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.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A few results

A few bumps of fiber out of the pot, starting with some overdyeing with indigo:

A single dip of indigo by itself:

A llama/merino blend that had a dusty color that wasn't crazy about pre-dyeing, but its much improved now.

Here, I got some help with the indigo pot from my good friend Emanuela, she carefully dipped for me while I snapped away trying to capture the color change. When you dye with indigo its important to not introduce oxygen (or air bubbles in this case) into the prepared vat, the indigo will react with the oxygen when the fiber or fabric is removed from the vat and the air hits it and then fiber changes from a yellowish/green color to blue. Maybe you can see the yellow/green color change near the pot-its tough to photograph because the fiber has to be pressed to the side of the pot while its being pulled out or else it will drip heavily into the vat and there will be too much oxygen in your pot which will inhibit proper dyeing.

Here is our pot towards the end of our dyeing for that day. Stinking like rotten eggs with a yellowish green color on the top-this is when it started leaning too much towards yellow and the pot went off and was not giving us much color at this point. A good time to take a break.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The usual suspects

I've been dyeing a lot lately with the usual, the logwoods (purple and grey), quebracho red, madder and fustic. I tried myrobalan for the first time with less than spectacular results-it is supposed to make a nice teal color when overdyed with indigo.

I've done a lot of fiber, a little handspun. From left to right there these were dyed with: fustic, madder, myrobalan and I think more myrobalan. Myrobalan is a fruit pod from a tree that grows primarily in the foothills of the Himalayas, or so says my natural dye extract handbook. A better dyer than I could coax a clearer color perhaps. To be fair the skein of handspun was a tan merino with a fawn/white llama blend and it was dusty colored to begin with. It came out looking just plain dirty in the end-and I am pretty much enchanted with anything that is stained with grass or has a grape juice spill on it-Ooh! Naturally dyed! But this color was just bleah.

When colors begin to feel expected and bleah, I know its time for some excitement-enter indigo! I have mentioned before my absolute LOVE of indigo, the magical process of watching the colors change as you dip and remove the fiber from the vat (indigotin reacts with oxygen and it is the oxygen hitting the fiber than changes it from, an exciting but temporary, yellow/green to blue as its lifted out of the dye pot. The process requires two hands, making it tough for a single person to both dye and photograph at the same time. The smell of indigo is so funky, its that rotten egg/sulfur kind of smell that makes your kids cry and not eat dinner. But it brings out my inner bruja and I love how difficult and mysterious the process can be-sometimes I have NO idea what is going on in that pot or how to fix an off pot of indigo. Tonight I accidentally boiled my pot (you are NOT supposed to do this as it introduces oxygen into the vat) but what do you know, not 15 minutes later the surface of the pot looked perfect and it improved the results I was getting.
The past few days I have been sticking anything that was yellow or had any kind of red in it into this pot. Myrobalan-in you go! I don't think it will be teal, but it can't look worse! I dipped a medium brown roving that I'm hoping will be kind of black-ish. There is a bunch drying on the line now in the dark and I'll have to get a peek at in the morning. The wool below is several white, merino cross fleeces along with some odds and ends (a little white blue faced leister) that I had blended into an enormous loose roving. This is the result of a single dip.
To the left of the blue roving is more of the dusty merino/llama blend dyed first with fustic and dipped a single time in indigo. To the left of the green roving are the two skeins of handspun, both the dirty myrobalan and the madder orange. There will be close ups and more indigo to come. I have threatened once already and am tempted to now go and dip my cat. I think it would vastly improve her color.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Crafting Something Cuter

Not only should I be ashamed of posting pictures of the shockingly ugly socks I am making, but maybe something bad should even happen to me for leaving the ugly pictures up for so long. So now, lets pretend I never said that last thing and just move on.

I woke up early Sunday morning and could not go back to sleep and so my day began in a peaceful way for a change. I am usually clinging to that last bit of weekend sleep and warm blanket goodness until the last moment, likely around 6:45am. Oh, sleeping in. Someone tell me I will know it again someday. But, waking early always has its perks, I got in a little work on my new project. I did a better job on knitting the cap this time, not that one can see the cap under the hair but I didn't like the misshapen caps I knit in the past. Of course, one is supposed to crochet these things but learning to crochet with mohair yarn is easier said than done. One day I will learn the proper way but for now I've pushed that day back a bit since I realized I can cast on about 35-40 stitches on size 8 needles and then just knit a cap of mohair yarn, decreasing as I go along until it is the proper shape.

Yes, we are having neck issues again but I dragged this head around with me today and sewed in some more hair and fussed with the neck/head shaping and I think I've got it a little closer to where I'd like it. Sadly, there is a doll making class this weekend that could likely solve my problems but I don't think I'll be able to make it. When I realized I couldn't go I got frustrated and started this new doll, I've fallen a little bit in love with the (many) imperfections of her features, as usual. J said she looked "blobby," which, is possibly a compliment, don't you think?