Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Art of Plying

With fingers and feet busy, I have been spinning 3 years of alpaca fiber. Last week I spun a few spools of fiber with the intention of plying.

The left spool is from our alpaca, "Awan" and the right one is from our "Winchester", with about 300 yards each of some lace weight yarn, tightly spun. This helps with plying and also is great for my affinity to over spin! 

My technique, not a science by any means but the best way I keep an easy ply is, what I call the "V". Allowing the wheels tension pull at the "V" and keeping just the right pace, spinning in the opposite direction to unspin the over spun yarn...

gives me a consistent, nicely spun yarn! I am quite pleased with this yarn. It's been some time since I have plyed yarn. I have been enjoying "Art Yarns" for some time now that I forgot how much fun plying a beautiful yarn can be.

And there we have it, 300 yards of 100% alpaca, plyed and ready to go to the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Compliments of "Cyrus"

In my continuing effort to get 3 years of Alpaca Fiber processed, dyed, spun and packaged I am enjoying fun with color. Blending color is out of my comfort zone. While I prefer natural colors as a personal preference but this has been an adventure. Lots of time home these days, so lots of time to keep my mind occupied around dyeing.

When will I learn to wear gloves? I look like I have fell into a vat of rainbows!

Always careful to keep the bottles with the dyes so I don't use the wrong one. I often would double check the dyes as well. With a color scheme in my head but sometimes it's not always what you thought, leaving a sweet surprise of color.

I found using the back of a spoon helped to get the color to absorb through all the fibers. Pressing helped to push the color down. At times if I wanted a pastel, filling the squirt bottle with water and then flushing the color worked too.

It all couldn't have happened without this big sweet guy, "Cyrus"! He donated his fiber for the cause! It's soft and light and spins amazingly!

Here are some of the 3 ounce batts we will have available at the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival on April 27th! Come and visit our booth!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Even more dyeing...

I decided to try some further dyeing. I decided to work with a combination of different colors. Starting from the center and working the color in a circle.

Still leaving a bleeding line between each color. I did fill it in a little bit more and did get some nice results. I did bake it again at 225 degrees for and hour and a half which seems to be a good amount of time. This time I elevated it higher as well.

And the results were quite pleasing! 

This was fun and the results were even better! I tried to work colors together that would bleed different colors when mixed. I am loving the challenge and results that this technique brings! 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Testing new dye techniques

Happy March everyone! Just a few weeks until Spring and getting outside, and getting things done. While the Winter lingers, I am taking time to clean the wool cave, and I mean clean! I simply have too much stuff! I am working on new kits, spinning, dyeing fiber and wool. I decided to try some new dyeing techniques. I took a cookie drying rack, placed it in a baking pan...

I then added 2 ounces of alpaca fiber that I wet and saturated with water, preparing it to take on the dye.

I am using some acid dyes, Jacquard Salmon and Turquoise (I am switching over to Pro Chem so I am trying to use up the old dyes), vinegar as my mordant and 2 squeeze bottles. I mixed a teaspoon of dye with a some vinegar and gently inverted the bottles to mix. I would use less dye to get a lighter color.
I began saturating the fiber with the dye, trying to cover in strips of color. 

I left a strip of white and began to add the next color. I used the tip to get down into the fiber to get the layers below. Also leaving a strip of white, you are allowing for the colors to bleed and saturate.

I continued the alternating process until all the fiber was covered. As you can see by the time I was done, it was bleeding over which was my goal. Once covered, it was placed in the oven at 250 degrees to heat. I left it in for about an hour and a half, checking periodically. 

I removed it and allowed it to cool, then rinsed it with tepid water. Having it on the racks was great. Your just pull it out, place it in the sink and rinse. Loved this idea! 

And behold the finished product! Not bad I must say. I have to tweak a few things, but overall I loved the results and plan on trying some other colors today. It's a great way to warm the house on this never ending Winter we are having here in Connecticut!