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So Happy I Could Dye

It’s hard to believe this past week was only my second week at The Twisted Purl… I’ve learned SO much in such a short amount of time.  Thanks to Cyndi, I’m already comfortable with a number of terms and pieces of equipment that, just two weeks ago, I didn’t know existed.  I feel as though I’ve been initiated in to the secret world of fiber arts, and I’m loving every second of it.

Tuesday, after discussing a number of important topics– namely women entrepreneurs and haunted mansions– Cyndi put me to work practicing and perfecting techniques I learned last week.  I relied on trusty old ROY-G-BIV to make several carded batts, and labeled many many felted soaps.  Although the above tasks are somewhat repetitive, I sincerely enjoy them.  In truth, repetitive tasks tend to be my favorite.  There is peace in the process, in addition to that lovely feeling I get when creating anything with my hands.  In the short time I’ve been an intern, I’ve already noticed that after a morning of creative activity at The Twisted Purl, I face the rest of my day with a calmer, more joyful attitude.

On Thursday, Cyndi taught me a few methods for dyeing and painting wool roving.  As usual, I was hesitant about choosing my colors, and unconfident in my final product.  I am, however, excited to see how they look as carded batts and/or spun yarn! Cyndi said that if she has time, she might spin one of them this weekend (ahh!).  Although I’m a little worried, I’m not too worried, because if it’s really ugly we can just sell it to my mom. I don’ have a picture of the first roving I dyed (which was very “Springy”), but the second is pictured below in the shape of a pizza.

Yeah, I know, it kind of looks like that rainbow bread they used to sell at the grocery store.

And here it is again, steaming to set the colors:



My favorite roving I dyed, though, was a solid color “in-bowl” experiment.  It turned out (I think) to be a nice lavender.  We shall see! Also, while all of this dyeing was going on, Cyndi managed to learn how to arm knit and made a scarf using the technique. I can’t keep up with this lady! Next week, she is going to help me make a more “artful” carded batt, and my homework is to come up with a theme to base the colors on.  (Check out Zoe and Cyndi’s Monet yarn, it turned out so beautiful!)  Time to start looking around for inspiration–


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Hand Painted Wool Roving Process

Today was a manic Monday dye day! I managed to produce 2 and a half pounds of painted fiber, all 80’s grade Merino Wool. Here is a quick glimpse of the new colors…remember they are wet, so the colors will look a bit different next time I show them off.

With the Roving of The Month Club shipping out soon and all these Market showings we’ve been doing, I really need to schedule repeated Manic Monday Dye Days.

Some have asked a bit about the process of dying wool roving. Here’s a few pics I snapped today during the process just to show off.

First the wool has to soak for about thirty minutes in a water and acid solution (acid as in vinegar or citric acid). I use citric acid, just because I am not a huge vinegar smell fan. The smell of wet wool is something else. Some say they hate it, me personally, I love it…but I am a bit of a weird duck.

After the thirty minutes, the wool blossoms and is ready to take the dye. I use many different dying techniques. Depending on how I want the end product to come out. In this example, I laid out the roving and painted the sections in bulk.

This one will be a red and a brownish purple when it’s all said and done. In the above picture, the wet wool is laid out on some plastic wrap. The dye was painted onto each section using foam brushes. Once one side is finished, I flip the entire thing and then paint the other side to ensure full dye coverage.

The next step is steaming the wool. This sets in the dye. Now, I personally use the steam method, because when I took my class from the company I buy my dye from they were very insistent that steaming to set the color is the only method anyone should use. Other methods, including microwaving the wool, does not produce longest lasting life of the color you are setting. You can set the dye using different methods, but my color is always set using steam. I want the end product to be the very best quality and I want your creations to last for generations to come. So enough ranting…here’s a steamy pic of the roving soaking up the dye:

The wool has to steam for around 30 minutes and then it is ready to be carefully rinsed (you don’t want to felt your new painted roving) and then hung out to dry…see the very first picture.

Along with all the wool I painted today, I also painted 10 new silk scarves. I just recently ordered some new silk to paint, they were a bit smaller than I originally planned, but they are perfect hair ties. I painted a bunch purple, for the University of Central Arkansas’s school color. UCA BEARS! I figure they will be cute to tie in your hair to head out to football games. Man I wish football would hurry up and start!

So, that’s it for today! Tomorrow we will be in downtown Conway at the Farmers Market. Come see us and check out the new hair ties and new fiber. ♥

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Dye Day 2008

Today is The Twisted Purl’s official Dye Day of 2008. Maybe it’s a two day holiday, since it really started yesterday. Hopefully later today, I will find my camera, and be able to show off all the yummy goodness.

My sister has started a Facebook group for my yarn. She is just too cool for words! Check it out and be sure to join. CLICK HERE

Sorry for the briefness, but the yarn is calling my name. Hope to post pics later. ♥

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Beyond Beat

On Monday I dyed. A lot. I had some yarn that looked a bit like a Hawaiian lei so I did some in red, white, and blue, also a different set in rainbow. I dyed up some silk yarn and also some blue sock yarn. The blue sock yarn is every shade of blue I had premixed in my dye cabinet. It turned out nice, and I can’t wait to see it reskeined. Today I had my slave driver friend, Jeanetta come over and help me play with all the silk scarves I ordered. We dyed 20 things! All that is pictured is the scarves. Once the bags dry I will be sure to share. Some of them turned out fantastic, others look a little like mud was slung across the dye room, but ahhhhh well…it was fun to have four hands!
The velour and silk was a very interesting fabric to play with. Above you see it in blue (which I adore!) below it is in chocolate. With the blue, brown, and red today we did sets so I will have them with small key chain/cardholder bags, and a bit larger makeup size bag. All with the silk velour. It is quite stunning to see the way the light hits them.

Tons of scarves for Toad Suck Daze. The red above is in Razorback Red!

We managed to survive the morning with very little injuries. Surprising with Luke and Brady jumping off the top bunk bed onto a mattress pulled off the lower bunk bed on the floor…I was the only one injured. I managed to stick a wooden skewer right into the middle of my forehead. The darn thing actually stuck. Once I pulled it out, it really didn’t bleed too bad…but I laughed so hard I was wiping away the tears and holding my side. Darn wooden skewers. I am really beyond beat though. I am ready for a nap…and my poor hands need a rest. Hope your crafting endeavors are successful and pleasing today, and watch out for skewers. ♥