Friday, April 30, 2004

How did they do that?

I saw this rug in a Crate and Barrel catalogue. It has what is described as a banded ends. If you click on "view in a room" you can see the side of the rug. Would you use a heavier warp for the last warp end, or maybe just thread 2-4 ends as one? What really kills me are the prices. Hand-dyed, handwoven, 100% cotton and you can get a 30" x 50" rug for 19.95! Can you imagine how much the weaver gets???

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Hey, I Like It!

Here's the bobbin I spun last night. I got home from school early enough to sit in the living room in front of window and spin up the second bobbin. There's nothing like the sun coming in, showing all the subtle colors and adding a shimmer to the mohair.

I just finished listening to The Jester. Not your usual James Patterson (of which I am a fan - I love Alex Cross!) This was an engaging tale of a poor innkeeper who follows Peter the Hermit on a Crusade and his whole life changes. You've got history, mystery, and romance rolled up into one great novel! I finished Clear and Convincing Proof over the weekend. I liked the book but the narrator was driving me NUTS. She was trying to fake a man's voice and it just sounded stupid. I have a couple other Kate Wilhelm books on my Audible wish list and they aren't read by the same person, but I still think I'll listen to a sample first to make sure I can handle the voice!

Sunday, April 25, 2004


I was thinking about the roving I dyed last week. The color blocks were too large to spin from the roving, so I decided to try a little blending and throw in some of the blue mohair while I was at it. The picture on the left was after the first pass. The mohair wasn't blended in enough, so I put it through one more time, stripping the batts lengthwise and mixing them up. In person, the colors are not quite as homogenized as the picture on the right show, but I guess I'll find out for sure when I spin up a sample. Hopefully it won't look like mud.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Oven Roaster Dyeing

I finally got the chance to try the oven roaster for dyeing. I tried to zig zag the roving over the bottom, but I still got huge patches of color (above, left). So I took more care placing the roving making sure I was going from one side of the pan to the other. I also dribbled thinner lines of dye (above, right) rather than pouring like I did before. The results were much better (bottom, left), although in both trials the mustard was absorbed into the other dyes and I got very little gold. The bottom right picture shows some mohair with a combination of blue and turquoise.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Weekend Ramblings

Despite gorgeous weather and nothing pressing that HAD to get done, I found myself floundering around yesterday. The sight of that scrambled cotton yarn hanging from the dyeing rack was driving me crazy. So I set about to finish detangling and reskeining the yarn. I have a better understanding of white lung disease now! The dyeing and washing process really loosened up the cotton and what usually came out in the washing machine and dryer after weaving was flying around the room. And of course my posture left much to be desired during these marathon sessions. The worst one took me 1.5 hours, most were under an hour. The skeins and small balls on the right are really a deeper violet than the one on the left, but the bright sun coming in through the window (and probably the gold curtains) affected the colors a bit.

Then my fool Audible player just stopped! It's not the batteries, although I tried to make sure. The computer can recognize it and see how much is on the card, but everytime I turn it on it lights up for about 3 seconds and then turns off. Luckily I only had one skein left so Law and Order SVU got me through it. The player is only 2 months old, so I'll have to give them a try on Monday and see what they'll do.

That's 4800 yards. After winding it off from my clock reel to my Louet skeiner and back (for a couple I just kept it at the 54" skeins) my shoulder and arm feel like I was throwing a shut put. We won't even discuss my lower back from leaning over and untangling. I put the reel on a table for a little change - don't know if it did much good.

I was looking over the enormous stash of 4 oz or less balls and decided to make a small fulled bag for taking my lunch. I just started knitting, I mean it's a bag, but I did use the flat bottom idea from the Booga Bag (34 stitches in garter stitch for 34 rows, then pick up around the other three edges) and I like the handles from the Fibertrends tote rather than i-cord. Since this picture I've gone back to the gold for the top border. About half way through I changed to garter stitch and then went back and forth to create a vertical opening for about an inch. I think I'll put a strip of plastic wrap through it to make sure it doesn't full shut. I haven't decided on a button or i-cord for the closure. Now for the handles and it's ready for the machine.

During my skeining breaks I put soaked some grey roving and tried a new to me dyeing technique - Sara Lamb's Crockpot Dyeing from the Spring 2002 Spin Off - in my 16 qt. oven roaster. Going down now to check the results.

Monday, April 12, 2004

I've Got Good News

and bad news. Good news first! I love the three new shades I got from the aqua softball. The mustard gold gave a green which is springy without being overly bright. The navy resulted in teal and the Bordeaux gave me a bluish-purple.

Now for the bad news. I tied these skeins a little looser as I saw a bit of resist on the last ones. Check out the newly dyed spahetti.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Dollar Store Find

I needed something to stir the dye pots. I've been using whatever I could get my hands on, which sometimes meant the slotted spoon from the kitchen, now relegated to dyeing, or a stray dowel, which always caught the fiber. Yesterday I stopped in the dollar store and found a set of three long, about 20", plastic utensils for $3.00 (I know, this wasn't the dollar store where EVERYTHING is ONE DOLLAR!). So I bought two sets. I am now the proud owner of 2 each of a pancake turner, spoon, and ladle and they are strong enough to lift up a wet 400 yd (9 oz) skein of cotton. (If the thing broke I was going back to school a bespeckled mess)

These are the last 6 skeins of cotton. I used dark navy, mustard gold, and bordeaux, all MX dyes from ProChem. I'm phasing these out and building up a core supply of Sabracon after using them last summer at Claudia's Dye Day.

As you can see, my batching room is a bathroom. There's a little baseboard heater that I can turn on to keep the room at a toasty 72. I'm seriously considering taking that shower out and putting a big laundry sink in. No one uses it since Dan moved out and I doubt we will again (there are two upstairs). It's convenient having a bathroom down there (especially when I've been drinking mucho coffee), but the vanity sink is too small to do much with. I have to pour out very slowly or I end up wearing it.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Dusty Shades

I washed the cotton skeins and put them up to dry today. The grey cotton really gave the colors a dusty look. I used a semi-low immersion method so the variations were expected (and wanted). It wouldn't work for knitting, but I wanted a mottled effect for weaving.

Five of the skeins were grey. The sixth was the aqua (that's the purplish one, middle left) I used blue and golden yellow in a 1:2 ratio for the top skeins. That resulted in a dusty olive shade. For the two middle skeins I used fuschia, but on different colored cottons. The bottom two were golden yellow which gave a dusty, greyish green. The skein on the right was the last one I wound of grey and I didn't even have enough to tie the skein. You can see what the yellow did to the aqua tie in the picture below.

For those of you using MT - I found a nifty script that allows you to close comments after a set number of days. ALthough I use Jay Allen's Blacklist and according to my logs they are turning away comments, some still get through - yesterday's were particularly nasty. They usually come through on entries from a few month's ago. It just ticks me off that I have to go to such measures to keep spammers off my site.

Thursday, April 08, 2004


I thought I posted last week, but after careful consideration I realized I never published it. I'll never be able to recreate that literary masterpiece, but I'll tell you what I've been doing.

Last weekend Kim and I drove up to Marie's Funny Farm where we imbibed, knitted, imbibed, instructed Kim on warping and starting her first project (from which she'll never recover, I fear!), imbibed some more, lost an hour sleep, knitted and wove and then headed home. It was just the break I needed. Now after three hectic days at school I'm home until Tuesday.

This week I finished the second set of baby blankets. They're going through the second wash/dry now and then I can hem them. I've got one more set planned. This time I'm dyeing the ugly grey and aqua and using a plain or twill. As you can see from the picture it's a very softly spun, thick cotton with a binder (which I hope is cotton). I'm wetting out 6 400 yd skeins now and I'm going to run down and mix up the dye in a couple of minutes. I like to let the MX dye solution sit for several hours, even overnight, to make sure it is completely dissolved. But FIRST I have to decide what colors to use. I think they will have to be fairly deep to cover the original color. Right now I'm leaning towards deep fuschia, bright gold and a bright green. By this time tomorrow we'll all know if that's what I really get.