Dyeing adventures!

The lovely Sharondoubleknit came around today to not only keep me company but actually GET me dyeing. At one point she asked “exactly how much undyed yarn and fibre do you have?”. Well, the answer now is significantly less than it was this morning!!

The good thing about having us both dye was it was a great opportunity to just play with all the colours i have. We were using Landscape dyes (acid dyes) and I had a lovely kit of ‘mountain’ colours from the elements range (lovely muted colours, only one i hate  – an icky greeny yellow called lichen), plus some left over kingfisher (teal!) from a previous project, three primaries and the dye i want to use on some bulky wool for Owls in Bloodwood.

While we were setting up and soaking yarn I organised 4 jars of small amounts of dye with about 5-10g of yarn in each as a test dye. 2 with different dilutions of the bloodwood, one with a teal, one with wombat, a delicious grey/brown and in the end i threw the 5th mini skein in the left over from the more highly diluted bloodwood and a bit of the wombat. Just for fun.

L-R: Kingfisher. Bloodwood 1/2 dilution, Bloodwood full dilution, Bloodwood and Wombat, Wombat

I popped the jars in a pan of water and just popped in on the stove for an hour or so on a lowish heat. It’s a great technique and i’d totally do it again, especially if i wanted to a fairisle pattern and only needed less than 50g of a few colours.

then I started to PLAY! I had a skein of sock yarn, a skein of 8 ply wool and 2 skeins of angora/wool (naturally sensation) 2 bags of undyed roving and some silk caps (still in my collection is the yarn for owls, a large skein of handspun leicester and some silk roving). I wasn’t necessarily going to do it all today, but i ended up doing more than i thought i would!

I played around with mixing the primaries, and Sharon made a rainbow, with the muted colours (even used the yucky lichen and came to really like the wombat!), made a totally ‘jen’ coloured skein of 8ply, mucked around with monochromatic dyeing with different solutions of teal on the angora blend and then used up the last of everything to make a few colours for the last batch of roving. FUN TIMES!

Other than the jar dyeing, I used my new, purpose-bought – rice cooker ($25!) with a steaming pot. It’s perfect. Fill’er up, pop’er on, and leave for 40 minutes! Brilliant!! Sharon dyed in a pot on the stove, which I will be doing for my Owls yarn with the bloodwood.

It was a very fun day with some really interesting results!

Sock yarn - Sun Orchid, Heath, Cloud Ears and Mist

Sock yarn - Sun Orchid, Heath, Cloud Ears and Mist

Dk yarn - Kingfisher, Tarragon, Sun Orchid, Clematis, Grevillia

Dk yarn - Kingfisher, Tarragon, Sun Orchid, Clematis, Grevillia

Angora/Wool Blend, dyed monochromatically in different solutions of all my blues, greens and touch of yellow mixed together

Fibre speckle dyed with the 'Mountain' range from Landscape Elements

Fibre speckle dyed with the 'Mountain' range from Landscape Elements

Silk Caps - Cloud Ears in the Centre, then Mist and Heath mixed, then Wombat

Silk Caps - Cloud Ears in the Centre, then Mist and Heath mixed, then Wombat

Fibre dyed with my pinks and purples mixed, my greens mixed and wombat to fill in the gaps.

Fibre dyed with my pinks and purples mixed, my greens mixed and wombat to fill in the gaps.

 

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a VERY belated Bendi post

Today Mel, the lovely Yorkshirepud, came to visit me and we had an absolutely lovely crafty afternoon! First we stopped in at Onabee, the new craft store nearby (where i bought pear tree yarn, yum) and looked in at a fabulous little gift shop, then we headed back to mine for tea and teaching.

Mel has borrowed an Ashford Knitter’s Loom and i promised to teach her the basics! so with a cup of english breakfast to steel ourselves, i showed her how to warp up the loom and got her weaving! In return, she has donated some gorgeous Malabrigo to my stash… i have a feeling it might end up being a present for my cousin since it is the most wonderful green and i ❤ redheads in green! I also demonstrated some spinning… which lead to a broad investigation of the stash…

I showed Mel all my souvenir sock and lace yarn (i love a captive audience) and then i got onto the handspun, which of course led this very new spinner into the world of fibre stash. I pulled out all 5 large plastic pillow/quilt bags from under the bed and proceeded to pull out handdyed top after handdyed batt to show her. She patted and oohed and ahhed and coveted appropriately and even tried to tell me i don’t have one SERIOUS problem. She helped with my problem a little bit by taking away some silk/merino that i will never spin but will suit her wonderfully!

This, in turn led to a discussion on ‘what i bought at bendi’ which made me realise i had neglected you all for an ENTIRE month! i even have photos of my bendi purchases ready to go! *facepalm* I apologise dear readers and hope that my belated gushings will go some way to tiding things over…

This was my first  year at bendi and, to be honest, i didn’t buy as much as i thought i would. i don’t know why – maybe i found it all a little overwhelming, and certainly, since i have, as mentioned, an extensive stash, i was very much looking for things that really spoke to me, rather than just buying everything. That being said, i did spend well over $200 so i can’t have done too badly!

First the standard favourites – Mandie and Charly. I bought stuff from Mandie first – a whole lotta stuff. It was my first time meeting Mandie in the flesh, which was great, and it had been a while since i had purchased from her. She had some delicious handdyed sock yarn with one in just the MOST perfect colours for me…

I don’t think it was mandie’s intention to create a Port Adelaide sock yarn, but this WILL become a pair of football match day socks for me!

I also fell in love with this sock yarn with its rose petally goodness

Fibre-wise there was one blend that i just had to get – a polworth/silk. i’ve only spun polworth once, but i really really loved it – like BUTTER – so i had to snatch up some more (hard to find!). only one colour sang out to me, so i bought 2!

I also picked up some great pink sock blockers and some little charms – not sure what to do with them, but i love them!

I said a quick hello to Charly and had a look around, but knew i’d end up back in the woolcraft shed before heading home, so postponed purchasing from her to the end of the day (can’t NOT buy Ixchel stuff!)

I had a wander around – said hello to Ms Gusset and fondled her wares, met SeeAPenny at Try Dyeing where i bought 2 dyeing kits – one for me and one for Katie – Met Jane from Moseley Park and fondled HER wares (there was lots of fondling going on), bought some delicious carded alpaca (i have a thing for it, clearly -and sorry no photo), picked up some natural coloured brown wool for Katie, said hello to the lovely pear tree ladies, met Jo of the bird and the fish, Tara of Mayhem and Chaos and other ravelers, bought ENORMOUS alpaca socks for Papa, got a fantastic sheep incognito calendar, discovered fibre red where i ordered the most wonderful teal skirt, ate potato spiral chips on a stick, ate doughnuts and then headed back to Charly where i caved and bought some cashmerino bunny and some bfl-bunny *passout*

There is just the subtlest hint of pink in this and LOVE it – have some pure BFL in very similar colours i might ply it with

i have some angorino from charly in a very similar colourway that i thought i might ply this with for extra nomability.

Then i managed to gather my wits about me, purchase a cup of tea and start the long drive home (which seemed so much longer than the drive there!)

all in all it was an AMAZING day and i have to say, Bendigo is PRETTY. I was quite awestruck by the catherdral and the fountain/roundabout in the middle of town. next year i will pull over and take many more pictures, but this year it was ALL about the fibre and yarn!

So not a massive haul, but pretty respectable and it was absolutely wonderful to meet so many people i knew only via rav. Now to get on with the spinning, knitting, dyeing and weaving!

Keep your eyes peeled for a multiple FO post here later this week!!! *excited*

adventures in spinning

as i mentioned previously, I’ve been spinning a lot lately – mostly inspired by my lovely gift from Knitspirations on ravelry.com – two beautiful tops – and a trip to visit charly at ixchel where i purchased a new spindle and beautiful angorino top (and have since purchased another one, plus some more tops from Ewe Give Me The Knits!!)

new spindlemaker spindle - mulga wood

new spindlemaker spindle - mulga wood

I’ve been spinning undyed (which is starting to boooooore me) because it’s cheaper and i can experiment with dyeing it. And I’ve taken up the spindle to finish of the packet of sample fleece i got ages ago from sunset fibres on etsy.

So I looked up some great videos on you tube and practiced on both my spindle and wheel. I’m getting more even, but i’m still a bit thick and thin and have trouble maintaining a single any smaller than an 8ply (which means my plied yarn is very bulky)

here are some photos!

merino single, drop spindle

merino single, drop spindle

silky top (not sure of the exact composition - but nice long staple) spun on the wheel

silky top (not sure of the exact composition - but nice long staple) spun on the wheel

my first plied yarn. 2 merino singles wheel spun

my first plied yarn. 2 merino singles wheel spun

There’s another skein of this sort of weight 2 ply currently drying. I will re skein the two together and get a meterage. I’m considering making the dumpling bag from interweave knits from this for my friend – hand dyed in her favourite colours!

Things i have learnt

– how to predraft properly. in order to get an even fibre I really can’t afford to skimp on this bit.

– how to draw out the draft while i’m actually spinning – not a lot, but enough to thin out some of the ‘thick’ bits.

– i need to find a better way to guide the two singles when plying in order to get a more even twist in both singles

– i’m still over spinning a bit in some places, particularly on the wheel.

– i like having a notch on my spindle, especially when they’re as beautifully smooth as the spindlemaker!!

I really want to try navajo plying – especially with my coloured tops, in order to keep the colours even.

I have some raspberry and fuchsia merino i want to spin and then ply, in order to see what the two singles are actually doing.

i have plans to spin the more orangy of these two rovings into a skein for my friend for christmas. hence all the practicing!! Of course it’s important to remember – there ARE NO SPINNING POLICE lol.

a fibrous gift

a fibrous gift