Showing posts with label wool yarns. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wool yarns. Show all posts

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dyeing with Cosmos Flowers

In 2013, after those delightful, memorable, happy happy summer weeks in Scotland and the Outer Hebrides, I used marigolds to dye white wool from Orkney.  And with good results.

Fast forward to August, 2015.  Again, I have a bumper crop of flowers for dyeing.  But this summer I am using yellow cosmos to see what yellows will result after boiling on John's Australian wool.

Here are the cosmos flowers showing off for the camera in the early morning hours on August 15, just prior to being denuded with scissors:

(on the front porch)

(and this is on ONE volunteer, flowering cosmos plant; note it is trying to overtake the deliberately planted garden squash)

For basic dying principles, refer back to the Polish Granddaughter's post about dyeing with marigolds.  I substituted half cosmos and half marigold flowers, simmering for an hour to achieve this color in the dye pot.

Yellow yarn on the right, derived from cosmos and marigold dye, a bottle of yellow food coloring and half a bottle of citron acid dye. That wool resisted taking on a yellow hue, to say the least.  It is a wonder it did not felt amidst the process of all that stove top simmering.

This is the When In Scotland garter shawl.  It needs more of the lighter color green alternated with the lime green, then ending with the yellow cosmos colored wool. Figuring there is no rush on finishing the knitting (it is to be 97 degrees F today), I will add the new yellow for the last bold stripe, then finish with the teal color. 

On the Julie front, she is encountering a few more medical issues. Nothing is insurmountable, in her mind, for achieving independence in her own apartment in 2016.  We manicure her nails thrice weekly, play Word Chums and Words With Friends night and day via our iPads, and lunch together daily outside at the gazebo at Mesa Manor Rehab and Nursing Home. We also play a card game or two if she can tear herself away from the computer word games.

The husband does his part and brings the dogs to Julie for a pet at least twice a week. Julie has a remarkable and resilient spirit and has continually taught me about the universality of love.  Her birthday approaches in early September, and her abiding life cannot help but be inspirational despite her obstacles.

Bark if You Love Julie!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hand Spun Gifted Wool

An internet Scrabble friend whom I have virtually known for about seven years but have never met personally, sent me this:

An amazing gift of hand spun wool

This wool draped over a tomato cage is not even all he sent because I shared some with friends.  Natalie got right to work on her portion, knitting up a pretty shawl.  The darker and lighter colored two ply wool shown below will be worked up as the bottom piece of the wrap.  She is doing a good job of styling John's yarn into a usable creation.

My friend, John, spun all this wool himself.  It cost him a kings' ransom just to mail it from where he lives in Australia.  He and I have previously exchanged post cards; he sent me a picture of an Aussie wombat years ago.  He likes wombats.  I sent him something back, a watercolor methinks.

And not only does this John spin, he also knits.  He asked me via the chat line on the ISC forum several months ago if I needed something knit up: a baklava, or a hat. My reply was "no" because I happen to also knit.  But I asked him if he could spare some hand spun wool because I can't, don't, and will never spin wool.  

Lo and behold, he sent me over five pounds of hand spun Australian sheep wool.  Wow.  You should feel the lanolin in this wool, just marvelous.  Thank you, John!

This is the tomato plant not clad in wool, and it has produced three actual, edible tomatoes.

And this sweet little four inch tall angel was given me last week by the husband because he thought I needed a bit of extra love.  She is hanging off my newly replaced iPhone.  Replaced because the first one was in a sack in which iced tea was spilled, ruining the iPhone. Note to self: do not put your phone in a plastic sack with other items, especially one containing liquids. 

On the Julie front: after church this morning I am encouraging her to write a blog.  Her stepfather, her aunt, her uncle and I have all asked her to do this, but she has been unenthusiastic about it thus far.  It is now time to take the bull by the horns and sit down in front of a laptop plugged into some common room area at Mesa Manor and start the process.  Maybe next time I post it will be with a link to a Julie Created Blog.  We shall see.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Let's Do This Again

Since last week's dyeing concoction did not go so well (previous post), a few corrections to the marigold dyeing process were made yesterday with very differing results.  New process was to
  • cut off flower heads (check)
  • simmer flower heads in 1/2 gallon of water for an hour (check)
  • strain flower water, discarding the flowers and retaining the water for day (again, did that last week)
  • mordant the wool in 1/2 tsp. alum and 1/2 gallon of water for one hour over simmer (different than last time as I used vinegar for the mordant)
  • place wool skeins into the dye bath and simmer for one hour (same as last week)
  • over-dye that ugly skein from the first dye bath last week by re-dyeing it in this week's concoction (check, but with rapidly beating heart)
  • retrieve wool from dye bath and rinse under cool water several times to remove dye left over in fiber
  • enjoy the scent of the marigold water and marvel at the color of the golden dye bath water
  • delight in the resulting pretty colors (different from last week)
Here are the results, with plenty of seeds saved for next year's garden:

The skein on the right was the prior seaweed color.  Now it is a deep golden.  The wool on the left is a pretty and bright yellow, having started out as a virgin white wool.

Another picture of the bright yellow wool:

Yea! I am happy, happy, happy!

This will be used to knit a Fair Isle tam, using one of the patterns used by the Scottish women in the knitting guild whose pretty hats are shown below.

Thanks to the commenters last week who said to look for alum in the spice aisle. I HAD looked in our largest local grocery chain in our town and could not find it, but then went to the local Safeway and BEHOLD! There it was. Thanks for nudging me to look for it again!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ronaldsay Wool and Dyeing with Marigolds

Wool from Ronaldsay in the Shetland Islands is unique.  The sheep there eat seaweed!

 Our friend Wikipedia says...
The North Ronaldsay is a breed of sheep living on North Ronaldsay, the northernmost of the Orkney_Islands, Scotland. They are one survivor of a type of sheep formerly found across the islands of Orkney and Shetland (the other is the Shetland (sheep), belonging to the Northern European short-tailed sheep group of breeds.

They are notable for living almost entirely on seaweed for several months of the year, except for a short lambing season – this is the only forage available to them, as they are confined to the shoreline by a 6 feet dry-stone wall which encloses the whole island. The semi feral flock on North Ronaldsay is confined to the foreshore for most of the year to conserve the limited grazing inland.

The sheep have evolved a somewhat different physiology from other sheep, due to their unusual diet – their digestive system has adapted to extract the sugars in seaweeds more efficiently, and they have an increased susceptibility to toxicity to the trace element copper.  he grazing habits of the sheep have also adapted to their peculiar diet: instead of grazing during the day and ruminating at night as other sheep generally do, the North Ronaldsays graze as the tide reveals the shore (twice in 24 hours), ruminating at high water. The sheep's source of fresh water is limited to the few freshwater lakes and ponds along the seashore.
Eating seaweed, adapting to copper in their diet and drinking pond water must make fleece of the Ronaldsay sheep different in some way.  Just by handling it, I found it difficult to feel or see the difference in wool from this particular breed of sheep on Orkney.  But one thing I did find on Orkney was that retail stores generally stocked only the natural color of wool.  It was obvious I had to buy some of the natural colored wool (posing below with marigold flowers).

This 100% Ronaldsay wool (100 grams) is almost white.
I was so happy to bring back natural colored wool and also some pretty dyed Ronaldsay wool, hand dyed by Pam Murray.  You can find her here.

So now I have not only bits of colored Ronaldsay yarn from Pam Murray, but also some white.

But wait, there was no yellow or golden yellow or any other type of yellow Ronaldsay in the color palette. 

So after I came home from Orkney, I decided to dyed some white Ronaldsay wool with marigolds to see what yellow hues came out of the natural flower petals.

Thank you, Polish Granddaughter, and Blue Castle Fiber Arts for good information on dyeing with natural dyes and mordants.

Remember that 100 + gram of natural wool?  Here it is wound up and divvied it into four unequal amounts.  The first two balls shown from left to right are the smaller amounts of wool that I used in dyeing for yellows; hopefully the first larger amount (1 oz.) will result in a darker yellow and the smaller ball (.6 oz) will result in a lighter shade of yellow.

Here are the flowers, which were then slowly boiled for one hr.

The white wool, that one ounce shown above, was lightly skeined and tied at intervals to keep it together while being dyed.  It had previously been submerged into hot vinegar water.  That was the mordanting process (mordant: to assist in accepting color,  meaning that the dye will "bite" into the fiber and hold on).  Then it was submerged into the marigold tea and again simmered on the stove for another hour.

After soaking overnight, this ugly color resulted:

Kinda brown, kinda puke color.
But I will NOT be defeated.  Friend Natalie says I can have some of her marigolds.  This time, I will go to the medical supply place and buy alum for the mordant instead of using vinegar.  Then the process will begin again. Sigh.
Hint to the wise: unlike what the internet told me, alum in not available at pharmacies.  At least, not at the new Walgreen's in our fair city.  The nice pharmacist said it was not used anymore (for what purposes it is used beyond dying is beyond me), so Walgreen's does not stock alum.

Stay tuned for more of "AS THE WOOL TURNS COLOR", maybe tomorrow?

Linking with Tami at Works in Progress Wednesday.  Go visit some other people who can actually SHOW you something pretty!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kimono Shawl Sweater in Wool

It took one month of obsessive knitting to finish the Plymouth Encore worsted wool shawl sweater.  I used a bit heavier wool named "City Tweeds" (55% merino, 25% superfine alpaca, 20%  Donegal tweed) from KnitPicks:
“This yarn begins with alpaca and Merino fibers dyed two different colors and then blended together to make a subtly rich, lustrous heather. We chose neutral colored donegal tweed neps to incorporate into the 2-ply yarn. The high ratio of neps gives City Tweed a traditional appeal. The use of Merino and alpaca makes it soft and warm.
It took 11 skeins of yarn to knit the sweater and a couple of circular needles. Here is a video describing how the yarn was made, courtesy of Knit Picks:

And this is the finished sweater, knit in the Morning Glory colorway:

It is warm, easy to wear, and was well worth the effort that went into this project.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Needle Felting: Who Knew?

Perusing email this morning, my update from Knitting Daily discussed needle felting, a craft which has not yet become one of my crafting obsessions. Here is what Sandi Wiseheart, Editor of Knitting Daily had to say today. It spoke to me!

I made a vow with myself several years back: I Will Not Get Into Needle Felting. I figured I had enough "hobbies" (let's just be honest and call them"obsessions," shall we?) and I didn't want any more reasons to spend money that might detract from my knitting stash expansion efforts. Plus...I know myself. I love all things crafty. I just thought it wise not to add one more obsession to my already craft-crazed psyche.
My crafting interest aroused, I just had to Google "needle felting" and came up with two quick and easy tutorials on YouTube. The first video gives a textbook approach to making a more structured applique, while the second video is valuable in its approach to free thinking needle felting.

After watching these videos, I am running down to Michael's this morning to get a needle punch. All the rest of the materials are on hand (use Styrofoam for the board: much less expensive). Thus,my little needle felting project should be completed before dusk. (Libby and I do have to make a few therapy visits after the run to the craft store.)

Here is a helpful book:

Simply Needlefelt
Jayne Emerson
Item #: 09FE01
ISBN: 978-1-59668-108-8112

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Look At Me Socks; pattern by Hedgehog NeedleArt Designs

I finished these "Look at Me" socks two days ago. The pattern can be found at Woolworks. The yarn is 100% wool, a superwashed fibre. The only objection I have with this pattern is that the calf part seems to be a lot larger than the sock fitted area. Maybe after a while, it will look like a slouch sock.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dyeing with Kool Aid

Kool Aid as a dye intrigues me. Kool Aid has many pleasing properties when mixed with sugar as a drink. But I never knew it could be used for dyeing purposes until I started researching a bit into the fiber world.

Each color of Kool Aid will produce a differing hue on yarns. One "color chart" of Kool Aid colors is shown in the picture at the left. It comes from this site.

I decided to dye some hand spun wool to see how it might work up. Of course, I Googled various sites and came up with this information from Knitpicks:

Getting started dyeing with drink mixes: All you need is a microwave, a selection of unsweetened powdered drink mixes, canning jars or microwave safe glass containers and small skeins of yarn. To get your yarn ready, wash it lightly in mild soap and then let it soak in the sink while you mix up your solutions.

Mix up your solutions: A good rule of thumb is 2 packages of unsweetened drink mix per 50 grams of yarn. Empty your packages of drink mix into your microwave-safe dish with some water. Stir to dissolve. Add your yarn and enough water to cover it. Heat and set your color. Zap your yarn-filled dish for two minutes. Let the yarn rest for a few minutes, then zap it again for another two minutes. Continue this process until the yarn takes up most of the color leaving the water nearly clear.

Finish your yarn:Let the yarn cool in the container. Then, rinse it thoroughly in water the same temperature as the yarn. Wash the yarn in mild soap, rinse again and let dry.

Ok, so after reading the above, I decided to do the dyeing in a simpler manner. I decided that blue would be a safe color, because any hue would turn out to be satisfactory for coloring wool. Here is how I did the dyeing:

1) Wet the yarn thoroughly (uncolored wool in picture at right);

2) Dissolve two packages of Berry Blue Kool Aid in about 2 qts. of boiling water;

3) Let the yarn soak in the Kool Aid for about 30 minutes. All the colored water is absorbed by the yarn, and the water has just a hint of blue left in it since all the blue dye is absorbed by the wool.

4) I put about a cup of vinegar in the rinse water, then wrung the rinse water out of the yarn;

5) Final step: I drained the yarn in a colander and let it set out to dry thoroughly.

The resulting yarn was a very nice blue! I can use it for scarf-making in the fall. And the whole process took less than an hour.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Perseverance and Sox: If at First You Don’t Succeed…

My patience was tested yesterday when I tried correctly knitting the toes of a woolen sock. Mind you, I had gotten through the heel and gusset without problems, which are supposedly the most difficult part of creating a sock. But the toe was awfully hard to get right.

Here is a picture after my first attempt, entitled “naughty” sock. Note the toe was pointed. Yikes! Tear it out and start over. (This is called frogging in knittereze language.)
But, as with all things, perseverance paid off.
Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance. Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint. Perseverance is trying again and again. (from Perseverance)
So, after several more attempts at "getting it right," this is the “nice” picture of the sock with a correctly formed toe. Yea!

Some Quotes:

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't. ~Henry Ward Beecher

The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places. ~Author Unknown

When the world says, "Give up,"Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."~Author Unknown

Let's get on with today, and enjoy our small successes!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Knitting Socks, Self Patterning Yarns, Blog Searches

I am excited about learning how to knit socks on circular needles. Tomorrow is my first class at the Tangle yarn store in Grand Junction, CO.

Take a look at the well organized Tangle website. Lots of classes are available for beginning knitters. Note the beautiful yarns, also. I had little trouble in finding a couple of skeins that just begged to be in lap and under my eyeballs for a few days while knitting socks.

Here is a picture of the colorful SELF PATTERNING yarn that I purchased for this sock class project:

What exactly is self patterning yarn? A bit of information from The Boston Globe explains it thusly:

self-patterning yarn is (sic) dyed at intervals so that different colors and shapes emerge automatically, without your having to change yarn or, really, do anything but sit there and mindlessly, happily knit.

Along with the advent of the self-patterning yarn, which arrived in American stores about four years ago, have come new techniques in sock knitting, using circular rather than the traditional double-pointed needles. The two developments have given new meaning to the phrase "foot fetish," sparking interest in both beginning and experienced knitters.

Stripes, zigzags, dots, Fair Isle patterns, or random smudges of color emerge effortlessly from under the knitter's fingers in a hypnotic progression, and the choices are nearly infinite.
A detailed blog site from a woman in France who wrote about her socks on April 3, The French Knitter, is fun to browse. Also, the Loopy Ewe has a complete site and shows fun socks on her April 2 posting. She even mentions Colorado. That is my residential state, and it was fun to read about her adventures in the car while traveling. And I found many more knitting blog sites by performing a simple Google blog search.

A quick lesson on performing a Google blog search for yourself:

1) open up the Google toolbar
2) look to the upper left; click on the MORE tab
3) scroll down to BLOGS and hit ENTER
4) type in your blog topic in the open window bar (example: “socks”)
5) All blogs recently written with that term (socks) in their headlines will be displayed.

If you are an experienced knitter and do not need instructions on making gussets, you might want to try making some socks without a teacher at hand. This link will take you to a free socks pattern: Socks

You can bet I will show you a picture of my finished socks in the near future, dropped stitches, warts and all.