Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Last SAFF-Y Post

I don't know what the difference is between one gargantuan post and three posts in twelve hours. Just bear with me.

Let me talk about my dyeing classes now. If this sort of stuff doesn't interest you, admire the pretty colors, skip the words, and scroll a bit.

Handdyed from class

This is the skein of silk that was dyed up in my One-Pot Multicolored Yarn and Fleece class. (By the way, I did NOT feel slighted from the materials fees cost - I walked away with a ton of really good stuff from each class!) The silk took the color sort of oddly (as silk is wont to do) but the technique is fantastic. Basically, you put the skein(s) in the pot (circle it around the outer rim of the pot as best you can) and then carefully pour each dye mixture in segments. For this one we had four colors, so we poured four equal amounts of dye in four "pie pieces". The dye draws down (not out) and is absorbed in sections. There's some poking and prodding (no stirring, obviously) to get the dye to draw and strike where you want, but it's mostly a pour-and-leave-it-alone thing. (I like that.) We didn't mess with ratios - the pot required four ounces of dye, so we put in an ounce of each. Simple. Obviously, you'd want to mess with your ratios and use more of the lighter colors and less of the bolder if you wanted more of a balance. The light color is really overpowered on this skein.

The mohair, however:

Handdyed from class

Took the dye like gangbusters! I LURVE this skein. Great tech. If you like acid dyes. I could take them or leave them, although I'm not sure if my lack of enthusiasm had more to do with the fact that I just wanted to buy my wheel and nine pounds of wool and head home.

I took the Colors from Nature dyeing class the next day, and I had to tear myself away from the wheel, but I'm glad I did. It's probably the crunchy organic girl in me - I LOVE this dyeing method. First of all, it's cheap. (Yay, more money for cashmere roving!) You can gather up leaves or onion skins, boil them, and dunk the yarn. How is that not fantastic? Second of all:

Handdyed from class

Holy crap! Who knew you could make a vibrant purple or a salmon color out of WOOD??? The colors aren't quite true, and I have roving and yarn in each shade. Left to right, excluding the little bunches of yarn at the top left: Purple - Logwood. Red - Cochineal (bugs!). Salmon (not orange) - Red Sandalwood. Pale peach (not pink) - Brazilwood. Light tan - Henna. Alum is used as a mordant in each example, except the little tiny skeins up above the logwood. Those two were not pretreated, and the brownish-grey bit was done in logwood with cream of tartar added to the dyepot. The lavender bit was done in logwood as the bright purple was, but then doused with ammonia out of the dyepot. It's incredible what the slightest change can do to these skeins - drop a bit of copper tubing into your dyepot, and the color changes dramatically. I bought some mordant and some dyes. (Some of the dyepots, like the brazilwood, were done with bits of wood, and some were done with sawdust purchased from a dye distributor.) And then there's the bugs.

Cochineal buggies!

They kind of look like those candy rocks kids eat. (Kids, don't eat bugs.) They're also expensive as all hell. (An eight ounce bag is about forty bucks. I bought an ounce or two.) But look at that scarlet color yarn - you can't resist!

Some handspun:

Handspun Merino-Tencel

Four ounces of Merino/Tencel spun to 210 yards. We're getting further from bulky, but not close enough to sock. Sigh. This lovely teal-ish evergreen color sure looked like blue to me in the arena (bad lighting and the haze of fiber intoxication makes for bad judgment). Still.....getting better. This is a heavy yarn, very dense. Not sure I'm crazy about it. Seems reeeeally bulky, even at over 200 yards.

Handspun Alpaca

About an ounce of alpaca. (I bought a lot of sampler bags so I could see what I like spinning and what I hate.) Much more even spin on this one - still a bit large, though, at 35 yards. Heavy worsted weight, about.

Handspun Brown Welsh top

About an ounce of Brown Welsh top. (I know what this looks like. I kind of giggled too, because I'm really a six year-old at heart.) 50 yards...better all the time! Spin and ply more consistent yet. Still not sock weight. Must keep trying.

Couple of hats I whipped up on the drive. (Also finished a pair of heavy socks, already dirty.)

Danielle's Beanie

A beanie for Travis' little sister, no real pattern used. Just seed stitch along the bottom for an inch and a half, then stockinette (other than her initials, which I purled in). This is my handspindled merino/tussah (ha! spindle, kiss my grits!) and it's her high school colors. Birthday gift? I'm hoping that little bump in the top will come out in a wash. I don't like nipples on the tops of my hats.

Speaking of which.

Amber's Beanie

Beanie from Ozark Handspun, which I still love for funky hats. Kinda pointy, though, huh? It looks alright on a head though. (You just really don't want to see my head right now. Telecommute day. Head looks kinda funky on telecommute day.) This hat also weighs about nine pounds. But it's so cute dammit.

Am I done? I'm looking around at my piles of crap I now have to find a place for....I think I'm done showing off.....I'll let you know if I step in any more handspun. (Hopefully it won't look like that Brown Welsh.)