Snowy Days

Snowy days and days and days, with a little freezing rain thrown in to the south of us!

snowy view

But with the snow comes lots of time to stay inside and craft so I’ve been very busy this past week.

rainbow dyed

merino top and alpaca blend yarn, hand dyed

Last Friday I dyed some wool and top and yarn. While it was drying I finished spinning some green yarn, plied it and set the twist.

dyed in the wool.

warm and cool primary colors, plus pink+blue=purple

When it was dry I spread it on the table for pictures, but first I had to play peek-a-boo with Sheldon! After the game was done he still was tempted to take a closer look at the wool, but behaved and just looked 🙂

cat peek-a-boo

my eyes are closed…you can’t see me

cat peek-a-boo

can I fit?

Sheldon the cat

hi!

Then I teased some of the purplish wool to remove more of the VM (vegetable matter) that hadn’t come out in the washing.

cat

Can’t I help?

hand processing wool

teased wool and debris

After loading my hand cards with fiber, I found that Sheldon was still watching me!

hand wool processing

Dressing the cards

hand processing wool

carding wool with help

hand processing wool

carded wool

Here are some the rolags (rolls of carded wool) ready for spinning, but I have a lot more carding to do first.

hand processing wool

rolags ready to spin

As I mentioned before we have two black cats. The following pictures will show you how we tell them apart: Sheldon has the crooked ear from the injury he came to the shelter with. Stanley has half of a white whisker (the other half must of broken off during their wrestling matches).  While Stanley can usually be found be found on my husband’s lap and occasionally on mine, Sheldon has to see (closeup) whatever I am doing and shares his lap time with me and our son, while only occasionally my husband, maybe because that lap is already taken by his brother. Both take turns trying to help me spin or knit but are learning that yarn is NOT a chew toy.

cat

Sheldon

spinning yarn

Stanley helping me spin

The yarn that Stanley was helping me spin has now been plied and has formed skeins totaling over 500yds. Time to start spinning the next color/pound of superwash merino. Made more dryer balls today, so those are drying now. I’m thankful for the speed by which things dry during the winter months thanks to the even heat of our wood furnace. So winter does have its advantages!

spun yarn

singles of superwash merino

How do you enjoy winter days?  Anyone a fiberholic too?

When Life Gives You Lemons….

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is something we have all heard I think. But I prefer lemon pie!

So when life gave us snow yesterday (about 8 new inches after having almost all bare ground), I decided to try some snow dyeing! I’ve done it at guild meetings on silk and cotton(using cool temp dyes), but decided to try it with my wool dyes on wool yarn and top.

I pre-soaked my wool in warm water with vinegar added, then lifted on a mesh to drain in my colander.

ready to dye

yarn on wool top

Meanwhile I gathered a bucket of snow, then froze my hands carefully packing it around and on top of the wool, to a depth of about 3 inches, then sprinkled a little more snow on top.

I sprinkled powdered dye carefully on top of the snow, using magenta, teal, and yellow.

They looked so pretty as they started to melt into the snow.

snow dyeing 2

dyes beginning to migrate

The science behind snow dyeing is that as the snow melts, the different components of each dye dissolves and spreads at a different rate,remixing and being carried into the material below it. (Of course there is a pan underneath to catch the run-off.)

snow dyeing 3

After the melt and before hot water bath.

The results; The snow (in the house) melted 🙂 The resulting wool didn’t look anything like I had envisioned (I had gotten carried away and sprinkled way too much dye for the amount of wool I was using.) Since this dye is heat set I placed my lump of wool into a pan of hot water and heated it for about an hour. Lifted carefully by my trusty mesh I then put it into two rinse waters.

drying dyed yarn and top

Actual yarn colors are deep red/burgundy, dark purple, and high-lights of blue

Looking at the dyed snow water drippings, I added those to my heating pan and placed more wool top in to heat. I always try to exhaust all of the dye from the water and sometimes get some interesting shades.

the results of dye exhaust

dye exhaust is a soft purple/mauve

Snow dyeing is fun, but I have more predictable results with my rainbow dyeing and kettle dyeing (unless I’m in the mood to play “mad chemist”, then any unexpected color may appear 🙂