photography


A while back I bought two similarly dyed merino wool slivers by fleece artist. They were pretty much the same except one had more red and the other had more tan. I thought it would be interesting to spin each one in a different style.

hand-spun yarn

I spun the first top into a heavy worsted slubby thick and thin single. To prepare the wool, I separated it by stripping off sections lengthwise which were about five times thicker than my final yarn. This yarn’s colours change every few yards or so. Next time I strip the top like that I will try making my lengths of fiber thinner so that the colours change more frequently.

handspun

The second style I spun was a self-striping 2-ply worsted-weight yarn.

handspun yarn

My method was to divide the wool lengthwise into two equal halves. It worked really well! The colours lined up nicely and the singles were almost the exact same length, one was maybe six inches longer than the other. It’s always so nice when that happens.

handspun yarn

There you have it! Two very different looking handspun yarns from two very similar wool tops.

I’ll leave you with a photo of these really cool flowers, if you recognize them please let me know what they’re called. They start as pink balls that look like lanterns and then bloom into an explosion of purple and pink petals.

flowers

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I love taking pictures of the moon but they rarely turn out nicely; the contrast between the white moon and black sky is difficult to capture in a photo. I’d say the moon and the sky are two of my very favourite photography subjects. A few days ago, I took this picture of the moon in the daytime:

daytime moon

I must admit, my photo wasn’t quite this dramatic until I gave it a few digital touch-ups 🙂 I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Onto the yarn! I spun this fleece artist roving into a really plump super-bulky thick and thin yarn.

handspun yarn

This was one of my first successful bulky singles spun on my spinning wheel. I usually prefer my spindle for these types of yarn as it gives me so much more precision and control.

handspun yarn

I’m gearing up for a weekend trip and what better knitting project to bring than hand-spun socks. This is the bobbin I will be bringing with me for the ride, Pleasurecraft hand-dyed wool/mohair blend from this top. I spun a fine single with a lot of twist in hopes that it will hold up to heavy wear. It is a self-striping yarn featuring yellow, blue, green, and orange.

hand-spun yarn on the bobbin

In the next post I will show you two different styles of yarn spun from two very similar wool tops.

My first time knitting with my own hand-dyed hand-spun yarn! This is the kind of thing that makes me feel very self-satisfied 🙂

hand-dyed handspun yarn

BFL wool dyed with Kool aid and food colouring drops, spun on my drop spindle, knit on 10mm needles.

It came from this spinning fiber, dyed once with cherry kool aid, then over-dyed with a tiny bit of blue and yellow food colouring:

dyed bfl wool

This is another over-dyed BFL wool top, originally cherry and orange kool aid, then immersed in a dye bath with blue food colouring:

dyed bfl wool

Both of those started as something similar to this one but with more separated and splotchy colours:

dyed bfl wool

I have many of these pink/red bundles of fiber. And to be honest, I feel really ambiguous about a lot of them. Lesson learned: when trying out dyes for the first time, limit myself to small test batches of fiber! A lot of the blue over-dyeing I did recently still hasn’t turned out “dark enough” for me. I keep drying the wool, seeing how much it lightens compared to when it is wet and wanting it to be darker! How many times can I dye this stuff before felting it, I wonder? 😛 I still haven’t tried Wilton’s icing dyes which I have read give a really nice saturated dye. I also want to try applying the dye when the fiber is hotter (like in a crockpot) so that the wool accepts the dye faster and the colours come out more distinct and less muddled.

geranium in a pot

Have a great weekend!

Well, I finally dyed some yarn and spinning fiber and I love it!

I could only find these colours of Kool Aid at my supermarket so obviously I had a limited pallette to work with, no yellow or blue. Cherry, orange, lemon-lime, tropical punch, grape.

The tropical punch is not blue at all as the package would suggest, but a dark orange-red.

I used two methods to dye: double-boiling mason jars in a canning pot, and cooking pans of water and yarn in the oven. These are the yarns I am most proud of so far, they were dyed once and then over-dyed with more pink and red:

kool-aid dyed yarn

That pale pink is the best! I just added yarn to a jar of red dye that wouldn’t exhaust and re-heated it. The only trouble is that I can’t yet re-create that shade, I have tried and the yarn didn’t accept the dye for some reason. Oh well, I will try again.

Solar dyeing is something I played around with and it did work to exhaust some of the dyes. More research is definitely needed (and a solar oven!)

I have also spun some tiny sample skeins of the wool-mohair fiber from the last post.

Crab Apple blossoms outside my apartment:

Pictures of dry yarn and fiber tomorrow!

a passion flower
passion flower

a clematis
clematis

a pink tulip
pink tulip

or two
pink tulip

I forget what this is called (zinnias?)
flowers

I have no idea what this is
unknown ?

blood orange
blood orange

tangelo
tangelo

a yellow rose
yellow rose

the grass covered in dew drops, shining in the early morning sunshine
grass and dew drops

My stuffed animal modeling a hat I made (ravelry link to this project)
hat model

a drop spindle full of falkland wool yarn that I spun for the shawl I’m knitting
handspun

I am so in love with spinning yarn. Here, it is raining. And like a spider, I’m spinning. This is a picture I took many months ago of webs in the rain on a bridge:
wet webs

Recently, I purchased some South African Fine wool and spun up some small skeins of bulky weight yarns.

One 3-ply yarn using the navajo chain-ply method:
handspun

One 2-ply:
handspun

And one single:
handspun

This is a beautiful fiber to work with. It’s properties are in-between BFL and merino, and it is a nice balance of the good qualities of both of those fibers. The only downside to South African Fine wool is that I did find it slightly shed-y under circumstances where other fibers had not shed on me – at least not nearly to that extent.

I have been spinning lots of samples of different styles and weights of organic merino yarn. I absolutely love that spinning fiber, and it is available at my local fiber shop as combed top. Unfortunately, today they were out of stock and are now awaiting the spring shearing’s shipment which should come in soon (fingers crossed, I really want to get my hands on some more of that lovely stuff!)

As I couldn’t leave there empty-handed, I purchased some beautiful BFL (Blue Faced Leicester) to play around with. I have spun hand-dyed BFL before (and really enjoyed it) but have never spun it un-dyed – it is a beautiful off-white cream colour. Its texture is slightly less smooth then merino and it has a light, airy fluffiness to it. I can’t wait to start spinning it!

I also have some milk protein fiber that is (of course) a beautiful milky white colour. It is very shiny and smooth and drapes nicely like silk. Pictures of my experiments to come soon – I’m thinking of spinning a fine two-ply yarn with a strand of the milk yarn as one of the plies. If anyone has any tips for spinning milk let me know!