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.

Advertisements

Soda dyed yarn!

June 17, 2010

I had some orange soda that I bought for a friend so she could have the code for Zynga games since she doesn’t live near a 7-11 to get the codes herself. So I had orange soda. I don’t drink orange soda, or much of any soda actually. It’s one of those dietary changes I made following the accidents.

I kept staring down this bottle of ickiness wondering what to do with it. The color was nice so I figured I should dye with it! I’d tried earlier with Mountain Dew and Coke, but it wasn’t colorfast. When I rinsed the yarn, the color went right down the drain. I tried valiently to research using soda to dye wool yarn online, but found nothing. What little I read said it couldn’t be done due to the sugar making the wool gummy and the color’s refusal to stay bonded to the wool. So I started researching the chemical processes involved in the soda, the color and the wool. Before any of you start worrying, I only used items that are food grade and found in the kitchen.

I grabbed the quick sample yarn I’d spun for my earlier failed experiments at dyeing from my spinning wheel where I’d allowed it to dry.

mini hank of handspun on spinning wheel

I went through my new method of dyeing with soda and voila! I now have two mini hanks of orange crush colored yarn! So now be sure to check back at my etsy store later this week to find a variety of hand dyed soda colorways! This photo is after the final wash. The orange soda scent is long gone, leaving a stunning orange yarn.

orange yarn with orange soda