Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sunflower Power

Man, I love it when things work out the way I had planned!

Last week my mom walked along the side of the highway in Wyoming and picked about 10 pounds of wild sunflowers. I’m not even exaggerating. I used about half of that this weekend and the rest is now in freezer bags in my freezer for future use.

She said “Did you know that some species of bumblebees have blue butts?”

No I did not. How bizarre! And “I had to stop when they all got aggressive. I think they saw me as an intruder.”

We didn’t get home until late Friday evening, but that didn’t stop me from staying up until midnight seeing if I could make dye from sunflowers.

Oh yes, I totally did.

Flowers, awaiting their fate:

To avoid making the house smell funky (natural dye, especially from plants can really stink), I asked my dad to fire up the burner on the grill. I covered the flowers with water, didn’t let the kettle boil and waited.

After about an hour I took a peek. Ewwww! But, it worked. The flowers released a dark brownish green dye.

I ended up with about a gallon of liquid from the dyebath.

Before I had started this process I had filled another kettle with wool and alum. Alum is the only mordant I will use because it is the least toxic. I have used and also use vinegar and cream of tartar.

The next afternoon I heated up the dyebath and when it was ready I dropped in my wool that had been soaking in the mordant. The first bundle instantly turned a gorgeous sagey green. The second bundle turned a yellow gold and the third turned a paler shade of yellow as the dyebath was almost spent.


I started spinning some of it last night; I am extremely pleased with how it is all turning out!

Early returns on some of the yarn:

Saturday afternoon I also dyed these rovings:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Faux Jacob Roving Project

In yarny news, I’ve been working on a new project. I really wanted to get some Jacob fleece and dye it in a rainbow colors but alas, Jacob fleece is rare and expensive. Feh. So I dug out some natural gray merino fleece I have a metric ton of. Then I dyed some white merino in rainbow colors. Then I blended each color with the gray and pulled it into roving.

So, like this:

White merino dyed:

Carded batts:


First Skein:

Nifty, huh? I spun a second skein last night and will finish the rest tonight. It’s been a lot of work but I’ve had fun with it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Evolution of a yarn

I had some bits and pieces of roving that I kettle dyed over the weekend, when dry it looked like this:

And I wasn’t really thrilled with it.

So I ran it through my drum carder and pulled the batts into roving and it got this lovely result:

Then I spun enough for one skein and the early returns on the yarn are this:

I am happy!

Then I ran one of my Bedlam batts through the carder and pulled it into roving, I can’t wait to spin this!

Tada and stuff. Good night.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Doing what I do bestest.

I spent most of my morning reorganizing my studio. I like to call it thusly because someday I WILL have one and well, by that time saying “studio” won’t be so weird. ;)

I posted the entire series of photos at my Flicker account (see link at the left) if you want to see all the notes I added. Otherwise, use your imagination and just know that I worked my ass off to get everything put away and organized.

Of course I don’t know where anything is now, what of it?

Actually, once I post this I’m off to card a bunch of fleece and maybe do some spinning.

We had a pretty busy day in addition to this project. We all went to the park, did all the grocery shopping, made dinner tonight and then went out for ice cream. Jacob is out like a little light.

See? Now don’t all you crafty types totally want to come over to my house and play? :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Rose Madder

Holy crap it worked.

Madder root gently steeped (not boiled, that would have turned it brown) until color was achieved. Will drain off roots in a couple days and use the color to dye some roving.

I am hugely impressed.

And tired. Good night.

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