Current Projects, Daily Life, HPKCHC, Yarn & Fiber Dyeing

Dyeing Experiments: Two color dyeing, kettle dyeing, and gradient stovetop dyeing.

I recently have been experimenting with dyeing yarn, and posted some photos of in the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC) group on Ravelry. I got asked what dyeing methods I used, so I decided to post about them here, and save everyone the gigantic forum essay (and also my posts weren’t posting correctly!)

So:

Here’s all of my finished skeins. I used 3 different methods of dyeing to create them so I’ll explain each method separately.

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I started with these yarns: (not super expensive, but you get a lot of yardage to play with!) 20150912_130717

I skeined them (or rolled them in a ball if I wanted to do a gradient – more on that later)
and soaked them in water with white vinegar for at least 30 minutes. I believe the ratio I used was 1/2 cup of white vinegar for every 4 oz of yarn, but I’m not 100% positive: 20150912_143807

Method for creating two color yarn: 20150913_173443 20150913_173613 20150913_173705

  • Squeeze (do not wring!!) vinegar/water soak from skein.
  • Take two quart sized mason jars and fill them about 3/4 of the way with your vinegar/water soak.
  • Add food coloring until you reach your desired colors (I used about 30 drops of McCormick food coloring per jar, but I like REALLY saturated colors, and was using 100-120 gm skeins).
  • Put yarn in water 😉
  • Put the two jars in the microwave. “Cook” on high power until you see the water start bubbling a little. Let it rest for a couple minutes. Repeat “cooking” process until the water in the mason jars is clear (basically the goal is to keep the water hot without agitating the yarn, which would cause felting).

Jars in the microwave:

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Remove jars from microwave, and let sit on the counter to cool down a bit.
Once the water has cooled to room temperature, remove yarn and rinse. The water should run clear. If it does not, rinse until it does. Wash the yarn gently, and rinse again.
Hang to dry!

Kettle Dyeing Method:

20150913_173637 20150913_173551

Do the same vinegar/water prep as above, including squeezing out the water.
Fill a pot part way with your vinegar/water, and add dye.
Place yarn in pot. <– this part is where you can change up how the dye is distributed. For the purply skein above, I made sure the entire skein was dunked in the dye water. 20150912_162935

For the blue one, I only partially submerged it: 20150912_163849 and then once half the dye had been absorbed, I submerged the rest of it. It gave me that lovely variation you see in the blue skein! Anyway, turn the burner on a low heat setting. Your goal is the same as with the mason jars. You want to heat the water without agitation, so a little bit of a steam or simmer is ok, but no boiling.

Once the water in the pot is clear, carefully remove the yarn and place it in a separate bowl to cool off. Once the yarn has cooled to room temperature, follow the rinsing and washing procedure as mentioned in the Two color method.

Gradient Dyeing Method:

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Wind the yarn into a ball instead of a hank before soaking. Soak it as a ball in the same solution, and squeeze out the water once it has soaked.
Fill pot on stove with water (you can use the soak water – I did, but you don’t HAVE to).

Add dye: I used about 40 drops of McCormick dye for a 100 gm ball of yarn

Turn stove burner on low heat (so the water heats up but doesn’t boil – and thus felt – the yarn). Heat water/yarn until the yarn absorbs either all the dye, or almost all the dye (when you’re happy with the outside color, you’re good to go).

Remove ball of yarn CAREFULLY. Place in empty bowl to cool down.

When you go to squeeze out/rinse the ball of yarn, be careful, because the center might still be really hot. I use kitchen tongs to grab and squeeze the first time.

Rinse and wash yarn (I use a little dish soap) and make sure the water runs clear.

Wind into a skein and hang dry (in the sun works the fastest).

Play with pretty yarn 🙂

Please keep in mind that this is just the method that I used. It may not be the “right” way, as I’ve never been trained in dyeing – I basically just do some research and make it up as I go along because I love playing with colors!

Thank you to Wbmommy on Ravelry for asking me, and prompting me to write out this post! I hope it helps someone 🙂

Current Projects, Daily Life, Gardening, Housekeeping, Spinning

I’m still here!!

So, on a completely non-knitting front, I recently got my first spinning wheel!

I took really blurry photos, so just google Ashford Kiwi 2, and you’ll see my wheel 😀

Here’s some of my first wheel spinning, though:

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In other news, the garden is doing really well! Check out the addition of the raised bed and arch! The arch will act like a trellis for the excessive amount of acorn squash that I planted!

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Daily Life

There’s Discussion about Direct Sales Going on in Social Media Right Now..

cosbymemefacebook

There were a couple of very rude articles posted on multiple blogs, and the internet is in a tizzy over the nastiness of one blogger in particular. Before you dismiss what I’m going to say, please hear me out; I’m not going to bash anyone. What i’m posting below is a comment I wrote on a blog post defending direct sales reps.

While I am a “momtrepreneur” myself (not for a DS company – my own), and understand the nature of direct sales companies, I also think that the completely legitimate feelings of people who feel harassed by the continual requests (for parties, sales, etc to be hosted) from consultants need to be accepted as valid. I don’t hate DS consultants, nor do I feel that they are bad people [whose goal is] to exploit others.

The reality, however, is that many people do not want to buy these products for a variety of reasons. I understand that you can “just say no” but it gets old to “just say no” to the very large number of people who continually request the hosting of sales parties. Direct sales is a trend right now, so as a result I know many consultants for the same companies. Saying no to one doesn’t guarantee that another consultant from the same company won’t ask you [for the same thing you just turned down]. It gets to a point where I feel guilty for saying no – to a product I don’t want, need, or have the disposable income to pay for.

I am genuinely sorry for the hurt feelings caused by the rude articles, as I feel that intelligent adults should express themselves with much more intelligence and respect, and without name calling. To some extent however, the core message is something that needs to be expressed: I’m tired of getting asked to spend money on direct sales companies. Saying no does not prevent me from getting added to Facebook groups, getting requests for parties from consultants i’ve met both personally and professionally, and it doesn’t keep me from being made to feel guilty or like a bad friend just because I don’t want or need to spend money on non-essentials.

I have no doubts that these companies work, and that many of the consultants are genuine individuals trying to support their families. I simply am tired of just saying no.

So here’s the deal.

If you want to be a direct sales rep, good for you! Please also respect that if I want to purchase something I’ll come to you. Really. I will.

Also – did you notice the Cosby meme? Let’s lighten up, please! This isn’t a life or death matter, it certainly won’t affect my eternal soul, and it doesn’t sum up my views on feminism. It also doesn’t make me a “momtrepreneur” hater.

Blog, Crochet, Current Projects, Daily Life, De-Stashing yarn, Housekeeping, Knitting

Progress!!

No Photos yet, but I just wanted to share my progress with you!!

This morning I frogged 8 WIPS!!! I also re-arranged my WIPs so I can see what I really have left.

So, that’s a big deal.

Also, last night I finished and blocked my first shawl ever, wove in the ends on a second shawl, a sweater, and a blanket, and i’m really excited! I’m on a roll here – I’m really enjoying finishing up projects, because I have such a super huge list of things I want to make.

It’s actually really freeing to look at a project, realize you’re really not interested, not going to make it, and to just frog it!

My de-stash is going well too. I’ve given away over 8lbs of yarn, which means I’ve probably gotten rid of over 5,000 yds.

Destash totals (I only tally yardage once a project is 100% finished, including blocking and weaving in ends):

April 2015 (so far): -1,165 yds

YTD Yards Used: -9,371

YTD Yards bought: +4,000

Net Yds: -5,371 (woo hoo!!)

Blog, Crochet, Daily Life, Food Allergies, Knitting, Parenting

Perspective

de-stash415

Today has been one of those uber busy, non-creative, mom is running errands type of days.

Little Bear had to go to the allergist (food allergies! yay!!..), which went amazingly well, I mailed out some de-stash yarn, which was a total plus (hooray for more space!!), and then had lunch with my mama… before going food shopping.

Plenty of normal everyday type stuff, but then I received an e-mail from a hospital I asked about making baby hats for, and was told that the need lapghans/small afghans for cancer patients, and those undergoing chemo treatments. It kind of puts things in perspective, when you realize that those who are stuck in the hospital with a prolonged illness would love to have the day I just had.  I’m tired, but they’re exhausted from fighting for their lives.

Guess my day was pretty good after all – I got to spend it with a happy, smiling Little Bear, and got to see my mama!

Tomorrow is surgery day, so I won’t be around tomorrow, and likely won’t be around for a couple days after that. Prayers are welcome (it’s just a minor hernia repair – nothing crazy!), as always.

Current Projects, Daily Life, Housekeeping

Flash Your Stash 2015

A few years ago a tradition of “flashing your stash” was created, and if you weren’t aware of it before, it can be a really fun way to keep track of the yarn & projects you have. It’s kind of like spring cleaning for knitting and crocheting people, especially since we seem to be prone to amassing large quantities of yarn without realizing it, because it’s just so darn pretty!

Here’s my stash flash for this year:

Sport-super bulky

WIP&Fabric

SF1

SF2

So. Obviously something needs to change. I’ve already come to that realization (see the post below about changes being made over this summer), but doing this stash flash confirmed it for me. I’ve obviously gotten into the habit of just buying yarn because it’s pretty, starting projects, and not finishing very many of them. These aren’t really character traits I want to be known for; I would rather be someone who exercises self control, and finishes what she starts. Therefore, I will be working SOLELY from what is in these pictures for the foreseeable future. There’s absolutely no rational reason why I shouldn’t use what I have and finish the projects I’ve already started. I’m really excited to show you all progress photos as these goals are achieved!!

Have you done a stash flash yet this year? What does it look like, and what did you learn from it?

Daily Life

I Could Never be a Writer..

Writers have to believe in their own work; this includes writers of books, plays, movies, songs, etc. Often I read a portion of a poorly written book and wonder about who the author is as a person. How did they get to the point of creating this book, and what are their dreams and aspirations?

What inspires someone to write a book without having it proofread first?

What inspires a lyricist to create a sappy love song for someone else to sing and take credit for?

How do authors spend enormous amounts of time and effort on books and then sit back and watch the books be offered for little to no money? I’m sure I wouldn’t any work of mine to be sold so cheaply!

Along the lines of the first statement I made, writers have to believe in their own work. How does one become satisfied with writing cheap and tawdry harlequin romances, or the teenage equivalent, which has become so prevalent and popular among the youth of today? I have to assume at some point, these authors read a book that inspired them to write – they must have seen the way someone else crafted words and been amazed and awestruck; what was the path that transformed them from these starstruck “wannabe” authors to those who will write anything as long as it sells?

I could never be a writer.

Too often I read books and laugh because I would be so embarrassed for my work to be continually republished and reread if it was written so poorly.

I could never be a writer.

I’ve never grasped the idealism, terminology, and use of cliche that seems to be the desired and accepted norm of today’s literature (if you even call it literature).

I could never be a writer.

 

Current Projects, Daily Life, Designing, Knitting, Paid Crochet Pattern, Paid Knitting Patterns, Promotions, Reviews

Indie Design Gift Along 2014

I know i’ve been bad about posting regularly on here, but there’s a good reason! I’ve been preparing for the Indie Design Gift Along on Ravelry!! <– that’s a link to the Ravelry group. You should go check it out now. It’s ok, I’ll wait.

waiting….

Ok, you’re back now, and you realize how fantastically awesome this is going to be?!

(for those of you silly people who didn’t go check it out, here’s a brief rundown)

Do you know what that means?! That means almost 300 designers are having a massive sale together! That’s 3,822 patterns that are on sale. And then, as if that weren’t enough, we get to all have a massive knit along/crochet along to make christmas gifts together!

So. Much. Happy.

Must knit All. The. Things.

*sigh* I know I won’t be able to make all the things, but guess what? I get to include my designs in the sale!! You know how I said i’ve had a good reason for being AWOL? Check out the new patterns I was getting tested and published:

BWIS KPSIS Whalecowledited_small2

These are (from left to right): Black Walnut Infinity Scarf, Karen: A Puff Stitch Infinity Scarf, and A Whale of A Cowl

(aka examples of how my photography skills have improved *facepalm*) These patterns and more will be part of the sale (that starts in just 2.5 hours, at 8 pm EST – I’m so excited!! There’s a countdown clock here, I keep looking at it!)

So, what can you expect from me through the end of the year? Interviews with designers, project photos, me squealing with joy when someone has interviewed me and I feel like the most legit designer ever, and just generally a lot of yarn-y goodness!

 

p.s – like my new logo?!

 

Current Projects, Daily Life

Scheduling

Say that with a British accent, please, as that’s how it sounded in my head when I wrote it!

I’m the kind of person who likes to have checklists, spreadsheets of projects, and timelines for what i’m working on. I guess you could say that makes me a nerd, but I like to have everything i’m going to be working on laid out, especially if I have multiple large projects going on. Want to see what my current timetable looks like? (it’s totally unreasonable, and is in the process of being revised..)

Current Timetable

So, this is my brain. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start! These are all intended to be finished before Christmas (there’s actually a couple small items missing here, but that’s because they’re small, and can be worked in 1-2 days each, such as stuffed animals, mug cozies, phone cases, etc).

 

Highlights for right now:

Remember the HPKCHC group on Ravelry? They’re super good for inspiring me to keep deadlines, by offering imaginary points for finishing projects 🙂

For the next two days, i’m finishing a colorwork mitten test knit, which shall be revealed.. eh, probably Wednesday or Thursday – once I get all the ends woven in.

Am I the only one who makes spreadsheets? My favorite part is going to be highlighting/filling in the cells once I accomplish these projects!

Current Projects, Daily Life, Designing, Free Knitting Pattern, Knitting

New free pattern coming soon

It’s fall! Well, sort of. I’m so excited for knit and crocheted accessories! I’m working on a bulky mitt recipe/pattern and just had to share my progress! I’m using patons colorwul, and I adore it. I’ve never used it before, but it is my new favorite mitt/mitten making yarn!

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Sorry for the fuzzy phone pic- I’ll take good ones when they’re done, promise!