Tag Archives: roving

Wool Dyeing Experiments

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I have been dyeing a lot of wool since that fiasco before. By the way, that actually turned out to be pretty nice yarn and I made a hat out of it. It had a lot of gray in it which is from not using the color wheel properly but I still liked it.

Recently I bought a lot more dye from Dharma Trading Co (it was on sale) so I could try different color combinations. I know you can make any color using just red, yellow and blue but that take a lot o more color theory training than I have! I did buy 2 primaries this time to see how it goes but haven’t used them yet.

My first experiment was a mix of Sapphire blue, burgundy and periwinkle. These were all Jacquard acid dyes. I wanted to try a mix of all over color like I did before but these were carefully chosen to not turn muddy where they came together. This was a very successful dye job and I am thrilled with the results.

Finished blue yarn. Not perfect but getting there. I haven't decided what I am going to make with it.

Finished blue yarn. Not perfect but getting there. I haven’t decided what I am going to make with it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week I decided to try a 3 color dye, dyed separately so I could blend them together on my blending board. I’m not very good a reading directions, preferring to just dive in and let the chips fall where they may. I used my 3 pot crockpot and after soaking the wool (about 4 ounces, divided into 3 hanks and tied with yarn to hold it together) I added a teaspoon of Dharma Trading Co acid dyes in Peach Blush, Duckling and Lichen. I had soaked the wool in a bowl of water with 1 ½ cups of vinegar. I got it all put together and turned on the crockpot and when to work (not a unsafe as it seems, I work from home)

The resulting wool was MUCH darker than I expected from the pictures on the website but they were really wonderful fall colors. I have them blended and am spinning them now. I am very pleased with the colors but they were so much darker than I thought they should be so I decided that maybe it was time to read the directions all the way through. OK, maybe I added too much dye.

The first darker batch of wool.

The first darker batch of wool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the blending board

On the blending board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rolags that I am spinning from

The rolags that I am spinning from

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So yesterday I did the math (their figures are based on a pound of wool or yarn) and found that I should have used a ¼ teaspoon of dye…. So back to the crockpot!

I did everything the same on this, used the same colors so I could see the difference and the same amount of wool. The difference was amazing. They colors are very much like the pictures on the website and very nice spring colors!!  I think I will blend these too so that I have a firm comparison.

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That got me to thinking about the color range you could achieve with just one dye color. I realize that this is probably not rocket science and that for people who dye all the time, well they probably already know this. But for beginners, this might be a huge deal; it was for me.

So this morning I got the 3 pot crockpot back out (seriously, this is the handiest thing for dying small batches and not having to hang over a pot for hours!) and put labels next to each pot with ¼ teaspoon, ½ teaspoon and 1 teaspoon. I am using Dharma Trading Co acid dye in “Fire Engine Red”.  I used 6 ounces of wool this time (South African corriedale) so I have 2 ounces in each pot.

Fast forward a few hours and I have 3 – 2 ounces lengths of red wool. The color change isn’t as strong as I thought it would be originally. I do like it and will certainly be able to use it for something.  I have some light patches and it may be because 1) I didn’t soak the wool as long as I usually do. I am going to start soaking over night from now on and 2) I think the size of the 3 small pots is too small for this much wool. Before this I was using 4 ounces total and the dyed wool was much more evenly colored.

Three shades "Fire Engine Red"

Three shades “Fire Engine Red”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this might encourage you to try dyeing wool or yarn. It is so fun to do and so satisfying to knit something from yarn you dyed and spun yourself!

Tomorrow I am going to Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle with my daughter and her husband. I hope to have some pictures by Monday or Tuesday.

Enjoy!

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What Not to Do When Dyeing Roving

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OK, wow. It has been a long time since my last post. I have been VERY busy but things are calming down since Christmas so I will be writing a lot more.

A week or so ago, my sister and I went a little crazy ordering roving during the sale at Paradise Fibers and a lot of what I got was white roving of different breeds so that I could learn to do hand painted roving. I have dyed a lot of yarn and loved the results so I thought this would be a fun way to add to my spinning.  I need to say before I start that patience is not one of my virtues….

Here is a tip: Do not be either impatient or quick when you dye roving. Also, rubber gloves are strongly suggested. I don’t think I totally ruined 5 ounces of the South African wool but it was touch and go for a while. Next time I will certainly read the directions and maybe watch a video or 5 before starting. I have done this before, many many times with much success but it was with yarn. Roving behaves differently  and when I thought there wasn’t enough dye on it, I made more and kept pouring it on in a VERY random manner (leaving white areas that I figured would take up it excess …it did) . When I went to roll it up in the saran, the dye POURED out both ends all over everything. I finally got it under control and put it in the steam pot. I might have sworn then but I figured I was home free. (you know, I have done this many times blah blah blah)  Did I mention I couldn’t find any rubber gloves? Yeah. After getting it out of the steam pot. I let it cool and then ran it back to the shower to hang it to dry. It was at this point that I found all the dye had not set and was running all over the shower. With nothing to lose, I took the handheld shower head and sprayed it with warm water until it ran clear. If I don’t wind up with 5 ounces of felt I will be surprised.  It is now draining in the shower, looped over a hanger.  After rinsing, I liked the color better so maybe all is not lost.

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This is what happens when you want to “just do a quick dye job to see how it looks” at the same time as I was trying to get things on my list taken care of (our power was out most of yesterday because of a wind storm so I was behind).  Next time I will set aside a whole day and do  nothing else, which is what I do when dyeing yarn.

Another thing I bought during the sale was 2 Louet S10 bobbins. They fit my Bea Classic spinning wheel very well and also give me different speeds (my wheel is 5:1).  My sister has a Louet and her flyer also fits my wheel, in case something horrible happens to mine. It is almost impossible to find parts for an old wheel so I am glad to have an option.

I hope everyone had a nice Holiday Season!

Dana

Blending Board

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For my birthday, my wonderful sister Linda got me a Blending Board. She also included a bunch of wonderful and colorful roving to go with it!!  A Blending board is used to blend fibers for spinning. You can also use it for combing out fiber to straighten it. I find it MUCH easier to use than 2 combs and I like using the rolags created with it. I find them much easier to hold and spin from (I have arthritis in my hands so spinning has not been easy and this makes it better).

Linda and I had been looking at these since we started to spin and I was so excited to actually own one. The board does come with directions but I have had much more luck with the You Tube videos I have watched (listed below). It is a simple process but does take a bit of practice.

To begin, you need a firm non-skid surface to work on. I use a piece of Rubbermaid non-skid shelf liner under mine and it holds it pretty well. You will be pushing and pulling on the board, especially when you remove the roving by making rolags, so you need a steady surface to work on like a table that won’t move around when leaning against it ( the lady in the video uses this board on her lap but I couldn’t do it that way, I found I needed the edge of a table to hold it steady when taking the roving off  in rolags. You may find it works fine on your lap).

You start by taking a strip or pieces of roving and wipe it on the board by catching the needles and pulling it downward. It doesn’t have to be started at the top, you can actually start anywhere on the board if you are adding different colors. You add what color(s) you want to until the board is covered but not too deeply. If the roving is too thick on the board, it makes it very hard to push it down into the needles and if it is too deep, you won’t be able to brush it down into the needles evenly. You need to brush the roving into the needles in order for the fibers to align from top to bottom.

Rolling the roving around the 2 dowels

Rolling the roving around the 2 dowels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is after rolling it on the needles to smooth and pack the fibers tightly

This is after rolling it on the needles to smooth and pack the fibers tightly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will do as many layers as you want, depending on what you are looking for in your finished yarn. You can add bits of novelty yarns, Angelina fibers, locks and all kinds of fibers. It is fun to design your own yarn this way! When you are happy with it, turn the board around so that the leg underneath is against a table or the edge of something sturdy. Pull the bottom of the roving up a bit on the end and position the 2 dowels so one is over and one is under this and wrap a little on the dowels so it is firmly on and then push forward to draft out, wrap, draft, over and over until you have about a quarter of the board on your dowels. Finish by rolling it on the needles to lock it all together and pull first one dowel out and then the other. Yay, a rolag!!  I may not have explained this as well as I could and I cannot stress enough that you go watch the You Tube video (it is in 2 parts) below. It is much easier to actually watch it.

The finished rolags!!

The finished rolags!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the yarn I made with the rolags from above and a second set that I used the same colors of roving but added some novelty yarn to. I did a bobbin of the plain and then a bobbin of the novelty yarn and plied them together.

This is the yarn I made with the rolags from above and a second set that I used the same colors of roving but added some novelty yarn to. I did a bobbin of the plain and then a bobbin of the novelty yarn and plied them together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have made a number of rolags now  and have spun most of them (see photos below). I tried to remember to take pictures as I went for the blog. For me, I find the rolags easier to work with but that might just be me. They are light and fit my hand well. It is really fun to mix colors and so far it is a surprise when I spin it. I expect you should / could plan ahead so you would have a big basket of the same rolag and would know pretty well what you will have at the end. I am still experimenting so I try to make enough so I can make something with it but so far it is just fun to try new things. I may have a bunch of hats or headbands because I get bored doing the same color combination over and over; I am always thinking about what might work with this or that. I need to find my box of Angelina fibers……

Hopefully this will encourage you to add this to your spinning equipment! It was enough for me to know that my sister HAD to have one of these so I ordered her one. We have the Fancy Kitty brand but there are many others out there and you can also find the cloth (the part with the needles) and add it to a board of your own to keep costs down.

Dana

 

Fancy Kitty Bending Board: http://www.fancykitty.com/blending-palette.html

You Tube Video, Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYUWXqqVALU

Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAwsggl3CMM

 

These were made with a lot of white and some color added.

These were made with a lot of white and some color added.

My Spinning Wheel

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Spinning Wheel

Well yikes, it has been a loooooong time since I blogged. Time really got a way from me but I am going to make a better effort to blog. I love to write and I am always thinking of things to write about…then I get busy with something else (usually my job) and well, you know.

 

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What has been taking up a lot of my time is that I got a spinning wheel for Christmas! Kevin and Jennifer got it for me and it came from the Netherlands. It is a “Bea Classic” but I haven’t been able to find out much about them on the internet (it is an older model). It is an upright castle type of wheel and I love it. To say I was thrilled does not even come close! I have wanted to learn how to spin for years and have tried using a drop spindle with very little success.

 

On hindsight, it would have been a lot easier to learn with a class or two but there isn’t anywhere close to me to take classes so I learned by watching you-tube videos and reading the internet. And it worked, although I may not do it the way most people do. Still I am producing yarn and I am having LOTS of fun doing it. And buying LOTS of roving …but that is a topic for another blog post!!

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It took a while (maybe a day or too) of frustration and mistakes (see my first ball below) but it finally clicked and I was making yarn. This first few tries after that first little ball are not even close to perfect although I see the same yarn on the internet being sold as “art yarn”. But this last bobbin-full is good and I am very proud (second photo below)! It is a nice dark brown Corriedale  and I weighed out the ball of roving so I will have 2 bobbins roughly the same weight and I can ply them together to make a balls of sock yarn (I love knitting socks!) Since I got the wheel, I have added to my collection of yarn related books and now have them on spinning and wool. It isn’t enough to know how to spin, you also need to know the characteristics of the fiber you are using so you get the yarn you want to knit, crochet or weave later. You can see why this is time consuming.

 

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The first few days of learning were frustrating and I kept thinking to myself that people find this relaxing and I am NOT relaxed! But once I got comfortable with it, I found that I was relaxing and really enjoying myself. I find that if I am tense about something else I can go and spin for 5 minutes and I come away a different person. Someday I would like to take a class or two (may at Madrona Fiber Arts next year, but until then I will read my books and keep buying roving.

 

Dana

Maya Hand Spinner

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My Maya Hand Spinner came!

 

 

 

 

 

I guess I should mention that this spins yarn, the fluffy stuff is a sample of roving that came with it, the fabric with the name is a bag to store it all in. It came as a kit and I found it on eBay.  The company, Finniwig Studios,  makes a number of lovely wood fiber tools. The wood on this is a hardwood and so wonderfully smooth.

I have tried to spin with a spindle and didn’t have much luck. This one is suppose to be easier to use for those of us with arthritis in our hands. I hope so. Still, unless the power goes out, I will have to stick to doing insurance until 4:30. Bah

 

Dana