My mother was great crafter, sewer, quilter and crocheter. In addition to making all of us beautiful quilts, scrubbies to use in the kitchen, and painting objects, she loved to make crocheted snowflakes for the Christmas tree. I have many of her snowflakes, so when I saw this book at the Japanese grocery store the other day, I knew that I had to have it.
Lovely colors and shapes.
This idea of putting a snowflake on a pair of felted mittens really appeals to me.
Hopefully the class that I took from Donna Druchanus on knitting with Japanese pattern books will help me to decipher these patterns also.
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After seeing how easy maggie’s dyeing was, and also seeing samples from another friend Kate, I was anxious to try something myself at home. My collection of marigolds is not quite big enough, but the front yard was bursting with Black-eyed Susans. Reading about them, it looked as if they would give some good color. First I set about collecting the flowers and boiling them, letting them set all night, then simmering for 2 hours.
Next, I did the same with the leaves
Before dyeing the skein of yarn, and later 2 sections of fiber (unfortunately I had not marked the fiber content, so do not know what kind of wool it was), each group was soaked for 20 minutes in an Alum bath. Then soaked in the dye bath.
Here are my results from the skein of ear, using the flower tops. Kind of bland, especially compared to what I dyed earlier in the week.
This photo is of the 2 sections of roving one dyed with the flowers, and one with the leaves. Negligible difference in either, and again, kind of bland looking. I believe that the roving on the right was from the leaves, just a tad bit more yellow in it. I am thinking that I will spin this test up, and then overdye it later.
Moral of the story is that it is not as simple as I thought. I have some books on order from the library. Also, will be taking a natural dyeing class this month at Vogue Knitting Live.
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After last weekend dyeing at the soon-to-be Sugar Beet Coop, Maggie invited a few people over to her house to dye some yarn, and use more of the Indigo. First I took some lovely angora blend sock yarn, and dyed it in the Indigo. I love this color, the look of blue jeans in the softest of sock yarns.
Unfortunately, the color is rubbing off on my hands, and has diluted a bit. I need to see if I can overdye it again, and get something to set the color better.
The other yarn that I took to dye was some nondescript Merino, imported from China, that was given to me years ago. I never had much interest in working with it.
That is until now! Here is one of the skeins dyed in Weld I think, again thanks to Maggie. Look at that beautiful, rich color.
Next, my own experiments.
It is not that I do not have enough yarn, or already prepared fiber. 3 years ago, I went to the Midwest Fiber and Folk Festival, and I stayed overnight in Grayslake, with the intention of visiting Gretta’s Goats at Prairie Crossing, where they part of an incubator farm at the time. They have since purchased a new farm, a couple of hours west of here, with a lot more goats too. While getting the tour of the goats, Gretta had this fiber for sale, 1st lamp clipping from Violet, a Pygora (Pygme/Angora cross breed) who produced the wonderfully soft fiber that I will process and spin (hopefully).. I purchased it, and it has been sitting in a bag ever since.
Last year I took a spinning class from Deb Robson in Wisconsin, and she gave us this scouring and wool wash. I have been keeping it until I could put it to good use.
So, I know that I most likely did many things wrong thus far. I did have the fiber pulled away from the running water, but now know that I should have had multiple bins of water and transferred the fiber over. The scouring soap worked well, getting out a ton of dirt. There is still some VM in there, but carding will hopefully take care of that.
When I set it outside to dry, I was afraid that I had totally ruined it, seemed felted. I tried pulling the fiber masses out. We left for dinner, and I woke up this morning thinking that this was an expensive mistake.
However, it is a gorgeous day, probably the last really warm day of this year. The sun and air are drying it nicely and it seems to be fluffing up.
My drying rack is my sweater screen suspended between 2 outdoor chairs. If I do pursue this again, something more suited would be good. PVC rack perhaps? I do have my Mom’s old PVC quilting frame in the attic, that just might work…
I also need to make a plug for Gretta’s Soaps. I absolutely love them, and often gift them to others. Give them a try, check out her Etsy shop.
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My mild foray into dyeing yesterday inspired me to look at what I had in my own back yard.
This was not the year for tomatoes. But kale, green beans, swiss chard, and our Heritage Marigolds all did splendidly. My husband is a sucker for a plant that says heritage, and planted these marigolds to help with keeping the bad bugs at bay.
Normally, they would be the small version, these top out at about 4′ tall! Beautiful, but they are shading my tomatoes and peppers.
We have had such great pollinators visiting first the native plant gardens, and now the marigolds. The Monarch butterflies have loved the marigolds also. Notice the pollinator on the left side in the next photo.
So, when you have lots of lemons, make lemonade. When you have lots of marigolds, cut the flowers for a future dyeing experiment.
I have some others drying in the sun right now.
Taking advantage of the now open space in the back planters for this experiment.
I will continue to collect them for the rest of the Fall, dry them, and save them in a paper bag for a winter dyeing project. Hopefully with a little help from Maggie!
She had a great board showing natural dyes on different fabrics.
People brought in fabrics and clothing to be dyed. First the fabric was wetted.
Then immersed in the indigo dye vat.
It comes out looking green, but as she let the areas become exposed to oxygen, they turned the beautiful indigo color.
Here is the raw silk fabric that I dyed, we used clips to keep parts of it from accepting the dye.
And also at the event was Martha, whom I had met at YarnCon earlier in the year, teaching about spinning and fibers.
If you want to find out more about what Maggie is working on, check out this exhibit that she is working on.
A great birthday this week, including 3 dinners out, 3 lunches with friends and this great collection of gifts.
My husband got me this lovely sheep pin:
A friend gave me these plates (Michigan is my beloved home state), these will become our regular appetizer plates.
And another friend gave me these beautiful soap, lotion and lavender from France of course!
Poodles and Paris are two of my favorite things, my birthday twin from Ravelry got it spot on. Every year a group of knitters born on September 22nd come together to trade names and buy each other gifts. These are my favorite packages to open, as other knitters truly get it. This year was very special indeed, my partner zeroed in on the theme of Poodles and Paris.
This pattern for Poodle themed mittens
This pattern for Eiffel Tower mittens (along with an Eiffel Tower miniature and Eiffel Tower note cards). Both mittens came with Daletta yarn from Dale of Norway to knit them up with (one of my favorite yarns).
And then there were 2 skeins of sock yarn, a skein of lace weight yarn, almonds, and chocolates of course. No need to ask why I love opening these presents.
It seems as if I have taken a summer hiatus from spinning. I think being gone a lot, coupled with the really amazing weather where I would rather be outside, kept me away from my wheels.
I finally finished plying up this fiber from Julie Spins. I initially started the spinning mid-March, and am just now finishing. I had put this on my Spin-the-Bin challenge. Not sure that I will finish everything, but I am making progress.
I ended up with 534 yards of 2 ply from a 5-6 ounce braid. During the plying process, I was afraid that it was all going to be muted blues. But when skeined up, it took on these beautiful subtle colors.
And I finished spinning AND plying this Merino/Bamboo/Nylon from River’s Edge Fiber Arts, it is so incredibly soft. 198 yards of 2 ply. This was purchased 3 years ago at the Wisconsin Sheep & wool Festival, about time it was spun up.
This yarn is to coordinate with Baby Ria’s sweater. The plan is to put the iCord edging on with this pink. I thought that using the variegated from the body would not look as good. And, I should have enough to make a cute matching hat. The sweater had been on hold until I finished spinning this edging yarn. Need to get it out before she grows too much more, we measured her late July.
Not long into the project, I realized that my gauge was way off, and most importantly, I would not have enough yarn to make the sweater. Yet, I loved the way this knit up with the garter stitch, and so posed the question of a good top down garter stitch pattern that I could use. My friend Jane suggested the February Lady Sweater. It is knitting up nicely, and I recently took it off the needles to test for size, easy since this is a top-down sweater, and opted to add some more increases and then the straight rounds. When I get to the lace bottom part, I will use the semi-solid shown above, with the garter strip banding continuing in the variegated.