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Archive for the ‘Spinning’ Category

Guess who hit the sale aisle just after Easter and bought several boxes of Easter egg dye for 20 cents a box?

This girl!

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So . . .  when the girls came over we dyed wool using these wonderful little tablets.

It’s pretty similar to dyeing eggs, except I add extra vinegar and use pretty warm water.

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The vinegar and wool does have a pretty strong smell. Although I like it, not all of us think that the smell is so awesome.

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I gave the girls their own roasting pans and put pre-soaked wool into it. They dissolved the tablets in the water and began squirting the colored water onto their wool.

This is just the coolest thing ever, because even though they both used the same exact colors, their wool turned out so different.

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We didn’t worry too much about getting the dye on our hands, we kind of liked it.

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After they were finished with dyeing the wool, I put the roasting pans in the oven on 250 degrees for about 20 minutes. I then dried them on my drying rack until the next day.

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I already love how different each piece of wool is. Aria’s is the blue and Aniyah’s is the lighter colors. The next step for mammy was to spin their creations into yarn.

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After I spun and plied the yarn, I wrapped it on the Niddy Noddy and set it in heat once again.

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When the girls came over I gave them their finished skein of yarn, designed by them.

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“Damascus was your customer because of the abundance of your goods, because of the abundance of all kinds of wealth, because of the wine of Helbon and white wool.   Ezekiel 27:18

 

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Ashley Wolfe Yarns

It all started just before Christmas. My son wanted to take me somewhere special to pick out my Christmas present from him. When we arrived at his friends house and walked in the front door I could not believe what I saw. There was yarn and fiber everywhere! I was like a kid in a candy store-literally!

The rest is history.

Let me introduce you to an amazing artist in yarn. You can find Ashley’s Etsy shop here.

Her blog is here.

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Ashley is an expert at dyeing and spinning yarn. Her exquisite yarn is absolute perfection, creme la de creme of yarns.

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Ashley uses the softest, most yummiest fibers and her finished work is superb. She also sells her lovely organic Polwarth and silk blend fiber in her Etsy shop.

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Ashley will be teaching classes this summer on both spinning and dyeing. You will be sure to find me there learning from the best.

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She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands grasp the spindle. Proverbs 31:19

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Growing up I loved to dye Easter eggs, and then later I remember the fun that my own children had in dyeing the eggs, and now my grandchildren love it.

I decided to see how the Easter egg dye would work on fiber, so I headed to the Dollar General and picked me up a couple of boxes.

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I threw away everything except for the tiny little color pellets.

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I used the dye in two different ways:

The first was to line my counter top with plastic wrap, then lay my presoaked fiber on top of it.  I diluted the color pellets in a bottle with warm water and added about 3-4 tablespoons of vinegar. The vinegar helps to set the color.

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Then I just began squirting the colored water onto the fiber, making sure to soak it all the way through. You can use whatever color pattern you want. Since I was experimenting with this I wanted to make it as colorful as I could.

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You might want to use gloves to protect your hands from turning color. I didn’t use them and this was the result.

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After I was happy with the color I rolled the fiber up into a long snake using the plastic wrap.

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I put the fiber into a colander that had been simmering on the stove over water. I covered it and let it steam for about 20-30 minutes to set the color.

You could also set it in the microwave.

IMG_6713Then I soaked it in warm water.

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I let it dry on my front porch.

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Next, I spun it into yarn.

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The second way I used the Easter egg dye:

I used purchased yarn already rolled into a loose ball, or you could spin your own yarn and roll it into a loose ball. If it is too tight the color will not absorb as well.

I brought water on the stove almost to a boil, adding the same amount of vinegar. I dropped the color pellets into the water but did not stir it, then added my yarn.

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For this yarn, I added one blue pellet and one purple. The yarn absorbs the color slowly, making the outside more colorful and the inside more subdued in color.

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I also did one using just the blue pellets and another that I just used green.

I used 2-3 pellets, depending on how rich you want your color.

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I loved this technique! I loved the variegated look that came from this process.

And by the way, after Easter I was able to pick up several boxes of the dye for 19 cents.

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I will confess that the dye did not set as well as I would of liked. I will heat set it longer next time and probably use more vinegar, but I was still pleased with the end result.

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One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. Acts 16:14

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A New Passion

I have always enjoyed dyeing fabric and matching the fabric and pieces of clothing with color, but I have discovered lately that I really, really love dyeing wool!

I have been experimenting with different dyes, so here are a few that I have been working with.

I have used Kool-Aid for a few years but there are only so many colors you can end up with. However it is the safest way to dye wool so it is what I use to teach my students.

I tried fabric dye and loved how it turned out. I love matching the fiber and the fabric, although the fiber didn’t take the dye as well as I would have liked.

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But my favorite has got to be the acid dyes.

I dye the fiber on the patio just to be safe. I do not want any of this in my home, if you use your oven to set the dye, then you can never use it to cook your food in again. You can not use the dyeing pot for food again either, so I have clearly marked my tools so they will not be used by anyone.

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Something wonderful happens when you use these dyes. I never know exactly what I will end up with. The colors are so vibrant and they mix in such an amazing way, that when you spin your fiber, you end up with such an exciting surprise!

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Here are a few of my finished projects:

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Next on my to do list is dyeing with food coloring and most certainly trying different natural dyes.

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And her hand holds the spindle. Proverbs 31:19b

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The New Family Member

I would like you to meet our new family member, Flora.

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She is an English Angora Rabbit.

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A friend is moving and needed to find a home for her beloved bunny and I was all too happy to take her in.

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Besides all this cuteness, she is an amazing bundle of fur, super soft and fluffy!

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She has the sweetest disposition and we are all smitten with her already.

But there is yet another method to my madness!

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The most beautiful, scrumptious fiber that you will ever lay your hands on!

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Yes, this little beauty gives around 4-5 ounces of fiber a year. I am one happy camper!

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She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. Proverbs 31:13

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Meet Cuddles

My friend Sara has so graciously shared her amazing supply of fibers with me.  Alpaca from Colorado from her treasured source.  

This was my very first experience with fiber, starting from the beginning and working through the steps to completion.

This fiber came from Cuddles the Alpaca and I have to tell you that it feels amazing!

The very first step in preparing the fiber was to shake out all the loose grass and straw, ImageImage

then washing it in very hot water and a mild soap.Image

 

I put it on an old window screen and set it in the sun on my porch to dry.

So Cuddles is now washed and dry and ready for the next step.ImageImage

Handcarding is next, and very time consuming, but I love it!

Carding the fiber combs it and and pulls all the fibers in the same direction and prepares it for spinning. You also catch a lot of the grass and straw that did not come out in the wash.

 

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As you card the fiber, you get rolags and that is what you will spin.Image

 

The next step is to spin! ImageImage

 

Spinning is so wonderful, it is relaxing and I could easily spin an entire day away!

 

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After I spun the fibers, I plied it by using two yarns and spun them together in opposite directions. It makes the yarn stronger and I like the look of a two-ply yarn.

I washed the plied yarn again and hung it on my porch to dry, using a weight at the bottom to pull out any kinks.Image

After it was dry, I wrapped it on the niddy-noddy to make my skein.Image

 

A finished skein of alpaca yarn.  Image

It made 5.8 oz-233 yards of a 2-ply yarn.

I have not knitted anything with it yet, I am still trying to decided what to make.

 

She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle.  Proverbs 31:19

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The Spinning Class

What a precious treasure when the Lord gives you a friend that shares your heart.  I am thankful for the gathering of such friends, young and old alike!

My amazing friend Sara has encouraged and taught me the art of fiber and spinning and generously passes her love and knowledge on to the next generation, just as it should be according to Titus 2:3-5.  What a godly example she is to those around her.Image

She starts the class with show and tell of her amazing creations. Executed with intricate and elaborate details in each piece. The textures of wool, alpaca, silk and angora are passed around and fondled. Expressions of delight and enchantment are heard as they feel the extreme softness and press them against their cheeks. ImageImage

 

Each person gets a bag of roving and is lead through the discovery of how to prepare it for spinning.

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The drop spindles are next (made by Sara herself)ImageImageImage

 

She teaches them how to hand graft the wool as they spin.ImageImageImageImage

 

They are taught how to wrap the yarn on the spindle.ImageImageImageImage

They try the hand carders.ImageImage

 

It was a great class. Thank you Sara!

 

She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands. Proverbs 31:13

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