Cherry Bomb Baby

I live in a pile of bricks with a fire puter-outer, a Halloween enthusiast and a pretend lemur, who sometimes admits to being my second son. I have a kitchen for flowers. I know all the lyrics to the Spiderman theme song and (am forced to) sing it everyday. I cook with color. This was a blog mostly about yarn spinning and natural dyeing. Now, it is fair to say, it lacks direction entirely.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Here is the pure Rita roving that Sandy from Homestead parted with for me! The center was dyed with logwood grey exhaust, it is barely dyed at all. I thought of overdying it again but I think I'll be blending these up and the white/barely grey will lend a little brightness. Then from the top is cutch, pomegranate, que red, more cutch, madder, wattle and more pomegranate.
Easter egg colors, I was going through all the used dye baths I had a while ago when I did these, just trying to wring out the last of the color and get all the shades possible.

Inspired by Pluckyfluff's beenie mania, I got inspired with some recently washed suri alpaca (right) handdyed (yeah, yeah, synthetic) silk bits, pom dyed merino (from above) and went to town.

I made three little batts, roughly like this. One with distinctly more merino and the other two with a base of alpaca. I've been doing lots of alpaca blends lately with Sandy's rescue roving, they contain wool from her sheep and alpaca from an alpaca rescue farm. When thinking about the twist to crimp ratio it gets a little sticky in my mind for merino and alpaca to be blended this way. Merino is very crimpy and according to some theories, that means it is best spun with higher twist to match the crimp. Alpaca, has no crimp and is best spun with low twist (I naturally excel at this!), enough to hold the single together and no more. Well, what about when they are mixed 50/50? My blend is primarily alpaca, so its pretty clear about how it wants to be spun. I carded minimally so I could have a kooky (but hopefully wearable) textured yarn. It wants to be a hat.

I carded and started spinning these one afternoon while waiting for Baby J to wake up. I had to pick the quietest and most easily put down activity I could find. I'm spinning these up, when the fancy strikes, on my ashford drop spindle. Its the heavy one, I've heard it called the boat anchor. It was my first spindle and for the longest time I never knew differently-I had only one and I was determined to only need one. Now I'm shopping for a new one, not actively, but passively in my mind. I'm determined to come across one at a wool festival someday, something medium smallish and beautiful and hand crafted.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Here are bundles of border leister/alpaca rescue roving. Quebracho red, fustic, madder in two concentrations. They were pretty together-the fustic really comes out looking greenish from afar-here its in the bottom right pretending to be yellow. So, it looks alright so far, yes?

Well, wait till you start spinning. Its felt super compressed and difficult to draft, really it was almost yucky to spin. I didn't get very far before I gave up,

And moved on! To the drumcardermobile! Now this is a different story, its lofty and airy again. At first, I worried that I partially felted this fiber but it really just needed to be pulled apart a little. Wow-I loved carding this. It was so easy and such a thick, bouncy batt to pull off. I carded these through only once (it was already a well carded roving) and I didn't want to blend the colors too much. I know this will be a muted yarn color wise, first it has brown to begin with as a natural color in it and i'm spinning it fairly thin so I can ply it as a 2 ply. So, muted yes. If I carded twice through I think it would have turned brown before my eyes.

Sometimes yarn itself feels like an FO to me. But an FO that still is utter possibility. Batts are starting to be that way now too. This was a simple one but I'm starting to enjoy the mixing of texture/colors more and more. Some folks have little bowls and hooks for their art yarns, but lately I'm often ready to take it back further and just pet the batt.

These dyed samples were from a class at the University of California's Botanical Garden. They have a fiber and dye exhibit going on now if you are in the bay area. And if you are reading this you must be, ok, or Minneapolis. The fabric is all peace silk and the blue is cabbage (red or purple I don't quite remember.), yellow is turmeric, the washed out looking one is hennah but with some resist squares so a lot of it was white, and the pink/orange is madder. IRL it looks orange, I took this outside but the color did not photograph true. The yarns are wool and the purple is alkanet and the orange is madder and yellow turmeric again. I can't remember what that red one was. It was a very basic intro class and used mostly vegetables and spices, etc. but I saw some Deep Color folks there! Yay!

Finally, some random knitting I began. This is going to be the Vested Interests vest (scroll down) by Little Turtle Knits. Its Blue Sky cotton and just a lot of left over balls from other baby projects past. All apart of the grand de-stashing project I pay lip service to once in a while. Seriously, I've got to stop starting new projects and just finish something. In all fairness, I have finished somethings and I'm in progress on others. I've got to put down the wheel and spindle and pick up the needles.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Here and there

Realizing that I have yet to finish washing all the colored Romney I bought from Homestead, I embarked once more. I'm almost done with Carl now, the last of the sheep I've got to bathe. His locks are varied, some are dark brown (these parts have some more neps) and others are filled with greys. Card a little, spin a little is the recipe for happiness with these. Looking at the silvery locks spun up I think they could be pretty overdyed. I've been wanting to overdye some light brown and grey yarn. I think can finish the rest in one more batch. Then I have only a little more unwashed suri alpaca to tackle.

Decidedly NOT natural dyed is this green yarn. I spun this from some hand dyed top I traded for with Jacey of Insubordiknit last summer. I started spinning it without a plan, for the love of green, and it sat for a while neglected. I picked it up again just wanting to finish it off and spun the rest fairly differnetly than I had begun it, resulting in some highly twisted parts and some loftier low twist sections. It was total Project Runway spinning, a combination effort of spinning while watching seasons 3 and 4-damn you Heidi! That is my excuse. But, I think its going to be totally pretty knit up! The lofty little poofs always look pretty in stockinette. I'm thinking of making my own Johnny Depp tribute hat. (You've got to scroll near to the bottom-but its a totally fun read all the way down.) I don't know if I could rock this green of a hat, maybe if I got the aviator glasses to go with it. Fierce? Or insane? Maybe somewhere in between.

Redeeming itself from the last photo is the light purple from the first logwood purple. Here it is washed, and feeling fluffier.
Fustic in back and pomegranate in front.

Wattle in back and madder in front.
Logwood purple and logwood greys. This is 3 separate tops braided together. The logwood grey has a very purple tinge. I LOVE these. And I'm not one of those purple people.
More rescue roving, this is the border leister/suri alpaca, I think the top is pomegranate (I know! Its awful-I lost track, but it might come to me.) And the bottom is madder, the light doesn't do these justice, they look much more similar than they are.
Finally, more quebracho red, the 3rd bath and I think we got what we could from it. This is corriedale/suri alpaca. I'm going to pair this with the same fiber dyed with wattle.

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