Sunday, December 7, 2008

My new granddaugher born at 6:18 pm 7lbs 6 ozs

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fancy Kitty Kitten Drum Carder Review

This is my brand spanking new Fancy Kitty Kitten drum carder! I ordered it from Ron's etsy shop, . I was at a loss to what drum carder I wanted to buy. I had considered a Strauch Petite, but was really not happy with a smaller drum width-6 1/2 ". Not to mention it was more expensive. I had heard good things about Fancy Kitty Kitten drum carders, so I looked Ron up on Etsy, and checked it out! Hmmmm, well for starters
the Kitten has a 8 1/2 inch wide drum. It also comes with the brush attachment. (The Strauch you have to pay extra for! ) The drums are adjustable...yes, I like that feature. So I emailed Ron to check out what his response would be, and he was ever so nice and very prompt. (Good to know in case I needed to get a hold of him!) So there you have it! I ordered my Kitten!

I was sooooo surprised! It got here in 3 days!!! And it was packaged up like a ming dynasty vase... that baby could have fell off a moving truck and still made it intact!!! I was soooo impressed with the workmanship! It's not a cheapo throw together home made object. It is professionally constructed with great attention to detail! My Kitten was a fine tuned machine and I was estastic!!! What a bargain!!! (Let's just say the money I saved bought a whole lot of fiber, OK?) Mr. Ron did a follow up after it arrived to make sure everything was ok, and to give me his number in case I should have questions! ( Whaaaat? He still is supportive after the sale???? These days and times, that is just about unheard of!)

Ok, now for the nitty gritty!

I had to give her a test run, so here we go! The first pic is my first pass with some yellow merino and some white wool roving I got from the . I took my roving and fluffed it up and added thin layers until I got this. The drum carder works like a dream and was very smooth. Note I do not have it clamped down....didn't need too. I had no problems at all, and went through the first carding with ease. Say....this is fun!

On the second pass, I added some red/purple roving and some gold angelina. Wow, the carder is doing a great job, huh?

This is after the 2nd pass, let's run her through just one more time! I want it a bit more blended, and with my new drum carder...that won't take but a minute!

Here is my first batt! In this photo, the angelina isn't showing up as well in this photo, but trust me...It is really sparkly throughout. I am pleased with the results of my Kitten and I give the Fancy Kitty Kitten a 10 out of 10! I'm please with the transaction, and the customer support. The product is exceptional, and I had it up and running in minutes. It is completely as advertised. Ron is a bit modest though....I was married to a wood worker once, and let me tell you...he didn't just throw this together. There's a wole lot of detail put into the Kitten. All edges are smoothed, joints are precise, the tray slides with ease, I could go on and on....Ron is a master craftsman. So if your in the market for a drum carder...this is it! You won't be disappointed at all!
You could pay a whole lot more...but why? I'd rather buy more wool...and I did! ( Some choice Angelina fiber from Loop on etsy too!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Here we dye again Part 2-Crock Pot Dyeing with a New Twist.

Ok, first we took 1 lb of Targhee top, and braided it in 3 foot sections. (Look in previous post for braiding instructions.) I took the braids and presoaked in a sink of hot water with a glug of vinegar for good measure. (If you want to be nit picky...1/2 cup of vinegar...) I mixed up 1 tsp of Jacquard Acid dye in my 8oz squeeze bottle with hot water half way, the other half is vinegar. The color is Sky Blue.

I drained the braids and randomly squeezed the color onto the wet braids. The color doesn't seem too intense here, but don't worry...Jacquard always brightens with heat.

l I then layer my braids into the crock pot. I got a tip on Ravelry to sprinkle dry dye onto the wool and layer it. So with Country Classics acid dye in Lilac, I use a old baby spoon, and sprinkle dry dye onto of my layers of braids. It doesn't look promising here, does it...just wait! I probably used a total of 3 teaspoons of dry dye total.

LOOK what happens when I add boiling water with a cup of vinegar mixed in!!! Surprise! WOW,
was that a great tip or what? It's like magic, the powder uptakes at different levels in the fiber, and different intensities. I took you this was neat!

After cooking on high for 1 1/2 hours, this is my end result! I LOVE IT! And see how the Sky Blue intensified?

After cooling and a gentle rinse in a sink of cool water, here are my braids drying. This techniqe is worth exploring more!! I see more fiber in my future! I definitely am going to try doing all dry to wet next time!

Here we dye again!!! Dyeing Bamboo

I had 1 lb of silky bamboo top that I wanted to dye. Everything I researched said because it is a cellulose fiber, you had to use a fiber reactive dye. Someone suggested Dylon, so I got Ocean Blue and Bahama Blue. The directions said to use 4 tablespoons of salt with the dye in sink of warm water. I did mine a bit different.
First the bamboo fiber. I heard that it can separate and it's better to braid the fiber first. So I tore off 3 foot sections and braided it up.(
This is the youtube link for Rexenne showing how to braid roving in case you don't know how.)
To a sink full of hot water, I added 4 heaping tablespoons of salt. Mixed very well, then added my braids. I mixed half a package of the Bahama Blue to another container, and dissolved it in hot warm prior to adding into the sink. Look how pretty the blue is! I let it set for over an hour.
I took the braids out of the dye, letting it drain a bit. I did NOT rinse. Don't rinse yet!!!
I took the Ocean Blue and mixed 1/2 a package into my 8oz squeeze bottle with 2 heaping tablespoons of salt. Fill the bottle up.
I then took this color and squeeze some onto the roving, careful not to oversaturate. I'm looking for a graduated color. I then let this color set for an hour.
I rinsed this in sinks full of cold water. I didn't run water over it...DO NOT RUN WATER OVER YOUR FIBER!!! You'll get a felted mess! I added the dyed braids into the sink full of water and gently pushed the fiber into the water. Do not over handle, or squeeze too much! I just picked the fiber up out of the water, and let it drain. It's on the drying rack now, and I'm very pleased with the colors. Very brilliant!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Freshly spun up!

First up is Aidan...he loves riding on the Merry Go Round! Look at that smile! We get the all day pass because he likes to go at least 8-10 times before he'll get off without a fight!
This is the Sari Silk plied with the black wool I dyed. Doesn't the black just make the colors pop? I really love this and plan to spin enough for a kimono jacket. This is the Sari Silk I got at

This is the sample I got from . I really love the blues in this. It's really super soft and spun up like butter.

Last but not least the wool I dyed up in the crock pot. It's double plied and is 11 wpi. It's the wool I got from . Boy, it's sooo reasonable, I'm going to order 5 bls next time. Anyway, it's hard to capture the true colors, but the brown,red,and golds blended together and I love the effect. The red/gold reminds me of a goldenrose color, and the color changes are graduated. I can't wait to see this one knit up!
In the mean time, I'm still trying to get some of my other projects finished before I start any new ones. I have my Sante Fe Ruana, and the mohair fan/feather shawl to complete. Plus a couple of other things. I've spent so much time spinning, I haven't been knitting enough, and that was the whole purpase of learning to spin!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

More Crock Pot Dyeing!

Ok, this time I won't go into so much detail. I did a multi color dye in the crock pot. I used Country Classics acid dye in gold and chestnut, and Jacquard's acid dye in fire red. I mixed the Country classics at 2 tsps per 8 0z squeeze bottle with 1/2 the bottle of hot water, and 1/2 vinegar. The Jacquard I mixed 1 tps per 8 oz squeeze bottle with 1/2 the bottle of hot water and 1/2 vinegar.

I used 2 bottle of the gold, and saturated the presoaked wool fiber. It's about 9 ozs of fiber. Same as before, I sectioned the wool into 3 foot strips, and rolled into loose balls so I could handle them better.

I then took my chestnut, and my fire red, and randomly squeezed the dye. I didn't even use 1/2 a bottle of the dyes, I was trying not to over saturate with these colors, I'm trying a marble look, not to make mud. After 1 1/2 hours in the crock pot on high, (It took up the dye really quick. I knew it was done because the water was clear.) I removed my balls of fiber into the sink to cool. I rinsed in room temp water as before.
Here's my fiber all dyed up and drying! Note here...the first time I dyed, I thought I had felted the fiber. It wasn't felted, but just compacted from the dye process. I pulled the fiber gentle from the sides to loosen it back up, and fluff it up. It was fine! So if your fiber compacts during the process, don't freak.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Crock Pot Dyeing!

This is my first crock pot dye job.
1st I took 9 ozs of wool and presoaked in a sink of hot water for 30 mins. I broke the fiber up into sections and wound them into loose balls to make handling easier. While this was soaking, I boiled 12 cups of water and added it first to the crock pot. To that I added 1 1/2 cup of vinegar and 6 tsps of Country Classics acid dye that I purchased at . The color is Raven. After gently draining fiber, I added it to the dye pot.

After 3 hours on high, the water is clear and I removed the fiber to cool. If you notice, the water left is clear. The dye has absorbed into the fiber.

I placed the cooled fiber into a sink of room temp water to rinse. It didn't need much. (Never run water over your fiber, it'll felt!) I drained it again, gently squeezed some of the water out, and here's my fiber all dyed up and drying! The black really took, and I'm very pleased with the results and the ease of dyeing in the crock pot!

Andddd, heeeeere's Aidan! Is there anything sweeter than a baby in the tub!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Yet another wheel!

Well, I did it. I got yet another wheel. To the left the new guy, a Fricke DT folding wheel. To the right my Fidelis. Cute little guy in jammies...none other than Aidan who never misses a photo opt! I just got my Fricke in from who was so kind to send some of her yummy handpainted roving. She was kind enough to answer all my questions, and excels in custumer service! Thanks Amy! Now I have 2 great wheels to spin my little heart out! The Fricke is wonderful, and I love the ease of treddling with the double treadles. I also am loving the scotch tensioning...sweet. I still love my Fidelis, and have no intentions of parting with it, but I wanted something I could fold up and take to Yarn school in Kansas next year.

Here youcan see I already have some Llama going on it, it spins really fast! I really love the idea of having two wheels to spin on now. It'll be really handy for when I have a couple of projects going, like I already do!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Spinning Wheel keeps on turning!

Check out the yummy yarn I've been spinnng on my Fidelis! The speckled white is some roving sent by Jan of , who makes the wheel. The pink,purple,grey is some handdyed merino I dyed. The brown is some yummy Llama I got from my friend Patrica's friend. I'm having fun spinning all this fiber!

Here's two spools of my trusty BFL. Man, a lb of fiber sure goes a long way! I still have half of it left, and have spun 500 yards of it. I still love it! BFL is absolutely my favorite stuff! It's really easy to spin.
The yarn on the left is some purchased fingering wt yarn I put for comparison. The yarn on the right is my handspun BFL. Look, fingering weight! Kewl, huh? It was a proud moment! I'm using this for a hat.
Here is the same BFK spun fingering weight! I was told by a person that I wouldn't be able to do this on this wheel...Wrong! It wasn't that hard either! I love my Fidelis Wheel! I have some alpaca/tussah silk coming in and I can't wait to give that a try!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Secret Desires!

Ah, the object of my new affection! A Fidelis spinning wheel by . I have decided that I just simply must have one. I've been studying all the different wheels, and wow! They are expensive! This one is under 2oo$, and has all the features I want. Large bobbins, Irish tensioning, good spinning ratios, and it's solid unlike some wobbly/jerky pvc models I've seen. It's through the same family owned, American made company that made my Little Meggie kick spindle.

While I love my kick spindle, and will always love my kick spindle...alas, she just doesn't spin fast enough by the time you have to stop and unhook your yarn, wind it onto the spindle, and then hook your yarn again. Very time consuming. With about 3lbs of combed top left to spin, and future fiber purchases, I need speed!

After knitting my very own hand-dyed,handspun BFL has taken yarn snobbery to a new height! No longer do I look at pretty's fibers now that fascinate me. The thought of taking a puff of plain fiber, coloring it, and spinning it into a yarn of your design/choice... awesome! I now know how Michaelangelo felt as he completed the Sistine Chapel. Being able to spin your own yarn is like a painter having all the brushes, and all the paints he could ever want. It like being complete as a knitter. You have every color, every fiber available to your artistic desires.

10:38 pm...what cha doing?

I just bet your getting ready for bed and your thinking,"Daffy broad, aren't you?" Well, no. I'm wide awake and just finished making Broccoli Quiche.(Night shift nurse!) Aidan is asleep, and I made it for him in a subtle attempt to sneak him some veggies! (Second time I've had to deal with a kid who won't eat veggies. His mother still gives me grief over veggies!) Usually he's still awake. (Oh horrors, you might say...but chill. Aidan is a night owl, as his mother, as his NaNa.) Anyway, he pooped out early, so will have to have his quiche tommorrow. I only hope my plan succeeds. I buried the broccoli in mounds of cheesy goodness. I snuck some carrots in there for good measure. It is yummy if I say so for myself. It worries me when a kid won't eat veggies. I mean, how could you not love veggies? All the rest of my kids do. They love squash, broccoli,eggplant,okra,carrots,and everything the veggie kingdom has to offer. We've even tried to feed him his veggies in the presence of Yo Gabba Gabba. You know, the Nics Kids show where strange critters oddly resemble sex toys? (I'm not exagerating either. When I first saw the show...I kept my mouth shut. My daughter is the one who first brought it up!) Anyway, if you could picture 3 grown women singing,"There's a party in my tummy, so yummy.", trying to get Mr.Aidan to eat some veggies. Well, there's certainly no party in his tummy. He shakes his head noooooo! Then he spits it out and clamps down like a steel bear trap. If it isn't in pizza form, chicken nuggie form, or ravioli's...forget it! My next adventure is to figure out how to make veggie laced chicken nuggies. Geez...I thought being NaNa was supposed to be easy?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Drop Stitch Scarf and other projects.

I found a dropstitch pattern for my handspun yarn. It's the Easy Drop Stitch Scarf pattern by
Christine Vogel. I really love how this is knitting up, and it's a quick knit. I have half the scarf done the first day! I love how the colors look in this pattern.
I also have been working on my Sante Fe Ruana and making progress. I really shouldn't start another project with so many on the needles...but, that's me. Pure Gemini! Anyway, the first panel is almost done. I just might finish by the time it gets cold around here.
I am also making slow progress towards my Fibonacci numbers throw. I have one panel finished, only 4 to go! This is the project I take around with me for the mindless knitting. I suppose it'll take a good year to finish.
And this is Aidan feeding the ducks! He was trying really hard to get a duck to take the cracker from his hand. One almost did! Aidan likes feeding the ducks.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Homemade Lazy Kate

Here's my homemade Lazy Kate! It cost me less than $20 to make it. Here's how I did it.
I bought at Home Depot:
1- stair case post cover in the deck dept.
2-3/8" dowel rods cut into 3-1 foot sections, and 1-six inch section.
1-4' section of 1/2" PVC pipe cut into one foot sections.
I used a 3/8" paddle bit to drill 4 holes in the four corners on top of the post cover, and glued my dowel rods. Once dried, I stained and varnished the whole thing. I just used yarn to make a tensioner. I just use the pvc peices to wind my yarn off my kick spindle, and slip it over the dowel rods.
I also made a knitting noddy out of pvc, but it's pretty basic, so I won't be posting a pic.
The cute boy, modeling my lazy kate is none other than Aidan! He likes to get his picture taken so he can see himself! Isn't he a cutie!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

1st of the BFL hand-dyed!

Here's my first skein! Double plied, 4.5 ozs, and about 120 yards of
soft yummy goodness! Still have to work on getting the yarn more consistent though. This varies between fingering and DK weight. The next round is spinning more consistent though. I'm pulling off thinner strips of the top, and pre-drafting a bit more. I'm shooting for more of a fingering weight overall.
Wow, looks like I'm going to get quite a bit of yarn from the 1 lb top! I can't even imagine how much yarn I'll be getting from the 2lbs of merino I have. I'm thinking of dyeing it in colors to remind me of Sedona, Az. Reds,browns,golds.
I also made a homemade Lazy Kate, and a Knitty Noddy. I'll be posting pics of it and instructions next time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hand dyed/Hand spun! YUM!

Here is the first of my hand dyed/hand spun BFL fiber. I'm so pleased with how this is turning out! I love the colors, Okinawan Sea, inspired by my daughter's diving in the Seas of Okinawa. She told me of the purples,turquoise,and golds.

I'm using my Little Meggie Kick Spindle from . Boy, do I really love this spindle. The bearing on the base really makes it spin fast!

This is my Blue Face Leister fiber from . It's so fluffy and soft. I didn't have to comb it, card it. It's ready to go. This is 1 lb of fiber which takes up the whole kitchen table. I kept soaking it down with a spray bottle to wet it. (Yes, the table is covered in Saran Wrap.)

This is the dyeing process. I used Jacquard acid dye. I mixed 1/2 teaspoon in a 32 oz cup of water w/ 1/2 cup of vinegar. First I did the gold in the middle, then purple and turquoise. The turquoise and the purple bled into the middle more than I intended, but I like the effect. I poured the dye over the fiber and used gloves to gently squeeze the dye into the fiber. I still wound up with turquoise blue gloves!

I wrapped up my fiber in the saran wrap, and baked at 200 degrees for about an hour, just until it was heated all the way through, and about 30 mins to set the dye. I let it cool very slow. It's hard to be patient, but I was scared I'd felt the fiber. I then took it to the bath tub and rinsed in cold water many tubfulls! It's hard to rinse so much fiber at once. Next time I'll try dividing it into 4 instead of 2, and rinse individually.

I put the drying rack into the tub, and put the wet fiber on to dry. I didn't squeeze it out, I held it up to drain a section at a time and just let it drain enough so it wouldn't stretch out from the weight of the water. It took 2 days to dry, but it didn't felt a bit and now I'm happily spinning away!