I get it now - spinning again

>> Friday, October 30, 2009

My fascination with spinning continues... and as you can see I have a beautiful new spindle. I'm going to post about those soon.

One last note about the Kool-Aid dyeing. Afterwards your roving will look a bit sad, you may have squeezed it to get the water out and then hung it up and it will have that drenched kitten look. All the fluffiness will be gone and you may worry that you accidentally felted it.
You may pick at it and stretch it in an effort to see if you turned that lovely fluffy merino roving into a big fat piece of rope. My advice to you is to wait. Let it dry and it will be all fluffy again in the morning.
I even learned how to braid the roving (this funny tutorial) and now it's looking its best again. Well a wee bit fuzzy but it seems to still draft easily. I'm calling this colourway Apple Tree because it has a range of apple red, pale pink and green. My other strand of roving has the same colours plus a tiny hint of blue which makes me think of picking apples on a sunny day with a bright blue sky.
For ages I've seen dyed roving in yarn stores and not really seen the appeal. But what I know now after learning to spin is that it's so amazing how those patchy colours turn into pretty strands of colour that change again when you ply them. I'm not sure what I'll be left with in the end, but I love the process.


Kool-Aid dyeing revisited

>> Thursday, October 29, 2009

This morning I did a little Kool-Aid dyeing with some white roving I had in my stash. I've been seeing fat braids of yummy hand painted roving online but I'm feeling poor so I decided I should try it myself. We'll see how it goes...

I've noticed that roving with mixed colours can look garish, but once spun up and plied it changes how the colours work together. I've been seeing stunning examples on Flickr which have really inspired me.

While looking up info on spinning I found some tips on dyeing roving. I was reminded about how easy it is to do dyeing with Kool-Aid which allows you to use your regular dishes. I even had some Kool-Aid left over from dyeing yarn a long time ago so I didn't even have to go to a bunch of grocery stores trying to find a range of flavours.


1. Add warm water and 1/2 cup of vinegar to a microwaveable dish. I used a ceramic dish. Place your roving lined up in rows to soak. You can push the roving down into the water but throughout the process handle it gently so that it doesn't felt - no twisting/wringing etc. And no moving the wool from hot to cold which shocks the fibres and can lead to felting.
*Don't use a rectangular dish that won't fit into your microwave because you will be sorry when you have to try to move a soppy mess of Kool-Aid soaked roving into another smaller dish and you will be very frustrated and feel stupid. Ask me how I know.

I mixed a variety of flavours: orange, strawberry, lemon-lime and raspberry with red and blue food colouring

2. While the roving is soaking you can organize your colours. I opened the packets of Kool-Aid into glasses of water and stirred them. You can use some paper towel as a palette to dab with each colour so that you can see it clearly. Mixing can give you colours like brown and olive green, if you prefer bright colours don't mix! Of course you can add extra water to dilute a colour and make it lighter.

3. After soaking the roving for 10 minutes I applied the Kool-Aid. Pour or spoon the Kool-Aid onto the wool wherever you'd like the colour to go. You can use a spoon to gently pat and spread the colour around. Remember it will blend a bit more by itself.

4. When you're happy with how the roving looks carefully place the dish in the microwave. The water should just barely cover the yarn.

5. Microwave for 5 minutes and take out your dish using oven mitts. Tilt the dish a tiny bit so that you can see the water. If it's clear then the wool has absorbed the dye.
This is the only picture I took of roving in the dish, this one was a bit of a mistake, I meant the colours to be more distinct. I'll wait and see how it looks spun up & plied

6. Let the dish of roving sit and cool down. Once it's cool you can rinse the roving and pat with a towel before hanging to dry. Remember not to twist or wring the yarn.

Next post you can see how mine turned out!


Green yarn done!

>> Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I am so proud of this yarn I can't tell you

Thanks so much for the comments in my last post. I took your advice Amberlee, and decided I should ply my green yarn after all. I loved the way it looked before, and the delicate weight, but am resigned to the fact that it wouldn't make socks that would last. Now that the yarn is plied it's worsted weight so the socks will be nice and warm. The colours have blended to create an overall greenness.
Now I need a niddy noddy so I can make skeins without my husband's hands

Anna's comment led me to her beautiful blog, wildflowers::pretty which coincidentally had a post with a nice simple sock pattern for worsted weight yarn. At the bottom of the post there are some handy links for anyone new to sock knitting. I love the nice simple brown socks she made. So I think that's the pattern I'll start with and see how it goes.

p.s. I found errata for this sock pattern on Ravelry posted by jeaniesmith. Become my Ravelry friend: my name is needlebook!


More spinning

>> Monday, October 26, 2009

I was right, spinning has proven to be very addictive. This is my first ball of yarn. In case anyone is wondering, I did the whole first skein using "park and draft". I tried spinning and drafting at the same time and just couldn't manage it.

Near the end I was starting to think I could but I didn't want to mess up my first skein by trying to move beyond park and draft. This first ball of yarn is quite thick, mainly because when I started that's all I could do, but also I wanted to keep it consistent so by the end I was trying to make it thick to match.

For my second ball, I did spin the roving into a thinner yarn and started to spin without having to park the spindle all the time. Anytime I had trouble drafting I'd park it to catch up. I had a small piece of pink roving and a small piece of orange, so I spun them up so that I could try plying.
This is what I ended up with:
One reason to ply is to create thicker yarn. It can also strengthen the yarn, and even out thicker and thinner areas. But my favourite reason is that it balances out the yarn so that it sets the twist for you. No need to soak and wait for your yarn to dry in order to set the twist.

I loved plying because it goes a lot faster than spinning. It's quite satisfying. All you do is spin your drop spindle in the opposite direction (ie. spin clockwise, ply counter-clockwise). Once you've done a length, you can let it hang down and if it stays in a smooth "U" it's perfect. If it twists up on itself you can add or decrease the amount of twist until it suits you.

Next I used a large piece of orange/brown/purple dyed roving to practise spinning without parking the spindle. I really have the hang of it now. It helped to pre-draft the roving by pulling it gently into thinner strands. I also learned to gently wind the roving around my wrist to keep it out of the way while spinning.Then I used a youtube video to learn how to wrap the yarn into an Andean bracelet. This is a way to wind the yarn so that you can pull from both ends and ply together until every bit is used. This way you don't have to try dividing your yarn into two equal parts before plying.

This is how that yarn turned out:
My latest spinning project is using a larger amount of roving (almost 4 ounces) of green/brown/blue roving:
I should have enough to knit some socks with it. I love wool socks and they can be expensive so it's a good way to practise spinning while creating something I'd actually really like to have. This roving made such pretty yarn, with strands of green and brown and blue:
I'm not sure whether or not to ply this yarn. I like the way it looks now, so I suspect not. Right now if I wind it around a ruler it comes out to about 22 wraps per inch (WPI) which is lace weight according to charts I've found online. Now I just have to find the perfect sock pattern!


Textile Museum - Decorator Fabric Sale

>> Friday, October 23, 2009

$2 small pink piece of fabric, $5 larger brown wool piece of fabric

Today I rode my bicycle downtown and had a quick peek at the fabric sale at the Textile Museum. This one is a lot smaller than the big sale in the Spring, but it was still worth going. There's some fabric outside on tables, then upstairs there is a large room with more fabric, some buttons and some handmade items.

I bought a scrap of pink fabric, a piece of brown wool fabric and some buttons:
$20 set of four antique glass buttons, $2 MOP button, $3 MOP button

I chose two mother-of-pearl buttons and a set of four antique glass buttons. The buttons are special, so while these were expensive I think they were good value... well I don't really know but the four on the right are the prettiest buttons I've ever seen and I knew if I went home without them I would be thinking about them later.

It's not too late for you to go too! Here's the info:
p.s. they were saying that new buttons would be for sale on Saturday so you all the best things won't be gone if you go then!

For the Love of Cloth: Decorator Fabric Sale

Friday October 23 11:00 am - 5:00 pm and
Saturday October 24 11:00 am - 3:00 pm

Textile Museum of Canada
55 Centre Avenue (Dundas St. W & University Ave., St. Patrick subway)
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2H5
(416) 599-5321


Making yarn

>> Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thank you to everyone who came to the Rummage Show at the Workroom. I had a great time with lots of fun chatting and a bit of swapping. I did manage to sell lots of things and so it was a big success for me as I went home with a lot less than I brought even though I picked up lots of nice new craft supplies.

Lately as the weather gets cooler I've been turning to the woolier crafts and my new interest is hand spinning. I had bought a drop spindle at a craft show but couldn't manage to spin with it. I picked it up again the other day and realized I should try Youtube for some more tips. I found a great tutorial by the spinning guru Abby Franquemont and that made all the difference.

The big tip is to begin by trying the "park and draft" technique. This means that you can "build up twist" in your yarn by spinning the spindle, then hold it between your knees so that it doesn't have a chance to spin backwards, then take your time "drafting" your roving.

Drafting means pulling gently at the roving to thin it out to create the thickness of the yarn you want. It can take time to learn how to do this while keeping the spindle spinning, so "parking" the spindle gives you as much time as you want. While the yarn is building up twist you pinch it so that the twist doesn't travel up into your roving until you've finished drafting.

I finally finished my first skein of yarn! The picture at the top of this post is the yarn wound up on the spindle. The picture below is the yarn transferred to a pair of wooden purse handles. I just had them lying around (they were up for offer at the Rummage Show and didn't sell, so that was lucky). The main object is to keep the tension in the yarn so that it doesn't get all twisty.Then I "set the twist" by soaking the yarn for 10 minutes in hot water. After that I took the yarn off the handles thinking that it might dry quicker. But this was a mistake as the twists showed up again and the whole ball got all kinked up:So I carefully wound the yarn back onto the handles to dry:Seems ok now! It seems this stage is akin to blocking a hand knit sweater.

Lastly, I am no expert with hand spinning. The whole thing is new to me. So if you'd like to read along as I learn how please do, but turn to the experts if you want information you can rely on! More experienced spinners are welcome to leave comments telling me what I'm doing wrong as I'm keen to learn. And then other people can benefit from your expertise too. And one warning to those of you who would like to try this: I suspect it will become quite addictive...



>> Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I've made great headway and the giant heap on the dining table has turned into two overflowing suitcases. One has the scrappy fabric packs, buttons, beads and vintage tins. The other has a mish-mash of odds and ends and larger pieces of fabric.

I went a little overboard with the fabric packs and created lots of the scrappy ones:I have a new vintage suitcase I really like, it's green, and so my vintage yellow suitcase will be up for sale. This is the new one:
This could be a good way to clear out some things that are hard to let go. But I've found that when I try to gather up things to sell I find myself changing my mind. It's like I'm hoarding things from my own hoard which is something only you fellow hoarders will understand. You get a fresh look and come up with new ideas for things and decide you might need them.

I am fighting my hoarding habits though, so if I can let them go, here are more of the things I'm adding to my rummage sale:I have more things than will fit in my suitcases so new things will be added throughout the show!


Pure Rummage Trunk Show

>> Thursday, October 08, 2009

Have you heard? There's a Pure Rummage Trunk Show at the Workroom! That means tables full of craft supplies and vintage items. I know some of us already have a bit of a stash situation but then again winter is coming and what better time to curl up on the couch with a new project?

Mini quilt packs - $5

I'm going to have a table there, and I can tell you that I already have a dining table covered with things I've decided I can let go. I've created quilt bundles which are sets of ten 10"-13" squares of quilting cottons in coordinating small scale prints. These can be used to add to your quilting stash, or used on their own for miniature quilts, scrap booking, collages, small sewing projects or little starter kits for kids that want to learn to sew. But really, I don't need to tell you what to do with some extra fabric.

I also have scrappy fabric bundles which are made up various sized pieces of new, vintage and reproduction fabrics from my stash. And I have more button and bead packs, some larger pieces of fabric and some vintage odds and ends. I'm going to post more items in the next few days so you can see if anything strikes your fancy.

My goal for this sale is to clear out lots and lots of my collectibles and fabric, button, bead, and yarn stash, which means things are priced to go! My personal goal is to not buy more things than I showed up with. I hope to see you there.

Here are the details:

Sunday October 18, 2009
the workroom
1340 Queen Street West


  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP