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.

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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.

Spinning again!

July 3, 2010

Today I got to do one of those things that makes me feel very spoiled and exceptionally happy. Yes, people who miss having things like a home can still feel really spoiled like the world revolves around them. It’s just really rare when you can forget about all the lame stuff for long enough AND get hit with the awesome bits of the world all at once. Table Rock Llamas is one of those stores that does it for me. The only time the attacks of the lame hits me at that store is when I realize I can’t afford to take everything home with me.

When I went today, I took some of my profit from my etsy store and reinvested it in building the best fibery store ever, my own! I got some fiber to spin art yarns since I’m itching to add them to my store and a batt that was in the oops pile. I’ve never spun from a batt before, only rovings. I really want to buy a drum carder and start a batt of the month club for spinners with the same funky tastes as myself. Basically, spinners who want alien batts, Dr. Who themed batts, hippie batts, and periodically just beautiful flowery batts. Naturally, it doesn’t make any sense to buy a drum carder before you’re sure you can spin from a batt!

I hunted through the rack of batts and didn’t see any in colors that struck me. Then as I was having my various art yarn fibers weighed out and priced, I saw a pile of some of the most beautiful batts I’ve ever seen in the store. None were priced, and I fell in love with an interesting red one. When I asked, I learned that this pile is the “oops” and “I wonder what happens when I…” pile. Naturally, those would be the ones that appeal to my taste! Plus, it was priced like raw wool, aka cheaper than normal batts!

All I know is it’s a short staple length, red and darker red, dyed with acid dyes, and was meant to be brown. I’m busy spinning it tonight and trying to decide on a colorway name before it hits my etsy store. At first I was thinking “The Red Carpet” and including a star stitch marker or something. Now that I’ve begun spinning, I’m not quite sure anymore. If you have any ideas on a great colorway name, leave it in a comment and you could see yarn with your name up on etsy!

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!

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

I really wanted to spin, but couldn’t come close to affording a spinning wheel. I borrowed my friend’s Babe wheel and tried to make one like it. I made a few changed, like using a bike tire because that’s what I had. My bobbins aren’t plastic either, mine have a  PVC tube for the shaft and wooden pullies on the ends. I tried to go for a steam punk look for my wheel. The spray paint was actually the most expensive part of the whole thing!

 

homemade spinning wheel of PVC and wood

It’s not nearly as smooth as Kat’s and takes plenty of adjustments during a spinning session, but it’s so freaking awesome! I have a spinning wheel! I’ll be taking it with me on my trip to Arizona so I can spin in my down time there.