Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What's Your Favorite Flavor?

My first effort at Kool-Aid dyeing was so much fun I wanted to try other colors. But I didn't have anymore reclaimed wool. That didn't stop me. ;) This is Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool.

I borrowed a niddy noddy from a spinning friend and found making skeins with it much easier than the lap board. I measured 50 yards for each color.

In the dye.

Almost all the dye has been absorbed.

Yum! The colors are so fun. I've been scouring the grocery stores for Blue Raspberry. I know it exists but so far, no luck.

Dyeing Comes On The Heels of Reclaiming

I am completely captivated by this new fiber adventure! By now I have several different sweaters at varying stages of being reclaimed. Once I reclaim the yarn, the possibilities seem almost endless. I joined the Unravelers forum and found the members friendly and so willing to make helpful suggestions. Such as, if I don't like the color of the reclaimed yarn I can over dye it. Well... dyeing seemed like a whole other craft, but Kool-Aid dyeing makes it sooo easy! And it doesn't cost a lot to experiment.

100% worsted wool

Approximately one packet of drink mix per ounce of yarn.

The yarn completely absorbs the food coloring in the drink mix. You know it's done when the water becomes clear.

Cherry. But I bet you guessed that.

More Reclaiming Yarn

I'm gradually getting better and am less dizzy, but I'm still not strong enough to go into the studio and work on quilts. So in the meantime I've been enjoying reclaiming yarn from thrift store sweaters. I reclaimed my first sweater last spring with this one because it was hand spun, 100% wool. But since that time I've found the Unravelers forum on Ravelry. Oh my, there are many knitters that are *seriously* into this. Reading the forum has taught me a lot and I now know you can find many fine quality sweaters to reclaim at thrift stores; merino, cashmere, silk, linen, alpapca, etc. Wow!

This is an Italian cotton that was a woman's large. I forgot to take a before picture. It was a challenge because it was machine knit with two strands running back and forth. Here I'm skeining the front to my lap board.

All skeined except this sleeve.

Once it's all unraveled I give it a wash with shampoo or a little dish soap. So many thrift stores treat their clothes with Febreze, the smell is just too much. I hang it with a weight to relax the 'yarn ramen', all the kinks from being knitted. I've estimated yardage from this sweater: 1275. Not bad for 4.00 a little effort. :)

One More DIY Yarn Winder

At first I thought I might be able to skein around the dasher in the ice cream maker, but when I tried it, I found the canister turns and the dasher stays still. Ahhh...

It unravels as it winds, which makes reclaiming the fine gauge yarn go that much faster. I do need to help it along sometimes if it sticks at the selvage edge. But if it breaks, I can split splice it easily, since it's 100% animal fiber.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


More than 25 years ago I remember attending a living history event that featured tools, activities and crafts of the last century. Several women sat and demonstrated picking a fleece, carding wool and spinning yarn. I was fascinated and kept coming back to their booth throughout the day to sit and watch. But I was already sewing quilts, collecting fabric and making plans. I remember walking away and telling myself, "You already have a major hobby. Stay focused, you don't want to divide your energy."

Recently I've been recovering from a viral inner ear infection. I'm passed the worst of the dizziness, ringing in the ears and lack of balance, but I still move slowly and need to take things easy. Knitting has become my pastime while I wait for my health and equilibrium to return. The feel of the yarn in my hands is so calming.

I've been reclaiming yarn to be reworked into something new. There are tools available for what I'm doing, but I'm still not driving much due to the dizziness, so I've been 'making do'. It's kind of fun to see what you can come up with when you have to. Today I wanted a way to ply four strands of yarn into something I can knit with comfortably.

It worked! It helps if the drill has variable speed and can stand on the table. Now instead of lace weight yarn I have a nice four ply. I wonder what my great, great grandmother would think?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Searching For Calm

One of the things I noticed in the garden at the Bed and Breakfast we visited, was how many meditative statues they had. At first it struck me as too much. One peaceful Buddah sitting contemplatively in a quiet nook is inspiring, but six and it starts to feel like overkill. DH and I set out to photograph them so I could blog this observation. But something happened along the way.

They're so peaceful. As we spent time photographing each one I was captivated by their facial expression. Especially this last one, just looking at her something softened inside me and let go. I teasingly named her 'Deborah', but then realized her name is more likely to be 'Milan'.

Seeking Serenity.

Another DIY Yarn Winder

I got this idea from another blog.

I pushed a toilet paper tube onto the beater, laid the sweater out flat, turned on the power and guided the yarn along the tube. The mixer not only wound the yarn but unraveled the sleeve at the same time. I was done in no time! The mixer's lowest speed was a little too fast, but it got the job done.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sidewinder As A Yarn Ball Winder

The members of the Unraveler's forum on Ravelry have been talking about DIY ways of winding yarn. Here's my current way of doing it. The super fine yarn from the current sweater was too much to wind by hand.

Cut open a toilet paper tube. Wrap it *snugly* around a sewing machine bobbin to measure the amount of paper tube needed, butt the edges and cut to fit. Tape the seam with masking tape.

I tried both three, and four and a half inch long tubes. Three inches worked better because there was less wobble as it wound on the Sidewinder. The pictures below show the four and a half inch tube.

Hold the yarn end on the tube until the first few wraps hold it in place. I wind straight to the tube and by pass the Sidewinder's tension because the yarn's too thick.

The four and a half inch long tube wobbled a LOT, so I balanced it with my thumb. Press the green power button in short bursts and manually disperse the yarn along the tube.

Two things to keep in mind: Don't wind any yarn down at the base of the tube and make sure the keeper - see arrow in photo - is all the way to the left, otherwise it will shut off the winder.

Continue to wind slowly by pushing the power in short bursts. After about 3/4 of the way along, I took it off and wound the rest by hand. The ball above is on a three inch tube and looks smooth because I finished with hand winding. -- I probably won't do too much of this; the Sidewinder cost over 20.00. I don't want to burn it out!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Buttonhole Bag 2011

I wanted a little take-along project when we went to the coast last weekend, so I started another Buttonhole bag. When I got the pattern out I was surprised that it was almost exactly a year ago that I made the first one; must've been in my subconscious.

The pattern said I could make it from 2 and a quarter skeins, so I pulled from stash to get started. These colors looked kind of fun together.

Here's the bottom before you pick up the stitches around the edge to knit the body of the bag.

I knitted a jade strip next, but it was too contrast-y. I thought I'd use the jade for the handle. But when I got to the handle, there wasn't enough jade, so I bought more purple.

Hey! I made practically the same bag as last time. And here I thought I'd changed it up. I always mean to measure the bag before and after felting, but I get so caught up in the fun of getting it in the machine to felt, I forget.

Then I found just the right button in my vintage collection. The pictures of it finished are in focus, it's just a really fuzzy bag, fun to hold! This one will be for sale in the LQG's Country Store.