Thursday, January 3, 2013

ends of bobbins

I don't know if this is actually going to look good knit up, but I had to empty some bobbins and so plyed up this laceweight merino/silk blend. It's 350 yards; might turn into a cowl or hat at some point.

Monday, March 5, 2012

slowcolor pastels

Working with a new fiber blend of wool and mohair roving. It spins up to a nice, fat, lofty worsted or bulky single ply. It's also slightly easier to dye, as it's not so prone to felting.

8 oz, about 400 yards.

Friday, January 20, 2012

slowcolor rovings

Who doesn't love a rainbow? Two available on etsy.

This one is just a tiny bit felted, so I'm going to spin it up myself.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


This is the first slow-color fiber I dyed back in December. You can't really see the long color change effect in the skein, however, in the ball it's a little more evident. The true test will be when it's knit up. In this case, I elected to split the fiber lengthwise before spinning and I ended up with 200 grams/335 yards of a bulky thick/thin yarn.

Friday, December 9, 2011

slow rainbow

Another slow dyed roving. Yummy.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

color suites

Another recent approach to dyeing. I've been working on a lot of multi yarn projects lately. I started out using commercial yarns, but the color range was not enough for my needs. This is my not-quite-successful experiment in handpainted yarns of very mixed fibers dyed together in one bundle. The part that needs improvement is the amount that can be steam set at one time given my particular steaming setup. I crammed together way too much fiber when I set these dyes, and had some spotting and color migration.

The yarns/roving were a mix of single and multi ply wool, superwash wool, loop, boucle and brushed mohair, wool/mohair/silk blend and Corriedale wool roving. I handpainted everything together at one time; the mohairs tended to take color a lot lighter than the wools, so they may get more intensity in their dye mixes in the future.

Starting with—

a couple bits of inspiration—

Ending with—

beyond my wildest

Most of my dyeing these days has been in the graduated color dipping technique, where the yarn is held partially suspended over the dyepot until the dye is absorbed, then rotated, dyed again, etc. I find this very effective for subtle gradations in colors. You can't get much more subtle than this:

So I had a thought about applying the technique to roving. Roving is much more delicate than yarn, and most people handpaint it to minimize handling and subsequent felting. I've done it that way for years; however, this can leave a lot to be desired in the finished product. The limitations are that the dyes don't always penetrate the roving in a consistent manner, and that you end up with repeating colors. Okay, those are sometimes a plus, but I have a project in mind for a knitted shawl, where the color changes are going to be very subtle and very long, and I don't want flecks of lighter fiber, stripy changes where the colors change or any repeating colors.

So, here's the setup. I started with one pound of bluefaced leicester/silk roving, pre-soaked in a water/vinegar bath for a day.

The dye pot is set up with an "in-basket" and and "out-basket". As I move the fiber through the dye bath in a linear fashion, once the dye has "taken" on one part, it will be removed. Higher than normal levels of vinegar in the dye bath aid quick "striking" of the dyes.

You can see that the roving expands in the full immersion of the dyepot, allowing the colors to evenly penetrate.

The is the first end. I had originally in mind a "chocolate-cherries" type of colorway, but changed my mind to a more toned down scheme. Here is the first section coming out to be drained.

You can see the colorway starting to take shape now (note how "fluffy" the fiber is)—

About two hours later, most of the fiber has gone through the dyebath—

As it's come out of the pot, it is gently laid on a towel to absorb excess water and any dye left in the section. Absolutely no felting has occurred!

Once all the fiber was dyed, I blotted out the excess water, wrapped it up in plastic and steamed it for an hour. All the dye absorbed, and there was no dye migration.

What I end up with is an amazing piece of spinnable fiber with non-repeating colors ranging from warm grays to cinnamon browns to rosy-beiges and creams.


Thursday, July 7, 2011


Here's a swatch or two of my multi-yarn shawls on the needles. You can't see it on this first one, but there is a silver metallic strand running through parts of this one. I'll add a beaded section next, using silver-lined clear beads and more metallic yarns, then resume with the matte textures.

Same stitch pattern. You can see that there are quite number of ends to weave in.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

fiberjumble — a design process

It's no secret that any long term knitter acquires a serious stash. I'm finding inspiration in mine quite a lot these days. Here's a photo of yet-to-be-developed shawl projects for a wearable arts show I'm both curating and participating in this fall.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I'm pretty happy with this one. I used seven colors of dyes to get the emerald, peacock and jade hues. You can get more info by clicking on the etsy listings graphic to the right.

and another

These yarns are created by layering the dyes in a slow, meticulous succession of intensities and colors. With my current setup, I can only do about 4000 to 6000 yards of laceweight at a time, so the dyelots are relatively small.

hand dyed alpaca

I'm introducing a new line of handdyed laceweight yarns this month. The fibers range from 100% baby alpaca to merino/silk/cashmere blends. Here is one new colorway still in the dyepot.

Monday, May 23, 2011

along came a spider

the 1500 varieties of heaven

I had a delightful trip over to Exline Iris Gardens here in Berkeley Springs today. The Exline's farm consists of two gorgeous, colorful acres of bearded iris — and they're all in bloom right now.

The owner, Jim Exline, explained to me that he has been in this business for 38 years, and has about 1500 varieties of iris growing on his property. He sells these on his website, but I think it's much more satisfying to see them in person. The gentle, elusive scent of the flowers en masse is lovely.

Monday, December 13, 2010

newest obsession

I think I can safely say that the moebius scarf/shawl is one of the coolest things I've knit to date. I'm working on my tenth. Pattern to follow soon (though its more a method than a pattern). To get you started, check out Cat Bordhi's excellent youtube video.

Friday, November 26, 2010

a new pattern with my compliments

See my website for more info!

Edited to add this photo of the side edge detail.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

blog watch

This blog is a must-read for all thinking people.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

last harvest

We've had one frost already, but I managed to salvage two of these boxes of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant and a few watermelons. It's about seventy pounds of produce. There were literally hundreds of green tomatoes and unripe peppers that I had to leave out. A pity, but they'll contribute to a good compost pile!