Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A recipe for handspun hat and mittens sort of...

A little bit of this fiber:
Windspun Farms
Windspun Fiber Shetland and mohair blend

and this one:

Spin it up on the wheel you get this:

Shetland -  I think

Then get it on the needles:

Then knit and knit and knit, round and round you go. I used the House Mittens Pattern from Charmed Knits. Then finally I get this:

Find more on my project page on Ravelry.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Boy Kids New Doo


He was singing a song while I was taking pics. I just love how this photo turned out.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Book Review: Serving Up the Harvest

If you are struggling with some new ways to cook up your local veggies I recommend purchasing Serving up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman. I've seen this book several times but kept passing it up because I didn't want to spend the money. So when Borderd sent me a 40% coupon I decided it was time. It's the kind of cook book I like. It gives you basic information in a new way that helps you expand your cooking knowledge. It's the book to grab when you have a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

The first half of the book she shares basic recipes to make a lo mein, stir fry, cheese sauce, pastry, etc. Then the rest of the book is ordered by the veggies seasons. Each vegetable has basic gardening information, basic cooking times and information, several tasty recipes, and a meal or two to make with it.

I have several of the recipes marked that I want to try and the ingredients list is easy to find. So I'm sure this is book that I will take off the shelf and actually use.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Alkanet, Onions and Osage

More natural dyeing....

Alkanet is a root and it stinks when you cook it. In theory you can get purples from it but I did not. I did get a lovely warm gray with a touch of purple but I'm not feeling the love to do this again.



I may have felted the fibers a bit too since I was bit impatient with the whole process.

Onions skins red and yellow.
20 grams of skins, 20 gram of fiber and I'm love the orange I got with this.

A bit of handspun with onions skins

Osage Organge:
Mordant the yarn some mystery yarn and some Lion Brand Fishermens Wool.

onion skins, walnut sock yarn and the alkanet.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What's up

This is the busiest fall on record for our family. Lots of activities and learning fun. I'm full!

Both kids are volunteering at the animal shelter. It's more Corbin's thing than Jade's so far. I'm really impressed with the initiative the kids are taking with it.

Jade is taking an acting class and really enjoying it.

We are participating in a Science Club with other homeschoolers. That's been fun for me too learning about things along with the kids.

I'm helping with a Fiber Arts Club for homeschoolers as well.

Lots of skatepark time. Corbin can almost jump stairs!

Role playing games at our house.

We are trying to do at least one fun family thing a month, keep up with household projects and still have some down time.

Is anyone else exhausted just reading this list? I am!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eek! It's a Steek!

Steeking is scary process. You actually CUT your knitting. I'm not ready to steek a sweater yet. So I made a coffee cozy instead. I knitted a tube in the round then using a crocheted steek and scissors I cut it to lay flat then added a button band.

Buttons the close up

You can see more pics here of my the steeking process. Give it try! It's both scary and empowering at the same time.

Add some duplicate stitch if you desire

Overall it was a success. I learned a lot. I wish I had done a grabbier yarn for the crocheting part. The green is Cascade 220 and the pink is Paton's Merino that I dyed. The merino was just too smooth so some of cut ends of the steek worked loose. I manage to tighten it up so it seems fairly secure now.

Add some duplicate stitch if you desire

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Walnuts Steeping

About 30 plus walnuts. Steeped over night in about 4 plus pints of hot water from my electric kettle.


Here it is cooking up in the crockpot. The dye liquor was very dark and did not exhaust at all.
The fiber in the bottom left was dyed first with peppermint then overdyed with the walnut. It’s hard to see but it has a touch of green.

Dye notes:
  • 30 plus walnuts - poured hot water from the electric kettle about 4 pints
  • poured the dye liquor into the crockpot the next morning and filled it about 1/2 way.
  • Then added the fiber that was soaked overnight with a bit if dish detergent.
  • Raised dye bath to 180 deg F and soaked for 2 hours. Let it cool.
  • Started at about 10am and rinsed and drying at about 7pm
  • There was about 2pints of dye liquor left that still had lots of dye potential left. I have 2 more pints I haven’t even used yet.
  • Done in crockpot.

More Walnut dyed yarn. This is some of my very first sock yarn.


Sock Saga Yarn



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hand Dyed and Spun Scarf


Lacy Baktus pattern, If you get your google on you should be able to find it online or a search on Ravelry. My handspun corriedale and hand dyed yarn about 3.6oz.

The yarn:
neon handspun

Neon green and neon purple 2 bottles each. Then overdyed green section with 1 iceblue koolaid and 2 of lemonade. Overdyed the purple with 2 grape I think. I'm not sure why I used so much dye with this. I'd like to try this again with less dye.

neon handspun

I really like how this turned out. I used too much dye as it's tuning my hands pink while I knit.

The yarn in it's undyed glory after being washed and whacked:

Corriedale Spun

This is some of my first handspun yarn that I successfully plied, about 358 yards.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Koolaid Time

Earlier this summer I messed around with koolaid dyeing and food coloring too. There are lots of great resources on line for using koolaid to dye wool.

Just get your google on and you can find lots more. The benefit of koolaid is you don't need to add vinegar because there is citric acid in the drink mix. I add a good glug anyway just to make sure. If you don't like the small of vinegar get some citric acid crystals as that works too. You don't need separate pots and pans since koolaid is basically a food grade dye. The most important thing is to have fun and not stress it's only yarn.

Here are some of my results from messing around this summer.

Black Cherry
1 skein of Knit Picks fingering merino

  • 8 cups water with 2T citric acid for dye bath
  • Dye amounts: Started with 6 packets of grape and black cherry to 1 cup give or take of water
  • Soaked yarn then added to 8cup water and citric acid let come up to about 120 deg F
    Then added the dye to section of the yarn. Let soak up
  • Decided it was not dark enough then added 4 packs of Black cherry and 2 packs of grape to the entire bath swished it around.
  • Temp to come up to 180 deg F for 30 minutes then let cool and rinsed

Then I made a lovely Bruges Scarf with it.
Bruges Lace ScarfBruges Lace Scarf

More Red yarn:
Handspun dyed reds
Dye Notes:
  • Soaked yarn then added to crockpot when the temp was 120 deg F I added dye in sections.
  • Water bath with 2T citric acid 6 cup water give or take
  • 9 cherry and 9 ice blue lemonade dye into 1.5 cup water for each color
  • heat til 180 deg F for 30 minutes
  • let cool for short bit then rinse and hang dry

Next up a pretty Blue Green:
Patons dyed blue green
  • 6 plus cups water glug of vinegar
  • water bath up to 120 deg F or so
  • 9 yellow lemonade, 9 ice blue lemonade in 1.5 cups water each
  • poured over yarn in sections
  • add dye then heat to 180 deg F for about 30 minutes
  • let cool for a bit rinse and hang to dry

I'm an impatient person by nature so I rinse my yarn as soon as I can. It's much better to wait overnight or until the dye bath has completely cooled before you remove the dyed yarn. The dye will set better and is especially important with reds that can take longer to bind with the fiber. In the future I will do my best to follow this advice myself.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hand Dyed and Hand Spun Mittens for Me!

Lowder Colours Farm Teeswater X


2 ounces - approx. 60 yards
I really like this fiber but the batch I got was either very compacted or somewhat felted because it was hard to draft. It still came out soft and would like to try it again.

Dyed with neon pink and neon blue fool coloring, 1 tsp of blue and 2 of the pink. I now wish I had done 1/2 tsp of each. I dyed it with another larger hank of yarn which turned out more purple, see below. This turned out cherry red, kinda like I use cherry kool aid.

Started with 6 cups water and a glug of vinegar in the bath with the yarn got up to 120 degrees then added yarn. Heat until 180 deg. for 30 minutes. Let cool down then rinsed.



Dyed with neon pink and neon blue fool coloring. 1 ts of blue and 2 of the pink. I now wish I had done 1/2 ts of each. I dyed it with another smaller hank of yarn, see above, which turned out more reddish (kind a like I use cherry kool aid) This one is more purple.

Started with 6 cups water and a glug of vinegar in the bath with the yarn got up to 120 degrees then added yarn.

Twisted Mitts

Twisted Mitts

Yay ! My very first pair of handspun and hand dyed mittens. All for me!

I used up every last bit of the yarn and a tiny bit from another skein in my stash. Since it was purple you can hardly tell. This yarn also turned my hands a bit pink but not quite as bad as the other yarn. It will be interesting when I wear them for a snow fight.

I did a twisted rib for the cuff. Used the pattern I found here. It’s also called a yarn over cable. The pattern is a multiple of 5 sts. I did 8 repeats so I cast on 40sts. Then followed Ann Buds basic mittens. My knit gauge was 6st/inch. I think I followed the pattern for 7st per inch.

Peppermint Dye

I was reading on one of the natural dye forums on Ravelry and someone shared this absolute gorgeous yarn dyed with fresh peppermint leaves. It was a dk bronze green. Sadly I did not get such a lovely result.


The result isn't bad. It's kind of a warm tan. Unless I change my mind it's destined for an overdye in the future.

175 grams of dye stuff including the stems. Simmered for 30 minutes then steeped for about 4 plus hours. Simmered again for one hour and steeped over night.

4oz premordant (2T Alum and CoT assist) fiber dyed in crockpot with dye liquor for 1 hour.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tansy Time

While I was working with the Pokeberries I also harvested some Tansy leaves from the garden.


Most dye resources mention only the flowers. I got a lovely bright at the same time mellow yellow on some Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool. Here it is right out of the dye bath.


I gathered about 175 grams or so of tansy leaves still on the stems then added enough water to cover them. I brought them to a boil then put them on simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool over night and repeated the same in the morning.

I transferred the dye liquor with the leaves in another bin while I mordant the yarn with Alum and CoT assist. I used about 2T Alum and 2t CoT for about 175 grams of Lionbrand Fishermen's Wool.

Then I removed the leaves from the dye liquor. I drained the mordant water off. Then added the dye liquor to the pot with the fiber and cooked it at 180 deg F for 45 min give or take and let cool over night.

Here's the lovely dye all dried and ready for some mittens.


Here a comparison of the Tansy dyed yarn and a small sample of Dandelion flower dyed yarn I did earlier this summer.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Pokeberry Dyeing not Dying

Pokeberries are toxic but they make a beautiful dye. How toxic they are seems to not be clear. So inform yourself and decide. The berries were used as an ink in the 1800's. Some eat the new shoots in the spring. They do need to be cooked a few times to remove the toxins.


In general berries do not yield good long lasting dye color. I came across some info from Carol Leigh, here, and used them to the best of my ability. Then dyed up 5oz or so of roving.

I collected the pokeberries about 1.5 gallons worth maybe more maybe less. Tossed them in a bin and added a good glug of vinegar and enough water to cover them. Then crushed them a bit. This set overnight.

The next day I cooked the fiber in my crockpot with a few glugs of vinegar. I didn’t use acetic acid just lots of vinegar but I don’t have exact amounts, because I really wasn’t sure on the 56% acetic acid thing. Later I found that citric acid crystals can be used in place of it yet I’m still not convinced that’s true. Mainly I made sure I was using copious amounts of vinegar. Then I took out the fiber and let it cool for a bit.

I got the dye liquor ready by crushing the berries even more. I only used a strainer to remove the berries but wish I had used some cheese cloth as that would have collected the seeds. I had more dye liquor than I needed.

I added the dye liquor into the crockpot and another glug of vinegar. Then I added the fiber. Later I added some citric acid about 4oz to the dye bath. Let the fiber cook for about 30 more minutes after it reached 180 deg F.

Let it soak over night until cool. I rinsed it in the morning and still had lots of color left in the dye bath but the fiber was quite dark. Here are the lovely results!


I saved all the dye liquor I didn't use, 3 quart jars full. I may dye more.

Now I'm spinning it up.