Thursday, December 15, 2011

Learning Something New

I've been thinking about it for awhile... learning to spin.

Yesterday I finally took the plunge. I had a gift certificate for my LYS (local yarn store) to use for classes so I signed up for Spinning 101 in January. Then... since I was going to need it anyways... I bought a drop spindle (gorgeous handcrafted spindle made from bloodwood and maple) and some top/roving to play with.

Not being a patient person (class doesn't start for another three weeks), I watched some YouTube videos, pre-drafted some wool and just started to try it out. This is my first result so far (I still have some of this colourway left to spin):

It is amazing to me how much the fibre changes when you spin it. As pre-drafted roving there looks like there is very little colour in it and I actually thought it was not very nice looking. Therefore, I thought it would be a good first practice one because if I screwed it up I wouldn't care! Unfortunately (or fortunately) I love it and wish I had a whole lot more!

It is a BFL/merino blend. Apparently, BFL (blue-faced Leicester) is a good fibre to learn on because it has a long staple. Merino is supposed to be more difficult because it is slippery with a shorter staple. I think the combination makes it a very nice first spin.

Because I won't get much yardage out of this (quite a small sample) I will most likely leave it as a single and not attempt to ply it just yet, so that I will hopefully have enough to knit something with in the end!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fibre Dyeing

Last weekend I took a fibre dying class with Sam from Yummy Yarn Studio here in Calgary. We had a great day, learning how to use acid dyes (Jacquard brand) and got to play with dyeing some of our own skeins of wool. The wool we dyed was 80/20 BFL/nylon in a fingering weight (yay socks!) and started in a natural, undyed colour.

I decided to challenge myself a little and use colours I wouldn't normally use and try not to be so "precise" in my application or stress about the results. I tend to overthink the design process of any project, but am starting to realize that half the fun is just jumping in and going for it!

Here are my results:

This one was dyed with Chestnut, Spruce Green and Golden Ochre. It is quite beautiful and bright, but I didn't get quite as much of the chestnut colour in it as I had hoped for.

This one was dyed with Periwinkle, Golden Yellow and Chartreuse and lost most of it's colour... but I ended up loving the results anyways! I'm sure that I remembered to put on the vinegar before steaming it... who knows what happened. It is truly a "gift from the dye pot" as Sam would say.

This one was dyed with Black, Silver and Scarlet. I wanted it to be very saturated, but obviously didn't work the dye through all the wool and ended up with some untouched spots. I am quite fond of the results however.

I haven't named any of my colourways yet, that's the other part that I struggle with... the perfect name. I'm also not sure what these beauties are going to be knitted in to yet. Will they be socks? Scarves? Not sure... but I am sure that they will be even better once they get to BE something!