Sunday, November 27, 2011

Outside the Comfort Zone

Ok I admit that I have 3lbs of Ramboulliet from the 2010 Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival, but I couldn't wait to get spinning on this fiber I bought from Rhinebeck.  I instructed my BKFF, Mary to make me step out of  my comfort zone and get colors that I don't usually get.  This meant no purples or blues.  I can't remember if this is Alpaca or Merino, but it is spinning up like a dream.  I purchased 8oz and plan on two-plying it to have more yardage and a finer yarn.  I see a nice shawlette or scarf.  This color will look great against my purple coat.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pennsylvania Alpaca

Finally got to ply up the Pennsylvanie Alpaca that I bought a few summers ago when I visited my BFF, Lori.  I ended up with about 476 yards of fingering weight yarn.  It should be enough to knit up the Lazy Day Lace Shawl pattern I found on  I love the chocolate brown.  As you can see, I had to improvise with some alternatives for bobbins.  I was asking everyone I knew for coffee cans, oatmeal and bread crumb containers and even the paper towel rolls.  They will come in handy later for spinning up the three pounds of Rambo that I still haven't started.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sapphire Bliss - Fingerless Mitts

In a previous you saw some beautiful blue merino from Ashland Bay. This is the final project with some yarn left over. This easy and free pattern from Ravelry was knit up on size one needles. The mitts were pretty tight, but I prefer that the mitts hug my hand. If I ever make more more larger hands, I will use a larger needle or alter the pattern. I loved how the colorway had some purple hues in it. This will go great with my violet pea coat for the winter. I also discovered through Picasa an application called "Picnik" which gives me some really cool framing options.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Debbie Does Dyeing..........

Once upon a time, a young woman wanted to learn to spin. She bought lots of nice fiber, one of which was not dyed. It was her hope one day that she would learn to dye and create something beautiful.

Here is the story:

First she placed the beloved merino/mohair fiber into a vinegar and water soak for 30 minutes. She used 1 cup of vinegar to one quart of water.

While the soak was processing, she then took these extremely expensive, hard to get ingredients, along with the same sophisticated equipment and mixed up her lovely dyes (aka grape, lime, and orange kool-aid). She used one packet of kool-aid mixed with 2/3 cup of vinegar.

Once the soak was done, she drained as much water out of the pot until the water just covered the fiber and placed it on the stove until just under a boil. Water boils at 212 degrees and she used another sophisticated tool (meat thermometer) to get the water to about 135-140 degrees.

Using a serving spoon she carefully added the dye from the darkest to lightest in the pot. She didn't have to use a lot, as a little goes a long way (about half the prepared dye mixture). When she added the dye, she then put the heat down to medium, covered then simmered for 30 minutes.

After the 30 minutes was up, she used this sophisticated tool to drain some water out of the mixture. As you can see, the water is clear which means the fiber has completely soaked up the dye.

And here is the progress so far. It is now in the cooling stage. In about 2-3 hours, it will be rinsed out and laid flat to dry.


I would like to thank my friend, Mary, for giving me the inspiration to dye
and for for providing me with the videos for instruction.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sapphire Bliss

This 4 ounce sapphire colorway was purchased online at Diva Knitting ( A really nice merino wool from Ashland Bay Trading Company. I loved the blue colorway. I split the roving once, then each strip twice more. My goal was to spin it up as thin as I could. In doing this, I learned that in order to spin up thin fiber, you have to have a very tight twist. What I did as I spun was to pump my wheel five or six times before I let it pull onto the bobbin. When I plyed it, I found that I should have pumped the wheel a couple more times. There were some areas of underplying where the spun yarn came apart. This was also my third attempt at chain plying. I learned that if I "grab and pull" halfway rather than the plyed yarn all the way at the orifice causes the ply to run more smoothly with little breakage. I am proud of what I came up with which was about 160-170 yards of yarn in a fingering weight. I'm not sure what I'll do with this. I might just see if it matches the bronze/copper/gold colorway yarn in the previous post to see what I can come up with.
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Had Some Extra Money Left Over

On my recent trip to the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival back in April 2010, my goal was to spend my money on a large amount of fiber in order to make a large project. I was able to fulfil this goal. I had about $8.00 left over and wanted to get as much fiber as I possibly could. Right before we left, I found this. It was two ounces of merino and I was not crazy about the color. Another goal was to step out of my comfort zone and get different colors or I wouldn't have even considered this colorway.

When I was going through the fiber a few days ago, I came across this and thought it would be a great fiber to spin up and practice my navajo plying on the wheel. I was amazed at the colors this fiber was producing as singles. I ended up with 70 yards of fingering weight yarn of the nicest gold/copper/bronze colorway. Now what to do I do with the yarn. The yardage doesn't give me much of a choice, but maybe this would be great to make some booties for my newborn neice, Alexandria. I might even use this as an embellishment or edging for another project. The prospects are limitless.
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