Monday, June 30, 2014

What I Did on My Summer Vacation - Day Four

Today I slept in, after all I am on vacation.  Then I took a trip to Weaverville to go back to Echoview Fiber Mill.  I needed some more Greener Shades dye and am too impatient to wait for them to be shipped.  I love Asheville so it was a fun day.
I was pretty disciplined, buying only the dyes, a button and a needle felting kit.  I will be trying the needle felting later this week.
This is 100 grams of clean Jacob locks.
This is Greener Shades dyes in the River and Amethyst colors.  After a little research, I learned that to get a deep blue I needed to mix these two colors.  For a 100 grams of wool, I needed only 1 gram of dye.  My scale isn't calibrated fine enough for that minute amount so I used 1/4 teaspoon of the River and 1/8 of a teaspoon of the Amethyst.  After soaking the wool in warm water, I mixed the dye powder in some hot water and added it to my pot.  I stirred the pot to evenly distribute the dye and then placed the wet wool in the dye pot.
I brought the temperature up to 180 degrees and let it "cook" for 5 minutes.  I then added 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of citric acid to set the dye.  I turned the heat down to low for about an hour and then turned the burner off.  When I checked it a couple of hours later the water was clear.  Throughout the process I gently used a spatula (for dyeing only) to move the wool to ensure even coverage.  The plan is to let it cool tonight and remove it from the pot tomorrow and place it outside to dry.
My plan is to spin the colors of the Jacob wool separately and spin this blue and knit The Rectangle Vest.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

What I Did on My Summer Vacation -Day Three


We started the day with Riley at 5:30 am.  As you can see she woke up happy and ready to play.  Grandparents and baby survived the first overnight babysitting gig.


As we left Sanford, we were talking about what to do with our Sunday.  On a whim, we headed to Carolina Beach, had lunch, flew kites and enjoyed the sand and surf. 

It was picture perfect.  I walked on the beach and collected seaweed and broken shells for some more eco-dyeing.  We didn't get home until 10:30pm but it was worth it! 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

What I Did on My Summer Vacation - Day Two

More Jacob ready for flicking.

Spinning a sample of the Jacob.  It was interesting, I have not spun from locks before and quickly discovered the best way to spin this was not from the tip end  and not from the fold.

On the Rose I am continuing to spin the wool/ flax blend.
Chillaxin with granddad.

The best part of the day, playing with Riley.


Friday, June 27, 2014

What I Did on My Summer Vacation - Day One

Today was the first of ten days off from work for me.  I don't think I have ever taken that much time to just stay at home and regroup.  Besides having some things I want to accomplish around the house, I also have plans to have a spot or two of fun each day.

On today's agenda washing wool.  My Jacob fleece from MDSW has been waiting patiently for a little attention.  Other than washing sample locks, the fleece has remained wrapped in a sheet in the garage.

After a little internet research I gathered my mesh lingerie bag, grabbed 66 grams of light colored fleece and washed it in hot water and dawn. 
Bad photo but you can see the wet, washed fleece in the mesh bag.  I spun the water out using the spin cycle on my washing machine.  The lock structure was not maintained using this method.

This first batch laying out to dry, clean  and not at all greasy.  The difference is striking  as compared to a clump of the unwashed fleece.  I used too much soap and let the Dawn create suds so a lot of rinsing was required.

My improved process, I went to Big Lots and bought four of these small baskets.  I also filled my basins with hot water first and then added just two teaspoons of Dawn.  This allowed me to lower the basket full of fleece into the hot water without dealing with all the suds.  I set a timer and left the wool submerged for twenty minutes.  I DID NOT MESS WITH IT!

After first 20 minute scour.

After second scour.  I was concerned about the dirty tips but had read the dirt and debris would flick out and it did.

Clean beautiful locks drying in the backyard.  The baskets allow for draining the wool, then I blotted it with a towel gently before putting it on the sweater dryer.

Clean, flicked locks ready for spinning. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Friends and Fiber

This has been a terrific weekend, I feel so fortunate to have good friends who share my passion for all things fiber.  Roxie and Susan and I traveled to western North Carolina for the Friends and Fiberworks Summer Retreat.

Kristen works on a beautiful felted art piece.
The lesson learned from Kristen is less is more.  She explained she was tempted to add another bird and more leaves but decided against it.  It is stunningly simple and elegant.

Nancie McCraw of Bad Faerie and friend spinning on their e-spinners.
The lesson I learned from Nancie is passion and enthusiasm are contagious.  Everyone Nancie comes into contact with is another opportunity to share the love, she is a spinning "pusher".

These spinning wheels were  hand painted by Nancie's mom.
The lesson learned is the joy of beautiful tools.

Vicki, Lisa and Susan discuss a silk scarf and what color to add next.  It was so interesting to watch them brainstorm ideas.  To me the scarf was lovely as it was and I could not imagine it better.  Within seconds Vicki folded the scarf and Susan twisted it up and they over dyed the whole thing in black.  I thought this would ruin it for sure but I was so wrong.
The lesson learned from Vicki is to be bold, spontaneous and fearless and let art happen!

Good friends will join you in eating ice cream for dinner.
Lesson learned, breaking your rules and salted caramel ice cream are very good things!

Roxie drawing Susan's foot for the Fish Lips Kiss heel.
Really good friends will jump on the crazy train with you when asked.
Susan's hand dyed roving.
It wasn't all ice cream and yarn shop hops, we did some real Fiber work as well.
Susan's beautiful batts.  Drum carding took the compacted fiber and fluffed it right up.
Lesson learned, absolutely everything can be rescued and made lovely with effort.
The major life lesson from this weekend is the joy of good friends and shared passions.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Friends and Fiber Summer Retreat

Never has anyone had such a good time in a middle school.  Friends and Fiberworks is holding it's summer retreat this weekend at Enka - Candler Middle School in Asheville.  There were awesome classes, terrific vendors and goodie bags.  They had me at goodie bags.

Lisa and friends did a great job organizing the retreat.

Susan and I took a class with Franklin Habit. The subject was Photographing Your Fiber.  It was super informative and fun.  Franklin is charming and a cutie pie.
OMG people!   Miss Babs was in our class! 
Helen pictured here with Franklin and Ms. Babs takes the photos of all the lovelies on Ms. Babs' site.
Roxie hanging out with Franklin and Ms. Babs

Susan and Kristen of Tangled Up in Wool problem solving a knitting pattern.
Roxie and Vicki Bennett of Tangled Up in Wool dyeing silk scarves

Nancie McCraw of  Bad Faerie
Roxie modeling her new scarf.

Melissa Yoder Ricks of Wild Hare Fiber Studio was one of the vendors and had beautiful batts.  I bought a lovely blend of wool and flax in the sea glass color way.  I am in love with this blend, spinning like buttah!

Ellyn Cooper of  Yarn Sonnets

This is but a glimpse of the retreat offerings.  It was a wonderful opportunity to meet other Fiber people and take classes from wonderful teachers.  Well done Lisa and crew! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Hatteras Inspired Wool

After dyeing my Hatteras Scarves, I had a pot of Coral Reef dye left on the stove.  I searched the stash and found some fiber to dye.  I have never tried to dye roving before, primarily because I worry about felting the wool.

The white is a blend 80/20 bfl and silk.  The darker wool is a mixed bfl.  I soaked these briefly in some warm water and vinegar.  I must get some citric acid to use instead of vinegar.  The smell of wet wool plus vinegar equals yuck!

In the pot, steaming but not boiling.  I tried to keep the temperature between 180 and 200 degrees.

The wool and silk laying out to dry.  Clockwise from upper left,  mixed bfl, silk, 80/20 bfl silk blend and corriedale with silk throwsters.

Trying out my drum carder for the first time.  Such fun, the mixed bfl was lovely to handle and not felted at all.
Can't wait to spin this!

Sallie's Pomegranate Scarves

My friend Sallie brought me a bag of pomegranate flowers to dye a scarf for her.
 Pom flowers laid out on a silk scarf.

Close up of the pomegranate flowers and some of Sallie's marigolds.
The bundles ready to be simmered.

The scarves are a golden color, the pomegranate flowers are star shaped.