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!

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Dyeing so much yarn in one day was way too much for me to take on. I suppose if I hadn’t tried to also go shopping for yarn and soda that same day I’d have done better. I’ve recovered now and am already itching to make another batch! It’s so much fun and as an extra special bonus I slept afterward better than I’ve slept in a long time. It was so great to have a job to do and I’m really getting excited about dyeing yarn for my etsy store.

So as promised, here are the colors from the first batch of 10 soda pop yarns. This batch is all 100% Peruvian wool in worsted weight. I’m looking forward to branching out into other weights, blends and superwash.

Here they are drying on the wonderful IKEA rack with the slightly darker colors of damp wool

various colors of yarn drying on rack

The different shades of purple are from store brand grape soda versus Grape Crush. The Grape Crush came out a warm pinkish purple and the store brand came out a deeper cooler purple with huge variations in color from dark to light creating a stunning yarn showing off the beauty of the kettle dyeing process.

Here are the dried final colors:

Now all I’ve got to do is to make nice tags and get them packaged up to sell on etsy! I can barely even think about sleeping I’m so excited to get these yarns out into the world and make more! I’m also looking forward to other methods of dyeing and dyeing roving to spin. It’s been a while since I’ve had a nice long spinning stint.

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

Upcycled Cat

December 30, 2009

My parents let me know that they had a box of old clothes they were getting rid of and would I like any of them. I’m not really into the same styles that they are, but I really loved some of the items for their fabric. I ended up dragging a heap of old clothes to my crafting lair.

One of the pairs of my stepdad’s old socks really spoke to me. It was begging to be upcycled into a little kitten. The pattern just screamed orange tabby cat to me. I pulled out a pattern from the The Woman’s Day Book of Soft Toys and Dolls. I made a few little changes to the body of the cat to get it to work on these socks and I made the tail much larger. Rather than embroider a rather dated looking face as the book instructed, I used a couple of lime green buttons I had left from an American Girl craft day when I worked at Michaels. All the extras had been sent home with the teachers. I loved job perks there, killer discounts and free leftover supplies that would have otherwise hit the dumpster. Seriously, my boss, who couldn’t stand to see craft supplies wasted, would call us all over and split up the leftovers evenly. Anyhow, the buttons only had two little holes and with black thread look like artistic cat eyes. I couldn’t find a good nose button for this size face in my hundreds of black buttons though I did find a spare animal nose lying around. For the body stitching I was careful to cut the ear liners and the underbelly out of the solid sole of the sock and the rest from the patterned upper to help give the cat good markings.

Sock tabby cat

She’s a well-traveled little cat having been everywhere inside a shoe. She’ll be looking for her forever home soon being placed through my store on Etsy.