Tag: Tie Dye T-Shirt

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 Knitty.com.  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.


A new adventure!

So, I wanted to add something else to my shop. Hand dyed roving. I’ve been saying I was going to try it for some time now, but hadn’t had the chance… or the bare roving. Today was the perfect day to give it a whirl! And the perfect time to try out my new “green” dye. This dye is more environmentally responsible, but a bit more expensive than the dye I’ve been using. I’m curious to see how it will turn out.

Above you see a bare merino/silk blend, presoaked in a vinegar/water mixture. It’s shivering with excitement about being a different color. It really is, you’ll just have to trust me.

And here it is, relaxed and soaking in the color. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the darkest color is actually purple, and then there’s red, yellow and green. Let me tell you, this was not easy. I used a syringe to apply the dye, and even though it looks like it’s soaked all the way through the fiber, it’s not. At all. In fact, when I peeked underneath, the entire bottom was still mostly white.  Even after I added more dye and pushed and pressed and manipulated, the dye had a hard time spreading to the bottom. But after enough gentle prodding, it seemed good. And it blended to make a much better color combination, which is what I was hoping for. When I was sure it was saturated, I folded the roving in the saran wrap lining the plate, placed it in the colander and steamed it for 30 minutes.

Here it is after the rinse. I meant to take a picture of it being steamed, but I forgot. The water was clear right from the start. The roving sucked up ALL the dye. I still rinsed it a ton, not to get rid of any excess dye, because there wasn’t any, but to get rid of the smell of the vinegar. I even use a little Burt’s Bees Baby shampoo. (This is how I rinse my yarn too.)I did this all VERY carefully, as I’ve been told it’s quite easy to accidentally felt your roving. When I say “rinse”, I mean gently lowering the roving into clean water and then lifting it out. Then lowering it into more fresh water, pushing on it gently, then lifting it out again. I do this maybe 10 times or more.

And here it is, drying on the rack. So far so good! I can’t wait to see what it looks like when it’s dry.

I also finished another slouchy hat for a friend. It’s the same one I made for my mother in law for Christmas, the Slouchy 2-Way Cabled Hat. And now I’m going to start it again for another friend!

And today I sold my 8th skein of yarn! Say bye bye to Crime Scene. It’s the 2nd skein I’ve sold to someone who didn’t actually know me! He asked me to wind it into a ball, so I thought I’d take a picture of it before and after. It’s always so cool to see the skein turn into a ball. It gives you a better idea of what the yarn will look like when it’s knitted up.

So tomorrow I might post again, I have some Baby Alpaca drying next to the roving, and I can’t wait to share with you!