who purchased some of my Grape Crush soda pop dyed yarn in Worsted Peruvian wool. I think you’ll agree her project is stunning!

“I purchased some lovely worsted wool yarn dyed with Crush Grape soda from¬†swamps42 at her etsy shop:¬†Hairballz Creations.

Soda Pop Yarn

It arrived promptly and I had to cast-on promptly too ūüôā

I made a Ballband Bag with it.
Ballband Bag 1

You can see the Soda Pop Yarn in the garter stitch at the base, but to be honest the photo doesn’t due the subtly of the shading justice. The color ended up being just want I wanted; not too pink and not too purple-y.
Soda Pop Yarn

It felted up very nicely after a couple laundry loads:
Ballband Bag 2

Very happy with the final results!”

She also added, “when knitted in garter stitch, it felts to approximately 75% of its original length (didn‚Äôt pay attention to width as I was more concerned with how long to make the strap). This info might be useful for some.” so those of ¬†you who want to use this yarn for your felting projects have a better idea of how it felts up. Of course, I know some people felt their projects differently. I personally felt the heck out of my stuff so it’s impossible to see the different rows and I’ve seen plenty where it’s still possible to see the rows and columns of stitches in the knitting. It looks to me like the 75% length is a pretty complete felting job.

I hope you all love historyweaver’s bag as much as I do! You can add comments to the original review thread in LSG here. I’m personally feeling quite inspired to try that pattern and likely will once I get a few other projects off my plate.

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!

Swap package received!

July 3, 2010

Today was mostly a bum day. Guy pal and I worked on some updates to the spinning wheel and they were all massive failures. As a result I can’t spin and am very upset about it. On the bright side, I received a swap package from my Dr. Horrible Sing Along Blog swap that I’m doing in the Odd Ducks group on Ravelry. I’ve been staying with guy pal and the box, rather bag, was sent to my mom’s house. She called me to tell me that I got some rather strange mail. Some bag about a horse. So guy pal and I swung by while running errands and found this:

I flipped it over and found that the singing cowboys who serve Bad Horse and the Evil League of Evil (E.L.E) had come to visit me. This seemed like an awesomely creative way to get even the money you have to spend on shipping to be on theme. I approve, particularly because I collect stamps. I do worry that the post office may have been a little cranky about having to mark all those stamps AND still having to print out a zero dollars bar code. But the post office does have a history of being cranky anyhow, so maybe they can consider it a taste of their own medicine.

When I opened up the envelope, which I tore into with excitement, I found a letter from the E.L.E. along with my loot. I like loot. The letter mentioned that there were babies inside for me to do horrible things to, you know for my experiments. I love Jelly Babies, and Sour Patch Kids aren’t bad either. Sour gummies are pretty good in fact. Now that I’m looking at them, I wish I had them here to nibble while I work tonight at guy pals’s place. There was also hair from Bad Horse’s 57th in command, a llama named Spitty. I wonder if he wears spats on his hooves. Just imagine a llama named Spitty wearing spats. Anyhow, there was a bag of raw alpaca wool for me to clean, card and spin. Looks like I need to get my wool tumbler finished and earn that drum carder I want for the business, and a little personal use too. Then there was a print out of a pattern I’ve been wanting for a very long time, Some Assembly Required. This pattern is available on Ravelry for a mere 6 bucks, and totally worth it. It makes a Lego man that actually comes apart and goes back together that’s knit! Just wow. I’ve already started knitting a Lego man for my brother’s Christmas gift. I expect I’ll have a rush on my Etsy work at the holidays too, so I’d better get my personal crafting out of the way now. Assuming I can get these Lego men to look as professional as in the pattern, I’ll have to make several for various folks on my list. Plus, toys are a great way to use up that baby-melting acrylic yarn.

Then I got to the large item in the box. The letter said that it was a bit lopsided and that this added to his horribleness. Plus, the E.L.E. included the pattern so I could make new parts as I destroyed these in my horrible experiments. Then I pulled out a bag of parts.

She knit me a Dr. Horrible inspired Lego man! For the life of me I can’t get his head to stay on. So he’s holding it. Plus, holding your own head is extra horrible.

In general, he just seemed a little lonely. Have you ever run across a single Lego man just chilling out with no other Legos? Probably not unless he was hidden in the carpet and you found him with your foot. My horrible Lego dude is too big to hide in the carpet, so I put him in the tub of Legos I’m using for some special items for my¬†Etsy¬†store. I know these are going to be hot items. Legos added to knitting in any way just has to be cool. So, a big thank you goes out to my spoiler, ravelry name Choperena! Now, to finish wrapping up my swap package to send out for the very same Dr. Horrible Swap! While I love the loot, I think spoiling someone is more fun that being spoiled. A part of me wants to take a break from swapping and just angel when they need someone to fill in for a flaker.

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!

A new goal in spinning

June 25, 2010

I’ve gotten good at spinning a bulky yarn, and just wound a ball last night of more than 150 yards of hand-spun, single-ply lace weight, which while a little over spun to maintain strength, has a very consistent thickness. I’ve got some stunning Merino that I’d like to spin into sock yarn, but I’m not quite sure if I can pull of that just yet. I’m considering getting some nylon thread and trying to spin around that as a core, or maybe spin close to a sock weight single ply and ply in the nylon thread. I’m not sure, but not that eager to spin it yet either. I’ve just been too into dyeing and contemplating some very unique colorways. All my dedicated readers should anticipate a sweepstakes in the near future to enter by voting on which lines and colorways of yarn will be released next!

Then today while looking across ravelry.com for an exciting project to try using my Hippie colorway on, I found this yarn from insubordiknits and I feel the intense urge to pull out my spinning wheel, some dye, varous fibers, and of course my needle felting supplies!

She calls her colorway vitreous humor and sells them for $50 a hank of 75ish yards, with a total of 10 eyes spun into each hank. I’m a fine needle felter, so I think I need to make yarn with needle felted items spun in! I want eye ball yarn so badly, but she’s got a waiting list of 125 people according to her store. I’m thinking I could do my own! Then I might have to figure out what other creepy handspuns I want. Do I just want eyes, or do I feel some skulls (which I’ve needle felt before) or maybe random vertebrae and a kidney. I sure hope if I ever find a Mr. Hairballz that he’s not going to mind a scarf made with anatomical heart yarn! I can already see that being a huge seller. I do tend to fall for the geeky guys, so maybe a hat out of keyboard yarn would be more appropriate. Think of the geeky hats that could make! I’ve never really thought much of art yarns before this (though I’ve admired the creativity and look of my fellow Odd Duck swapper,¬†studioloo’s art yarn, but never considered using any, much less spinning it myself. So big kudos to insubordiknits for finally getting me to take the dive into art yarn!