Sunday, March 21, 2010


Whomever claims that today is the "first day of Spring" can bite me.

Fiber dyeing ate my soul

Well, I tried some direct dyeing (paint then steam, a.k.a make a huge mess in the basement)

Some Finn top:

and some 80/20 merino/silk:

What you cannot see from my beauteous, carefully posed pictures, is I am STILL getting it fuzzed up around the edges - like a light surface felting. Maybe it's just compressed? I can't tell, don't have enough spinning knowhow.

and look at this insouciant little bit of Finn, previously kettle dyed pink:

This one was worse, it feels pretty much unworkable now. Breaks my heart, as I adore that little red-orange-pink-yellow-green bit at the beginning.

It must be something with my rinse, then? But I don't know how in Howandaland that could be, as I'm letting temperatures change slowly, rinsing after they've cooled completely, in lukewarm water, and I'm just sliding it into the water. No agitation, no squeezing, no nothing. I drain and refill the rinse bath a few times (yes, never letting the water fall directly upon my precious, precious wool), then hang them up. That's it.

These appeared to come out of the steam rolls compressed - they didn't expand much in the water. So maybe it's something in the steaming while squeezed up in wrap? ARGGHH.

I've got something else to try, just layering the fiber in a container then baking. No rolling up in plastic wrap tubes. Maybe that'll tell me if it's the cooking-while-compressed that's the problem?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Back to the drawing board

Dammit, I thought I was doing better. And then I go try the merino/silk blend again and I get ye olde partially felted fiber.

I adore the coloring, but can you see the wavy bits near the top? Yeah, the outside kind of felted, again. I seem to be able to handle the 80/20 BFL/silk but not 80/20 merino/silk. Hmph, I can make the Finn behave, too.

I'm just going to suck it up and start directly applying dye and then steaming. I prefer kettle dyeing since it's less of a mess (for me) and I like the watercolor/color blending. We'll see if it's a rinsing problem or a cooking problem.
Isn't it pretty (well, if you like rusty-orange colored wool)? I love how the silk takes up the dye differently and puts in little shiny bits.

Friday, March 05, 2010

On Call

I'm on call for work this week, which means I'm contractually obligated not to be farther than 20 minutes away from a computer this week and weekend. Kind of a bummer, as I won't be able to participate much in the Portland Yarn Crawl. Then again, it's probably a good thing - you know, save me from myself.

I've been kind of grumpy the last few days as I'm trying to break my current sugar habit. I'll tell you right now, up front, that this isn't about weight or the evils of sugar. In the last year I've made a concerted effort to drop the whole food guilt thing and I cannot express adequately just how much happier and relieved I am not to feel morally "good" or "bad" based on what I eat. Screw that. There's only food, not "good" or "bad"; just food, and the different effects it has on my body.

But I've been feeling kind of like a big bucket of crud lately and I know I get like that sometimes when the sugar is riding high. So I'm doing this because I want to feel better, and I because dislike craving sugar every day.

Also bummed because the dresses I tried ordering from this place I just found do not fit. I went through this already with Shabby Apple in January. Supercute dresses, but I was put out to have to pay shipping fees for the privilege of trying on their dresses that didn't fit. Update your size charts, grrrr. They are the only thing I can use to tell if I'll fit your clothing.

The new place is Pinup Girl Clothing and I lurve some of their dress designs, but my bosom was too much for this one and the others were inches too small in the waist.

I really need to suck it up and start making my own. This is getting ridiculous. Yes, I know there are fat lady clothing places on the web, but I VASTLY prefer natural fabrics and none of them seem to make anything in non-polyester. Would it KILL them to make something in cotton? Sigh.