Monday, February 8, 2010


I just posted seven new listings in my Etsy shop.  I'm going to show a quick rundown of those things first.  But then, there were two other things I created over the past few days that didn't make it into the shop that I really want to talk about...

First, the new items..

I acquired 20 skeins of washable wool.  Turns out, even though they are washable they are not soft enough for an against-the-skin garment.  However, they would be great for Amigurumi projects.  Amigurumi is the Japanese art of crocheting (or knitting) little figures.

These are usually toys and usually in the shape of animals.  I have also seen food, people, and just about anything else the creator can imagine.  I have personally made a starfish and a hermit crab.  Anyway, I spent all day Thursday and most of Friday playing with the dyes.  In the end I split each skein in half and grouped them into 5 different groups of 4 mini skeins each.

Each of the sampler packs is listed at $17.  I usually charge $18-$22 for a 100 gram skein of my hand painted yarn.  So, for less than I usually charge the customer will get the same 100 grams but in 4 colors.  Not a bad deal.

Then, there are two new High Society Sock Yarns.  I decided to name my sock yarn line "High Society" because a pair of hand knit socks makes your feet feel like a million bucks.  The new colors are:

Now, for the two things I won't be selling...

Unbraided roving

I purchased two braids of undyed Corriadale roving.  I dyed one of them.  Problem is a complete lack of confidence when it comes to dyeing fiber versus yarn.  With yarn, I can see what I am doing as I apply the dye.  When I am "painting" with the dye I wrap each section of the yarn or fiber in plastic wrap.  When I am done dyeing the whole thing I sort of bundle the whole thing up and wrap it again so that there is no leaking.  I tend to use more dye than the yarn or fiber can absorb (I'm working on that as it is a cost as well as aesthetic issue).  So, consequently when I take the bundle out at the end of the heating process it is hard to see the true color of the item through the extra (and now all run together and dark and icky looking) dye.  With yarn, this is not a big problem.  As soon as I free it from the plastic wrap cocoon I can see my work.  A quick rinse later confirms what I already knew.  The yarn is perfect, gorgeous, and exactly what I thought it would be.  With the roving, it's a lot harder to tell.  The colors that I put down first have soaked into the center of the fiber.  The dark mix left at the end has been taken up by many of the outer fibers.  So, the braid that I dyed with purple, black, brown, turquoise, cobalt, green, yellow, orange, fuchsia, and red looked mostly black, brown and dark purple even after the rinse.  

So, I started doubting myself.  I tried peeking into the braid.  I saw some amazing little bits of the colors I had intended.  Even so, I loosened up the braid further.  At this point I was debating whether I wanted to sell this (my first braid I dyed) or spin it myself.  Finally, curiosity got the better of me...

Unbraided and split into quarters

Not only did I unbraid the whole thing, but I also started splitting the fibers down the length of the roving.  First in half, and then again into quarters.  Turns out to be everything I was aiming for.  And more!  Of course, now that it is split I will be spinning it myself.  I just need to remember to trust my instincts with this stuff.  That is easier said than done!

The other item not making it into the shop is my most recent self striping yarn.  This was my first attempt using a frame instead of having the monster skein in long form running from my dining room through the living room to the family room.  With a frame, I can contain it in a small space yet still have the long repeat necessary.  This was also my first attempt at long color changes and subtle changes using a lot of colors.

The skein as dyed. Wet.

Dry.  Re-skeined.

Swatched on size 0, 80 stitches around.

Someone had asked me about a rainbow self-striping sock yarn.  I used 12 colors to get a full color wheel.  But, I did 2 things that I am not happy about.  First, I went down the frame (red, red-orange, and instead of coming back up and reversing the color order, I carried the yarn from the end back up to the beginning.  What this means is that the yarn is directional AND there is this weird bit of all the colors before it starts over again.  Secondly, I had intended to have long color repeats but had a brain fart on the math and they ended up being a third of what I wanted.  On the swatch above it takes 21 rows for the colors to start over again.  It should have been more like 63.  And, had I made the colors non-directional it would have been a whopping 120ish rows.

So, it seems that as in life, dyeing yarn and fiber is a balancing act.  I need to learn to let go a little more and trust myself when it comes to working with fiber.  And at the same time, I need to slow down, check myself, and think through some of the more technical things.

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to see that fibre spun up - it still wants too come and live with me though ;)