Monday, July 12, 2010

Skein 1 Complete

    I finally finished my bamboo top! Its roughly 200 yards of 100% bamboo top spun into a nice lace weight. It is currently undyed but I have some big plans for it. I was going to ply with a thinker yarn and do some two tone colors, but I really like the thickness as it is now and might just keep it. I could maybe start working on one of the shawls in my queue.
 I'm really happy with the way this skein turned out. Its probably the most consistent yarn I've spun up to this point and I love the feel of the bamboo fibers. Its hopefully going to dye up great and I'm thinking about doing a berry purple color on it. I have 6 o.z. of bamboo left and I think I'll spin them all up and dye the lot together.
I'm spinning for teams Spindlers and Rookies for the Tour De Fleece and I'm so excited to be able to post my first complete skein of the tour. I've got roughly 11 more o.z. to go and if I'm going to finish on time I'm seriously gonna have to step up my pace. For the last leg of the TDF I'm going to spin my Tie-Dye merino top. For the last part of the tour on July 25th we are supposed to spin something difficult (since the corresponding leg of the Tour De France is the most difficult part of the race) so I'm planning on spinning up my tie-dyed merino top. I found that it seemed to have gotten a little matted during the dyeing process and is difficult to draft. I think next time I dye merino roving I'll use a different method and hopefully avoid the matting problem.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sunshine Dyeing

Yesterday I decided it was such a beautiful day that I would do some dyeing outside. I had about 2 o.z. of merino top left over from my last dye and I had the urge to do some tie-dye inspired fibers.

I did my dye today with some basic food coloring! Easy to clean up, great colors, and the fibers dye up really well. Soak the fiber in a 1 to 1 solution of vinegar and water for a couple hours. After that I just took a few containers of hot water and dropped some coloring in them (Make sure you test it on a fiber sample then go a shade or two darker. The color lightens a bit when it dries).

Since I was dyeing outside, I figured I would let the sun set the color for me. To help the natural heat source along I put some foil down and wrapped up the merino when I finished with the color. The purple highlights turned out really cool.
 All finished!!! Got just the tie-dyed look I was going for. This should spin up really well. I like working with food coloring for dyes. They give this great muted tone that looks wonderful as a yarn. For more vibrant colors though I like fabric dyes.

On another note, its day 8 of the Tour De Fleece and I''m hoping to finish up the last of the bamboo top  today. I'm driving upstate today to visit my parents, I'm sure I'll have a little extra time so my spindle will come along with me.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tour De Fleece 2010 -- Day 4

    I joined the Tour De Fleece a little late, but better late than never right? I'm spinning for teams Spindlers and Rookies. On Day 3 (when I did actually join) I did all the drafting of my 9 oz. of bamboo. 9 oz.!!!!! That's a lot. A lot more than I normally would buy. Let me tell you the story of the 9 oz. of bamboo top. Several months ago I went on a mini shopping spree at my favorite place to buy fibers (The Yarn Tree in NYC) and bought a ton of stuff during their fiber sale. I think I bought 20 oz. total of bamboo, flax, merino and alpaca. So I supposedly finished off all that and recently bought 4 oz. more of bamboo and 4 oz. of merino for the tour de fleece.  I distinctly remember polishing off that bag of bamboo. Turns out, I was wrong. Whilst digging through my stash for some leader yarn I found the entire 5 oz. bag of bamboo, completely untouched! How did that happen!!?? Well, I'll just add that to my challenge for the Tour. 13 oz. total spun by the end.
Not the best picture in the world, but I didn't get home until after dark. The yarn on the spindle is right around a lace weight and I plan on plying it up to a 3 ply yarn.
The fibers are already speaking to me! And what they are saying is....PURPLE! I've got this beautiful picture in my head for what this yarn is going to look like. I'll dye each of the plys separately, hopefully that will happen in the next day or two.
Haha, Simba decided to try and eat some of my fiber. Bamboo seems to be his favorite. Kat likes the merino better. What a goof!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Review! Gotta Have It

The Knitting Answer Book
By: Margaret Radcliffe
ISBN-13 : 978-1-58017-599-9

This little book is a reference guide for literally hundreds of techniques. Unlike so many other reference books, this one provides clear concise directions (with pictures too!) with an air of fun and whimsy. This little book has a permanent place in my knitting bag and I literally never leave home (with my knitting stuff) with out it. It covers everything from needle sizes, yarn weights, terms and abbreviations advanced techniques like garment shaping and button holes to beading. The thing that really sets this book apart from the rest is the wealth of tips and tricks it gives in every chapter. I was surprised when the book fell open to a page with detailed instructions for making a string tool for beads out of fishing line or dental floss. I was even more impressed when I found the section adjusting patterns and fixing garments after you have finished them!

Hands down. This book is one of my favorite reference guides and I recommend it to anyone (beginner or seasoned knitter) to keep in their bags at all times. You never know when a problem will pop up and I can assure you, this little book, just like the cover says, has a solution to every problem you'll ever face.

You can find the book for purchase HERE at
Definitely worth the money.

This book has been officially added to KnitSpiffy's favorites list.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Needle Organizer

Use this very "knitter friendly" pattern to store all your needles in a handy organized roll that you can take any where!

You Will Need:
1 19"x17" rectangle of fabric in pattern/color of the outside of your wrap
1 19"x17" rectangle of lining fabric
1 19"x10" rectangle of lining fabric
1 19"x8" rectangle of lining fabric
22-24 inches of fabric ribbon
A sewing machine

Please note that the pattern allows for a total of 1/2 inch for hem on all sides. Start with a very thin hem with your first piece and work your way to a total of 1/2 inch (about .16 inch for each seam)

Honeydew Melon Flavored Yarn

Honey Dew Melon
100% Merino Top
148 yds (2.8 oz)
1 skein

Finished this yarn a few days ago and am just now getting around to taking pictures. The picture is a little blurry, sorry, my camera wasn't cooperating with me. I only did one skein since I didn't really have a project in mind but I just had to get the color out. 

I've still got 4 oz. of bamboo top and about 2 oz. of merino to spin still.