Sunday, September 19, 2010

Watching Fluff Dry

B's fluff has been dry for a few days, but I only just found time to photograph it. We're both very happy with how it looks. But now we have to decide how to prep it for spinning.

My plan is to blend it like I did for my Peacock yarn, but the fluff I used for that was already either drumcarded into a mini batt, or pulled into top. We've got fluffy clouds of farm fresh merino lamb and I'm not sure what to do to make it mix together. I tried using my hand cards on a bit of it and don't think it's going to work to blend it like I did with the Peacock Spindies fluff.

Maybe I'll have to find someone with a drumcarder to help me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Purple Fluff

B wanted to dye roving or carded fiber instead of yarn. Which is a good thing, since that's all I had in colors that would take dye well!

For her first attempt, she wanted to dye 8 different blues and purples to blend with a teensy bit of natural black and white.

Yesterday, while getting my Purples in order, I also washed up 4oz of Merino Lamb Fleece from Natchwoolie's Sushi club. This club is so much fun. There is something about knitting with yarn that started out as raw sheepy smelling fiber that gives me a thrill!

So today, the Merino Lamb was ready for her to dye. She used my kitchen scale to weigh 10g balls of fleece and placed them into 1L jars with water and vinegar. Then we calculated how much of red and blue each jar would need to obtain the colors she wanted.

We placed the jars in a 200 degree oven for about an hour, then placed them on the kitchen counter to cool. The water was completely clear, and the fleece took up the color beautifully.

Once the fleece is dry, I'm supposed to prep it like I did for the Peacock Spindies Yarn and spin it for her. I'm thinking a thick single, to preserve the softness of the merino. I might make it into mittens for her, but she's still somewhat wool resistant, so the final judgement will be in if she finds them itchy once knitted up.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Purple Dye Experiment

I'm supposed to be dyeing with B tomorrow. Knowing that she's going to want to try colors other than the Red, Blue and Yellow I've got, I decided to mix up my dye stocks today and experiment with what percentages will give nice purples.

I'm using Greener Shades dyes. I've got a little sample pack that comes with Sunshine Yellow, Ruby Red and River Blue. On the Ravelry Greener Shades forum, there are some excellent examples of Reds and Greens, so I didn't have to reinvent the wheel there. And orange is just not my thing, so if B wants orange, we'll wing it! But purple...

Knowing that I didn't want to dip into my dyes too much for these tests, I figured that the smallest amount of 1% DOS dye stock that I could measure would be 1mL. This weighs 1 gram; so I'd need 1 gram of yarn. I have some white KnitPicks palette and calculated from the ball band that about 4.5 yards would be about a gram.

snip snip snip

Here's my little yarn samples resting in some disposable cups with a vinegar water solution.

Next I mixed up my sample Purples. I wanted to try a range of blue to red ratios in a 1% and a 0.2% DOS.

Even though I only needed 1mL for each little yarn sample, I had to mix up 5mL of each test purple. Again this is because I couldn't measure anything smaller than 1mL with any accuracy.

So I went with the following

80% River Blue, 20% Ruby Red - 4mL blue, 1mL Red
60% River Blue, 40% Ruby Red - 3mL blue, 2mL Red
40% River Blue, 60% Ruby Red - 2mL blue, 3mL Red
20% River Blue, 80% Ruby Red - 1mL blue, 4mL Red

These were my 1% DOS Purples. To make the 0.2% DOS Purples, I mixed 1mL of each of these with 4mL of water.

For each of my 8 Purples, I put 1mL into each of the little disposable cups with the yarn.

I nuked the little samples for a total of 3 cycles of 1 minute cooking & 5 minutes resting. The yarn took up the dye beautifully and left the water almost completely clear.

And here are my little Purple babies!

The colors on my monitor are very close to the actual yarn, I hope they are for yours too.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Got Gauge?

This particular swatch is 6 sts wide by 6 rows tall. For a stockinette stitch gauge of 4.4 stitches in 4 inches. Doesn't this look like it would make a most amazingly warm pair of bulky mittens?

This is the Poppy contribution by WoolieBullie to the Poppy Spindies box I received on Friday. It's 75% BFL, 25% silk and is so soft and wonderful I haven't been able to stop touching it. Maybe that's why I want it to be mittens - so I can envelope my hands in it everytime I go outside! Unfortunately, my little swatch will not reach all the way around both my hands. I might just have to pop over to WoolieBullie's etsy shop and get some more. The only thing stopping me is that mittens from this sort of roving would pill like crazy - doesn't mean however that I couldn't buy some of this lovely stuff for some other purpose!

I love the reverse stocking stitch side too!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Just in time...

I finished blocking my Peacock shawl and love how it has turned out. I love the lace part and I love the garter stitch part! I finished it just in time as I've even had a chance to wear it twice this week. M had a couple of hockey practices at the rink that I didn't want to freeze at.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I finished the knitting on my Brandywine on Sunday night. I love the bind off - a reverse stocking stitch I-cord. This morning I grabbed my trusty blocking mats ($10 foam playmats from WalMart)and T pins; gave the shawl a little soak and rather aggressively blocked it. My fingers got deeply stabbed a few times. Why can't I block lace without bleeding?

I can't wait to see how it looks when it's freed!

There was about 120 yds of laceweight left when I decided to bind off. I brought it back to my wheel and added lots more plying twist, and then plyed it back on itself to create a heavy fingering weight cabled yarn. I know that I will find a use for 60 yds of fingering weight yarn, but that was definately not going to happen with the small amount of lace weight.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Apple Sauce

I love apple sauce. As a kid, I think I thought it should have been it's own food group. As an adult, I still love it. But it has to be the homemade stuff. There's something about store-bought that just isn't as good.

A friend of mine called me a few days ago to let me know her crab apples are ready to be picked. B and I dropped by there Thursday evening and picked about 20 litres, or approximately 1/1000th of what was on her tree!

Yesterday, I boiled up a stockpot full to make G's favorite, crab apple jelly. I got about 12 cups of juice and decided that I'd dilute 4 cups of it for drinking and only use 8 for the jelly. Once I've added sugar and boiled it, I expect I'll get about 10 cups of jelly.

And today, it's apple sauce. I boiled up a second stockpot full until the little apples were soft and sent them through my old Foley food mill. We've got some beautiful, tasty, tart apple sauce. Such a gorgeous color... and... Yummm!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Knotty Gloves Update

I've had this one glove finished for a few days now and have the cuff on the second one.

Before I cast on for the second glove, I decided to check how much a finished glove weighs and how much my ball of yarn weighed. A finished glove weighs 1.5oz and the ball weighed 1.0oz. Can you see the problem? It's a good thing I ordered some of the East Friesan Lamb in roving form too. It should arrive in a few weeks and I'll spin up what I need then. Until then, I'll finish with the yarn I do have.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

If my Calculations are correct...

I'm clicking along nicely on the Brandywine Shawl with my Peacock yarn.

I've finished 13 repeats of "Chart B" and with the amount of yarn left, I expect to be able to make 17 repeats before needing to ply more yarn. Once I'm at that point, I'll pin it to my blocking board and take some measurements.

If it's as big as I'd like it, I'll move on to "Chart C", otherwise, I'll ply up the third Peacock bobbin as a 2ply and knit some more repeats.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Africa" Phat Fiber Box

I've received my August Phat Fiber box and as usual, it is a beautiful sampler of fun fibers.

So many coupons, a EZ note card, beautiful bracelet, zebra sphere stitch marker and dainty beaded stitch marker.

Some interesting things here! A mini art yarn kit, silk noil, crab fiber, beaded plying cord, sock yarn, upcycled yarn

Lovely soft merino, beautifully colored falkland, "Cleopatra" merino, pindrafted romney, and alpaca

Orange fluff!

If you see your stuff, feel free to give your shop a shout out and linkie in the comments!