Jul 24, 2011

I've dyed and gone to heaven

Okay, so we've seen that the carding was completed by team Efficient Effort, and now you can see that one member of team Efficient Effort managed to spin up two singles in about a fingering weight, to be spun into a two-ply, in those spare hours remaining after working for 12 or so a day.

There was no lazy kate in sight, and no one around to help, so I wound them off into cakes to hopefully make plying a bit easier. The jury's still out.

Plied into something like a worsted weight for a total of 228 yards! Can you believe it?! That's the greatest length I've ever spun! It's also the loosest twist I've ever put on a skein, so I'm happy that the urge to over-spin didn't overtake me.

And it's so white! Compared to the blackish bits that I pulled out and spun, it's a very different colour (the new one is the bottom of the three pictured below).

The top two are navajo-plied samples and the bottom is the two-ply, as I stated. This is after its bath, all wrapped up and ready to head out to Robin's for the big dyeing event.

Gloves on and ready to go, we're getting loads and loads of instruction and advice from Robin (in the apron) and her friend, from whom I bought my wheel. The one holding the camera is the one not pictured, and I'm sure that's by design. Way to go, Mum!

We started with immersion dyeing, where the girl in red picked a nice deep teal and I picked a really nice blue. After that followed a rich red, and then we tried hand-painting. The girl in red hand-painted a batt and I worked with the recently-spun 228 yards.

Tying it up a bit to prevent a jumbled mess ... and then on with painting!

That's an instruction sheet there. We followed it. Mostly. It's from Maiwa, which is a business that I simply must get to.

Ta da! Here we have the rich red with the teal in behind, the blue to the left of that, and the minty green in the girl's hand (as well as below the blue in the picture, although that's hard to see). The hand-painted are at the back on the right, but they needed to steep overnight before they got their final rinse, so I'll take pictures of them later. This one in the front is fleece, not batting, and it'll be interesting to see how it comes out compared to the batts dyed the same colour.

All in all a very fun day, a very educational day, and the awakening of the part of me that really likes colour.   :O)

Jul 19, 2011

Carding completion

PHEW! In only four or five short hours, the two-person team of Efficient Effort managed to card all the rest of the fleece that was required to be carded. It was about 3 pounds. Maybe 3.5 pounds.

Yes, outside on the back deck. So much stuff comes out of the fleece when carding (even after several documented washes) that it's not something I would ever do indoors. Thank goodness for the cover over the deck or we would've gotten a bit wet at one point. Gotta love summer.

I don't even know how many batts we have, but it's two and a half pillowcases full. I'm now spinning some of it, and it looks like I'll fit three batts onto a standard bobbin. I'm planning to do a two-ply yarn, and hopefully I can get four more batts spun, and then the two bobbins plied, before Friday end of day. Then I'll set the twist on Friday night and hope it will be dry and ready to go on Saturday morning.

In total, we have:

1. Two pillowcases full of batts.
2. About a half a pound (or so) of fleece.
3. About 100 yards of navajo plied yard, with a two-ply of unknown yardage to follow.

Should make for a very interesting and very experimental dyeing day! I'll have to remember to take my camera.....

Jul 15, 2011

Knitting on the Whipsaw Trail

How often does YOUR knitting go off-road? If you're anything like me, it'll always go off-road when you do.

Last weekend, we left on Friday evening and stayed the night with a few other Jeepers in Manning Park, prepared for the meeting of several other Jeepers the following morning. Croc-Sock came along, and I turned the heel before we'd met up with Jeep Batch 2. Now, don't go thinking I'm superfast or anything - I had taken that sock to Alice Lake the weekend before, and I'd been knitting it sometime around Father's Day. I consider my "travel project" a slow-go, so I'm not in any rush to get it done.

Here's a wee pic of sock #1, before I decided that I needed to hold it while I caught up sock #2 (#1 was a centre-pull sock, so sock #2 is an outsider, making both from a single cake, which I whipped up from a skein). Anyway, I digress:

See why I'm calling it Croc-Sock?

Croc-Sock: "Grrrrrr!"
Me: "What, Croc-Sock? What is it?"
Croc-Sock: "I want to see out the window!"
Me: "Okay, here you go!"

You betcha - we hit snow! That's about 5 or 6 feet deep there, and the reason I'm not out in it, and instead taking pictures of my Croc-Sock (like a total dork), is that there was trail-breaking going on and I wasn't sure I wanted to participate when no one was sure we were going to get through the next bit. Plus, I like knitting.

It wasn't all super snowy like that. Where we camped, there were plenty of bare spots, and everywhere it was bare, there were little flowers shooting up everywhere. SUPER CUTE!

The birds there (I don't know what kind they are) were spooky. They weren't scared of us at all, and I was pretty sure they didn't see too many humans, so it was weird. Well, maybe they saw a fair number of snowmobilers in the winter and lots of four-wheelers in the summer ... or snowmobilers in the summer. Anyway, you just hold up your hand and they come to check you out. A little bit of bread doesn't hurt in getting them there.

All in all, a good trip, but I'm no closer to getting that fleece carded!

Jul 6, 2011

Freaking out

Right, so I still don't have any more of that massive pile of fleece carded. I think I have to get to it tonight or risk looking like a tool on dyeing day. Actually getting some of it spun would be super as well.

Here's my plan:

1. One pound remains as fleece (it will be "dyed in the wool")
2. A pile of indeterminate size becomes batting (related to point 3)
3. An indeterminate amount becomes yarn (related to point 2)

I think I can get everything carded in one or two evenings, and then I'll have to see about spinning it up. Hopefully I can get a fair amount spun because it would be nice to see the different results when dyeing wool, batting and yarn.

In knitting news, I'm at the point of starting the four-row gull lace pattern on the February Lady Sweater. Thank goodness I'm through the garter stitch bit and almost ready to heave off the sleeve stitches - 200+ knit stitches across was getting reeeeeally boring! Er, I shouldn't say that ... I have to enjoy the journey. Okay, nevermind - I can't wait until I can start the same sweater for me!