Keeping busy

I’ve been keeping busy even though I haven’t posted in 12 days. You’d think I would have posted more, since my regular job is so slow that I’m feeling unemployed, but instead, I’ve found it harder to concentrate, and harder to motivate myself to blog. Odd, with so much time on my hands. I can’t explain it.

I have been trying to be productive in other ways though. I’ve now dyed 3 rovings using my new Eco Friendly dyes. The new dyes are worth every extra penny they cost. The dyes are vibrant, smell less offensive, and are less toxic to the environment…and my hands.

Here is Tie Dye T-Shirt:

And below is Applepicking:

This is the first time I tried “painting” the fiber and steaming it, rather than submersing it in a big pot of dye. I think it’s more fun, but a lot harder to make sure you’ve covered all the fiber.

I start by soaking the roving in a bath of water and citric acid for at least 30 minutes. Then I gently squeeze out some of the excess water and lay it on a large platter. I mix the colors I want and then “paint” the roving. I’ve seen that this can be done with an actual paintbrush, but I’m so afraid of felting the fiber, I figure the less touching the better, and so I squirt the dye where I want it using those plastic syringes you get with your child’s prescriptions. When I’m done, it looks something like this:

When I’m satisfied that ALL the roving is soaked with dye, I wrap it up in the Saran Wrap it’s on top of, and put it in a steamer on the stove. I steam it for 30 minutes.

I take it off the heat and put it outside where it will cool down to room temperature on it’s own (that happens pretty quickly in the winter) and then I bring it back in and rinse it. When the water is clear (and if you’re lucky, it’s clear from the start, right from the first rinse) then I drain it.

Then it dries on my clothes rack overnight and into the next day. When it starts to seem more dry than wet, I gently pull the fiber apart to make it puffier and easier for air to flow through. Here’s what I got from this colorway.

I put this one up on Facebook and asked for name ideas. My favorite came from my friend Breida. She suggested Age of Aquarium. And so it is.

After having so much fun painting the roving, I decided to try my hand at painting skeins of yarn. First I tried a fiery orange/red/yellow mix. I ended up with Inferno.

When I redistributed the colors, it looked like this:

And last night I finished with The Great Hall:

It’s a mix of purple, maroon, avocado, brown and blue. It looked very royal to me, making me think of kings and castles…hence the name. I painted this one too.

Sometimes I like them better before I redistribute the colors, like with Inferno, and sometimes I like them better after, like with this one.

I’ve also knitted 3 hats on commission, and am starting another. I was asked to make a hat for my friend Jason, and I picked out the Knotty but Nice pattern. It’s a free pattern on  It calls for worsted weight yarn, but I thought it would work out fine, and be warmer, if I used the bulky yarn I already had in my stash, which was the color he wanted. Nope. Didn’t work. It ended up fitting my son, who is 4. It’s a beautiful hat, but not going to fit an adult male. It’s partly because of the yarn, and partly because I panicked and revised the pattern, trying to make it fit.

But, Emmet loves it and looks adorable wearing it, so I’ll try again with worsted weight yarn and use larger needles for the cabling section, as it turned out much tighter than the rest of the hat.

So, tomorrow’s another day, and I’m not sure if I’ll have work or not. If not, I’ll focus on more yarny adventures.  That is, IF I can pull myself away from playing Words with Friends long enough to do anything else. I’ve also been reading A Clash of Kings, the book that comes after a Game of Thrones. I am LOVING that series. I highly recommend it.



  1. Barbara Antonelli

    02.12.12 at 11:01 pm

    Everything looks beautiful Danielle, love the roving the most. The great hall is my kind of colors! I’m glad you’re giving Emmet such a grown-up looking hat! Alls good!

  2. BE-U-TI-FUL Sis. I love that you gave the process too since I have a day of Greener Shades dyeing in our future too. We just skeined 10 cones of Traveller yesterday for dyeing and Markus said he will do some more skeining for me too. We got a big old woolwinder at the auction which is making the skeining really fast. The hat came out great. Sure it wouldn’t stretch to fit an adult? Maybe I will do that one for Chip with the remaining yarn from the sweater. Love you.

  3. When you have finished “painting” all of roving, do you roll up the entire thing in one piece of Sarah Wrap or do you have to wrap each row separately to keep the dye from bleeding over? I am really new at dyeing with acid dyes, so I am still learning!

    • Danielle

      03.18.12 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Kimberly! Well, when I “paint” the roving, I’m actually squirting the dye onto it with syringes or squirt bottles. And I’ve noticed that as I do this, the dye sticks to the roving and what’s left at the bottom of my tray is mostly clear water, or tinted water. As I’m painting the roving, I will actually dump this excess water into the sink several times because it threatens to overflow my tray, and the roving just gets too wet. Then when I’m finished painting it and ready to steam it, I once again drain the water from my tray by gently tipping it over the sink (sometimes I even gently press down on the roving to help drain some of the excess water from it as well) and then I wrap it all up in the one piece of Saran Wrap that I dyed it on. Believe it or not, the dye really doesn’t blend much after it’s already been stuck to the roving. Maybe a little, but not much at all. You don’t want to press out too much of the water, because you still want enough water in there to effectively steam it.

      Have fun with your new adventure Kimberly, and good luck! Feel free to let me know if you have any more questions!

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