December 16, 2008


It is probably too late at night to be writing a blog...but I am anyways. I have been so excited about selling yarn that I have been telling everyone I meet and handing out cards. The problem being I haven't got my detail pictures of the yarn to post on Etsy. So no goods on Etsy. Oops. This week looks like a small tornado going through my life, but I have made it through day 1. I am waiting for the technical yarn guru who lives deep within to come to the surface and give me some words to say about all my yarn. For now I am satisfied with words like soft, squishy, smooth, fantastical, fluffy...words that might describe a small dog or one of my skeins of yarn. Enjoy a picture of Lupine Valley (above) and Blue Fire (below). Both are hand-dyed, but only Blue Fire by myself.

December 10, 2008

Crafty! Crafty! Splat.

I did a craft fair! I came early. Set up my table with my pop-up yarn holder, nice tablecloth, pretty lamps and spinning wheel. Then I waited. I spun while I waited. This meant that every kid who came to the crafty day stopped by my table and asked what I was doing. I lost count of parents who told their kids I was weaving. (I will refrain from stating my opinion on mistaking spinning for weaving.) I was asked what the yarn on my table was for. I stopped small children from putting their finger into the flyer of my spinning wheel after I asked them not too. I laughed with friends. I found another really cool vendor, Smudge Monkey.I want almost everything she makes. I oggled Le Filigree jewelry.

I sold a skein of yarn!

I gave one skein as a birthday present and the recipient bought the other skein in that colorway. So, all told, I sold 2 skeins of yarn.

Now, I realized when I signed up for this day, that an elementary school first annual craft fair is not the ideal place for my yarn to sell. I thought it would be a good challenge for me. Get my ducks in a row and all that. And I think it was. I was so organized after the fair that I finally called my LYS, The Tangled Skein, and made an appointment to show her my yarns. She then purchased a bunch of my Exotic Mongolian yarns that I hand-dye & ply. See, the craft fair was WORTH THE TIME. Then, I got home so pumped from selling yarn to a yarn shop that I finally began setting up my Etsy store for the handspun that I can't wholesale. (I already price it at impoverished worker labor prices and dropping the price would equal slave labor wages.) I now have a shop with a simple banner at I will be loading up the shop with goodies this week. I have to take more pictures!

note: I moved the lamps off the front of my booth shortly after this picture was taken. They hung out on the sides of the booth, shining across the yarn. I never did like their placement much, but oh well, I really don't think the lamps hurt or helped my yarn sales.

extra sad note: Not even the hat I knit for charity sold. sniff.

December 5, 2008

Where Has My Yarn Gone?

I am so excited!! For the first time I have heard back from someone who bought my yarn and showed me a picture of the finished product!! Granite Beanies are fabulous hats that Bri from Juneau whips up. She ordered some of my yarn at the Salmon Jam in Cordova and turned them into cool tuques for the back country. My yarn is definitely seeing some tougher terrain than I am these days. Check out her way cool web site and products at!

December 4, 2008

Hand-dyed & spun by Yours Truly. I really love this yarn. I might not sell it. I might keep it for myself and my own selfish knitting. But I think I will still put it out at the craft fair. It is superwash fiber that I hand-painted and wrote about in the post "Dyeing to Tell". The fiber started as a bright saffron. The original dye job spun up very dark as a single, so I dyed more with lots more space between the colors. Used the same colors and got a much brighter single and plyed together they created this lovely skein. I have around 250 g of this colorway. Enough for an actual project!

Now, the 2 skeins below are the sky blue fiber I dyed. The picture on top is the roving with red that I added and didn't know if I would like. The bottom picture is the roving with blues, purples & black in it. I plyed both with the original plain blue roving. This is where spinning gets interesting. I wanted to see how they both looked plyed with the same fiber. I like the muted one. But the one with the red is not quite on my palate. I like neither as much as the top picture. My mom, who is not an orange fan, loved the blues. So, I trust that there are more people like her out there in the world and that they will like the blue yarn.

Crafty Adventures

If I was a technical genius I could figure out how to post the really cool poster for the craft fair I am going to do this Saturday. But I am not, so I will tell you about it.

I am doing a Craft Fair. Isn't that special? I try not to do these things, but my friend Joni is co-ordinating this lil' fair. She has a fabulous line of jewelry, Le Filigree, that she sells at local, high-end clothing stores and I figured with her good taste we couldn't go too wrong. Word has it there is about half n half really cool stuff and grandma's pot holders. There will also be hats for sale to raise money for a little girl we know going through Cancer treatments. Knitting hats for kids is fun because they are small, cute & quick!
Lil' Pea is modeling the Chunky Newsboy hat I knit for the charity sale.

I spent a good chunk of yesterday doing something I thought would take maybe 2 hours and turned into 5 hours! Classic story--I seem to have difficulties estimating tasks. Harry, my lil' Angora cross bunny needed a haircut. Badly. Here he is before the haircut. It warmed up yesterday and I whipped him on into the house and started cutting. and cutting. and cutting. It turns out he had a lot of mats I hadn't caught on too. I heavily blamed myself. Until I brought in Sally for her haircut. She had almost NO mats. I treat these 2 little ones pretty equal. When one gets brushed, so does the other. I have no idea why Harry matted up so badly and Sally didn't mat at all. But I was interested to see that the fiber I took off them is very different. Harry's is long and silky. Sally's is short and extremely soft. It doesn't drape over your finger like Harry's hair. These 2 are rescues, so I don't know their background in detail. I know that, as of August, they are supposed to be under a year old, Harry has had 1 cut, Sally has never been cut. And they are not related. hmmm, maybe they are different kinds of Angora crosses? Maybe Sally is English, Hairy is German? They are really similar in size...I don't know. I do know I have a lot of gorgeous fiber. It is perfectly white and so clean I could spin it straight out of the bag I clipped it into. No vege matter and no flakes! The sweaters I put on the lil' guys to keep them warm didn't stay on, but I noticed Harry used his as a nest last night and neither bunny is eating the sweater, so I left them in the pens for warmth. On the right is Sally after her haircut. It was so exciting to see my dream of having Angora fiber to spin come true. These lil' lovelies are well worth having around. And if you want a hit of Angora--give me a call!

November 18, 2008

Knitting Dreams

I have a dream...

That one day I will actually get to knit some of the garments that make me drool in the pictures. You see, I have this block when I knit. I never start the big projects that I dream about. I am too much of an ADD knitter. My knitting bag has about 4-6 smaller projects in it at any one time. If I knitted sweaters it would only have room for 1 or 2 projects. And I would have to finish them, yikes! But the sweater patterns that are out there!! Oh, they get me all hot n bothered. I HAVE to knit them. My current favorite is Sylvi by Mari Muinonen. I don't know what the rules are on posting pictures of knitting patterns in blogs. Maybe someone can comment and tell me. I will tell you about it or you can follow the link to see the gorgeous coat. Knee-length, chunky red goodness with a vine of cables traveling up the back and over the hood. Can it get any better? I bought the pattern. Can't start until the Man's Durrow is finished, but someday I WILL knit it. I also said that about Green Gable also by Mari. I searched out the Fall '08 Vogue Knitting mag just so I could own the pattern. But all this early Christmas knitting is delaying my self-indulgent knitting. One day...I will be knittin' for me again.

November 11, 2008

Today Fiber Took the Backseat

This weekend I put all fiber work on hold. Why? Because in my world CHOCOLATE trumps everything.

A good friend found his true love out of the country, got married and brought her home to meet everyone. Instead of a big party, he wanted a couple open houses where all his friends could come over & meet her. Knowing of and having sampled my little past time of making decadent desserts, he asked me to make a "centerpiece dessert" for each day of their open houses. That meant I had to come up with 2 desserts that would serve lots of people, taste like a dream and hold up for at least a day. My friend is not a big "cake" fan (like myself), so I wanted to stay away from traditional cake-like desserts. That knocked out one of my favorite desserts "Guinness Chocolate Cake". Yes, it is full of Guiness beer.

At my house all desserts lead to Nigella Lawson. In order to insure baking success I chose two of my favorite Nigella recipes, Chocolate Meringue Truffle Cake (CMTC) & Chocolate Orange Cake (COC). Tried and true, they are both from Feast, my favorite NL cookbook.

The CMTC looked a bit thin because my springform pan is a 10", my 9" is missing a bottom, and I can't quite justify owning more than 2 springform pans. To compensate I made a chocolate ganache and slathered the dessert in it, thickening it by at least 1/4". I used fondant & chocolate to make the shapes and applied lots of glitter to it all. I couldn't cut into the dessert when guests started arriving, it was too beautiful. So, Scott & I departed leaving instructions to cut the cake into thin slices when I was out of the house. The powerful richness of the truffle layer will hopefully stop the crowds in their tracks insuring that the very thin pieces will be enough for everyone.

The COC is the wettest cake I have ever made. There is no flour in it, just 1 entire orange boiled till it is almost translucent and pulverized in the food processor. Followed by 2 cups of ground almonds and 6 eggs. The remaining ingredients are immaterial. One day I would like to make it without the chocolate and let the orange & almonds stand on their own. But for now, the chocolate tops off the flavors to a tee. (Wipe that drool!) I decorated this cake with powdered sugar around a centerpiece of candied orange peels, gold dusted almonds and chocolate swirls.

It was hard to leave my little creations behind. Hopefully, they will be enjoyed by all.

November 10, 2008

Spinning Up the New Stuff

Believe it or not, I spun up these singles right after I dyed them and it took me this long to get them into a post! I really like how the singles spun, but I definetly need to work on my color spacing when I dye. I stripped down the rovings really thin. Not quite pencil roving. The ones I didn't go as thin on turned out the most bland as I spun. The colors are too close together to get strong color blocks. I really liked the green popping out, so after I realized how important the thickness of the roving was, I really stripped it thin. I was going to ply the two similar rovings together, but after a foot or so of that realized how bland a yarn it would be. So, now I have a new dye job to do. I want to dye a light roving and a dark roving to compliment the med. tone ones I have now. The light will be mostly saffron with, a little red & the same green just not as strong depth of shade. The dark roving will be mostly red, green and a little saffron & lt. orange. So, some colors just different placements. I am excited and hope to get that dying done this week.

October 27, 2008

Dyeing to Tell

Here is the saga of my latest dyeing adventure. I painted rovings! Starting with superwash rovings is supposed to insure that I don't felt the roving before I get a chance to spin it. To the right I am prepping the fibers, spreading them out so there are no thick spots to inhibit even dye uptake. The rovings are all wet from a long soak in warm water with synthropol. I am using Jacquard acid dyes. The saffron (pictured) & sky blue rovings are mill ends from The Shed.

Starting with a colored fiber means I am over-dying and the original color will tint every color I paint onto the fiber. With that in mind, I chose Fire Red, a dark orange mix, a light orange mix and pure Sky blue for the saffron rovings. I was hoping that the red would be strong enough to completely overpower the yellow fiber, and it did. And the Sky Blue would tint into a bright green which it also did. The colors interacted with the saffron pretty close to what I expected. What I did not expect was how much the dyes would wick down the fiber. My stripes of color almost all turned out too close together and I lost much of my fabulous green to the red leaking over it and turning it purple. Not really what I wanted. You can see from the upclose picture of the roving that the stripes were relatively separate when I applied them. However, as they soaked in and then got steamed, they spread out quite a bit. To the left is the 4, 1oz strips of saffron just after painting. To the right is the close up of the stripes. Can you believe that most of those narrow, dark stripes that look green are actually pure blue and got covered up by the red stripes to either side? Cool.

After painting the rovings on both sides I rolled them up into saran wrap coils. They had been prepped on top of saran wrap, so this step was relatively easy. Then I steamed them in a big pot for at least 20 min. Let them cool overnight and then rinsed them out. I was really impressed with how little dye bled out. That steaming really sets the color! Next I laid them out to dry. After a day or so trying to keep the kids from knocking the trays with the fiber over onto the floor they were ready to braid up for storage.

I love the picture below of the colorful rovings drying.
I wish the sun had been shining on them, but that will have to wait for another day.

Finally, we have the finished products. A colorful mass of fiber that, I hope, will spin into bright, confetti yarns. I will try a different colorway on the sky blue next time. The red covered over more than I expected. I think it would have been better with just the dark blue, black & purple. The entire process took much longer than anticipated. I thought I was embarking on an hour or so playtime at 9pm and instead finished wearily at 12:30am, leaving the coils cooling in the steam pot. I definitely learned a ton. So, anytime you want to paint some rovings, come on over and let's have at it! Just plan for twice as long as you think it might take.

October 26, 2008

Christmas Project Revealed

Here is the front piece of the sweater I am knitting for my son. Now, I realize that the color combo is just a titch on the bright, obnoxious side. It is for a 6 yr old boy. And it is knit completely from my stash. I bought the bright blue wool/cotton blend yarn specifically for the boy a couple years ago at Cordova's finest, The Net Loft. Somehow I knew that obnoxious and blue would be perfect for him.

I am using 3 different yarns. The bright blue Schachenmayr Nomatta Habanera is a 70% wool, 30% cotton yarn. I found it in the ultra clearance bin at The Net Loft. I only have 4+ balls of the blue, hence the creative sidepanels. The brown Angora Soft by Knit One, Crochet Two is a WEBS ultra clearance as well. Only 4-5 balls of the brown in a 45% nylon, 40%viscose & 15% Angora. (I am not sure what I was thinking when I ordered the yarn. Nylon & Viscose??? It must have been the $2/ball and Angora that turned my head. Will I never learn?) I will use brown for the hood & pocket if there is enough. The orange is the good ol' standby Galway 100% wool. Strangly, they all come out to a very similar gauge, so far. I did do a gauge sample. Didn't want to many suprises as I am making up the color changes as yarn remains.

So far the sweater is going very fast. On the back I am knitting in his hockey number 77 in the bright orange. The sleeves will be striped depending on how much yarn I have left of each color. Knowing that I would barely have enough yarn for the entire sweater heavily influenced my decision to make stripes everywhere. Hopefully, no one will be able to tell when I run out of one color before the sweater done.

Now, it is back to the reality that Halloween is not until Friday and my children are already hyped up on candy from the school carnival. By the way, why did no one tell me school carnivals are a mother's worst nightmare? Oh yeah, I knew, but I was swayed out of my stoicism by those big, cute, blue eyes owned & used against me by my son. He just consumed a gummy rat. Arg.

October 17, 2008

I am SO prepared.

For Christmas, that is.

I credit this blog with a major contribution to the Christmas knitting craze that has hit me this week. I have never, in all my life, started on Christmas this early. But I have to have some knit thing to talk about. There are some other reasons as well.

I think there is a little guilt over last year's Christmas fiasco. I was going to make my son a quilt for Christmas...then it turned into a birthday gift...then he only got to see the fabric for his birthday in Feb...and I still have not worked on the poor boy's quilt. Okay, more than a little guilt.

What other factors promotes Christmas activity so early? I have discovered that Lil' P knits only when I sit down and knit. In her 'take no prisoners' approach to most things, she wants to knit a sweater. Lucky for us, I have "The Yarn Girls Guide to Knits for Older Kids". Which is full of really simple easy sweaters (among other things) for kids who might want to be cool. The knits are not really my normal knitting cup a tea, but perfect for Lil'P & I to knit together on. She will knit the rectangle for the hood & the pocket. I will knit the rest. I raided the stash and came up with a bright blue, hot orange and calming brown yarn combo that will be perfect for my boy. I have faith in my choice because we were at our LYS, The Tangled Skein, the other day and I asked what color of yarn I should pick to knit his dad a sweater and he picked out the brightest, most god-awful blue I could imagine. Funny--it was the same color of blue I am knitting for him. Perfect. (even more perfect is that all the yarn was purchased some time ago on CLEARANCE so this will be the cheapest sweater ever)

I am also starting on a Super Top Secret Sweater (STSS) for a secret someone. All I can say is "Durrow". He might read this I have to be vague.

So, I am off to knit on the Christmas presents...tee hee hee

October 15, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Holy Cow, I have been BUSY!! Knitting that is. I have been on a finishing streak! Just this month I have made 2 hats, 1 neck gaiter, 1 chunky head band, a sample hat for the shop & 1 sample mitten. I have finished my fabu red vest and my felted slippers. I have started a Christmas sweater for the boy. Sophia is going to help by knitting the hood & pocket. All this and we are only halfway through the month!

The set of white & blue hat & coordinating neck collar are a birthday present for my freezing SIL. Poor woman, used to the tropics and now facing a Canadian winter. Don't anyone tell her about this!! It is going in the mail, so my guess is it will get to her before the masses read this post. The yarn used is a beautiful mystery white bulky yarn. I love it and the halo it produced upon felting. The blue/turq is my very own hand spun. It is from an Ugly Batt. I spun it as a thick n thin bulky weight yarn with a metallic thread throughout. It also was MUCH softer after felting. The neck gaiter is a cute little accessory to complement the hat...same yarns.

The Green Chunky Newsboy Cap is a 2hr knit. Really! Start to finish, including the many 4yr old interruptions. It turned out bigger than I thought, but I really like it. The picture is before blocking. We will see what the magic art of blocking brings to this cap.

As you can tell, I have been trying to use up my hand spun stash. The Bodacious Red Headscarf is inspired by Calorimetry at I only spin Very Chunky yarns so I changed just about everything except the general look of the finished product and got what you see here. I really like it and would love it if the wool weren't so very itchy & scratchy.
In center stage is my Awesome Red Vest! Tadaaaaa!! I love it. The pattern is Green Day by Mari Muinonen. (I love everything she designs. I dream of just working my way through all her designs.) The vest is snug, so it will still fit when I finish my weightloss journey and it is soooo soft. I made it from frogged Andean Silk yarn from Knitpicks. The first project was a total failure and so I frogged, reconditioned and recreated the yarn into this very lovely vest.

Whew, that was a mouthful of projects. I didn't even get to my slippers, but they are best saved for another day.

Spinning Update? I have not been all. It is like I look at the wheel and sigh, too big of a job. No dyeing either.

Humorous quote of the day: Setting...we are at the hockey rink and the lady in front of us has her scarf on the bench. Sophia, "Look at her fiber, Mom!" Yes, I have a fiber diva on my hands.

September 25, 2008

Spinning with the Spinning Guru!

Now, you may have thought that I had fallen off the blogging bandwagon. No posts in 8 days and all. But I am here to correct you. I was actually taking a wonderful spinning class! Patsy Zawatowski came to Alaska and taught the most amazing workshop on Novelty spinning techniques. I was blown away! She really is the Spinning Guru! Thank you Anchorage Weavers & Spinners Guild for bringing her up here. Over the next couple blogs I will revisit the techniques that I learned. As a teaser here are a few of the things we covered and/or I did for the first time:

Spinning Silk Cap--Hello, can we just move right into a spiderweb?

Spinning Tussah Silk--Dreamy, just plain Dreamy.

Hard Twist or Soft Twist?--I really wonder if your default twist level says something about your personality? I am a soft twist person...I knit loose also. What does that say about me?

Big Yarns--Yes, it is confirmed, I spin everything thicker than the average spinner. I was gently (or not so gently) mocked the entire time for this precious attribute. To my credit, I think my thick yarns are delightfully soft & fluffy.

Thin Yarns--Work, work, work. This is what I need to do. I have the hardest time spinning thin. Which in general is fine except when I want to ply something and have the result be smaller than bulky weight.

Mohair Locks, Angelina & Silk Threads--My heartrate actually began to race when we were allowed to choose our own combinations of these three things, handcard them together and core spin them. Ohhhhhh, I LOVED IT!! Probably, my favorite part of the class.

This weekend I am devoting a lot of time to practicing all the magnificent techniques I learned last weekend. I will return to post lots of pictures.

September 18, 2008

Babe With Sticks

These days I have a lot of 1 on 1 time with LP (Lil'Pea). This whole tutu saga is evidence of that. What is truly amazing is the request I received after picking out all the yarn for her tutu cover.

"Mama, will you teach me to knit?" I could not refuse. I cast on and got the first row (10sts) knitted for her. She then sat with me and knit 2 more rows. Asking continuously, "Is this a sweater? I want to knit a sweater. What part of the sweater is this?"

The next day she asked again to knit, so we continued. She did her last row almost completely by herself. Then held the 4-5 row piece of knitting up to her body, "This part is done." She eventually decided we were probably knitting the collar. Because she could almost stretch the swatch around her neck.

Before I can blink she is going to be knitting her own tutu covers. At least I'll have a test knitter in the house when I finally get around to writing a pattern.

And yes, she's a picker like me.

September 17, 2008

Tutu Overload

For the record, I can chop wood like a fiend and not so long ago I could lift a 4x8 sheet of plywood over my head, vertically. That being said...I now have 3 different yarns with which to knit tutu covers. I even have 3 yards of sparkly, purple tulle to make a new tutu. And LP has a lovely pirouette skirt from the local thrift store.

This post will also serve as a lesson in photo posting. Can I get all the pictures I want with text around them? We will see.

Back to the tutus. Did I go overboard? Perhaps. It was more a case of finding out my main reason for driving to town was unavailable which left lots of free time, forgot to check my stash for possible tutu yarn, LYS had a shelf 75% get the picture.

To the right we have our newest acquisition. I think the main feature in both the tulle & the yarn is SPARKLES & PURPLE. Apparently, in a 4yr old brain both of these are a must. The goal is to make a tutu from the tulle and knit a lovely lace skirt that sits on top of all the fluff. Marco Polo is a rather thin yarn, combine that with big needles it should be light enough to not squash the tulle fluff.

To the left we have my endless stash of kid yarn. This was purchased in a very cheap, huge bag from a thrift shop and LP already has a poncho out of it. Massively thick n thin, this yarn is incredibly difficult to knit with. Heaven forbid you have to frog something. I prefer throwing it out and starting over. Unfortunately, it is beloved by my child. I have knit up a gauge sample on sz35 needles and it looks pretty cool. It matches her current pink tutu, will undoubtedly squash it, but I have enough to make leg warmers as well, so it will be a really cute, fuzzy, fashion statement. (or completely overdone atrocity that should never see the light of day)

This last yarn is some Mohair I bought planning great things then realized 1)it isn't that soft 2) it is rather difficult to knit and 3) don't even think of frogging it. It is my personal favorite for the tutu cover. I think it will be light, airy and add just a little halo around my lil' ballerina. She hates it. Nuff' said.

So, while I am almost finished with my fab red sweatervest, have 3 classes coming up and haven't finished my samples and umpteen other projects sit in the wings...this week I will be knitting tutu's. Stay tuned for the icing on the yarncake to be revealed in the next post.

September 15, 2008

Girly Stuff

Today was a momentous day. Today LP (Lil' Pea) my wonderful 4 yr old daughter started Ballet. Actually Pre-Ballet. She has been doing ballet with a dvd at home for a week or so and was SO excited to start the real thing. Her only complaint after class was that "there were no boys to pick us up." Obviously, my brainwashing technique of bringing home videos of famous ballets for her to watch has paid off.

What does this have to do with fiber you ask? Well, I have the sudden urge to knit ballet stuff. Knitted tutu's are flying through my head. What would be the perfect yarn? Rowan Kidsilk Haze--OF COURSE!! Knitted leg warmers--Aren't they all the rage anyways? About time I realized they are different than the 80's ones (I think). What about a matching set of Kidsilk haze tutu & leg warmers? Quick, someone hide my needles!

A quick search of Ravelry shows no knitted tutus. So far my favorite ballet slippers are these from Apparently, any top that is sits above the waist and wraps around your torso is a 'ballet top'. Since I had no idea this was true, I see my ballet fashion knowledge is starting up a steep learning curve.

Speaking of a learning curve. This web thing is strainin' my noggin'! I have tried to imbed a link...let's see if it works. If I have figured this out right, you should be able to click on the word "these" in the previous paragraph and get taken to the knitty site. Let me know if it totally doesn't work.

Knit On!

Pretty in Pink n Purple

Originally uploaded by tikkagirl
Here are the results of my dyenight. On the left we have my handspun wool. The original fiber was a carded blend of cream and brown. The result is a toned down wineypink yarn. Little Pea (LP) loves it and into a hat it will go. At the top right is a laceweight cashmere that sat in the same pot as the wool beside it. The cashmere was originally creamy white and it sat on the top of the pot. Both of these factors contributed to the bright wineypink end product. In the lower right corner we have laceweight yak yarn. The yak started out as a natural yak color, a dark heathery grey. Add to that a strong redpurple and this is the result! I didn't mean to dye yak to EXACTLY match my bathroom towels, but obviously, my color leanings follow me wherever I go.

Will I sell these? Will I knit with these? Only time will tell.

September 12, 2008

Let the dyeing begin!

I realize, as I sit down to write this note, that I have no pictures to wow you as to the total coolness of dying. When I start dying I tend to let the world fade away as I pretend I am a mad chemist mixing potions that will change the world. My poor children. It is as if they do not exist. Which is why today I only mixed potions. I do not have enough time before needing to make dinner to ignore the universe.

I am planning ahead this time. I would like to recreate any awesome color I happen to make, so today I made 1% dye stock solutions. Before I began actually mixing I delved into the topic of the ideal dye powder to use. Jacquard Acid Dyes or Sabraset dyes.

Deb Menz recommends Sabraset. I adore Deb Menz. I have her book, Color in Spinning, and it is well on it's way to becoming dogeared. I took her workshop on plying as well. Which is why I bought her book. She is a color genius and entirely more concerned with the details than I am and her book has LOTS of info on dye formulas, DOS and everything else. She ONLY used Sabraset for protein fibers. That is a problem. Sabrasets are available from Pro-Chem and until I call them and whine about shipping to Alaska, the shipping is PROHIBITIVE.

Jacquard Acid dyes are available all over the place. Dharma Trading seems to have them for the best price and the shipping is half that of ProChem. Hmmm, do I sense an AK prejudice?

prepare for shipping rant: Extreme shipping to Alaska is usually charged by companies who think saying 'continental US only' excludes Alaska. HELLLOOOOO we are on the continent of North America, just like you!! In fact, Fed Ex & UPS have, like, their 3rd largest hubs in Anchorage so the chances that your packages go through AK on a regular basis are pretty good. Contiguous is the word to use and when a company or person knows the difference I accept their shipping prices. If the shipping is still unreal after using Contiguous I politely use a different vendor. We use the same stamps that you all do. We even share the US Dollar. Okay, rant getting out of hand. Whoa there Nelly! Let's go pet a moose and remember why we live here.

Jacquard dyes use only vinegar or citric acid to bind and have lots of pretty colors to choose from. If I wasn't obsessed with mixing and blending I might not even have to if I ordered all their colors. But that would take all the fun away.

Based on availability I have decided to go with Jacquard for now. Besides, it is available in my studio RIGHT NOW. And I would have to order any Sabraset and wait. I hate waiting. So, today I mixed up 1% solutions. Why? I guess it will be easier to mix colors, less mess to inhale when I don't have to mix powder each time, and I get to have big jugs of mysterious chemicals on my shelves. What more could a wanna be chemist have? The next step is to photo all my fiber in it's current state. Do a ton of math to figure out my Depth of Shade (DOS) etc and come out with exact amounts of dye stock, vinegar, water & fiber. I am exciting just writing that. Lord, help me, I'm addicted.

September 7, 2008

Dyeing left & right

This week I am going to dye. With a y e, not an i e. I am going to dye cashmere, camel & yak from Mongolia. I will also do my first attempt at dying roving. I am going to start with gold superwash roving because it is really hard to felt superwash fibers. So I've been told. We will see. I have some lovely handspun that will go into the dyepot as well. Pink is on the top of my list of colors. I will also do some red, orange and lavender.

Anyone have any other requests? Yes, I realize that the only people I have given this blog address to are my two sisters. I also posted it on my Ravelry page!
The picture is of the single ply camel yarn. I will ply a bunch of it into 2 & 3 ply yarns and kettle dye it. I am a little tired of plying after the dying process. I still have a lot of dyed singles ready to ply.
Wish me luck. Handling chemicals is always a blast!

September 6, 2008

In the beginning...

I have taken the plunge. I have started a blog. In my snarled mind I would like this blog to serve as my accountability partner. I will post goals, deadlines and dreams for my business and artistic life, Snarl Design. I will ask questions of the stratosphere and hope that answers float back to me. This is my venue for listening to those who would request a certain color of cashmere or ply of yarn. My creativity is limited to the ideas in my head--everything I hear and see adds to the creativity so the feedback of others is vital.

Then of course there is my personal life. I do not think this could be an honest blog if my personal life didn't enter. But I do hope to concentrate on my artistic life--not the squabbles of my children.