Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fiber Expo!

Today we went to Fiber Expo with some friends.  That was us, the group with the four little kids!  ;) We like to look at all the animals.

Anyway, it was awesome, though I never get to browse as long I'd like, I even managed to purchase some things, though not everything on my list.

My list: small lap looms - under 6" - (didn't see any), wool yarn for warp I could dye (lots of choices but nothing was perfect), and Michigan sourced dyeable roving (I got some! a BFL/coopworth blend.)

I also got some jewel toned locks of long wool, and some black striped roving (2 oz each, orange and teal).

roving and locks
mine mine mine

And now, this is the part of the show where I feature some vendors I thought worth seeking out:

Color Bug Yarns I loved three colorways, and being unable to choose, I ended up not buying anything! :(

Bricolage Studios Her yarn and jewelry are amazing. Also, she shared a booth with the excellent Hands and Notions, from whom I bought some fiber at Maker Faire this summer.

Happy Fuzzy Yarn. Very cool stuff, lots of hand dyeing.

The Counting Sheep Farm Carded batts and hand-dyed fiber.

Friday, October 22, 2010

on roving presentation

When I started in this business (well, that sounds silly! I still feel like I'm starting in this business) I thought that braiding roving was the way to present it for sale.

But a friend set me on the path of using the crochet chain method instead, and I've not looked back.  First of all, it's easier!  Instead of holding three strands for the braid, you only have to work with one.

But, compare this same piece of roving done up both ways.


roving in a braid


roving in a chain

Apart from the convenience from my point of view, it's easier to undo as well.  It also shows the how the piece was dyed.  For instance, this particular roving progresses from blue/green to pink/purple, but when it's in a braid, you can't tell that.  Also, it's a more compressed form, so that you can store more roving in the same place (which is important for me; I'm a bit of a roving hoarder).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dyed and Carded

First, the carded batts. I finished up carding up my spare merino rovings; I had some (most dyed myself, but one or two purchased) that I was subsequently less than happy with, and I broke them up and carded them... and I just did this week the last 10 oz of that, 4 oz into a rainbow batt (well, pink to blue), below:

rainbow batt
it's a shade of red that refuses to photograph!

And 6 oz into 2 batts each of these fall colors (somehow, it was most brown and yellow left over, and the other is that same red and pink as in the rainbow):

three batts
well, the color isn't right. :P

Although, they look better than the picture suggests, they're not the world's most appealing things, however, I am planning on using them; I'm just debating how.

Plan A is to divide the batts into quarters, then each quarter in thirds, and for one ply spin 3 red, 3 yellow, 3 brown (4 times) and the second ply spin 2 red, 3 yellow, 3 brown, then 3 red, 3 yellow, 3 brown, and tack the last red on the end.  Plan B is to divide the batt into eighths and spin one ply 2 red, 2 yellow, 2 brown (etc) and spin the other 1 red, 2 yellow, 2 brown, 2 red, etc... 1 red.  Yeah.

Most exciting is this falkland roving I dyed a few days ago.

falkland roving, green and purple
everything's coming up irises!

It's not a new technique, but not one I'd done before.  I made the roving into a spiral in a roasting pan and poured the dye on.  I didn't have the water hot enough to start so there was a bit more spreading than I'd hoped, but I'm fairly happy with it.

In effect, it means there are larger areas of dye on one end then at the other, but the same colors are throughout.  Although the roving is in a crochet chain for easier handling, you can see that better here:

roving, laid flat
purple side = center, green = outside edge

I can only say that this only reinforces my desire to do more dyeing, especially as my neglected dye stocks are getting weird. (They're gelling, I think is the term.  It goes away when they are warmed up, but still, it's odd).

Also, I need to find more time to spin.  Hopefully after this week I can start to work it in.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Crafts of the Past - Blue Hat!

I'm just featuring this because I found a neat picture of the yarn on my old blog:

blue yarn with teeth
artistic, no?

That is a cast of my teeth before I had braces.  Also, this is apparently the first yarn I spun on my current spinning wheel, so, that neat, too.

I dyed 4 oz of superwash/nylon roving, half light blue, half dark blue.  The colors were carded together so they sat side by side in batts:


Then the batts were unrolled stretched out into a roving like substance, so the colors still were side by side.  Then spun and made into the two ply yarn above.

Then knit with my go to pattern for hats: Jared Flood's Turn a Square.

blue hat
well, it's a bit big on me.

And, this shows you the neat shaping details of the decreases.  These details really show up best with stripes, for which the pattern was designed.

flat hat
you see the square?

This was made in the fall of last year, so I'm not going to reminisce much about that time in my life!  This hat became a Christmas present, and I haven't seen it since.