31 May 2007

Memorial Day Denim Blues

As promised, here is an update on what I got finished during the Memorial Day Weekend.

First, an update on some yarn noted previously, but a much better picture.
Navajo ply, dyed with Jacquard dyes; handspun Merino roving. Click for bigger picture.
To be fair, the yarn was previously finished, I just knit the little swatch during the long weekend.
Navajo ply, dyed with Jacquard dyes; handspun Merino

Finally, FINALLY finished: Denim Blue
About 700 yards of a little thinner than sport weight yarn, Navajo plied; handspun Merino roving.

And, wound off last night: the pièce de résistance! My very own self striping beauty.
About 500 yards of near lace-weight wool. Undyed yarn purchased from Dharma Trading.
Ohhhh so pretty. Unlike the space-dyed Denim yarn above, this yarn will knit up striped evenly. 
How to Make Self-Striping Yarn Tutorial available here.
My own self striping beauty!

30 May 2007

Yarn Cakes!

As they say, being a copycat is the highest form of flattery...I am completely and unabashedly enamored with the way Brooklyn Tweed presents his work to the world. So, here is my Brooklyn Tweed-esque view of some of the wool I dyed yesterday.

Trio of Yarn Cakes - 200 yards each
Yarn Cakes 28 May 2007 - click for Big!
Working on self striping yarn this Memorial weekend, I ended up some acid dyes that still had some umph, so I quickly wound off some white sock yarn and used up the rest of the dye. Here is 600 yards of blue green pretty.

29 May 2007

How To Make Self Striping Yarn

I've discussed this before on the blog - the concept of winding up a skein of yarn on a warp device, tieing it off into separate hanks, dyeing it, placing the hanks back on the warp device and winding off into a skein.

My first warp board idea was discussed in this post. My knit buddy Kristin, came up with a really easy, cheap warp device that requires PVC pipe, (plus connectors and elbows), only one tool (a hand held PVC pipe cutter - purchased in the same section as the PVC pipe) -- all readily available at your local Home Improvement center, in the plumbing section. The cost for the equipment was around $20.
See it here:
PVC Warp device
As you see, the number of stripes you want to create is up to you and your imagination. How many wraps per station, the sequence that you wind the stations (sequential stripes ? back and forth then back again? etc.) I cut the long sections 18" so that one full wrap of yarn around it equal 1 yard.

Wind the undyed yarn [x] times around one station of PVC pegs - [x] being the number you choose, then move on to the next station. The number of times you wind will impact the size of the stripe. I wrapped 10 times around each station, sequentially (station 1, station 2, station 3, and so on)

Here is a quick and dirty schematic for the wrapping sequence:
(click for bigger, easier to read image)

Notice the little yarn lengths on every station?

Using a piece of colored yarn about 18" as a marker - fold it over each completed set of [x] wraps. It helps answer the question -- how many wraps have I done? Especially important if you have designed a consistent stripe pattern.

After wrapping the warp device with your skein of yarn, loosely tie each circle of yarn. Tie the areas where the yarns criss-cross too. Make your ties loose unless you want an Ikat-like feature in your yarn. Lift the tied circles of yarn off your device. Don't handle roughly or you'll have a tangled mess. Prepare the wool for dyeing (usually, just a soak in water is required.)

My yarn volume was low enough to place each circle in a jar of pre-mixed dye (with vinegar added). All the jars were set in a water bath and heated until the dye had exhausted and the water was nearly clear. (This is standard for Jacquard dyes/acid dyes on protein fiber, like wool.)

Process (wash, rinse) the dyed wool as you normally do (don't felt it, keep the temp even to avoid shocking wool). Hasten drying by placing the wool hanks in a towel, roll it up and stomp on it. Unroll and lay out to dry.

When the yarn is dry, go back to your Warp device. Cut 6 more long PVC sections for each wrapping station. This time, cut each section two inches shorter than your original length (in my example the original long sections were 18", so cut the new sections, 16", cut 6 of them.). Swap out the original long PVC sections for the new shorter ones. Why? You are going to wind the dyed yarn off from the device, and yarn shrinks during the dyeing process.

Place each circle of dyed yarn on a wrap station. Be careful to ensure that you are putting the yarn back on in the sequence it was wound on. (Because oh woe to you if you don't.)

Wind the yarn off onto your favorite niddy noddy. (When I made the PVC warp device, I used some extra PVC to make a niddy noddy.) This part of the process can be the most tedious if you place the yarn hanks back on the device, but upside down. You may end up threading the niddy noddy through the yarn sections as you wind it off. Be patient, it's worth it!

Here's the finished product!
About 500 yards of self striping beautiful!
About 500 yards of near lace-weight self striping beautiful!

A quick note about my colors. I selected three colors: yellow, green, and teal. Then I mixed the "in between" colors with a portion of each of the three selected colors. The color sequence was: YELLOW, yellow-green, GREEN, teal-green, TEAL, teal-yellow. (Color names in all caps were not combined with another color.) When I finished the dye job, the yellow was waaaay too bright and would have stuck out like a sore thumb. So, after the wool was dry, I took only the yellow hank and dyed it with green to bring the color down to a near matching value with the rest of the stripes.

19 May 2007

Fibered Up

Been on a color and fiber binge. 

1. Autumn Leaves                               2.  I'll take Two Olives                        3. Nepal to Seattle Trek                    
Autumn Leaves  - see the quickly done swatch in the lower left corner. The fiber in the foreground was the same dyepot, but is angora goat + wool. The background is all wool.  Inspired by the Yarn Wench. Purple olives and teal.  Nepali trek to Seattle  
4. Seattle Blues Collage                    5. Ch-Ch-Cherry Pie                          6. Not-so-Patriotic
Seattle Blues  Cherry Pie  Not that patriotic...

Top to bottom, left to right:

1. Autumn Leaves colorway: two fibers. Foreground is Angora goat plied with wool. I got the Angora goat locks in Bellingham and carded them prior to spinning. Dyed with Jacquard acid dyes. In the front left there is a quickly done swatch - I spun the wool (shown in the background) and navajo-plied.The color is stunning. The wool was a grey roving, and is a bitch to spin.

2. I'll take two olives colorway, completely and totally inspired by the Yarn Wench. Can't wait to spin it. As you can see, my theme tends to be completely saturated color with little white (acid dyed). The Yarn Wench inspired me to leave some white spots.

3. Nepal to Seattle Trek colorway: This was a very large hand knit sweater (beige) that I "reclaimed" and dyed. The Nepali wool was bad (guard hair, twigs, and more guard hair) and had been knit holding two strands. I kettle dyed it using Jacquard dyes, then replied it to give it some umph. The swatch was knit on size 8 US needles. It's technically a bulky yarn, but the swatch looks good at size 8.
Cool trick: when knitting a swatch, knit a row of eyelet (K2tog, YO) - repeat for the size needle you have. You'll never have to wonder what needle you knit that swatch with.

4. Seattle Blues (a collage) - This is a mix of fibers, acid-dye pots and just generally colors I love. From left to right: blue/green Superwash wool yarn placed in the same dyepot as the Nepal-to-Seattle Trek fiber; Angora Goat/Wool spun as a single, plied with a novelty rayon then dyed; the blue/purple on the far right is from the recent visit to Bellingham where I picked up wool at - get this - a bookstore. This color way was also inspired by the Yarn Wench.

5. Ch-Ch-Cherry pie colorway: two projects from the same acid-dyepot. On top: superwash wool yarn. Below: Merino roving.

5. Not-so-patriotic colorway: Selfstriping yarn. I spun the Merino superwash, then wrapped the yarn on a warp board (see previous entries.) I dyed the wool with kool-aid. I meant this to be purple and red, and well, it is. But, it just looks a lot like red-white-and-blue. And while on that note, bring our boys and girls home and quit spending my retirement on war, George.

If you are a regular reader, you know that I had already knit the not-so-patriotic yarn up. Yep, I frogged it. The scarf I was knitting was a 2x1 ribbing with a garter edge. Garter edge just wants to curl back. It would make a perfect facing, but a lousy scarf edge.

But wait! There's more!

Reclaimed Angora/Wool blend, overdyed Ikat
From a reclaimed red Angora sweater that was a total bitch to unwind. I gave up after getting only one skein from the thing. I overdyed the wool with purple, but a lot of it. Everywhere there was a loose-not-meant-to-act-as-a-resist tie, the dye did not penetrate. Rather than toss the thing, as I wound off the skein I saw that the knitting is likely to be very cool due to this "I-didn't-plan-Ikat-but-ain't-it-great" yarn.

What's on the needles: 1. Rayon yarn/lace triangle scarf (update - I frogged it. Rayon simply won't do Purl 5 for nups); 2. The second koolaid orange sock.

Just off the needles: One more EZ Feb Baby sweater, with matching booties and beret. Pictures soon.

On the wheel: Easter egg dyed merino. No, I did not use easter egg dye, I dyed the wool using fiber reactive dye on wool (not so good) and it looked like easter eggs! I then overdyed it with grey and got a really nice color. Pictures will be up when it comes off the wheel. 31 May Update - done! before (far right roving) and after

02 May 2007

Creative Outburst

This weekend my long-awaited custom 60" shaker peg board arrived via Fed Ex. I had an inspiration - hang a board on my wall and have a revolving display of handspun serve as art in it's own right. When I got the board on the wall, I headed to the dye pot to start to fill the pegs with color. 

(click for big!)
Shaker pegged wooly goodness

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