Sunday, September 27, 2020

Dyeing and Knitting and Stitching

I have stalled out a little on my spinning. 

Two Ewes Fiber Adventures Podcast were holding a Summer Spin-Off, and so I was motivated to get through some of my projects for Shave 'Em to Save 'Em. I have chronicled most of those projects here on the blog. However, Summer is over, up here in Minnesota, and so also is the Spin-Off. 

I have a little finished of some very soft, though not particularly organized, CVM which was naturally dyed  a soft sage green and also an undyed bit of lovliness. 

The knitting has continued unabated. 

The Yarniacs Podcast had a KAL for the Colors of Fall as designated by Pantone. 

For the  #YarniacsCOF2020 you had to choose pieces that fit in the color palates of London or New York for 2020/2021. 

I made a bunch of stuff, which you can find on my ravelry page, but the last one was a sweater for The Eldest, and he looks so good in it, I just have to post one photo.

I used the top-down shoulder shaping from Thea Coleman's Greenbriar. Totally genius pattern, and it fits really well! I improvised the rest of the sweater, I made it into a crew-neck, and added pockets and a hood. 

Lastly, I joined a knitalong with Denise of Earthtones Girl Podcast to make Autumnal socks. 

Now, I do not knit socks. 

I have always been more of a sweater knitter than anything else. I also end up knitting a number of Christmas stockings every year, depending upon customer requests.

However, I think I finally see the benefit of a small, portable project that I can work on without paying any attention to it. I have found that it's the perfect knitting to do while I listen to my piano students playing their pieces.

Anyway, I knit two pairs of socks since September 15, and I may knit one or two more pairs before the #fallingleaveskal2020 is over and done with.

In addition to the spinning and knitting, I have been playing in the yard with a lot of natural dyeing. 
This yarn was dyed with walnut, and I am kind of in love. 

It dried lighter, but still a lovely brown. Just a bit warmer than this photo.

I tried some eco-printing this weekend, and I think I'll make a few changes for the next time. I didn't boil it for very long, and I could have let it steep for longer as well.

We are reading Harry Potter, despite the author's abhorrent stance on trans people, and in full knowledge of her asshattery. 

The color of the fabric with just a few leaves was kind of inspiring, so I filled my dyepot with an armload of horse chestnut leaves, and got this nice soft tan. 

Then I made up a second dyepot of more horsechestnut leaves and also some chokecherry branches. 
This linen that I used was premordanted, and so all I had to do was soak it in some water, and let it steep over night. 
It dried a little browner than this, but it came out really pretty. 

My last project that is keeping me very occupied is a giant counted cross stich for a client. It's a good thing that I just got my LASIK touched up. These stitches are teensy.

I hope you're well, all you makers out there. 

Please join me in the Fifth Lamp Friends Facebook group!

See you around.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Shave 'Em 2 Save 'Em, Chapter 4: Gulf Coast Native

Way back in July I ordered some Gulf Coast Native fiber from Pioneeer Fiber Mill. As I was knitting, I thought it would be fun to try some natural dyeing. I was inspired by Marce at Hey BrownBerry to try out some avocado pits and skins.
The dye comes out very pink!

To make more of a variated color I left half of the yarn in the pot to get a little darker.

After I pulled out the yarn, I threw some older tea into the pot. It smelled amazing, the kids even remarked on the lovely aroma.

The tan above is the tea-dyed wool, and the pink is the avocado.

After spining, I threw about 70 yards into a dyebath of red wine (I keep trying to like wine, but I guess I'm just a whiskey/ginger ale kind of girl)
I was browsing through Ravelry for fair isle hats, and came across the Colours of Norway Hat by The Dutch Sheep
Her hat was rainbow, but I thought the natural ombre would work beautifully.

I ended up with plenty of extra yarn, so I whipped up some coordinating mitts.

I really enjoyed working with the Gulf Coast, it made very springy yarn. This combed top was really clean and free of vegetable matter.

New Niddy Noddy

So, I had this lovely old chair, which completely gave up the ghost. 
As I looked over its sad bits and pieces I had a brainstorm: How about trying to make a Niddy Noddy?!

I pulled three rungs out of the legs and got to work. 

First I gave everything a quick clean with a steel bristle brush, then a cursury sanding.

I have a mini vise table, which came in super handy.

I lucked out with these rungs, they had a center ridge so I had a super easy place to drill.

I have some larger drill bits, but none were exactly the same size of the third rung of my niddy noddy, so I had to whittle down the end.

The construction of a niddy noddy is very simple. two perpendicular ends and a central piece. 

This was the original mock up, and it wasn't super easy to remove the hank of yarn. I decided that the ends were too long,

Back to the woodshop area, and I trimmed off the end inch or so on each rung, and sanded it down. 
I also gave everything a coat of spoon oil. 

Here's the final(ish) form of the Niddy Noddy. The only thing I don't love about this version is the finish from the original chair which is imbedded in the grooves. I could certainly get it out with a lot of elbow grease, but this was a fun project just for me so I may just overlook the gunk.

It works!


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Shave ‘Em 2 Save ‘Em, Chapter 3: Horned Dorset

My third foray into a new fiber was Horned Dorset. It’s a lovely lofty wool. 

It came as roving, so I jumped right into spinning it. 
Since I had just finished up the Jacob shawlette, and I thought my wardrobe could do with a little color, I thought I’d try some dyeing before I knitted this up.
I had an ancient jar of cochineal dye in my craft cupboard and I threw the yarn I had spun, along with the remaining roving into a couple of pots, just to see what would happen. 

The dye was about two years old, and had become fermented. The smell was awful.

I threw it back into the bath, and then looked into how one neutralizes odor in dyestuffs, and the answer came up vinegar.

Well, when you add vinegar to a solution you’re changing its chemical makeup and that turned my purple yarn into this peachy affair. 
Very cool. 

After it sat around for a couple of months, the wool has settled into this very light pinkish situation. 

So, remember when I said that I dyed the roving and the spun yarn separately? They turned out slightly different in tone, so after I stared at the resulting yarn wondering what to do for a bit, I plied them together to make a 4 ply. 
What seemed like an impassable color difference blended together nicely in the four ply.

Now that my yarn was settled I could get going on the project.
I made a bunch of braided crown hats for my craft fair adventure last fall. 

I adapted that pattern a little for this yarn, and got knitting.

Part of the Shave ‘Em 2 Save ‘Em challenge is to use at least 4 ounces of wool. 
The hat was getting pretty nearly done last night and I had a giant glob of yarn left, so I punted and put a big ass tassel on the back,.

Since I was making this up, I have a couple of additional ideas for the next time I make this hat in a larger gauge. I think I’ll make the braid a little wider, use a longer cable, and maybe go up a needle to make it fluffier. 

Overall I am pleased with the end result, and think this hat will be a cozy addition to our family winter hat basket.

Come visit me here:

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Morning Summer Walk

Nature's fireworks were on full display this morning. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Honing My Spinning Skills (the one with all the parentheticals)

Since I made the commitment to the Shave 'Em 2 Save 'Em challenge, I have been researching spinning techniques, and trying out new things. It's been a lot of YouTube and podcasts: Becks at Tiny Fibre Studio, the Two Ewes Podcast with Kelly and Marsha are a couple of my go-tos, but if it's spinning related I'll pop it on just for the info and the visuals (in the case of videos).

The other day I watched a video Becks made about making striping yarn, (link above) and I thought I would try out her technique. 
I happened to have an old pack of needle felting roving in natural shades from Fiber Trends. 


I knew I wanted to try chain plying, so I spun all the fiber straight through onto one bobbin. 
I wish I had taken more photos, but it was late at night (darn you Grantchester, and the hunkiest, broodiest, ginger vicar around [I'm behind a season or two]), and I had a margarita so my photos (and, as it turns out, my plying) were not super hot (definitely not as hot as Sidney Chambers).

When you chain ply, you're basically making a long crochet chain, which you're also spinning. It's a bit of a tricky situation after tequila, but I had tried it in a smaller sample a couple of weeks ago and it was really slick.

Here we have the yarn in its hank

and in its ball. It didn't end up to be very much yardage, I think it was about 2 ounces total.
Since the roving was intended for needle felting it was not very soft. I decided that what I needed was a little basket. 
I started with a flat circle on the bottom, and once it got to the size I wanted I stopped increasing and went straight up. 
By the time I reached the bright white I started decreasing every 5 stitches or so to slightly pull in the top. 
I had a little bit of yarn left, so I added a little handle, which made the basket perfect to use as a yarn bowl.
The majority of the stitching is half-double crochet, and the very last row was single crochet because I was running out of yarn. 
I began my fiber life as a crocheter, and I always forget how easy it is to improvise. 

This project was quick and easy, and I think it will be pretty useful. I may even make up a little yarn bowl for every project I'm working on (that's quite the list, I have a problem with starting projects and then starting more projects, monogamy is not for me, fiber-wise) 
What's on your needles (or hooks) lately?