Time for some yarn porn! Woot!

Ben and Jerry’s, why must you tempt me so? I just tried their new Banana Split flavor on a whim – I had gotten a chocolate milkshake made with banana ice cream the other day at The Dairy (milkshake place down the road from us) and it was really good, so I went for the Ben and Jerry’s. I got it even though it contains walnuts, and I’m not too keen on those, but don’t let that dissuade you – the walnuts are minimal, and the rest of the ice cream is awesome.

BoomBoom is having a yard sale of some sort across the street from me. The items that they’re selling mainly look like a fishtank and some clothes, but BoomBoom is grilling out, and I’m all, “Mmmm, food…” Unfortunately, he’s also playing some crap music, so I had to turn mine up. I’ve been listening mainly to Stephen Marley and the Beatles’ Abbey Road today, with some random African music mixed in for good measure.

Yesterday Travis and I did more keggle dyeing. Travis also dyed The Most Awesome Roving Ever, which I’ll let him post about once he gets back from work. He had some leftover dye from that, so then he dyed The Most Awesome Yarn Ever, which I promptly stole from him:

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I’m thinking knee socks. Anyone have a good knee sock pattern or tips for me to knit them so they don’t fall down? I hate to put a bunch of work into floppy knee socks, especially with yarn this cool.

As far as the keggle dyeing goes, here’s how we’ve been doing it.

1. Mix dye. I’ve been mixing up 3 to 5 different colors per batch. Like, I’ll mix up 1/2 t. of dye powder into 1 or two cups for medium colors. I’ll add more dye for darker and less for pastels, per usual. It seems like the weirder the color combos, the better.

2. Fill up keggle with water, leaving enough room for fiber/yarn and dyes.

3. Add 3 T. salt, a few drops of Synthrapol, and 1/4 c. citric acid dissolved into 2 cups water (I have no idea if I’m using an insane amount of acid, but it seems to work really well for us. Most colors clear within minutes! Speedy!)

4. Add yarn/fiber. I haven’t weighed out how much stuff I’ve packed into the keggle at one time, but I’m thinking about trying 3 or 4 pounds of skeined yarn all at once next time I do it. I probably don’t use that much fiber (although I pack it pretty full sometimes) since fiber is floofy.

5. Add 1 color of dye. I’ve been pouring it into one area of the keggle, although it tends to spread, and kind of moving the yarn/fiber around with a big spoon to get the dye to go deeper into the pot.

6. Wait 5 minutes, or until water has mostly cleared. (Oh, I forgot to mention to turn the burner on! Yeah, do that after you add your fiber).

7. Pour the next color of dye somewhere else in the keggle.

Repeat until all of your dye is used. The keggle gets so hot, I normally turn the burner off right after adding the last color of dye. Wait until the water has cooled enough where you can fish the fiber or yarn out of the keggle, add more salt and acid, and being again! Travis and I did 4 different batches yesterday in about 4 hours. So, I don’t really know how much that differs (if at all) from the regular kettle stovetop dyeing. It’s fun, and it’s working out pretty well so far!

I dyed mainly fiber yesterday. I’m trying to dye up most of the undyed fiber we have in the house to make way for new fiber. If all goes well, I will be placing an insanely huge fiber order soon, with some really fun stuff in it. But besides the fiber, I threw in a skein of Louet’s Riverstone yarn. This is something we had gotten for the business, but were not happy with how it dyed. The colors turned muddy, the dye didn’t want to set, and the yarn felted because I had to wash it so much to remove the excess dye. In retrospect, I think the issues I had with it were due to user error, because yesterday the skein of Riverstone dyed in the kettle turned out awesome – all vibrant and soft, with no color bleeding at all.

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So we put it on Bela’s head to celebrate.

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We are bad, bad dog parents.

I’ve continued trucking along on the Tour de Fleece. Spun this up yesterday.

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It’s okay. I wanted to spin it thinner, but the roving was some random Fibergasm wool that didn’t want to draft apart evenly, so I just spun two thick singles and plied them. It’s soft-ish, but not quite as squishy as I normally like my handspun.

I’m much happier with what I did today. I combed together some llama top and natural colored soy silk, and added a dash of white Coopworth wool and some sparkle. Since I normally work with dyed fibers, this was a pretty big change. The only dyed fiber in the yarn was the sparkle, which was dyed a pale, pale mint. I only combed together about 2 ounces of balls, of which here are some:

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I spun up 2 thinnish singles and plied them together.

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The finished product is soft and squishy and hairy (due to the llama). The only issue I have is the sparkle. There are some clumpy bits of it, which I normally don’t mind for a bulkier novelty yarn, but this one is a bit more low-key. I needed to comb the sparkle fiber out more, I think. I’m calling this yarn ‘Cinnamon Sugar’ because, mmm, food!

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5 thoughts on “Time for some yarn porn! Woot!”

  1. The keggle looks like lots of fun! You’ve been making some beautiful things!
    I was just at the Needling Yarn today, and Kim doesn’t have much in the way of spinning fiber on display, but I think she’ll have some new stuff when she starts the new fall class schedule, which will include spinning. How’s that for a run-on sentence?
    Andrew’s out of town this week too, but not for anything fun like a brewing fest! He’s got to go to the pits of hell, I mean Manhattan, for business. My job is to get the troops and the gear and the car ready to go to Minnesota on Friday, and I don’t even know where to begin. Andrew’s usually in charge of gear. I think I need a huge container to start throwing things into when I think about them.
    We’re taking the canoe up there, which reminds me, Minnesota Boundary Waters (2 days driving) would be a great camping destination. Don’t know how the doggies would do in a canoe… We wanted to go about 7 years ago but found ourselves too poor when it came time, and we plan on re-planning the trip once the boys are a year or two older and know when it’s not safe to jump out of a boat. We were really poor–Andrew’s business wasn’t paying him and I was making beans and we bought a cap for the truck and lots of gear but realized we couldn’t buy gas, hotel, food, or permits. Which wouldn’t have amounted to a whole lot, but we decided to buy groceries and pay the mortgage instead. Dark times.

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  2. The purple Travis yarn is awesome. I would’ve stolen it too. I did a search on ravelry and here’s what I found for knee highs:
    http://www.streetsandyos.com/archives/2006/04/knee_socks.php
    http://iwpshopinfo.interweave.com/Knits/2004newsletters/winter04knitsprojects.htm
    http://knitty.com/ISSUEspring07/PATTclessidra.html

    There is a pair of knee highs in the Summer 07 Interweave Knits and there are these for free. http://www.interweaveknits.com/freepatterns/pdf/spr_07/winding_cable_socks.pdf

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