Fiber Adventure Week – Day 5

For some reason, hitting the midway point on anything – event, vacation, etc. – seems to make the time suddenly being to fly, and that’s how I’m starting to feel about my Fiber Adventure Week. Perhaps this is magnified by this posting being done much later than expected. I’m well into Day 6 as I write this, having been on the  phone literally non-stop since I got up. I love my bluetooth! Hands free to weave and knit while I visit with friends and family or take care of business. 🙂

Don’t forget… Blog candy coming this weekend!

Day 5 started out with what has been my least favorite activity of the week, though it was quite needed. My trunk has become a bit of a storage unit, primarily for fleece, and I couldn’t find a thing. In fact, I wasn’t even sure what was out there in the jumble, and I needed to do an inventory as I start into working on my MSP (Master Spinner Program) certification.It looks a lot better now, I have a written inventory, and I even found a few treasures I’d forgotten about. 🙂The day I raided the Easter egg dyes at the Goodwill, I’d also gone yarn shopping – in the sweater department, of course. 😉 The big white sack in the photo is full of some really great yarn, and it cost me next to nothing. While I was folding them (The guy at the check out had stuffed them unceremoniously into 2 large sacks.) so they would fit into one bag, I was drawn to the amazing twin sweaters I’d discovered. They’d both been worn. One was a medium and the other a large, and they were near each other on the rack, though not side by side. This is the first time I’ve ever found litter mates, and that was exciting! Obviously,  it takes ridiculously little to excite me. 😉 I checked the seams and found they were chain stitched rather than serged, so that meant they would deconstruct just fine, and the best part was that they were a lovely shade of 50% merino and 50% Shetland wool – and less than $5 total. Any wonder why they came home with me?I have a stash of sweaters to ravel, but I’ve not done any for ages, so I decided pulling apart twins would suit for a FAW. In less than an hour, I had the first one apart. These are exceptionally nice for pulling apart, as even the raglan sleeves are shaped with knitted decreases clear to the top instead of being cut and serged. I had well under 10 yards of “waste” yarn from short bits at the very tops of the shoulders, and that was it. I wrapped the longest of these on a nifty cardboard tube I spotted in the bathroom trash, so I’ll have them for seaming if needed later.

Fifteen minutes later, the sweater had become 4 yarn cakes, weighing in at just over 11.25 ounces. I don’t wash the sweaters. I’d far rather wash the yarn so that it can relax and fluff. I’m holding off on this stuff, though, as I’m toying with the idea of respinning it. My finger spun samples were enticing, and I don’t think this fiber is reaching its full potential as three laceweight 2-ply strands knit together. It doesn’t seem to have the energy that it should, so why shouldn’t I add some? 🙂My next bit of business left me annoyed! Remember the A&W mug full of run off dye from the day I wet finished Nechama? I’d never gotten around to dumping it down the drain, though the other 10 or so gallons of it was long gone from the washer. Since I had the roving out, and since the crockpot and vinegar are on the kitchen counter at the moment, it was sort of inevitable that the mug of grape colored water would find its way into the crockpot…And look what I got out of it! I could just kick myself for not tossing a fleece into the washer when it was filled with this stuff! What a waste… sigh… But, yes, I’m glad I tried it. It’s really a beautiful color – and the perfect dye project for a day when I had already recycled a sweater into yarn. I never EVER thought I’d be recycling dye from a commercial yarn. 😀The rest of my dyeing for Day 5 was really exciting for me! Don’t get me wrong; I love the beautiful, vibrant colors I’ve been achieving with the Easter egg dyes, but I’m not normally a neon/brights sort of person. Besides, I do like a good challenge. 😉 I decided I really wanted to see if I could use the exact same dye tablets to produce colors that were more my style. So, I popped open the third kit (Anyone have a use for a bazillion Easter stickers and egg wraps?) and went to work. Without using any dyestuff beyond the tablets in the kit, here’s what came out of my pot.Needless to say, I’m thrilled with the results! Thought you might want to experiment a bit – with wool, eggs, what have you, so here are the “recipes.” I did dissolve the tablets in a half cup of water today. First and foremost, I wanted to be sure I knew what colors I actually had, and secondly, I wanted to have some control of how much went into the mix. The pictures show the blended results along with samples of the solids I dyed. On my monitor, at least, the group photo above seems a little bit more accurate for the actual shades of the finished roving.The olive green was precisely the color I was seeking, and I could have quit right then and been happy. I used the tablet that was apparently considered teal, but just looked like the more green of the two greens, and about half of the orange.I was hoping for burgundy from this, but I’m pretty happy with the deep rose. I used all of the brighter pink and about half of the brown to achieve this color. I’d have tossed in some blue, too, which is probably what this needed, but I had other plans for that.This was probably my biggest disappointment, and not because it’s not a beautiful shade of green, but because the dyepot exhibited the precise shade of teal I was trying to make, and utterly gorgeous. I tried every trick I could think of, but there was some blue that just refused to strike. I still think it’s pretty amazing to see a color like this come from chartreuse (spring green) and electric blue. 🙂And my last color was another bit of perfection, so I started and ended with totally satisfactory results. This pot was dyed with a yellow tablet, the other half of the orange, and half of the remaining brown – in other words, about a quarter of the brown. (That would be your clue that I’m not quite done with the blending experiments. 😉 ) It came out a gorgeous golden shade, and I’m delighted! All in all, this was a very satisfactory part of the dyeing experiments. 🙂

So, I have this ever growing pile of Easter egg dyed roving, and I want to use it somehow, but the bright colors mean I’m going to have to put some thought behind how to use them in a way that will make me love them long term. Tonight, I tried out one of my ideas, and I ended up with something else that made me a very happy person.This was my brilliant, sunshine yellow and the sherbet orange solids I dyed a couple of days ago. If you’d like to try making this gradient spinning project, here’s how I did it.

I broke the rovings into 6 equal pieces and lined them up side by side. I tore one of each color in half and put them in the center, holding back the other half of each. (Save a piece of this for samples for your dye records!)Next, tear off a small piece of the second yellow and replace it with an equal sized piece of the second orange. Continue this along the row until you have an even progression along the row, augmenting a bit with the reserved pieces as needed. If you are really feeling precise, use your scales. I decided to just wing it this time around – unusual for me, actually.I love to hand card, and these were small amounts, so that’s how I blended my strips. I tore them in half lengthwise, blended the two colors, then split those two little batts in half and blended half of each together to make my colors even. I (bravely) prepped these to be spun woolen. It’s important to keep these in order as you work. You’ll likely find that you can’t really see a difference from one batt to the next. I had two places where there was too great a jump between colors, and in those places, I took one finished batt from each side of the line and carded them together. Sorry I forgot to take pix. I was having so much fun watching this magic happen that I totally forgot about the camera.I’m really looking forward to seeing how these look spun up, but I’d like to improve my woolen spinning before I try them, so I needed some way to keep them in order. I strung them like beads on a strong sewing thread, running one up each side and tying them together. I can now roll the bundle up and handle it easily, and they will be ready for me when I’m ready for them. 🙂

Even with all this, I still found time to spin, and I’m well into the dark red now. My bobbin is pretty smooshy, and I’m getting very concerned I won’t be able to get all four ounces onto one. I really don’t want to break this single, and I’m a new enough spinner that I don’t really have a lot of good storage options for larger spinning projects. Doing 12 ounces for one spin when it has to all become singles before it’s plied is really pushing my resources if I don’t put all 4 ounces on a bobbin. :S I didn’t do much on the other ongoing projects – one pass on the triloom, and one hankie into the mawata project – so no pix for those. However, I did watch another Judith MacKenzie DVD set – Popular Wheel Mechanics. As I’m coming to expect from her, I found there was much to learn on this set, but I did find myself a little bit annoyed, too. It’s just my opinion, but I don’t think this set should be as expensive as the others. It was sponsored by several of the major spinning wheel manufacturers, and there were more than a few times that it felt more like a commercial than a class. Perhaps that was even more annoying to me since I own Kromskis, and they apparently didn’t buy into the program. The infomercial feel got in the way of the enchantment I’ve felt while watching her other DVDs this week. Yes, I did find it very fascinating to see how even small adjustments on a wheel can dramatically change the yarn one can spin on it, but I found it tiring to hear repeatedly about what a wonderful thing Ashford or Louet or whoever had done when they did this or that to the wheels they manufacture, or to hear that “on a Lendrum…” I’d have been a much happier student if the advice hadn’t so often felt “breed specific” and had been stated in more generic fashion. Too much of the presentation felt like it didn’t relate to me, even when it actually did if I turned on the mental filters to remove brand names. I hope Interweave isn’t going to make it a habit to do this in their DVDs.


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love the sweater recycling you did. Those sweaters really do match excactly. The yarn from it is absolutely beautiful. Love that shade of pink!

    Great idea about using the commercial yarn “grape juice” to dye fiber. I can’t believe all you are doing during this retreat.

    I too need to inventory my fiber again. Argggh. Loathsome task – but it feels so good when done! and I’m starting to finally get enough fiber in the closet that I’m forgetting what treasures on in there.

  2. GORGEOUS!! Almost makes me wish I were a spinner! All that ‘sunshine” you have going on there!! Beautiful. I still wish I could come to your house and play…Instead I have to stay here and live vicariously…Want to plan something like this for myself but not sure my 4YO and DH would let me!

    I am looking forward to Easter egg dying for ourselves and trying some fiber dying with the leftovers from that…maybe I could call it my fiver adventure hour????

  3. De-De,
    I love the cool colors you got from the easter egg dye! I’m now wishing I could run away to a fiber retreat! I’ll just have to live it through your eyes, so keep the posts coming!

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