Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Change of Mind

As I was attenuating the roving I dyed a couple of weeks ago, I started to think it might be better as a soft spun single.

I'll knit up a swatch but I'll give the Navajo plying a try too. I could change my mind. I'm still planning on mittens... at least for now.

I still haven't put a warp on. I'm back in Penn State's Technology Integration program, so my fiber time is being challenged again. At least this time it's through the World Campus so I can go to class in my jammies!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Off the Loom

This blanket started out 35.5" in the reed; off the loom it is 33" x 50", before washing. As you can see from the picture I didn't plan ahead on this one. The purpose was to see if the Sabracon dye would be good after sitting for a year and it was successful in that aspect. Only time, and washing, will tell if it lost any of its "fastness". If I had been thinking ahead, I would have painted the smaller bout to match the center bout.

The stripes don't hit you in the face as they do in the picture. In fact I like this so much it's going in my hope chest. Well, my hope plastic bin! Never had one when I was younger, but while I was making all of these baby items and giving them away I decided to put a few of my favorites aside for my grandchildren. What grandchildren you say? With four kids you figure my odds are pretty good that I'll have some, but who knows? (No, they don't know that I'm doing this. I know that none of them are ready right now.)

With that in mind -- this is the last Wallaby I'm making for awhile. My daughters both want one, but I'm going to have to give it a break. This was quick to knit, but seemed like such a chore. Cottage Creations has a new hooded cardigan that I think I'll try for the next baby gift. Ann made it earlier this month and it's knitted in such a way that it will be interesting (as long as I don't make too many of them).

It's been awhile since I've posted any recipes. Time's been tight lately and I'm always looking for fast and tasty meals. I made my version of California Pizza Kitchen's Sedona Corn Soup tonight. Goes great with some easy corn bread and a salad.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Single or Double

I don't have much to play with here, so I've got to make my decision after just throwing a few picks of the single and doubled 8/2 purple. I think it's going to be a pain using two strands. I have to wind a ball off the cone and then two threads want to go their own way when I'm winding the bobbin.

However, I do think that the doubled is the way to go. The weft is going to shrink more than the warp as it didn't go through the same dyeing/washing cycle. Speak now or forever hold your peace. If I can knock this sinus headache I want to start weaving tonight.

I was finally able to get a pretty good representation of the colors in the roving.

The close up is even better.

Now, Sara, about my neat sewing area ..... sorry, I had to catch my breath after laughing hysterically. No one has ever this Gemini a neat worker before. Pictures really can be deceiving. Turn a few degrees to the left (did you see your warp painting video on the chair?) or a few degrees to the right and you can see the mess that always surrounds me.

I do clean up after each weaving project, running the shop vac around the treadles and picking up all the little pieces I tend to toss every which way. And truthfully, I do like clean windows. Unfortunately, this basement slider with its broken vaporlock always seems to lose out to another home improvement project.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

New Hoodie

I made the pullover hoodie last weekend (this picture is a little too dark).

too dark

After my iPod caught on a kitchen drawer pull, unceremoniously ripped out of my ear, and dropped to the floor (not for the first time), I decided I needed to make a slight alteration to the pattern.

I added a buttonhole so I could snake the cord under the shirt and out the neck (this picture is a little too bright). The next time I'll add the buttonhole before the pocket sp it will be completely out of view, but this fabric was super thick and I couldn't get into pocket far enough. Too bad I'm not Goldilocks and I could show you a picture with the color just right!

I haven't got around to getting the zippers, so the others are still not done. I did, however, get a little more organizing done in the studio. Four racks to hold my thread. Two I had but they were taking up room on a shelf in the FSR (fiber storage room). I need to get some more brackets to hang my speakers and free up some more floor space.

The roving is dry and it looks great. A little more reds than I planned but I can live with that. I tried pictures at night and then again this morning but the sun was a little too bright. I won't complain about that and I'll just try pictures again this afternoon.

I got halfway through threading the heddles for the painted warp baby blanket. I'll finish it up and sample both wefts tomorrow, but according to the comments the dark purple will be the way to go.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Which Weft Wins?

Originally I hoped to make this blanket warp dominant, but I ran out of 3/2 with 430 ends wound, so balanced weave it is. Had my original idea been possible I contemplated using the 8/2 deep purple. Now I think I'm going to use two strands of the 8/2 violet.

I have the warp spread in the raddle but it's too short to try out the trapeze. I'll put it up for the next project, tentatively planned to be rep weave placemats.

I've had a few requests for roaster dyeing instructions. I don't think I've used it the same way twice, but I'll try. These are great for low immersion dyeing, fleece or roving, as well as steaming painted warps, roving, and yarn. Now I know it's great for batching Sabracon projects too. Sara Lamb wrote a great article in the Spring 2002 Spin Off about using crockpots for dyeing that is very helpful. Think about it, these are just crockpots grown up.

170 grams of gray roving, processed by Ohio Valley from several different Romney leftovers

17 grams of citric acid dissolved in about a gallon of warm water. I put the dry roving in and gently pressed it down. Then I let it sit for ~30 minutes.

Since this is gray and I want rich color I went with 3% DOS. That translated to 170 ml each Sabraset turquoise, Washfast red, and Sabraset mustard, applied with big syringes to get the dye down to the bottom layers.

Set the dial for 175° for three hours. Turn it off and let it cool. It's probably cool enough now, but it will give me something to look forward to tomorrow.

This is What Happens ....

when you are used to working in cluttered, tight places.

I was so used to having my serger control hitting something under my table that I didn't even remember what I pushed under there. Dude! I had stash from SOAR 2004!

and some gray roving.

I haven't weighed the roving, but I know there's plenty for a pair of mittens. I have been wanting to improve my Navajo plying technique for awhile but didn't want to ruin any of the painted luxury fibers I want to use it on. Dodie Rush, no website but you may have read articles by her in Spin Off or met her at SOAR, is an expert at no-bump Navojo plying. I watch her at our guild meetings and she's given me tips, but sooner or later I've got to actually do it. Strangely, I could do it when I first started spinning but when I tried recently hands and feet were not in sync. SO - the plan is to dye this roving, spin fairly thin, and then Navajo ply, keeping the colors distinct. Since the old Sabracon dyestock experiment went so well I'll give the old Sabraset dyestock a chance to shine!

After returning from SOAR I packed up and headed for my first (and only) Rhinebeck festival. In my haste I see I only alluded to the silk spree I went on. I spun up the Indigo Moon Brushstrokes and the Lambspun fiber, but these gems never made it out of the box I brought them home in.

This is Nancy Finn's Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks. On the left Merino top and on the right Bombyx top, both in the Arroyo colorway.

I think my original plan was to spin both separately then ply together, but I'm open to any suggestions. (no, I won't send it to you)

This is carded tussah from Carol Weymar - The Silkworker. The colorway is Toad Hall. It's not as pink as it looks. There is more pale gray and pearl in there.

This is also from Carol, it's top but it doesn't say on the card whether it's tussah or Bombyx. I think Bombyx, but what do I know? I love the colorway name - Tatooed Lady. It looks so much better in person. The color is very richer and saturated.

This is way better than finding money in my coat pocket.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Yet Another One

It's a win-win-win gift. Easy pattern to knit up, everyone loves it, and it takes two skeins of worsted weight yarn. Luckily I seem to have a year or two in between the baby bonanzas.

Despite a high of 55° today and an expected high of 62° tomorrow I'm still planning on making this over the weekend. I'm making one pullover and then ordering two zippers to make the other two jackets. Here the fabric, soft and cushy after washing, ready to cut.

I also have some great knit fabric from EmmaOneSock to make a sweater . It has a great hand - hard to believe it's acrylic. A couple of rayon/lycra tops are in the picture too. Can you tell a three day weekend is coming up?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Done Batching

After 48 hours in the roaster I rinsed the warps. The violet is not as bright as I hoped but the turquoise is brilliant - as are the reds. Despite being taken in the dark basement under fluorescent lights the colors are pretty true.

Yet another use for the roaster! Just set the dial for about 100°.

Monday, January 02, 2006

A Little Experiment

If you can't beat 'em .....

The pool table is still here but I was able to get most of it cleared off during my studio cleanup last week. So here's the start of my little experiement. Ever wonder how long fiber reactive dye solutions last? I have dye stock from last winter's sampling. So I wound what was left on a cone of 3/2 perle cotton into 6 bouts and started painting. Scarlet, magenta, golden yellow, turquoise, and violet. What? No earthtones and muddy greens? Sounds more like Sara colors to me!

The heat goes down 62° at night and during the day (and the basement's always cooler). In the past I would turn on the little heater in the bathroom but this time I thought I'd see how the roaster works. I set if for 100° and put two warps in each of three ziplock bags.

I've checked on it several times and it is only slightly warm with no chance of the bags melting. I'm going to batch for 48 hours and see what I get.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Making Up

I certainly am trying to make up for fiber time I lost this summer and fall. The plying is all done and the yarn is hanging over the laundry room sink. Swatching will commence tomorrow.

Despite discovering my sleying error in the first yard of the warp I was still able to get five towels. The last one is a few inches shorter but they are for me so no problem. The other three are for Sarah's new kitchen.

I got them washed and dried tonight and I'll hem them tomorrow.

Yet another Wallaby. This one for the granddaughter of my thesis editor. Although it does look much better in person, I can't say I love the yarn. I have, however, been assured that a two-year-old will love it.

One more day of vacation.