Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How I dye a wool roving

People have been asking me questions on how I dye my wools so I decided to lay it all out for them here! You can also dye yarns this way. There are tons of great books on different dye methods and this one too.

I didn't invent this method but I find it the best for keeping my wool soft. I used to dye it in pots and found that sometimes it make the rovings stick together and a little harder to draft while spinning. So now I use a crock pot! Remember those things??? I still have two, one I actually use for cooking on occasion the other I've absorbed into my collection of dye pots!

Really important NOTE: DO NOT EVER use your dye equipment for cooking once you have used it for dyes...keep it separate from your cooking stuff! Wear a mask when handling powders, do NOT breathe them in. Wear rubber gloves while working with dyes. Keep all this away from children.

Step #1 - Go to a yard sale or a thrift store and find a crock pot!
Step #2 - Weigh out your wool (or yarn), I usually find that 8 oz fits nicely into ye ole crock pot. In case you are interested I used Falkland wool.
Step #3 - Soak your wool in a bucket w/ room temperature water & 1/2-1 cup of white vinegar. Leave it in there for about an hour. Just forget about it and do your nails or weed the garden or something else.
Step #4 - Choose your dye colors. Acid dyes ok? I buy mine from Dharma Trading, they have everything!! I like to use 3 colors when I make my color ways, it's arbitrary, I just like using 3's. You could use one color of dye if you like as well.

Step #5 - Mix about a teaspoon of dye w/ some hot water in a container.
Step #6- start to coil your yarn into the bottom of the crock pot, then squirt or pour or sprinkle some colors on the wool, and then make another layer...like a lasanga...but keep the colors in their own designated area. You know? So if you have red on the right side of the pot, blue in the center, and yellow on the left, keep repeating that pattern as you stack the roving, so the colors stay in their own area.
see I've done, brown, orange, burgundy, orange, brown all the way up through all the layers of wool.

Step # 7 - Close the crock pot and turn on (mine only has low & high temps so I use high). Let it cook for about an hour. Then turn it off and let it come down to room temperature. I waited until the next day. On the sample I'm showing you here. My dye had totally exhausted so any liquid left in the pot was completely clear.

Step #8 - Dump it into the sink
Step #9- Rinse the wool by making a reservoir in the corner of the sink. Use water that is the same temperature as the wool to avoid felting. Since the dye had exhausted there was very little color going down the drain.
Step #10- Put the wool out to dry. And when it's dry you can spin it up!

yarn n such

Last Saturday was the celebration of the Ventura County Handweaver's and Spinners Guild 40th anniversary! I have been a guild member for around 14-15 years though I haven't always been good at attending meetings...they are the 4th Saturday of the month and there always seems to be something else happening on that day. Anyway, I didn't take pictures that day because I was too busy demonstrating spinning art yarns and talking to people and now I regret that.

It's somewhat of a switch for me to make art yarns, previously I would have described myself a traditional type spinner, but I have been trying to learn new things. I've also been working to improve my traditional spinning techniques, and focusing more energy into creating yarns intentionally. For the longest time I didn't care what type of yarn I would get as long as it was pretty and pleasing and useable which it usually was. Now I'm focusing more on what kind of yarn I want and how I can create it.
First I demonstrated how to make a coil. Here is the basic roving I used which is merino that I dyed myself and I used a wool/silk blend for the lace weight.

After I finished up with that I went on to show how to do core spinning. I used a batt that I purchased from JazzTurtle on Etsy with another color of the wool/silk blend for core and afterwards I plied it with lavendar embroidery thread to balance it nicely.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

May Day & Renaissance Pleasure Faire

It seems like just yesterday I was posting pictures on my blog of last year's May Day party! Amazing how time flies. Anyway here are pictures of our 2010 party...it was a bit smaller and I actually like that.
Heidi, Omarr, & Robert... the sign of a man who is comfortable with himself- one willing to wear a garland on his head!
Kris, Jon, Tonantzin & Deanna making wreaths for their hair!
Another sign of a man who is comfortable with his manhood- one who will wear roses in his beard!
Lonnie who is the BEST wreath maker in the bunch doing her job! With Deb...
Riley our little fairy
Deanna and her dog, Mr. Leela she says he's metro.
Deb's granddaughter, Riley, Heidi & Jessie are swinging
We tied Robert up in the Maypole so we had to bring him a drink!
Josh & Donavon get to the drumming part of the evening!

Then there was a little trip to Ren Faire:
Marjhani and a bunch of dancers looking beautiful!
Riley came with Robert & I, she wore her pirate outfit.
We found Nancy & Julie at faire too!
A good grandpa goes on rides with you, but he also brings his beer mug everywhere he goes!

I haven't even gotten to my Tribal Fest report yet!! But I AM catching up!