Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Ok, so I went down that dark hole.....I decided I had to try dyeing my own yarn.  Yikes!  I wanted something easy with little investment in case I didn't like it.  Duh, of course I was going to like it!  Now I'm hooked.
I have a LOT to learn....I need to figure out a better way to dye and how to not be in the kitchen doing it....of course, the kitchen is the only place with a water source AND heat source. 

The first thing I told hubby when I was done was that it would be great to have water and a sink in the basement.  It's not the first time I've brought that up - I have 2 dogs, and a tub sink in the basement would be awesome.  Dual purpose now that I want to dye fiber and yarn.

I started with yarn as dyeing fiber still frightens me a bit.  I don't want to be felting anything when it's done.  Of course, what I worked with was BFL superwash.  Less chance of it felting that way!  I had spun up some yarn (it ended up not being as much as I'd hoped - about 182 yards), I washed it and rinsed it, let it dry so the twist was set.  Then I pre-soaked it in water and vinegar.  Then I read some instructions I'd downloaded from the 'net and realized I had to add more vinegar.  So an hour of soaking later....I had my yarn ready.  Meanwhile, I had bought some Wilton dye from WM, in Leaf Green.  I found a jar to mix it in, and went to mixing.  I used an old mixing bowl which was the only thing large enough to put a hank of yarn in.  I added more water because I wasn't going to paint this on, I wanted it to soak up the dye.  This is not what the directions said to do, but I figured I'd give it a shot.  I could always add or subtract.  It's just water.

I added the dye, covered the bowl in plastic wrap, and set it in the microwave.  I set it for one minute.  The directions said 15 seconds to one minute.  Well, I didn't think it was hot enough, so I set it another minute.  I think I left it alone then and let it cool the 10 minutes the instructions said to let it set in the microwave to cool.  I removed it, and the green wasn't nearly dark enough for me - especially since I didn't know how much was going to come out in the rinse.  I added more dye directly to the bowl, and stirred.  Placed the bowl back into the microwave, and set it for another 2 minutes, let it cool 10, removed it.  It was ok, but still not where I wanted it.  I stirred it around again and realized that the yarn on the bottom of the bowl was a LOT darker than the rest of the  yarn, and some of the yarn hadn't really taken.  I added a lot more dye, stirred it really well, and put it in the microwave again, this time for 3 minutes.  I wanted it good and hot to take that dye in and set it.

I removed the bowl, let it cool some more, took the yarn out, squeezed it gently, put it in my soaking tub (a small yellow tub I bought from Target) and I took it to the bathroom to rinse and let it set.  A LOT of color came out, and I was getting worried.  I dumped that, let it soak in some cooler water for about 30 minutes, then took it out and drained it.  A lot less color came out and I think what was left was from the first rinse and was water still left in the yarn with color in it.  I squeezed gently and wrapped it in a towel and squeezed some more.  I hung it on a hanger to dry.  It took overnight plus some time the next day - the weather has been cool.  I had read that food coloring dyes can fade in the sun, so I was worried about putting it in the sun to dry.  Just some time outside was good, hanging on the porch in the breeze. 

So, after all that blabbering, here is the yarn.

 This photo is much more the real color of the yarn.  I took this photo in my light box setup for taking photos. 
The photo above is a bit brighter than it is in real life, but it was the only one that came out once I twisted the hank.

It really was fun, and now that I'm braver about dyeing, I know I'll be doing more of it.  Look out world, here I come!  :-)

I have done some spinning on  the new fiber that we bought a week and a half ago.  I'm trying to spin it thin although I know there are some thick spots in there.  That's ok.  When I'm done, I'm going to make a ball and 2 ply it onto itself.  I added some glitz to it with the bronze shiny stuff I bought when we bought the fiber.  I spun a lot on Sunday, but didn't spin yesterday.  I wasn't having the best day and didn't want to mess with it.  Plus, I'm out of fiber almost and I want something to spin tomorrow at spin group.

Yesterday I painted 10 canvases, and today I plan on starting the Mod Podge - if the paint covered the canvases ok.  The paint I used was not Plaid, and boy, I won't make that mistake again!   It was way thin, and I may have to do 2 coats, something I don't have to do with the Plaid paint.  Once I get those 10 done, I'll be taking photos, then going to the website and switching them out for what's currently up there.  I will also take those to a craft show if I do one.

I need to go out today too, to pick up a stand I had left at the horse shop where I used to sell the horse beads.  I will need that for any shows I do and I want to be sure I have it back before someone forgets that it is mine.  It'll be a nice day for a ride. Besides, I need to get myself out of this house for awhile.

Thanks for looking in on my progress.  I appreciate it!
Take care,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

More goodies

Ok, so don't faint.  I know, you're not used to hearing from me 2 days in a row.  I can't help it if I go in spurts.  I'm busy doing a LOT of stuff!

I asked my friends to look at my shawl pins on yesterday's blog.  I asked for their opinions and told them they had to be honest.  I love that about these friends - they are good friends and honest (but kind).

One of them asked to see the shawl pin in use.  Well duh - I should have thought of that, eh?  So here it is.  This is a blue neck warmer that I knitted, with a blue beaded shawl pin in it holding it in place.  It's the perfect size!

Excuse the extra large photo but I wanted to make it easy to see the shawl pin in use. 

Another friend asked me how do they stay in place?  I call it a shawl pin, but it isn't really a pin, although, it's used like a pin.  It has a rounded bottom edge, and it doesn't have a closure on it.  Once you stick it through the layers of the neck warmer, it stays pretty tight.  The rounded bottom edge is nice because it doesn't poke through the layers of the yarn. 

Did I mention this is one of the neck warmers I knitted from my hand spun (by me) yarn?  Yes!  I love this - it's soooo soft and the blue is beautiful.  The shawl pin adds a little pizzazz to it too. 

I'm very pleased with how things are turning out!  Not bad for not being a knitter.  I am going to get that project that is on the loom, off soon, and get going on weaving some of my hand spun yarns.  I'm not sure they are good enough for warp, but certainly they will make a beautiful weft and they will be lovely.

Oh, and here is a mobius scarf or infinity scarf with a twist in it, that I also spun and knitted.  Once again, no pattern, just imagination involved.  It fits perfectly too! 

I have to say, PicMonkey has been very easy to use and it has a LOT of options that you don't have to pay for.  I feel my presentations are turning out MUCH better. 

Thanks for looking.  I appreciate your feedback.  I do not appreciate the spam emails I'm getting in my inbox though.  Bummer! 

Take care,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Shawl Pins - yep, another new idea

So I've been a little bit busy lately.  I've made a couple of more neck warmers (photos to come!) and I've been busy figuring out how to make some simple, inexpensive shawl pins to close the neck warmers with.  I made some wooden ones.  They aren't my favorite.  They just don't look as nice as I'd like them too - thinking about possibly painting them, but not sure that's smart either.  No photos of those yet.

I did, however, try to use my imagination.  I didn't want to get into the whole bent wire thing - first I'd have to buy wire and it's not cheap, then I'd have to make a jig to bend the wire, and I don't really have the proper tools.  I'm not really a metal working so I kept dismissing that idea.

I spent almost an hour in Joann's Fabric and Crafts store yesterday, ended up buying some glue, beads, a bead reamer (which doesn't work for me) and a Spin Off magazine.  I was more excited about the magazine than anything else!

Then I decided to go to Hobby Lobby.  They are fairly new to our area (about a year) and I usually forget to check there - I always seem to check in Michaels, A.C. Moore, Hancock Fabrics, and Joanns.  I tend to forget about Hobby Lobby.  Of course, I hadn't brought my coupon, but I was just there to see if there was something that would work.  Well, don'tcha know, I found something that is perfect for what I want it for.  Now, if I could just find them in bulk....but no, I don't really want to get into making these all the time - unless they sell well.  LOL.

Not only did I find exactly what I'd been looking for, but they were on sale - 50% off!  YAY!  I bought twice as many as I would have, and I'm really glad I did because it was fun playing and I only took about 2 hours to make the ones I made.  I'm pretty happy with them.  I just hope they appeal to others.

Here they are:

If you read my post yesterday,  I had said I'd mixed up the numbers on these.  Well, I fixed it but see another way I could have done it.  I've replaced the photos and fixed the numbers, and it's good enough for me at this point!
I think they are pretty.  they aren't very long (need to measure).  That's why I placed the quarter there - for perspective.

Thanks for checking in.  I'll be posting more in the next couple of days to catch up to myself.
Thanks for looking!
Take care,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

FIber Fiber Fiber!

I went to a class on Saturday.  A spinning class.  Not the kind where you sweat and have to ride a bike in place.  Oh no....it was MUCH more fun than that.
No, I have no photos of the class.  Yeah, I know, I have a smart phone, what the heck????  I thought the same thing when class was all over!  Bummer!

I do, however, have lots of fibery fun to show you.  Wanna see?

This is my absolute favorite so far - I call it Cinnamon Toast.  I spun the singles of the yarn that was beautiful to begin with.  Because I didn't want to mix the colors on this one, and I wanted to add something shiny, I decided to ply it with copper thread.  Linda says it's still considered a singles.  Amazingly enough, it didn't twist in either direction when I took it off the spool.  I have a few ends to clip off, but this is SO lovely in person.  It's BFL and it's SOFT.  It blooms when washed, but it doesn't felt because it's Super Wash.  

Here are some more fun things from class:

FUN FUN FUN!!!  This is a combination of many types of wool.  It includes locks, mohair, and several different types of wool.  I had SO much fun making this!  The only thing is that I am not sure how to get the rest of the "stuff" out of it - the "stuff" I'm referring to is hay, dirt, etc.!!!!!  Yep, it has it all.  Yep, I washed it - several times! LOL.  It's SOOO fun though.  I can't wait to make some more!  First, I will need to be able to afford a drum carder..........and that's not going to happen quite yet.

Next is something more subtle.  I actually finished this before class but haven't posted it here yet (I don't think).

Super wash BFL - soft soft soft - natural - undyed.  It is SOOOO nice.  And look - it really looks like real yarn.  Granted its not perfect like store bought, but hey, it's HAND SPUN!
On the left is the fiber.  On the right, is yarn spun from the fiber.  Pretty, and soft!

 Above is a batt that came to class - Linda, bless her heart, brought it for me to play with.  I'd been eyeballing it in her shop and she brought it because I love it sooooooooooooo much!

Below, is a batt I made at the end of class.  I should have started sooner as it needs some "plain" fiber in it.  This thing has purple sparkle, yellow sparkle, light blue nylon, and the rest is all kinds of wool.  The white is mohair locks.  SO cool!  This was so danged fun to make.  Again, I'd need a drum carder, and I won't be getting one any time soon.  Someday..........
Meanwhile, I can't wait to spin this!

There is more, but I'm really exhausted today, and I am not really able to focus very well.  There is a lot of mental stuff going on in our lives right now.  It doesn't help that today is the 9/11 anniversary - I still remember very clearly where I was, and what I was doing on this day eleven years ago. 
Tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of my surgery that threw me into a deep depression and anxiety place for months.  Just so much to think about.  There is more, but not stuff I want to put on here.

So for now, that's it.  At least the weather has been perfect.  Cold nights, warm days, and LOTS of sunshine. 

Take care, be kind to one another and take care of yourself.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Neck Warmer

So I decided to take the yarn that I spun, the one with just one skein (from one braid) and I knitted a neck warmer.  I did it kind of free form - no pattern, just from looking at some online and in my books and went for it!  I'm like that....
This fiber

Turned into this yarn
Which I have now turned into this neck warmer

It's not the BEST knitting ever - its really free- form - which if you know anything about me, that's how I roll. 
The photos do NOT show how great the coconut buttons look on this scarf.  It's like they were made for it.  I paid more for those 2 buttons than I've ever paid for buttons before - but they are PERFECT!  So I ahd to have them.
This yarn spoke to me - it told me it had to be this neck warmer.  I started to try making a hat with it - in fact, I started a few times.  But this yarn did not want to be a hat - it wanted to be a neck warmer - and boy, did it!  I'm not the best model, and hubby isn't the best photographer.  Even with a tri-pod, the photos came out a bit blurry.  I used very high resolution and still, they came out blurry.  I needed to use the timer, and I tried, but hubby asked why I wasn't asking him to help.  So what is a woman to do?  I let him help.  :-)

This yarn is Polworth and silk blend.  It's soft, it's warm, it's squishy and it's fun.  Great fall colors too. I  have GOT to learn to dye my own fiber now, so I can decide what colors I want!  I can see this is going to be a very slippery slope for me!  LOL

I didn't work on spinning today.  I started reading a new book and I've gotten hooked on it.  I tried making some buttons this morning from red air dry clay, and also from Shrinky Dink plastic.  I didn't like the way the plastic ones were looking.  The clay ones were ok but not dry yet and I wasn't sure they'd look nice enough for this scarf.  Maybe for a future one.  They are upstairs still drying. They take a couple of days to get really dry.

I'm trying to update my website, but it's not cooperating.
Time to take the pups out.  Tomorrow I will post about our Saturday with Grand daughter.  What a hoot that kid is!  Poor thing wasn't too sure about me at first - it's been about a month since she's seen me, but when she saw her Pop Pop, she really didn't know what to do - she was really NOT sure of him at all.  Poor Pop Pop was a bit disappointed, but he's the one that doesn't make the time to go visit..........what can I say?  I want to squeeze that little one!  I love her SO much!

Take care and thanks for stopping by