Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The results are in...

It is kind of hard to tell, as the pics are a little on the blurry side, but the one on the left is when they were wrapped and set, and the one on the right is the finished product. All wound beautifully from the swift to the winder. I had a little trouble at the beginning with the one Kitty helped with, but after exercising a little patience, I got it worked out and on the swift and wound. I am very happy with the results. For the most part the colors were a lot more even. The violet color had some splotchiness to it, but it isn't extremely noticiable. I may try to work up some bookmarks with each one just to see a small sample of how they each look when worked up into something. This was fun...can't wait to do more. Hope thread goes on sale at Hobby Lobby soon!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dyeing Weekend

My swift arrived on Friday! I knew it wouldn't come with instructions, so I had spent some time surfing the web to figure out how to use it before it got there. It was really easy to set up, and is just as nice as all the reviews said it was on I couldn't put my tangled mess on it of course (I still have one to de-tangle and tame...the other is headed for the trash I think), but I was able to make hanks for my next round of dyeing. It went faster than doing it on the back of my desk chair, and it was more consistent, so I am hoping that when it is all said and done, I will be able to put these back on here to wind into balls. I worked on these on and off Saturday afternoon/evening. I am going to have to wait for a thread sale at Hobby Lobby before being able to do more. I still have 2 white balls I can hank, so may do that just so they are ready, and while everything is set up still.

I made 5 hanks, 3 white, 2 ecru. I soaked them in soda ash overnight and part of the day (about 18 hours total), then I gently squeezed out the excess soda ash water and carefully hung each one up by the window to air/drip dry while I dyed. Of course, the slight breeze didn't care that I had been careful and blew one hanger down. So, I carefully rehung the thread, after mumbling under my breath for a minute (or two), and made sure the hanger was secure and could not be blown off again. The cat didn't care either apparently, or her curiosity just got the best of her, and I just about killed her when she messed with it and it got caught on the hanger and got pulled and...*sigh*. We've made up now, but she was shooed away the rest of the afternoon.

I laid out my saran wrap, and my first hank. I put on my gloves, mixed my dyes and I was off! I had some help, thank goodness, or else I would have been dyeing for much longer than the 3.5 hours it took. I was bound and determined (hopefully it will pay off) to make sure the colors were even, that the spots that didn't quite get as much color last time (around the folds of the hanks and around ties), weren't missed, and that I didn't use too much dye. We had a pretty good process going by the end, we shall see if it worked.

With each one I did, I added water to the dye. Two reasons, I wanted to make sure I had enough to do all 5 hanks, and I wanted to see the color variation that would result. I'm not sure how much the color will vary, but they certainly lasted. I probably could have done another 5 or 6. The colors were still very vibrant even after being watered down several times.

I was a little "done" and was probably a little less careful with the last one, maybe too much dye (had to blot before wrapping), so might have more bleeding than I want. Did some experimenting with color mixing for the last one, and I can't wait to see how it turns out! Next batch, I may do more color mixing, because that was fun! I wish I got pictures of all of them before they were wrapped, but I did get a few. By the time I remembered the camera, it wasn't worth it to unwrap it just to take a picture.

Then they were all wrapped, looking like colorful cinnimon rolls in a little tub on my kitchen counter, waiting for 48 hours to let the color set. I felt with my first experiment, the one that sat for 48 hours turned out the best, so I am went with that for all of them this time.

After they sat for 48 hours, I rinsed them in hot water until it looked like the water ran clear. Then I put a little bit of Dawn in a tub and let them soak in there while I rinsed each one. By the time I was done with that, I pulled the first one out of the soapy water, and rinsed it again, getting out the soapy water. There was some color that came out while they were soaking, but not too much. After rinsing in cold water this time, I put them back in a tub of cold water, no Dawn, and let them each sit for a few hours. Actually, I went out with a friend, and had run out of time, so that is what I decided to do. When I got home, I rinsed them all once again in cold water, then put them in the spin cycle in the washer to get most of the water out, then hung them up to finish drying.

Now, I'll just have to see if they go back on the swift to be wound into nice little thread cakes. I don't think they tangled very much, if at all. That will be another post!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thread Mess!

I broke down and bought a yarn ball winder. I had an online coupon for for 40% off, so that helped. It arrived. I grabbed my 3 newly dyed projects to sit down and wind them into nice little balls...and they are a mess. Either I didn't put enough ties in to keep it from tangling or the washer did it, I don't know. The little bit I was able to wind looks great...go ball winder!

Here is the finished product. It took me about 3 hours and a lot of patience to get it untangled, creating a regular ball as I went, then from that, I wound it onto the winder. That part took all of 2 minutes.

It did not go as smoothly as I thought it would. I went ahead and ordered the yarn swift too, with the 50% off coupon I found a couple of days later. I don't know if this will help with the tangles for future products or not. We'll see. I guess I need to get out the camera and take some pictures of my new toys, my recently finished projects, my dyeing experiment and my thread mess. By the time I figure out how to dye thread, I am going to have invested a whole lot of time and money, so I will have to keep doing it just to make sure I get my money's worth!

Monday, July 16, 2007


I finished Svenheld...finally! I really need to block it to get the full effect I'm thinking. It is not one that I feel I can just press and its ready. Still need to weave in the loose ends too. Will post photos when it is blocked!

I did another small doily. Love those...they go so fast.

Started another for a friend in Florida. 'Hazelnut' I think from Coffee n' Cream. It was supposed to be the first one in the book, but for some reason I started on this one instead, and did not feel like going back to start over, so it is what it is. Seems to be going pretty fast.

I bought some more thread to dye, but have to get it into hanks. I bought a yarn ball winder to wind it up when I am through. It should be here some time this week.

Oh yeah...I STILL need to finish my Sons Christmas present from last year. I just can't bring myself to work with a heavy afghan/yarn when it is pushing 100 degrees outside. That, and have I is mostly single crochet (*yawn*) with a row here and there of hdc/dc/tc. Still. I started this as my first project when I started crocheting again, and have started and finished several projects since then. He is giving me a hard time about it now. As he should.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thread Dyeing

I decided to figure out how to dye cotton thread. My favorite ebay store, Sara's Colorwave Yarns, has become very popular, and unless you catch her new inventory within the first few hours she puts it up, you are outta luck. So I asked myself...How hard can it be really? Try finding good instructions on dyeing cotton thread...not so easy to find. At least not with any great detail, or specific to thread. Can't use the cool Kool-Aid method, cuz it doesn't work with cotton. Last I checked, they don't make wool in size 10 thread.

I found a couple of websites that did explain it a little. I went with the easiest, but maybe not cheapest, version. I bought a couple of tie-dye kits and used one so far. My thread is wrapped and set. I have to wait 4-6 hours more before I know how they turned out. I didn't get very adventurous this first go-round. Just used the colors as they were, no mixing ... blue/violet/fuchsia. We shall see. I tried applying it in different combinations, double folded the thread on one, fuchsia/violet/blue on one, violet/blue/fuchsia on another. Here is a picture of one of them drying.

If they turn out well, I may try posting instructions with pictures next time. I did find a website that sells dyes for cotton in more colors, so again, if it goes well, I will expand. Looks like I can buy some of their kits for about the same as the tie-dye kits, but with the soda ash included (I had to buy that separate for my first try). It was easier than I thought it would far.

If this becomes a new "hobby", then I will have invest in a yarn ball winder and possibly a spinner, because using a chair was kind of a pain. I will probably invest in the ball winder regardless, because I can use that for my ever-growing stash.

Monday, July 2, 2007

A couple finished...

I took a break from Svanhild to work on this doily. I just needed to put it down or a bit. I will finish it this week. This is another Patricia Kristoffersen doily, I don't have the name of it or the book I used in front of me, I will have to come back later to edit that bit. I used a size 7 hook, #10 Aunt Lydia's Frosty Green and Sara's Colorwave thread in Tea Rose. It is about 20" in diameter. I was quite pleased with the way the colors went together. The greens aren't an exact match, but they are close enough that they compliment each other just right (I think). The pink is kind of a peachy looking in the picture, and that may do to the little bits of yellow. All in all I am pleased with the way this one turned out. I feel like I accomplished something, and I am ready to go back and finish Svanhild now.

I received my signed PK books on Friday. 99 Little Doilies and Victorian Doilies book 1. I love the little doilies...I already made one and it went really fast. There are only 8-16 rounds to make on these. I'm not thrilled with the color choice I made, but I like the pattern and I like the thread, just maybe not together. I can live with it though, since it is only a small one, didn't take but a few hours, I don't feel like I have to love it. I do think I need to block this one for sure. Usually I just settle for ironing, but this one is small enough to block, and it may look better if I do. Maybe I'll like it more?
I have a couple of requests for me to make some doilies, I just have to find the right colors and pattern for it.