Thursday, August 23, 2007

It isn't easy being green

I'm still having trouble with green. I don't know if I'm the only dyer with green problems, but here they are:
1. blue and yellow "strike" the fiber at different temperatures and different acidity levels. I sometimes have a pot full of exactly the shade I want, but when I pull the fiber out, a lot of the blue dye is still there, and the fiber is a lot yellower than intended.
2. To mix up green, I have my choice of cobalt, turquoise, and navy, and "yellow" and "gold-yellow." Each blue, and each yellow, has different implications to the final shade.
3. I also have a "green" dye that isn't much green at all, but in fact a lovely shade of blue-green. It has to be mixed at about a 1:1 ratio with yellow to make what I would call green.
4. I don't keep notes.

Some of these problems are things I could solve, but won't (like No. 4). Some of these problems, I'm getting better at (like No. 2). Problem No. 1 is problem No. 1. I think I have just the right shade, it looks great dabbed on the paper towel, but somehow in the pot everything ends up a lot more yellow than I think. Here is some green that is not at all what I meant, but it's kind of interesting nonetheless:

Now here is some fiber I feel less ambiguous about. Check out the one with the spots of orange, dark purple, and chocolate brown. When I spin it, the intense spots will blend with the white to make long, streaky strands of wonderfulness. I can't wait.

And here is my wheel. Oh, sugar sugar. It only takes me about 3 hours to make a sock yarn, but I've been at it for days. The toddler is not being patient with me spinning, and not playing with her. Oh well, wool can wait.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My So Called Scarf

Check. This. Out. This is what someone is making out of my yarn:

I was blown away when I saw these pictures, the stitch pattern is just perfect for the long colour changes of the yarn. Once I can tear myself away from my wheel, I'm totally making one of these for myself. It will be one of my many vacation projects. You can get the pattern here:

And here are the socks that someone else is making from my yarn:

Don't you just love the colours? Granted, this yarn is not for those who demand symmetry in their socks, but if you like socks that are colourful fraternal twins, this is totally the yarn for you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A study in wool and water

My husband always gets a kick out of when I say "I think I'll dye today" so casually as he's leaving for work. Yesterday was Dyeing Day, and I dyed every fiber of blue faced leicester I had in the house -- about 5 pounds. I enjoyed myself. I was productive. See?

I've been really enjoying the dyeing, and getting better results, since I got my big square roasting pan that lets me lay the roving out in longish parallel strips. Because I'm dealing with a square, not a circle (as in my giant dye pots), I do a sort of hybrid between immersion dyeing and handpainting. The big advantage of handpainting is that you use less water and so you can use colours that ought not be allowed to blend, right beside each other. The big advantage of immersion dyeing is that it's like a one-pot meal -- less dishes, easier to prepare. So now, I can use some of the more high contrast colour combinations while still not using a ton of saran wrap (required for handpainting) or crouching down on my back patio for long periods of time (ouchy on the knees).

Anyway, lots of bfl. I especially like how this one turned out:

I can't say it's quite exactly what I intended -- I'm still getting some dye pot surprises, most consistently when I use green. I'm having trouble managing green. It tends to split rather badly, no matter how much salt I use in the bath, and I'm finding that the yellow component kind of intensifies in the dyepot -- or maybe the blue part just isn't quite striking? I know, more acid, more heat, I'm trying. I'll get it.

And here is yesterday's experiment -- pure tussah silk, two 4oz batches of it:

When it dries I'll pull out a few fibers just to make sure I didn't accidentally tangle them up in the dye pot, then I'm posting them for sale. Me, I like to spin a more robust fiber (notice how I don't offer merino? I really dislike the stuff), but I think there are some spinners out there who would love to have some silk to play with.

Wish me a sunny day, and the fleece will dry faster and get turned into sock yarn.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Achieving critical mass

You know how when water turns to ice, a critical mass of the water molecules have to be at zero degrees celcius before the ice crystals can start to form? My yarn is like that too. I need to have a certain number of disparate hanks of yarn is various colourways before sweater sets can start to form.

I seem to have achieved critical mass.

I dye enough fleece in a batch now to make 4 hanks of each colourway, and it takes at least 6 hanks to make an adult medium sized sweater. I have enough yarn to make 3 or 4 different sweaters in different colour themes. Check them out:






Some of this yarn is posted, and some of it isn't. If you see something you like, just email me or convo me on Etsy and ask about it. I'm more than happy to send you group shots of many hanks of yarn, grouped artistically.

As a bonus: if you buy 6 or more skeins of yarn, I'll knock 10% off the price.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Like Christmas, all the time

I know that this is a business and I'm being paid for this, but every time I make up a package of my yarn to send someone, I feel like I'm sending a pretty Christmas present. It's pure projection on my part; I think about opening a box, crinkling the bright paper, and seeing yarn! You can tell what *my* favourite Christmas present is.

So my fiber supplier tells me that he will be getting in some superwash blue faced leicester this month. Anyone interested in trying some sock yarn made from that?