Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Who I am....

I am a lot of things, 
     a wife
                 a mother 
                      a business owner
                   a hobby farmer
                                                     a crafter.... And the list continues.

                    and sometimes I am also a failure.

But my mother taught me how to bounce back. She taught me that failure happens. Sometimes even after working your hardest, trying your best, and doing everything you can.... you fail. But failure is just failure, it is neither a definition nor an ending. it is simply a part of life. One of course I don't enjoy as much as success. 

I am a wife, ass cheesy as it sounds I meet my husband when I was in high school and we had an on again, off again relationship. We married 6 years after we met and I started writing horribly cheesy and sappy poetry about his "Mahogany eyes". 

I am also a mother, a role I love most days. My kids are these loud amazing people! When I became a mother I thought these little people were shapeless blobs of clay that it was my job to mold. Instead I have learned that my children are amazing people who came complete with unique personalities and quirks. I get to be along for the ride as they (and I) discover who they are and help them soften any rough edges. . . . . and then there are weeks like this one when the baby has an ear infection, my toddler is extra cranky, and my big kids are running crazy. On weeks like this I am so excited to tuck everyone in bed and wrap my fingers around some beautiful yarn.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Kool-Aid dyeing

I have been pinteresting  and stumbled across dyeing yarn with kool aid. I am so intrigued. I love the idea of dyeing with something so cheap and safe for my kids to help with. I did mention I've got 5 kiddos that love making chaos and messes err.... I mean helping in every way right?

With kids the plan rarely works out, and today that was the motto, with dye on top!

The plan: I made and felted a dozen bow ties. I wanted to use a muffin tin with lots of different colors to make multicolored bow ties. I also had made 2 balls of yarn each about 200 yards to try dyeing
with both Kool Aid and traditional dye. 

Heres our set up:
Yep thats a cup of soup.

A couple half dozen muffin tins to put and make 12 different colors. I was so excited, and so were the kids. They got to decide 6 colors to keep straight and 6 colors to mix. We simply put in 2 envelopes in each muffin spot added hot water (about a half cup) and then let the insanity of 4 kids trying to dye 3 bow ties each run.

I would love to tell you exactly how long each bow tie sat in the dye.... It was about 13 "No, really just pick a color," and 10 times I had to count to 10 so as not to micromanage. Ahhh, sometimes its hard to let my kids be kids even if its not the way I would do it. But each bow tie turned out so cute! I think each one sat for 7.2 minutes .. haha, right! I have  no idea!

Now lets talk about dyeing the balls. It was so fun! I loved trying my hand at making a long umbre! I decided to try to make each ball bright pink fading to blue. one with Kool Aid and one with RIT dye. But instead of following the RIT directions I used it like I did the Kool Aid. So I added the RIT to one container and then added 2 cups of hot water. Then I added 6 envelopes of kool aid to the other container and added 2 cups of hot water.

So.. wool balls float. Who knew! I didn't. So I had to turn them and hold them down, constantly turning them to try and dye them even. And in the end I had red fingertips and beautiful yarn. The Kool Aid went through the yarn further then the RIT die did, probably because I did it my way didn't following the instructions.

What I learned:
- Wool Balls float
 -  Kids will be Kids.... and sometimes the mommy needs to count to 10 to let them.
- Next time dye on concrete, we ended up with muddy mess from rinsing out the dye.
- When dyeing with Kool Aid, the dyed item smells yummy!
- expect dyed fingers:

And the End result:
Stay tuned! Coming up pictures of the finished bow ties, and the amazing yarn I dyed!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I'm so excited to start on this little felting adventure... cuz I'm totally a fiber nerd like that :).

My first question is:
   I read that felting makes a piece shrinks it. But how much? Do different stitches shrink differently? What about the yarn, do different brands shrink different? Roving vs regular yarn?

I started with a Skein (I love saying that word, I think it is a trippy, slippery word) of Paton Roving in Yellow, Paton wool in blue, and Fisherman wool in white.

 I wanted to use a couple different brands, and also see the difference between a roving and a worsted. Real quick the difference between roving and worsted weight yarn....

Roving is a single ply, very lightly twisted yarn. 
It can be in any weight, but is usually bulky. 
A Roving "Hides" the stitch more, it blends together more.

Worsted weight yarn is several plies and is twisted more. 
I find that a worsted yarn gives a more distinct stitch, 
you can see every twist of the yarn.

Now onto the fun stuff!

I want to see both how different yarns felt (Yes, yes, I know its really fulling) as well as how different stitches felt. With each yarn I made samples squares of ea Sc, Hdc, and Dc. To Felt it I set my top loader on hot, small load. I didn't add soap because I hear that washing machines have a build up of soap and you can get away with doing a load without soap every now and again. I added in a couple pairs of my husbands jeans and let it agitate for 10 minutes, then I turned it straight to spin and let it finish the cycle.

Lets start with the Paton Roving Sc: Starting measurements were 5x4.25

After Felting it shrunk to: 4.25x4
As you can see it shrunk width wise as well. It also thickened up a good amount, much more than either worsted yarn did. It did start as a bulky yarn (5), when the others were a Worsted (4), but even with that it still ended up thick.

Here are the original measurements:

Before Felting
Yellow Roving
5x 4.25
5x 4.75
5x 4.5
White Fisherman
4x 3.5
4x 3.75
4x 3.75
Blue Worsted
4.25x 3.75
4.25x 6
4.25x 4

And the Measurements after Felting: 
After Felting
Yellow Roving
4.25x 4
4.25x 4
4.25x 3.5
White Fisherman
3.25x 3.25
3.25x 3.25
3.25x 2.75
Blue Worsted
3.25x 3.25
3.25x 5.5

A Couple of things I learned and noticed: 

The roving felted thick! It also meshed the stitches more than either worsted yarn did. The Roving also ended up fuzzier. I'm so excited to use the roving to make nice thick, warm, fuzzy animal hats for my kiddos. 

Not every square felted uniformly. Ok this one was partially my fault, but it was a good lesson to learn. I had left long tails... because I was lazy, to see what happened. Some of the tails twisted together and caused the piece to deform a little. 

This is the Blue hdc sample after felting. the top and bottom where the loose ends got twisted ended up wider than the middle.

Felting, I mean Fulling, completely did away with any holes in my work. It is great for a really warm hat, or blanket. 

I loved this adventure and can't wait for the next experiment!!
Next I want to play with dyeing. I'm excited to see how everything I want to try turns out. 

Next time:
What is all this wonderfulness I read about dyeing with Kool Aid, Can it really work that amazing? 

-I am going to dye some bows both in solid colors, and I'm going to attempt to do a few multicolors.

-How about dyeing a whole ball of yarn in an attempt to get a nice slow varigation. Have I mentioned how much I love a good slow varigation and how hard they are to find!

-What about RIT dye? The instructions sound more complex then kool-Aid. What would happen if I used RIT the same as Kool-Aid? 

-How about dyeing a finished piece in order to get that perfect slow variegation that I love?