Fall Yarns and a Fun Tote

Two self-striping sock yarn colorways are now available in my shop:  Fall Colors (with Plum), which is on the left, and Dark Anchorage Autumn on the right.

For eye candy, I included photos of a tote bag I made in July for a fundraiser for the Alaska Sudan Medical Project  The colorful designs were created by printing with food onto white fabric.  It was a lot of fun and a therapeutic activity on a dark winter day.  The wavy red lines at the top of the tote in the last picture were created by edges of (uncooked) lasagne noodles.

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Sprinkle-dyed Sock Yarn

As I wind down from dyeing for LYSs, I’ve dyed some yarn from my sadly-neglected etsy shop.  I’ve especially enjoyed sprinkle-dyeing, perhaps because the results are always a bit different.  It’s impossible to control exactly where the specks of dye will land, and impossible to know which of the specks of moss green will release a little orange, and which specks of lavender will release a little fuchsia.

In some of the skeins, I immersion-dye the yarn first.  In one colorway, “Glacier Cruise,” I’ve sprinkled the dye onto a white skein.  In my shop, I’ve described the process a bit more in each listing.

The first shot includes Fireweed and Dog Sled Team yarns, hand-painted in the traditional way–well, traditional for me, which involves using a medicine dropper.

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I guess “hand-squirted” doesn’t convey the same feeling as “hand-painted,” although no one actually uses a paintbrush.

The final photo shows all the yarn currently available in my shop–the bottom row consisting of self-striping sock yarn.

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Indigo Dyeing

DSCN0458I finally broke out the indigo dye that I purchased from Dharma Trading Company a while back.  It’s a processed, somewhat easy-to-use formulation.  DSCN0454

I used the basic shibori techniques that can be easily found on the internet, along with plain old dyeing. One thing that’s fun is that when the items are removed from the indigo bath, they are blue-green.  They need about 15 minutes’ exposure to the air to darken.  Here is a photo of the back of the shirt fresh from the dyepot:DSCN0456

Just as with chemical dyeing, you’re going to have irregularities unless you agitate the item a lot in the dye bath.  Agitation is discouraged in indigo dyeing because it introduces oxygen, which can ruin the indigo bath for future use.

Here is some yarn and fabric that I dipped in the vat without tying any type of pattern.  (Yarn for sale here)

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To achieve the darker shade, you just repeat the process of dipping and leaving the item out for a while to oxidize. The darker-colored items were dipped about 3 times and also suspended beneath the surface of the dye once for about 15 minutes.

I dyed an additional skein, shown below, and was knitting it for 2 hours at the Spinners’ and Weavers’ Guild meeting.  I noticed that the color was coming off on my fingers, especially the left index finger where the yarn passes across (I’m a continental knitter.).  I asked a natural dyer how to prevent the dye coming off and she said, “Indigo does this.”canvas

I will certainly rinse the heck out of the cowl after it’s finished and hope that my neck doesn’t turn blue!  (Yarn base is Sterling Silk and Silver.)

And now for some links that you might find interesting:

How failure helps creativity article  from BBC.

“If one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes.” More on Vincent Van Gogh’s quote here.

Folt Bolt on Facebook provides multiple bits of artistic eye candy per day in your feed, from ceramics to jewelry to textiles, all with links.

Really good thoughts on this blog,  zenhabits.net

A blog about running a craft business and lots of other fibre-y information, including a weekly podcast, www.whileshenaps.com

Jonathan Fields has a weekly podcast with guests who have thought-provoking commentary.  For instance, this week’s guest, Bronnie Ware, is the author of a book on the 5 major regrets that dying people express.

Have you ever said, “I wish…”?  There is a free, online book with super-practical ideas for turning your wishes into reality:  Wishcraft.