Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Celia Quinn's Fiber Weekend Getaway

If you haven't yet had the experience, book a workshop with Celia Quinn. You won't be disappointed.You can contact her at quinnspins AT yahoo DOT com. She offers numerous fiber workshops which are very worthwhile. Many years ago my spinning guild offered her color blending workshop, and it was top notch. I learned the essentials of color blending and how to card.

This weekend's comprehensive spinning workshop held at RI Handspun was an excellent exposure to spinning at least 65 different fibers and using more fiber spinning tools than your wheel. She demonstrated spinning with the takli and the charkha. Yikes ...........I was astounded by the fine singles she could achieve with these tools. I'm inspired to dig out my takli and give it a whirl again.

I'm thrilled to say I learned how to dress a distaff with flax and spin the fiber using my Country Craftsman wheel. I loved spinning the luxury fibers like qiviut ,cashmere and bombyx silk, but I also enjoyed spinning yak and horsehair. The other surprise for me was discovering just how many kinds of cotton there are. Spinning pima cotton is my favorite with a close second going to spinning cotton from the seed. I did spin from the seed many years ago thanks to Helene. I also learned how to create a puni from carded cotton.

Celia brought along an impressive array of her textiles. I love her leaves scarf ( see above) , her collapse weave textiles and her crocheted camisole made out of finely spun singles. Wish I took a picture of it...............

Friday, November 16, 2007

Autumn is in full swing!

I found some wonderful leaves while taking a long calorie burning walk on Wednesday of this week. As I walked through the streets, I couldn't help recalling my youth as I pushed through the leaves that fell on the city streets I traveled that day. The wonderful reds, oranges and yellows always catch my eye. I found myself stooping to the sidewalk to find these:
Oh...........I almost forgot the socks.............remember last post I said I would try to knit up some the handpainted sock yarn so you could see the colorway. I'm pleased with the colors. Beth mentioned that the colors of the skein seemed a lot more subtle than in the in-progress pictures. She asked is that 'real' or just a trick of the light? The colors are softer............a wonderful autumnal hue.

Here is the lace tam I made using a pattern from A Gathering of Lace in some spindle spun wool/mohair I bought at The Gathering last year. A spindle can produce heavenly yarn when it wants :).

Remind me to tell you all about this upcoming weekend. I'm taking a two day Comprehensive Spinning Workshop with Celia Quinn. I'll be spinning all kinds of fiber wool, silk, cotton, flax, cashmere, yak, alpaca, mohair, ramie and many more.We will spin perhaps up to 65 samples.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Handpainting Sock Yarn

The Oceanstate Knit and Crochet Guild met last Thursday. They asked me to show them how I handpainted some sock yarn I was knitting at one meeting. This is the process I used:


Fingering weight sock yarn 350-450 yds in wool or mostly wool blend in a loosely tied skein

Animal fiber dye such as Cushings, Jacquard or Koolaid in two colors (I used Salmon and Brown)

White vinegar for Cushing or Jacquard dyes. Koolaid does not need vinegar.

Sponge brushes or squirt bottles or a turkey baster ( do not reuse for food)

Two jars or glasses ( do not reuse for food)

Small mouth mask

½ teaspoon to measure dye ( do not reuse for food)

Stick to stir dye ( do not reuse for food)

Rubber gloves

Plastic sheeting or garbage bag

Microwave safe bowl large enough to hold yarn

Pot with steaming rack or microwave ( do not reuse for food)


1.Find stash sock yarn light enough to dye or purchase undyed sock yarn from a retailer.

2.If the sock yarn is not in a skein, make it into a skein by using a swift or using a volunteer to help you create one. Make sure that the skein is tied loosely.

3.Prepare the yarn by soaking it in lukewarm water with a squirt of dish washing detergent or synthropol.

4.Boil about a quart to a half gallon of water in a kettle or pan.

5.Place a plastic sheet on your working surface to protect the surface and to wrap the yarn for steaming.

6.Remove yarn from its bath and squeeze out some of the water.(You want to leave some water in the yarn to help absorb the dye.)

7.Place yarn on plastic sheeting on a work surface and arrange it in a neat skein. Put on rubber gloves.

8.Put on your mask and then prepare the dye solutions by putting about a ½ tsp ( using more or less will affect the depth of color) of dye powder into each of the jars. Add about a cup of boiling water into each jar and stir with separate sticks. Add a glug of vinegar to help set the dye.

9.Dip one sponge brush into the dye bath and dab the color onto the sock yarn in one area.

10.Dip the another sponge brush into the second color and dab the new color either directly next to the first color or further away if you would like the natural color of the wool to remain part of the colorway. Continue adding the dye in alternate color bands until you have finished coloring the top of the skein.

11.Next carefully turn the skein over and dab the two alternating colors in the same general areas as you did on the top of the skein. This is done to soak the dye thoroughly through the thickness of the skein. Do not worry about doing this perfectly. You will produce some very interesting dye variations with the overlapping of color as well as absence of color. Gently press the skein in many areas to distribute the dye down through the thickness. Check out the tied areas for color.

12.Mop up any excess dye that you may be concerned about on the plastic wrap. Wrap yarn carefully in the plastic wrap. I fold the wrap over the yarn lengthwise and then roll up what is left. Do not squeeze your wrapped yarn too hard. Put the wrapped yarn in a steamer or a microwave safe bowl.

13.Microwave for two- ten minutes depending on your microwave or steam for 30-45 minutes using a steaming rack in a pot filled with some boiling water.

14.When yarn has cooled, put on your gloves and unwrap the yarn. Wash the yarn in water, squeeze out excess water and dry.

Congratulations! You’ve got your own handpainted sock yarn!!!!

Dyeing Links

Eunny’s Self Striping Sock yarn


Cindy’s Self Striping Sock yarn

http://cindyknits.blogspot.com/2007_04_01_archive.html Scroll down the page.

Knitty’s Koolaid Dyeing


Stephanie’s Striped Yarn


Thursday, November 01, 2007

It's All About Fall

Thought you'd enjoy some pictures of life in DD and SIL's neck of the woods................

DD has been knitting socks again. This time with Judy's sock yarn. She's pleased with the yarn and says it knits like silk on the needles. The color changes are very rythmic to boot. She also finished the another sock in Opal.

SIL has been busy repairing this and that before the winter sets it.............

Tigger is the sentry protecting the fruits of the harvest..............

Wyatt wonders.............................

Gwen tries to get some treats......................

If you haven't watched the uTube video Shift Happens ( yes I,spelled that correctly), check it out.