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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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Cupid Puked Pink all Over the Studio

Pink and Purple Fibers ready to steam after dye I had a massive dyed day the other day and guess what the major color theme was?  Yup!  Cupid just came along and puked pink all over the studio.  With Valentine’s Day coming up and spring just around the corner, it was time to bust out the pink shades. Here are the fibers hanging up to dry:

Pink Wool DryingOnce dried, I blended a few of the colors together with both more reds and some yellows and created these carded batts:

Pink Carded battsFrom the card batts I felted a few soaps.  Retail Stores want Valentine’s Day Soaps for their stores.I Heart Felted Soap

Giving soap to a loved one is a funny thought for the holiday of love.  They do make excellent teacher, family, or co-worker gifts.  Unless you need to tell your significant other they stink or to clean up their act….then by all means! Felted Soap is the perfect gift. 😉Pink Spring Felted SoapsWith the freshly dyed pink fibers, I also created a new “Fluff to String” handspun yarn.  Here is the basket of fluff:Basket of carefully selected fibers to be turned into Handmade YarnThe Carded Batt:

Carded Batt created from Basket of FluffThe Finished Handspun Yarn:

Handmade Yarn Valentine's DayThis yarn is now available in our store. Check it out!

close up of semi-coiled handspun yarnWhat are you up to for Valentine’s Day?  Do you have lots of crafty things in store?  I’d love to hear all about it. ♥

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2009 ArtsFest Fiber Arts Hands On Exhibit

On Saturday October 10th, 2009 I had a booth during the Hands On session of ArtsFest in Conway, Arkansas. It was an absolute blast!We set up two tables for the event. One that was full of dye and wet roving so the kids, and adults, could paint right on the wool. The other table was a sample of different types of fiber so everyone could feel the difference.The outcome of the day was 32 ounces of painted beauty! The kids did an amazing job. The roving is now set, dry, and ready to be turned into yarn.

Over the next few days, I plan to spin all of this up into yarn.

Once all of this is turned into yarn, I will post more pictures, so stay tuned. The yarn will be listed in my Etsy shop, if you are interested in purchasing any of it. It will be at a discounted price, compared to my usual yarn.

Since I ended up with much more painted wool than I thought, I may even knit a few scarves with it and list those as well. For those of you who may not knit or crochet but would love to have something out of the yarn.

ArtsFest 2009 was a blast! Thank you so much for all of you who came out and played with fiber. You totally made my day! ♥
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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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The Roving is Ready!

Yesterday, the boys roving hung and dried. While drying, I was amazed at the similarities in the three sets. The boys all used different colors, but yet they looked so much the same. Tye-dyed, a dead head’s dream! Here is a pic of the roving drying:
This morning, they were completely dry and ready to look at more in depth. Below is Brady’s; it spotty with gray and loads of other colors.
Next is Austin’s. His has a lot of blue shades. I can’t wait to spin his up with the blue and yellow and purples. The spinning on his will start today! Hopefully, I will have some pictures to post of it tomorrow.
Last, is Drew’s. Wow! His is very bold and strong. This one will spin up gorgeous as well. He placed his colors with a bit more care than his brothers and it really pays off in the color scheme!
I had to lay all three out side by side so you can see the differences. The yarn will look similar but with the distinct differences of Brady’s being more sporadic, Austin’s being blue, and Drew’s being boldly beautiful!

On a different note, the craft show I have been planning on being in has been canceled. Bummer! I was really looking forward to it. Hopefully, I can find one more major show to be in before Toad Suck Daze. Yes, to all my dear friends in California, I DID say Toad Suck.
Toad Suck Daze is a bit event here in Conway, Arkansas. There is a near by town…very small, called Toad Suck. Back in the day, boats used to pull up and dock at a Tavern in Toad Suck. This was before the county was dry (yes that mean they sell NO LIQUOR in the county). The town folk used to say that the sailors would suck on the liquor bottles until they swelled up like toads. So, the name Toad Suck came about…and darn those sailors, they are probably the reason the whole county is dry. Always takes a few to ruin it for the whole.
Toad Suck Daze is a huge (300,000 +) fair with crafts and rides and great fair food. So now you know! I will be sure to post links and more, once the event gets a bit closer!
Until tomorrow! ♥