Fiber Adventure Weekend – Day 1

It’s terribly rare that I have an entire weekend off, and so close on the heels of my retreat, perhaps it will seem a bit greedy, but I’ve decided I don’t care! I’m having a Fiber Adventure Weekend – a first of it’s kind event. So far, I’m having a blast. The only thing missing is having a lot of you all here with me! And just for the record, this feels a whole lot different than the retreat of two weeks ago. 🙂

So, what happened here on day 1 of my FAW – Friday? Lots of fun stuff! And true to the event name, there has been a lot of adventuring going on! First up was dyeing. About 6 weeks ago, I stopped by a Goodwill store and much to my pleasure, I discovered they had egg dyeing kits – and check out the price! – and with NINE color tablets each! I limited myself to just 5 of them…I have several ideas of things to try with them, the first being a concept I thought might produce a gradient end product. Not wanting to spend the entire weekend hanging out at the microwave, I got out my little crockpot, for which I actually have two liners – one for food and one for dyeing. Convenient, eh? 🙂I sorted the color tablets into 3 groups of 3 each, because my crockpot is a bitty baby sized thing and can only hold 3 ounces of fiber. I’m showing the groups in case you happen to like the way this comes out. I had – and still have – no idea what color is produced by pretty much any of them other than the bright orangy one being yellow, of course.A few months ago, I got a great deal on some corriedale roving, so I have a very bountiful supply and have been using it freely in playful pursuits. I pulled off 3 strips of it weighing 1 ounce each and wrapped each strip around 1 of the color tablets, making the tablets the “hearts” of the balls. My vision was of the tablets dissolving and oozing color through the ball of roving from the inside out, and by the time it reached the outside layers, it would be nearly used up while the middle remained dark.The dry balls were packed in my crockpot and covered with water and 1 cup of vinegar. I turned the pot on high and left it for 3 hours. After everything was cooled, I removed the balls and discovered that there were bright, undyed areas on the outside layer along with areas of intense color, often showing samples of more than one color I’d used. I was pretty eager to see the inside of the balls!. I rinsed them and eagerly opened them up, and I was tremendously surprised by what I saw! However, first you get to see the second and third pots at the end of their stewing time… 😉

And here’s what my roving actually looked like!Yeh, it was a huge surprise! The darkest areas on every single strip of roving was on the OUTside of the ball!  But remember, this is a Fiber Adventure Weekend, not a professional dyeing workshop. 😉 And there are some really pretty combinations here. I’m trying to think through all the options of how I might spin these now…

Just so I’d have something that was relatively comfortable and predictable, not to mention the loom was still up and tempting me mercilessly, I started a new triloom project using – GASP! – a single, solid colored yarn, Cascade Eco + in a yummy burgundy.It comes in 8 ounce hanks, which are too large for my very average ball winder, but just as I started to moan about having wind by hand, I realized I could use my ball winder to go as far as it would, then finish the rest by hand. Whew! I’m using it double stranded on my 7′ loom from Dewberry Ridge.The next project on the schedule has been dangling for a couple of months. Back when I snow-dyed the one and only time this past winter, I grabbed some of that corriedale roving and gave it a quick baptism in the run off dye in the wash tub, then finished it in the microwave. This gave me some interesting, soft colors and kept me from feeling like I totally wasted quite as much of the excess dye. I quickly envisioned making batts using the soft brown and soft green along with some white silk noil and dyed wool nepps, entitling my creation “Snow in Spring.” It was beautiful in my mind! Of course, I’d sent all of a couple ounces of fiber through my drum carder the entire time I’ve owned it, so I qualify as totally clueless. The night I thought I was going to whip all this up is the night I’d discovered that they don’t call it a petite for nothing. I divvied everything up so that each batt had 2 ounces of fiber, and I quickly found out that my little machine choked to death on half that much. Oops! By the time I discovered my “few” batts were actually going to have to be about 25 batts to use up what I’d dyed, I was done in for the night, and the stuff has been in the tote untouched ever since.First step on Friday was to weigh some of the components down into smaller, even quantities. Next, I started working on the somewhat compacted corriedale I’d dyed, turning into fluffy fiber again. Then I spent a LONG time learning more than I thought I didn’t know about carding, but by the time I tried the third stack of fiber, my education was sufficient enough that I produced a usable batt – half the size of even my greatly reduced version. This would mean a total of 50 little batts from the fiber I dyed. Methinks this is going to take a while… so… before I committed to the other 44, I figured I should spin what I’d just made to see if it’s worth it. (Chanting Fiber ADVENTURE Weekend…)In the spirit of being a good girl, and because I HAVE to learn to spin woolen as well as my much enjoyed worsted if I’m going to pass my Master Spinner Certification, I spun one each way. Suffice it to say, I have a LONG way to go before I master woolen spinning! In my defense, this was the first time I’ve been able to spin since the beginning of November, this wasn’t easy fiber to spin, I’ve only spun a few yards woolen in class, and that reduced me to tears, AND lumpy, bumpy yarn has never been my forte – even when I spun my first skein. I really didn’t need to label which was which, did I? 😉 It’s pretty awful! But anyway, what do you think? Make up the rest of the batts? And does anyone have any tricks to keep the nepps in the fiber instead of raining into my lap as I spin?

Having struggled through that adventurous (ahem…) little exercise, I thought I deserved to do some spinning I would really enjoy. 🙂 I bought 3 of these rovings from Kimber Baldwin – Fiber Optic – on Etsy a week or two ago, and I still had them out where I could drool over them a couple times a day. They were the perfect victim! 🙂Talk about a delicious pleasure! I’m loving spinning the merino/silk blend in my comfortable “fine and smooth” mode! I’d only spun a silk blend once – a few yards in my MSP class – and I think I’m horribly addicted. It doesn’t hurt that the colors in this roving are so utterly awesome, either… I’m pre-drafting, because I’m spinning the entire roving through in one gradient swoop from beginning to end – and then I’m doing some playing that I’m hoping looks more like what I envision than the egg dyeing did. Now back to work! Day two is in progress, and I don’t want to miss too many minutes! 😉 Can you believe I didn’t knit a single stitch all day Friday? Hmmm…


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Someone had too much fun!!!

  2. Ya know, I’ve never bothered buying the egg dye kits figuring there wasn’t really enough color in a tab to make it worth bothering… but wow! I love the results you got! That’s going to spin up into the yummiest candy colored yarn! I’ll be taking a better look at the egg dyeing kits after Easter now…

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