Sunday, July 13, 2008

No Solar Oven

I didn't build a solar oven after all. I may still, but not this weekend.

My hands are stained with dye, but I am really really excited about dying and colors and making exactly the yarn I want to knit. I have so far perfected the dying process and am confident the resulting fiber's color won't run (much -- all hand dyed yarns do this a bit). I reprocessed the first couple batches to better set the dye in those, and look forward to spinning that fiber soon.

Next, I'll start dying yarn!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fiber Dye Days

I recently jumped into dying fiber for spinning. I really like the idea of taking color images of my memories and putting them to fiber. For example, bright yellow, white and rich greens will always remind me of my trip to Scotland. The Rape fields were everywhere and those colors are so prominent. Or, neon blues and greens and yellows and reds remind me of Vegas. Lobster red and seaweed green and corn yellow are the colors of the Lobster boil Len and I enjoyed in Maine. So, I had the idea I could take these wonderful colors of my memory and put them to wool, making the resulting spun yarn all the more special to me.

So, I bought a bunch of undyed merino top (wool fiber that has been combed and cleaned and prepared for spinning), and several colors of dye. I didn't do anything with the fiber for a while because I've been afraid of felting it in the process of dying. Plus, you really need big cooking pots that are exclusive to dying (never cook in pots you've used to dye stuff in). I went shopping at some thrift stores for some pots and none were appropriate. But, then I had the idea that the Big Lots near my house might have something cheap and appropriate -- and they did! I bought a good sized stock pot for $12.

My first attempt at dying was a marginal success. I used a method where you dip chop sticks into the powdered dye and then into a section of the fiber as it sits in the pot of hot water. Then I dipped another stick into another color and put it into a different section, and so on. Then, I cooked the mess for 20 minutes.

Trouble is, I boiled it, and the slight agitation caused the colors to mix and now I have 4 ounces of beautiful purple merino, instead of the mix of colors I was hoping for. So, tonight I will do the same, but without boiling -- hoping a slight simmer will do the trick.

This weekend, when I have more time in the middle of the day, I plan to do my cooking outside, using a solar oven that I will make out of cardboard and aluminum foil. Might as well get some use out of the heat in Georgia!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Another Holiday

I just returned from Las Vegas and get another day off a few days later to celebrate the birth of the nation. Woohoo!
I had a great time with mom in Vegas. We gambled and saw the sights and stayed up way too late. It was a nice break from reality. The best part was spending time with my 81-year old mom. Who knows how much longer she'll be able to do stuff like this, so I try to get together with her whenever I can (she doesn't read this blog, so I can say that about her).
Len is off on a morning bike ride today and I am planning to clean house today. We may go to a Braves game tonight, so it should be a pretty good holiday.
Both Len and I went to ball games recently (but separately) with our companies. Len saw the Braves lose, but least I got to see the Braves win! I had a great time at the game and hope to go more often!
On the work front, I started commuting to work with a former co-worker who recently bought a house not far from mine and she works just a few blocks away from me. I get to enjoy some company on my 20-minute ride in now AND save gas money. Less wear aand tear on our cars, too, so it's a win-win-win!
Happy Independence Day, everyone!