Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tour de Fleece on the Horizon

Spinners are on Ravelry are a abuzz with talk about the Tour de Fleece starting this weekend.  As a new spinner, I had not heard of this event previously, but after learning about it this year, I decided to jump in...deep.  Not only did I sign up as a member of 6 teams, I am also going to captain a team!  

What is the "Tour de Fleece" some might ask?  Beginning in 2006, a member of Ravelry created this event for spinners to spin every day the Tour de France rides.  "They spin, we spin," tagline is mentioned on the Tour de Fleece forum group on Ravelry.  The event begins this year on June 29 and goes until July 21st.  When the Tour de France rests, we rest.  When they have a challenge day, we create our own challenges to work on.  It is THE event of the year for spinners.  You can join as many teams as you wish and enter to win prizes from those teams. 

Many captains ask that you create goals for yourself during the Tour.  My goals, thus far, are to spin for 30 minutes a day that the Tour rides, to make it through the roving I've set aside for this event, and to spin something I've never spun before.  

I'm very much looking forward to this, and it's a nice distraction from the impending anniversary of losing my twin sons on July 1st last year.  It's not an easy time for me, as you can imagine.  My fiber art definitely helps me through.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday Sock Show Off Day!

Wanted to show you a couple of pairs of socks I've made in the last 2 months.  These are my first two pairs on DPNs (double pointed needles).  I was always scared of DPNs and had such a tough time using them in the past.  One of my goals for this year was to overcome my fear and make socks using DPNs, and I'm proud to say I ACCOMPLISHED MY GOAL!  :)   

Here are my knitted socks!  


Friday, June 7, 2013

An Afternoon With Sheep

On Wednesday, my hubs and I decided to get out of the house and over to Carriage Hill Farm Metropark for the afternoon.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day and we hadn't been over there in a few months to see the lambs. 

On our last visit to the farm, the sheep were being shorn, and were still in the barn.  It was lovely seeing them out on the pastures in the sunlight.  The Merino sheep are so wrinkly 
without all their wool.

Walking around the farm, we saw chickens, horses, mules, donkeys, cows, ducks, geese, honeybees, pigs, and piglets.  

The lambs have grown since we last saw them.  At times, they were close enough to the fence to pet them.  Just adorable!

It was difficult to get a good picture of the little black and white lamb.  This was was the best I could do.

We enjoyed walking around the farm, hiking around the ponds and woods, and seeing all the animals.  A great way to spend an afternoon.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

MVKG Dyeing Yarn/Roving Workshop Part 2

This post contains Part 2 of my power point presentation for the "Dyeing Yarn/Roving with Kool Aid & Wilton's food coloring" workshop I did for the Miami Valley Knitting Guild.


  • If you have yarn/roving that is already dyed, you can always over-dye it to change the colors.  
Light pink yarn, over-dyed with Watermelon Kool Aid in the Crockpot. 
Dyed roving over-dyed with Wilton's teal.

Originally light blue and yellow, over-dyed in Crockpot using Sky Blue Wiltons.

Multi colored yarn over-dyed with purple Wilton's.
Examples of Handpainted Roving:

Hints for using Kool Aid colors:
Kool Aid can be toned down by using non-white yarn or by mixing colors together.  Brown (1 orange to 1 grape or 1 red to 1 green) tones down bright colors and adds depth and interest.
Lemonade and Pink lemonade are weak colors, so you may want to add Wilton’s yellow or pink to brighten it. 
Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade is a lighter version of Berry Blue
Invisible Watermelon Kiwi contains NO food color, but you can use it in place of vinegar or citric acid when using food colorings.
To make darker colors, start with grey yarn
You can store leftover mixed colors in empty plastic water bottles or jars.  They can be kept in the fridge for months!
Red #3 can be tricky.  Slowly increase the acidity of your dyebath in order to set the color components one by one at their optimum pH.  You can find more information on this on the notes section of “What a Kool Way to Dye"

MVKG Dyeing Yarn/Roving Workshop

This is the Power Point Presentation that accompanies my Miami Valley Knitting Guild workshop on Dyeing Yarn/Roving with Kool Aid & Wilton's food coloring that I presented last night.  

This will be posted in at least two blog entries to fit all the slides in.

Dyeing Yarn/Roving with 
Kool Aid & Wilton's food colorings
by Kathryn Beck


Undyed yarn or roving
Kool Aid packets (at least 2 per color) and/or Wilton’s food coloring (gel or liquid is fine)
Apron, plastic gloves
Plastic wrap, plastic tarp, jars or cups to put dye mix in (one for each color)
Syringes, sponge brushes, squirt bottles
Vinegar, dish soap (I use PLANET unscented), glass bowl, oven mitts, thermometer, small hand mixer
Heat source:  Microwave, steamer pot, crockpot, oven

Important Notes Before Starting:

Presoak your yarn/roving!  At least 30 min prior.
Be gentle with yarn/roving that is not superwash!  You want to rinse, wring out, and wash gently so as not to felt your wool.
The items used for dyeing should NOT be used for food items in the future.  Keep your dyeing equipment separate from your food items.
Put out plastic sheeting on your workspace to protect from coloration. 
Make sure to wear your gloves.
Work in a well ventilated area.  Open a window, or wear a face mask.  Definitely more important if you move on to other dye methods.

Crockpot Method:

After soaking, place the yarn/roving into the crockpot. 
Cover with water.  About an inch above your yarn/roving.
Turn heat to HIGH. (My crockpot only has 2 settings, LOW & HIGH)
You can add dye at any time, before it heats up, or after it has heated for a little while. 
Add color, one, two, three, four…whatever you want to do!  Remember, colors will blend a bit, so use complimentary colors.  You can pre-mix the colors then add, or you can just dump colors in.  Experiment!  Be sure to turn yarn as you work so you don't have white spots (unless you want white spots).  
Cook until water is CLEAR.  Then let cool.  
Rinse and wash yarn/roving.  Gentle wring out water by hand, in a towel, in a washing machine (spin cycle) or in a salad spinner.
Hang to dry

Microwave Method:

Using plastic wrap, put two pieces out on your workstation, one slightly overlapping the other. 
Get your dyes mixed together.  At least 2 packets per color.  Add water and a glug of vinegar
Decide how you want to dye:
Hand paint with sponge brushes
Syringe spray
Squirt bottle
Or put into the jars
Once you finish adding color, wrap it up using the plastic wrap underneath, CAREFULLY, and roll it up into a jelly roll and place in a bowl or lay on a microwaveable safe dish.
Microwave for 2 min on, and let it rest for 2 min until color exhausts.  Depending on the intensity of your microwave, this could be very fast, or take 12-15 min of cook time.  My microwave is older, so takes longer to set colors.  
Let cool, rinse, wash, gentle press out water, and hang to dry.

Steamer pot method:

Same process as microwave dyeing, except instead of putting into the microwave to cook, you place it into a steamer pot.
Turn heat to Med High on stove, and let it steam.  You can use a thermometer to check the temperature.  You want 180-200 degrees for at least 20 minutes. 
Let cool, unwrap, rinse, wash, gently press out water, and hang to dry.

Other Methods:

Solar dyeing
Oven dyeing
Using other food colorings (McCormick’s) and even Easter egg dyes

**Presentation continues in next blog post....