Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I'm Getting Better

Knitting and spinning and typing -- oh my! All this adds up to flexor tendinitis. But I've used an impressive amount of restraint for the past few weeks. It's paid off, and I'm now virtually pain-free.... as long as I keep my wrist-twisting activities to a minimum; just doing enough to not have fiber withdrawal.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Kool Aid Days

My next foray into dyeing was the most fun yet. Using a crock pot and 3 packets of Kool Aid and Flavor Aid I got a wonderful, surprising result.

Here's what I started with: beautiful natural wool roving. It's 3 & 3/8 oz. and the length is 10 feet.

I soaked the roving in room temp water with a glug of vinegar while I prepared the dye liquid.
Very simple: using 3 jars, I opened each packet of the KA or FA and poured each into a jar. I added about 4 ounces of warm water to each jar, covered and swirled to mix.

The "flavors" I used were Black Cherry (KA), Lemonade(FA) and Orange (KA).

I pulled the roving out of the water, and I let the majority of the water drip off as I coiled just enough of the roving to cover the bottom of the crock pot. I started in the center and coiled this layer toward the outside. On this layer I used all of the Black Cherry. I mushed the roving down in the pooling liquid just enough to make sure that the dye liquid seeped to the underside of the roving. Because I used only 4 ounces of water for the dye liquid, I needed to be careful that I poured directly on the fiber. I also was careful to use the darkest color on this bottom layer.

I coiled the next layer from the outside to the center and poured the Lemonade liquid carefully on this layer. I chose the Lemonade because I wanted this color to be the one to mix the most on the fiber with the other two colors. I did not jostle this layerI coiled the last layer and poured on the Orange.

Gently, I added about 1 and 1/2 cups of the soaking water -- just enough to submerge the roving in liquid. I poured this at the side so as not to jostle the roving. I placed the cover on and set the crock pot on Low for 2 and a half hours. The water looked completely clear, which meant that all of the dye had been taken up and set into the wool. I turned the crock pot off and leaving the cover on, I let the pot cool down slowly to room temp. That took about 3 hours.

I pulled the roving out of the pot and placed it into a colander. And here's how it looked:

STUNNING!!!! But this is very wet. In fact it's soaking in it --- uh, I mean I rinsed it through by pouring water into a big bowl and submerging the fiber-filled colander into it. I did this about three times. I didn't want to pour the water directly on the fiber because there's always a possibility of accidently felting it. I gently squeezed the water out and here it is just damp. Notice how the color is much more muted than when it was really wet:

I wrapped the roving in a big bath sheet and rolled it up to squeeze the excess water out. Then I hung it up to dry in the shower. And here's the final product:


And just so you don't think that I've forsaken my other fiber flings, here's my current spindle progress. I can't wait to be "good enough" to spin my KA roving!

What's next??????

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Cat TV

The best idea that I've had in a long time: putting up this bird feeder on the bedroom window. It provides HOURS of interactive fun for the 4 puss-wads. Why, here are two now, watching their fearless finchy friend snack on some sunflower seeds. Say that fast 4 times!

When last we met, I'd posted a pic of a couple of skeins of plain old wool that I'd spun. I used the leftover Kool Aid from my previous dyeing project and dyed these 2 skeins. I wound them into balls then soaked them in water to wet them through, then plopped them into jars with the Kool Aid. When the water looked clear, I knew that all the dye had been absorbed into the yarn. I zapped them in the microwave for two minutes in their now-clear water. Then I rinsed the balls, unwound them into skeins, rinsed again and hung them up to dry in the shower on hangers.

I then plied them together with my spindle (spinning the spindle in the direction opposite what I'd used to spin the balls), and this is what I got. Okay, the pic doesn't do it justice; I just wanted to get it up here .

I think this pic of it knitted up shows the variegated color better, don't you? I really need to learn how to use my new digital camera better.

The dyeing saga continues.......... and it just gets better!

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