Monday, June 11, 2012

Catching Up: Fiber Updates

 Hello Everyone! It has been far to long since I was here with you. This beginning of this summer started with a bang and I feel like I have been going, going, going, non stop. As of yet, things have only slowed up a little. But it looks as if things should calm down soon. 

A few weeks ago I was a vendor in a fiber festival. The weeks leading up to the festival were very busy for me. I was unable to pick my fiber that I needed to dye until quite late, and then we went on a family Holiday. So by the time I got home, and had free time to spare, the festival was only two weeks away! I amassed all my supplies and took a day to mix up my dye stock. Then I started dyeing!

 It took almost a week to kettle dye and hand paint 14.5 pounds of Merino wool. Initially I did not even think I would get it all done, though I was hoping too!
I dropped into bed exhausted at the end of each dye day, tired of steam, vinegar and standing all day. But every morning I was ready to get back at it and as each successive dye day dawned, I would have all sorts of fresh ideas rolling around my head of color combinations, techniques and other ideas I wanted to try. It was interesting to see how color-wise on some days there seemed to be a common theme, and other days it was all higgledy-piggledy.  It was such a fun process and I enjoyed myself tremendously.  If I could dye fiber two or three days a week, every week, that would be happiness indeed. It is a wonderful creative outlet and there is no limit to the what you can do with a little bit of no-how and some practice.

 I use the Greener Shades Dyes to dye all my fiber. All of the colors, other then the Coral Reef Aqua, are non-toxic and do not contain any heavy metals. It was the safety of these dyes that attracted me to them. They still are made up of chemicals, but they are much safer for you then many dyes. I do all my dyeing in the family kitchen, and I do not want to inadvertently harm someone with my dye solutions. I use regular white vinegar as a mordant, but for some of the colors it would be better to use citric acid, especially for the Coral Reef Aqua. I am still a little nervous about using the Aqua, but I am just careful when I measure it out, and I wear gloves and clean up thoroughly after each batch. But back to the citric acid. I need to find somewhere to buy it in bulk, because for certain colors and mixtures I find I like the results best with the citric acid. 

 At the fiber festival I picked up another half ounce of Sunshine Yellow. I discovered I use this color the most with my mixtures, I ran out of my yellow on the last dye day! River Blue runs a close second, I'll have to restock on that one soon. I was gifted the lovely red bamboo and merino roving show above. And the purple and green merino roving was what I received in the Vendor-to-Vendor Swap. I always like doing the vendor swap. It is fun to prepare a little bag of goodies to enter, and equally fun to see what you receive in return. 

 Despite the busyness of life, I have found time to do quite a but of spinning in the last few weeks. I have been spinning up some of my little half ounce samples of colors I plan on repeating. And I have also been working on some of my 1oz sampler rovings as well. The above picture is a half ounce.
Half ounce

1 ounce Lagoon

My Mum is spinning this roving up. Aren't the colors wonderful? 

1 ounce Orchid

I have finished yarn waiting to be photographed. If it is a nice day outside tomorrow I'll have to take the skeins out and take some pictures. I have been spinning on one of my smaller drop spindles. It still has a fairly thick whorl though, so it is a good weight for what I am doing. I am trying to spin all of these samples up at a similar weight, that way if I wan to use them together in a project I can. 

Well it is late, and I have lots more to update you on but I am quite tired, so farewell for now ,my dear readers!

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