Friday, April 30, 2010

One Pot Dyeing or the Tale of a Lazy Dyer

To dye or not to dye? That is the question; and when the answer is 'to dye', the lazy dyer is willing! First, look to see if there is some dirty fleece in the fiber closet--definitely, dirty fleece. We are talking fleece right off the animal. Fleece that hasn't touched water or soap--dirty, loaded with wonderful lanolin. We are happy to report there is one dirty fleece just waiting for those colors-- Please don't ask the breed--there is no information available in the bag and the memory is faulty in that regard. But, we can certainly tell it is most likely one of the prize winning fleeces bought at Estes Park Wool Market. The staple is silky, long and soft; excellent for spinning and more importantly, dyeing. This fleece has a nice gray tint.
Set up the dyepot with all the proper equipment (plastic gloves, mask, dyepot, covered work space, vinegar etc). Now, cram, yes cram, that fleece into the dyepot. Make sure there is a little top space. Glug, glug some vinegar into the dye--we are talking lazy now. If you prefer, you can measure vinegar. Cover the fleece with cool water. Add water just till it covers the fleece. Do Not fill to the rim of the pot. We are ready to add color.
We are using three primary colors (acid dyes)--yellow, red, blue--thinking about the migration of colors--what colors will you get with this mixture? Oranges, purples, greens and a varied cross selection. We are sprinkling the dry powder right onto the top of the fiber. This is where you put on that mask. You can do a cross with dye or triangle, square, one section, any way you want. Here we have used a cross with the yellow dye, which takes a little longer to activate for some reason.
Now, sprinkle the other sections with other chosen colors. Most often I use only three colors but you can use more. Make sure all the dye powder has been dissolved in the water by gently pressing down to get it wet. Now, you are ready to cover the pot, turn the burner to low, very low and wait 30 minutes. Make sure it does not boil or you'll have muddy colors. Patiently, waiting................
Look what was pulled from the first pot!! Pull the fiber from the dyepot and place where it can cool. DO NOT DISCARD the remaining water. There is more dye in the pot. Repeat the process of cramming the fiber into the pot, cover with water, sprinkle dyes (you can use different color range or the same), add more vinegar, heat on low, cover the pot and wait 30 minutes..... Second pot color. Okay, let's do it again! DO NOT DISCARD liquid--cram more wool into pot, repeat process. We continue to do this until there is no fleece available. Third pot! WOW! what color ranges! Now, the fingers are itching, just itching for this fiber to dry so we can take them to the spinning wheel. After fibers have dried completely, rinse in warm water until color runs clear. The dye liquid remaining could also be frozen for another dye. Too bad, there isn't another dirty fleece in the fiber closet. And that is the way this lazy dyer gets her color.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fiber Friend Day

Tuesday--ah, a day to relish; a day that is spent with fiber friends. This fourth Tuesday of the month was spent with expatcher quilt group. And once again, they do not disappoint. They bring their laughter, joy, sadness, concerns, stories along with their physical nourishment and WIP (works in progress) as well as completed projects. Judy M had several Binky Patrol quilts that she had completed with lively stitches. All had binding stitched on and just needed some loving hands to finish the handwork. Snowflake design work. There are three of the winter bear quilts in various sizes.
"Lovely" quilting pattern on the kitty/puppy top and circles on the bright orange top. Judy practices her long arm quilting skills with the Binky tops.

Linda brought her finished wall hanging. We had seen this WIP one visit to her house. Strips'N Curves using Bali Pops package.
Closeup view of one section.
We couldn't decide if we like the hanging this way
or lengthwise. Either way, it will be a wonderful addition to her decorating scheme.
Annette, our hostess, was working on her small log cabin blocks by hand.
One of her first quilting projects was this cozy nine patch quilt that graced the back of her sofa. And last but not least Sandy, who was toiling away on her place mat--if you can believe she'll let anyone drop food on this labor of love! And now for some tips of the trade from our clever Sandy--first, a scissor saver (we have to come up with a catchy name for this gadget) This is also a good advertisement for deluxe hotels! Now, you know those pesky drop out return postcards that keep falling out of magazines. Well, here is how Sandy solved that problem. This publication also had a CD with patterns. So, take one of those post card thingies and tape it to the inside of the cover.
There is a pocket for the CD and you have conquered one less annoying fall out problem! Very useful, Sandy--thanks for sharing!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spin Along

Love fibers? Love dyeing? Love spinning? Love knitting? Yes, to all!!
So you take these lovely wool fibers that have been rainbowed dyed (more on this in a later blog post)
Take them to the spinning wheel and get some wonderful spun yarn.
Find a knitting pattern from one of the young male designers and off you go!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


There has been a backlog of projects sitting on the studio table. Taking the time to play 'catch-up' is always a challenge. This week there were a few spare (if you can call them spare!) hours to work on these projects. And now the projects are cleared off the front burner and placed in the neat little stack of finished UFOs--hurrah!!
Pinwheel blocks
This is the last block of the 12 to be worked up. Upcoming will be the directions for assembly.
Fourth block from the Christmas Row of the month from Fat Cat
Two more blocks from Debbie Mumm's six month BOM. Notice that it is just color placement that gives the difference in look.
Now, to find the extra hours to work up a couple more of the projects that have been found on the world wide web! Always interesting to search and see what can be found out in that vast world--thanks to all the creative people!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Color in Motion

Today was day for the spinners and spinning wheels. One of our group loves to not only spin, but she loves to felt. She is preparing her entry for We Felt United , second annual international day of felt happening in October, 2010.
She is working her magic in the required colors of the event--yellow, blue, green. Her studio is alive with wool fibers; some laid out in neat fluffy rows while others are being intertwined to meet the criteria of the exhibit. We are only seeing the beginnings and already the piece looks exciting and interesting!
We also had a discussion about a new book on the market about "carefree" dyeing-- Spring issue of 'Spin-off' magazine has a review of this book. There was lots of spindle talk; which one is best for what fiber? Short shaft or long shafts, large whorls, light weight, support, drop (top of bottom whorl). It all boils down to personal preference--what fiber you are spinning and what you enjoy spinning. Guess that's why most spindle spinners will have a variety of spindles. Or maybe, they have a variety of spindles, just because.................

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Odd Book Title

This small news article caught my eye
--"A book charting the frontier between handicrafts and geometry won Britain's quirkiest literary award, the Diagram Prize for year's oddest book title went to Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes written by Daina Taimina. This title beat out runners-up What Kind of Bean is this Chihuahua? and Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich."
Needless to say, the fingers flew across the keyboard to find this book and read more about it and yes, order it from Amazon
Front cover--great photo with that fascinating book title:

Back cover along with info about the author.
And inside we dive!
Adventure awaits the brain for more learning about this technique and math--that eighth grade teacher was right--you will use geometry in everyday life!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Linda played hostess to our expatchers quilters group this week. She modestly showed off her latest quilting prizes. This is for her grandson Charlie, who is 15 months old. What great warmth this will bring to him from loving hands!
The backing could also be the front; quilted by extraordinary long arm quilter, Sandy.
This quilt was laid folded up in the corner. Well, we just had to unfold and view--what to our wondering eyes would appear but a lovely Christmas quilt.
Paper pieced on some blocks, like this tree of life.
Crazy stitched on the stocking block.
Even the connecting blocks added dimension to the quilt.
And the backing is a wonderful poinsettia print.
Way to go Linda!