Jobo Designs

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

8. December 2009 08:00
by Jobo
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Jobo's Favorite Things: Christmas - Day 8

8. December 2009 08:00 by Jobo | 0 Comments

Happy Tuesday All!  I hope you are ready for another installment? I've been just *dyeing* to show you this? hardy har!

Ashford Dyes

ashford dyes

Over the last year I have been experimenting with dyes and dyeing wool? So far I've tried natural dyes like Onion Skins, Blueberries, and some other Plant extracts.  Then I tried using Wilton's Icing Colors, which worked ok, but it really wasn't possible to mix colors or try working a color wheel because the dyes would separate and not take evenly.  Apparently cake frosting and wool are not at all similar? (go figure?)   My next attempt came with Landscape Dyes, which are easy to use because they require no acid to be added to the solution, but I have been less than impressed with the range of colors I have been able to achieve with them.  It seems that they are a "one-shade" dye.  I thought about trying to dye wools in a color wheel style exercise, but I am not convinced it will be worth my time, since the colors don't really seem all that saturated.

I want my next step to be with these:  Ashford Dyesdyeing_bk

After doing some research about the different types of dyes out there, I think I have officially settled on this brand for several reasons?  First off, I like that there is a limited number of colors, and that they are readily mixable and titrateable.  Some other dye brands have wider ranges of colors available by the pot, but I really want to go back to basics here and start with a good Red, Yellow and Blue just like I had when I first learned to paint.  Secondly, Ashford dyes are pure and concentrated - hopefully I will be able to achieve nice saturated dark colors!  I prefer dark/rich color to pastels any day, and dream of Navy and Deep Plum and Burgundy.  Last of all, and perhaps one of the most important points, I know that other dyers use this product and achieve professional looking, light-fast, fade-resistant, Vibrant colors.

Another nice companion to the dyes is this book:

The Ashford Book of Dyeing, now available in a revised new edition, which gives explicit instructions and recipes to use the dyes properly, and outlines dyeing techniques and methods suitable for various dyeing mediums.  Since I am particularly interesting in mixing my own colors, I am very interested in the exercises and demonstrations in the book :)

Expect to see more dyeing experiments in the new year? if Santa doesn't come through, I might have to invest in some of these Myself!

17. May 2009 18:53
by Jobo
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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)

 

2. March 2009 14:30
by Jobo
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Natural Dyeing Series... Onion Skins - Part 2

2. March 2009 14:30 by Jobo | 2 Comments

After waiting days (yes seriously, it takes wool that long to dry out!) I finally got to play with the rest of my experimental onion wool. 

I found when I was rinsing the wool, I found that quite a bit of my colouring had come out... I don't think I had heated the dye bath enough for all of the dye to become adhered and colourfast.  Next time I will spend more time making sure things have been heated thoroughly.  This time I was worried about felting the wool, but next time I won't be so fussy.

Here is the resulting braid... the colour is a peachy gold colour.  Think the colour of hardwood floor... aka it matches mine perfecrtly!  the same light golds, and darker golds of wood grain.



During the dying process I had tried to leave some areas light and make some darker, just so the finished yarn would have some more variation and depth.  Here are some more gratuitous drafted top pictures.

 





And then... the fun part - the Spinning.  I started out wanting to make something sock weight, or fingering weight, but realized that I didn't really have enough top prepared to make anything substantial.  So I decided to make a basic two ply, which ended up at around light fingering to fingering weight.  Maybe I'll knit a scarf or something out of it.  This is the nicest merino top I have come across, so it is a real dream to spin... good thing I have about 10 lbs of it left upstairs in my studio... lol



It was fun to see the varied shades of peach and gold fly by in long stretches



I wound the singles into a centre pull ball and left them to sit for a few hours, to let the twist mellow out of course.



Then plied from the inside and outside of the ball to get a thin 2-ply... here it is on the niddy noddy



and finally... finished skein!  ta-daa!

 

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