Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My wheel went to SOAR and all I got . . .

SOAR or Spin-Off Autumn Retreat happened the end of October and my friend Roberta was going.  But she needed a wheel that could travel, so I offered the use of my Joy.

My wheel learned a lot and I hope I can learn from it.  And she even came home with prezzies!!!  Roberta got me a couple of ounces of this really nice green and white wool / silk blend.  It spins up nicely.  After spinning up about half of it, I switched over to the silk sliver - brightly colored in red, blues and purples.  I love silk and usually spin it on a drop, but I thought I'd give the wheel a try (since she's been to school and all).  I'll try to remember to take some pictures this weekend.

On Black Friday, I had some people over for dyeing. It was a little chilly but there was about 9 of us.  We had a good time.  We focused on commercial dyeing techniques.  One is called "dust" dyeing.  You take powered dye (in this case Cushing dyes), place it and an equal amount of corn starch in a salt shaker.  blend well.  To use, in a large chaffing pan over medium heat (to start) add enough water to float your fiber (yarn of roving).  you then shake the dye on to the fiber.  Not just 1 colors, but 3, 4, 8 different colors and watch them blend.  Add a good dash of vinegar and the heat should be hot but not boiling.  You don't mix the fiber around, but you make sure all the dye gets in the water, so you end up with a yarn or roving that has wonderful color.  It's not spaced dyed, more of a blended colors.  The fun part is depending on the color you use, you might muddy the colors, some of the dyes are made of 2 colors that "break" at different temps, so instead of getting a green, you get shades of blues and yellows instead.  I need to play more with this method.

Yarns floating in dyes



The second technique we did was painting the roving or yarns.  Using Jacquard Acid Dye, you paint the fiber and then wrap it well in plastic wrap and then use steaming or microwaving the fiber to set the colors.  I did some cotton rug warp that most of the colors washed out.  I may not have nuked it long enough.

Debbie left a lot of white on this skien

I was digging through my stash "O stuff for this party and found a lot of thin yarns (silk and / or cotton) and I think I'll ply it and then dye it to see what I end up with.  Maybe I"ll use it then.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Designer Yarns or How to cover your mistakes

For some time now I've wanted to try designer yarns.  And I've been lucky that Spin-Off magazine has run some "How to . . . "s for designer yarns.  That and the book "Spinning designer yarns".  A few years back I found a really nice color fiber named "Copper King", or "Copper Mine" (don't have it handy at the moment) and wanted to spin it up with beads (gold glass beads would look really cool).  So I spun up 1 4oz bag and then set it aside for a while (OK - I got married, then we bougtht the house, and other things happened).  Well, after 3 years, I've finally got everything together and started spinning up the 2nd 4oz bag, using the beads as a diz (of sorts), then plyed the 2 strands together.

Things I've learn with this skien:
1.  I spin thinner than the bead oriface.  I don't really need to add the beads on as I'm spinning.  I could get away with loading the beads on as I'm plying.

2.  It didn't matter where I "placed" the beads.  I rearranged them as I plied.  Mainly because as I released the tension and loaded the yarn onto the bobbin, the beads would get caught on the hooks and pile up, so I had to move them around later.

3.  Leave a few yards of unadorned yarn and the beginning and the end of the skiens.  That way, if the yarn is used in knitting or crohet, there is an amount of yarn to get the project going.

I'm going to finish the project and try it again with larger beads /stone chips and maybe with a little more contrast in the colors.  You can barely see the gold beads in my skien.