Have Ewe Any Wool?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Fiber Adventures

I've had lots of fiber adventures this past week. None of these adventures involved much knitting though. I did managed to do a few more rows on my Magic Arrow Alpaca Scarf - but that was after tearing back about 6 rows. As for the Merging Colors Adagio Shawl, I've added color 4 into the mix, but now find that I have an error that I just can live with about 8 - 10 rows back. The thought of tearing back that many rows has this project in temporary time out as each row has over 200 stitches.

On the spinning front, I completed a very soft and cuddly skein of natural colored alpaca. It was a dream to spin and is one of Daile's alpacas. The two oz. skein spun up in no time at all! Unfortunately, this lovely yarn is not for me, but for my guild, Blue Ridge Spinners and Weavers. I think I need to contact Daile about getting some of her alpaca for myself - if she has any left!

Once again, in Monthly Adventures, we dyed yarn for our swap partners. This time, we had to dye 100 grams of yarn - sock weight, sport, DK, or worsted. I found that my partner is an avid sock knitter, so it was a no-brainer - I was definitely dyeing some sock yarn for her! I used Knit-Picks Bare (80% Merino/20% Nylon) for this project. I soaked the yarn in hot water for about 20 minutes. I prepared the dye in the fabulous spray bottles that I received from my dyeing partner. They really came in handy for this swap!

In an earlier part of this same swap, our partners were to send us a package that included some Kool-Aid or some other non-sugared drink mix to use as dye. I received "Mixade" - I've never seen this before. The very intriguing part of this was the appearance of the colors once mixed. The cherry flavored mix looked red after mixing with the water and vinegar. However, both the grape and the berry mix looked BLUE!

When the dye was applied to the yarn, the blue was definitely a different shade than the purple - which looks almost black in these pictures. I tried to create a mottled blue-purple, but it didn't blend how I thought it would. I also tried to create short color changes in part of the skein, and longer color changes in others, but it still didn't look quite like what I had in mind.

Finally, the skein was ready to be wrapped in plastic and nuked in the microwave. This time, it took 3 sessions of 2 minutes each for the water to run clear. I let it cool, then washed it with some Dawn dish washing liquid and gave 3 good rinses.

The final result looked better than the pre-dried version, but it wasn't quite the look I was going for, but it's OK. Once again, I noticed that the dye tends to be absorbed immediately into superwash yarn and you can't really feather and blend it the way I wanted to.

Practice will make perfect though, so I'm not giving up the the dyeing quest just yet. In fact, I acquired yet another needed tool for dyeing - a crock pot. I managed to pick up a nice large one from "Freecycle". "Freecycle" is a community exchange - it's the perfect way to recycle your unwanted items and keep them out of the land fill. Check yahoo to see if there's a "Freecycle" group in your community - it's a great source for craft supplies, books, and just about anything else you can think of!


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