Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dyeing for the Carolina Fiber Fest

The Carolina Fiber Festival will be held this year, May 20-22 at the Raleigh State Fair Grounds. This will be my first year vending with The Irresistible Ewe. I've been taking advantage of the sunshine while it lasts this week to dye my bags of carded roving. I've dyed only solid colors this time to speed things up, although solid for me always comes out with slight variations anyway. I like that. Nature doesn't usually come in solid colors, but has subtle variation if you look closely. If you're familiar with the birds, Grackles, you know what I mean. These are local birds with iridescent black feathers and yellow eyes. Their feathers, when seen in the sun, show purples, blues and even burgundies. I hope my rovings will show a little of that surprise of color here and there and will be that much more interesting when spun or felted. I used Kool-Aid to dye my first batch, wool from I think a Gulf Coast/Florida Native breed sheep. This will be sold for felting. It's not great to spin, but felts well. I like the Kool-Aid for this since the dyes take so well. You can see in the picture above that the color has gone completely into the roving. The whitish areas are water and the color is only roving.

I have had some difficulty with one batch of dye with the second bag - it would be the prettiest color, sapphire blue. These were done with Jacquard acid dyes. I should have followed my instincts when pouring the dye bath over the roving. A clump of color slipped out of the jar and I just went right right along thinking I could break it up in the pan. Wrong! It still had clumps of the dye when I started rinsing it and then I ended up over rinsing it. I believe it's now a little felted. I guess this has become part of my personal stash to be felted into a purse or hat. Oh, well, I'll be more on the lookout for this with my blue dyes next time.
Overall, this was not too hard a batch. This bag of roving is a Border Leicester/Columbia cross and came out rather fine when processed. If the weather holds, Friday I'll get my last bag done.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Early Birthday

My birthday isn't until next month, but Henry has already given me my gift, a Champagne Cricut Expression, complete with color marker, vinyl sample, and a Picturesque cartridge. I'm so psyched to start working with this. I've started making an explosion box for a special couple. Hopefully, tomorrow, I can get some of this on video to share.

Knit-Along Sweater Update

I am making very slow progress, not because of the pattern, Sherwood, but because of the end of school activities. We're finally on Spring Break, so I hope to complete this and get my wool dyed for the upcoming Carolina Fiber Fest (May 20-22, 2011). I have completed the back section up to the neck and have started on the front panel. I did find the directions for shaping the shoulders a little confusing. My mother is almost finished with her sweater and helped me work through these. The pattern might be easier to understand if they specified to bind off all stitches loosely before stating to work 28( 20, etc) back neck sts. What I ended up doing was to bind off 16 (I'm making the medium) sts at one shoulder, then knitting across to the end of the other shoulder. I then bound off 16 sts from that shoulder. I transferred the remaining stitches onto a size 9, 16-inch set of circular needles to hold until I finish the front panel.
I am happy that I found another skein that started at the same color. Now both sides match.


We were lucky and avoided an tornado damage last week. We did, however, have more hail than I've seen fall - ever. It poured out of the sky in a matter of minutes and covered the ground. The pieces were very big and lasted until the next morning despite the warmer weather. Several of our shrubs had a lot of leaves shredded, and our front window screens will have to be replaced, but overall, not much damage. Our cars were both sitting outside and weren't hurt at all. I'm sharing a few pictures I took just after the fall.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Crafting with Cricut

I wanted to make a bulletin board for our 8th grade hallway. With only a few dozen school days left, it's time to "Get it in Gear" for the students. I used the Cricut cartridge, Robotz, and some cute paper from Target. I need to make a darker background for the "Gear" letters to show up a little better. Maybe next week.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Knit-Along Update 42-11

The knitting has been a little slow, but I've made it to the underarm markers. I hope to be up to the top of this front panel by next Saturday. The colors continue to unwind beautifully with a true-to-its-name pattern of the whole range of colors found in chile peppers, from rust, orange, greens to purples.