Saturday, April 25, 2009

Chapman Springs

Started spinning this Chapman Springs colorway from BMFA. This is by far my favorite colorway. I was going to try for a 2ply worsted, but I think the fiber has other ideas. I think it's going to end up being closer to a fingering weight.
Now, here's were I talk about how I will start a project, just to try out something new. I've read a few different places about Fractal spinning. I don't know if this is the correct term. I'm pretty sure that's what it's being called. Basically you split your roving in half. You then spin one half as is. The second half is split into thirds. Apparently it I will have 1 ply that has long color areas and a 1 ply that has short color areas. I thought this sounded pretty darn cool. So, we'll see what happens.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Needing Light

I’ve said it before. I don’t feel very proficient with my photography skills. I used to. I even had a Dark Room. Back in the days before digital, if that tells you anything. As a matter of fact, digital photography was in its infancy (for the average consumer/photographer) and I was of the opinion that digital photography would never prevail over traditional photography. How wrong I was. Anyway, I felt entirely in tune with my medium.

Fast forward 10 years. Oddly enough, knitting and dyeing yarn brought a desire for photography back into my life. I wanted to document my knitting progress. I needed to photography products for sale. And the urge for creative expression through photography has reemerged. I’ve been talking about this a lot with some friends, who concur that my current feeling of inadequacy is due to fear.

Why is fear a re-occurring theme in my creative life? They are totally right of course. Close friends usually are right when it comes to things you don’t want to admit about yourself.

So, how to overcome this fear? How do I move past this feeling of inadequacy? I just have to get out and shoot. And I’m starting today. I will start to carry my camera with me at all times. This might be a little difficult, as it is a larger camera. I’ll shoot anything I get impaired to shoot. Maybe I should say “photograph” not “shoot”. That just sounds horrible. Although it is a proper term.

I’m feeling incredibly energized about this. Very excited, and of course scared, but ready. Tonight I’m meeting a friend who is going to model for me so I can get some shots of sock knitting. And this weekend I’m going to build a prop area. This will be a place to setup and photography my yarns and rovings. I have an idea for the type of standard images I want to have for displaying these items. I’ll also be going out this weekend on a photo mission. I don’t know where or what I’ll take photos of, but I will find something.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Changes...they are coming

You can blame this ebook.

In the meantime I've been making progress on the Magical Sweater. I'm done with the ribbing and I'm now figuring out where to place the cables.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Magical Sweater - Part 2

Decisions. Decisions. As you can see I've plied the first bobbin. Actually, since then I've completed 2 bobbins, and set the ply and knit a swatch. So everything is ready to start knitting.

I have made a couple of decisions. I've decided to knit completely in the round and then steek the center front and arm holes. I've also decided to knit the portion in between the cables in garter stitch. So, now the math. I so hate math.

And, I just made my first mistake in the calculation. At least I found it before casting on.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


This is the yarn that I dyed in the tutorial. I've decided to knit it up into some Herringbone socks. One change, I'm going to knit toe-up. No biggie to change. I cast on last night and so far I like it alot. A little shameless self promotions.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What are my goals, as they relate to 1,000 Petals?

I've been thinking about this question. I've run through all the scenarios. I've contemplated the pros and cons. I think I have formulated a clear idea of my goals.
It's nice to have an end goal in mind. I didn't when I started, but things in my personal life and business life have changed over the past 6 months to a year and now things are clearer. It's very nice actually. Kinda calming. There is goal so when things go a little out of focus on the way, the end is clear. I'm not sure I want to share it here. At this point I'm keeping it private. Probably due to the fear of failure. I have to start thinking more with the business/analitical portion of my brain instead of the artsy fartsy, but that is okay, I'll still have the dyeing part that will allow space for my creative spirit to thrive.
The hardest part is finding a starting point. I love to make list. What do I put on the list? For our big projects at my "real job" we make task list. We name the task, assign the responsibility, assign due dates, and add coments along the way. I need to do one of these, but what will I put on it? What are my task? What is my due date? Responsbility will be assigned to me, thats not hard to figure out. I think I'll make one on Excel, and see if I find inspiration to fill it in. Hey, thats kinda like a first step. Could I put creating a spreedsheet on the spreadsheet? At least then I could fill in a completion date, right?
UPDATE: Task List created. Started adding task. It's not as hard as I thought. Just started brainstorming.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sprinkle Dyeing - a tutorial - Part 3

Step 5 - the wrap and dunk: The yarn is folded up into the saran wrap and placed into another pan. Once this pan has several little yarn packs I fill with water and slide in oven. I then cook this on the "warm" setting for 1 1/2 hours. I don't know what temp this is, it just says "warm". I think it's about 150 degrees.

Step 6 - the rinse and spin: Once the dye is set with heat the packs are allowed to cool. I then unwrap and rinse each skein, rinsing any remaining dye out. The skeins are then put back into the washing machine to spin out excess water. Then hang to dry.
So there you have it... "Sprinkle Dye" Hope this is helpful and inspirational. If you try this and would like to share or have questions, leave me a comment, send me an email (, or direct me to your photo sharing page (I use flickr).

I use this technique for dyeing yarn. I've tried it with roving but didn't like the results, so my rovings are handpainted in the usual way. Also, the "sprinkle" effect will differ with the amount of water you add before adding the dye. The more you wet the yarn the more it will blend.

Sprinkle Dyeing - a tutorial - Part 2

Step 3 - the sprinkle: Using a Popsicle stick to tap the side of the cup, I randomly sprinkle the dye over the yarn. Some spots get more, some less. Some colors overlap, so do not. This is when you let your creativity run wild. This is when the unexpected happens. This is just the beginning of fun. You can even do a little dance at this point. I do.
Step 4 - the blend: Again with hot water, I spray the yarn and cover with water. I also add more vinegar. This will allow the dye to run and blend even more. But, some spots stay the original color too. Watch and enjoy. After the desired blending effect is achieved I remove the yarn from the pan of water, ring it out a little, and lay it out on some saran wrap.

Part 3...I'll show the finished product.

Sprinkle Dyeing - a tutorial - Part 1

I'll call this Sprinkle Dyeing. I consider it a hybrid technique because of the aspects of hand painting and kettle dyeing. This is a technique I developed through trial and error. There may be a different or many different ways to create this same effect, but this is my way. I'm breaking this down into 3 parts to make posting easier on my side. I might (not promising) try to put this into a pdf. format for download.

Dye pan (I use a large aluminum roasting pan) EDIT: it's a roasting pan...I don't know if it's aluminum
saran wrap
glove and mask (you will see that I don't use these)
undyed yarn (I'm using a superwash yarn)

Step 1 - the presoak and prep of yarn: I first soak yarn in a water/vinegar solution for 1-2 hours. I then place these skeins into my washing machine and set to spin cycle removing alot of excess water. One skein is placed into a roasting pan and any other skeins are set aside. I then randomly spray the skein with hot water. This is so that part of the skein is really wet and part is just a little damp.

Step 2 - the dye prep: Depending on how many dyes I'm using (which ranges from 5 to 20 colors for one skein) I set up wee little plastic cups and scoop out the dry dye crystals. Just a little in each cup.

up next...Part 2