Jobo Designs

Letting the crafty creative juices flow. Knitting, spinning, crafting, dyeing, rabbits, sheep and more!

17. May 2009 18:53
by Jobo

More Tea and Blueberries... Spun Up

17. May 2009 18:53 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Feeling a bit like spinning today?  Well I certainly was!

I had a million things on the go today, so the thought of knitting and having to get up all the time was annoying.  I find spinning is a better activity for starting and stopping, since usuallly I have to stop every so often to pre-draft some more fiber.  I hear that hand combed top is so lovely that you don't even have to pre-draft at all... hrm.  I guess I will have to get some combs sometime.  Between loads of laundry and checking on the pot of split pea soup I was simmering on the stove, I managed to spin up 2 of the big poofy batts of Polwarth that I had dyed last month with Tea and Blueberries and then blended on my Strauch Petite.

The end result:  a 2-ply barberpole type yarn, with subtle bits of cream, dusty purple and caramel running through it.  I had hoped that the colours wouldn't muddy and blend too much, and it appears that the individual strands have quite a bit of simple colour to them.  It's hard to tell in the skein, but I am hoping that when I get around to knitting it up that it will remain kind of tweedy and stripey in the finished product.

Here are a few strands along with a batt... just to show the colours.  For some reason this colour combo is difficult to photograph (kindof like the water in the carribbean)  I have tried natural light, fluorescent light and my Ott light... but still am trying to find a pic that shows it best.  My 2-ply technique tattles on me... that my spin still isn't as even as I would like on thinner yarns... and that perhaps the spin in my plying is the same.  I will have to continue working on that part.

Here it is in natural light, looking very oatmeal-y

My plan is to spin up the other 6 batts (about 8-9 ounces worth) and knit a shawl out of it since it is so soft and light.  Maybe a gift for one of the Grandma's for Christmas.  Depends on my ambition.  Some days I think I can knit the whole world Christmas gifts... other days it seems I can't knit a few rows without swearing!   I also have a quilting class coming up - hand piecing hexagons - which I am teaching at the local quilt shop, so I have to get my lesson plans done before I start any new projects.  Or at least that is what my logical brain tells me... I may have to ignore it and follow my heart (it tends to get me in more trouble hehe)


3. May 2009 12:16
by Jobo

Natural Dyeing Series... Blueberries

3. May 2009 12:16 by Jobo | 3 Comments

Yet another installment of Dyeing with household items...

We had a bag of leftover, quite freezerburnt blueberries left in the back of the deep-freeze... so I thought hey, since we wouldnt be eating them, why not try out their dark purpley goodness for dyeing!

I unfortunately did not measure anything.... I think I had about 2 cups of frozen berries.  I basically defrosted them at room temperature, then added about 2 cups of water and then gently simmered in a heavy bottomed pot for about an hour.  I squished the berries with a wooden spoon to help all the color come out.

I actually had considered blending it, but decided against it last minute (nightmares of tiny pieces of blueberry skin all over my nice Polwarth top) I wasn't sure if Blueberry dye required acidity to set, so I added about 3 tablespoons of Lemon Juice, since I had some in the fridge anyways.  To be honest, the kitchen smelled very much of blueberry pie.  I seriously had to fight the urge to go out and buy a pie and decimate it.

About 30 minutes into the simmering process, the water level looked low, so I added about another cup of water.

To drain the blueberries, I scooped them up into a metal sieve and squeezed as much juice as possible out with the back of a spoon.  I ended up with approximately 1.5 cups of very dark Purple/Black looking liquid (and about a half a cup of blueberry mush)  Looking at the colour of the liquid in the glass, I wasn't sure if I would en up with a more reddish dye than purple.  You can see around the edges where the light shines through the glass it looks almost vibrand red, with almost no blue in it. 

I pre-soaked about 1.5 ounces of Polwarth super soft roving/top by soaking in warm water and lemon juice for about an hour, then squeezed out the excess water and layed it out in a glass pyrex dish in a single layer.  Then I poured the dark liquid over the wool and gently swirled the dish to mix.  Surprisingly, once poured over the wool, the dye looked less red that I had imagined it would.  Notice the little bits of blueberry shrapnel in the wool.  I was very pleased that those bits rinsed away in the wash

I then covered the glass dish with plastic wrap, and nuked in the microwave on high for about 2 minutes, followed by resting for about 2 minutes.  I repeated about 6 or so cycles, swishing the wool around every so often so the dye would take more often.  I would estimate the wool stayed hot enough (just below boiling) for about 60 - 90 minutes.  Next I let it cool and soak in its juice overnight before rinsing in the sink in lukewarm water.

The resulting colour was quite a medium dusty purple! after carefully wringing out the excess water and rolling in an old towel... the wool dried overnight, and I got this:

And it looked so good with the tea dyed wool from the other day... I had to braid them together!

Hmmmm... all this talk of pie and tea... making me HUNGRY!  gotta go!

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