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Things are rapidly disappearing into boxes as The Bearded One and I prep to move home base to our new home. My spinning wheel is packed and ready to go but I still need to decide what knitting is going to stay in arm’s reach. See you on the other side when I have internet again. 

Inspiring, fun, thought-provoking, and crafty links to round out the week and jumpstart your brain.

Sheep to Sweater - I’ve wasted way too much time playing this game. It’s awesome. 

Frozen Almond Chai

Weaving on a metal rack - Fun idea!

How to Tie-Die Tissue Paper - Looks like an easy project but creates an amazing result. I wonder how this would work with fabric.

Urban Farming Classroom by Colorado Building Workshop

Simple Yarn Garland - A cute idea fro what to do with all those little leftover bits of yarn. 

What A Soldier Carries - Bristith military kit from the Battle of Hastings to Helmand.

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Inspiring, fun, thought-provoking, and crafty links to round out the week and jumpstart your brain.

A couple of days ago, I found a box sitting outside my steps. Inside were lots of Happy Birthday! goodies and a comfy pair of hand knit socks. I’ve wanted to knit Hermione’s Everyday Socks for years and Cece beat me to it. Thanks, Cece! They’re awesome socks.

A great primer on different wools and fibers aimed at spinning the perfect sock yarn. 

Make something small every day.

“Great people do things before they’re ready.”

Lucy Sparrow hand stitched 4,000 items -beer, magazines, candy bars, what have you - to stock a corner store.

DIY Natural Dyes Chart - focused on fabric but would probably work for yarn too

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I’d forgotten how wonderful it is stand on the beach and watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. 

DyeYourYarn.com

DIY Button and Crochet Necklace - I really want to blow up the scale and make an extra long garland. 

Take-Out Fake-Out: Chicken Lo Mein

Cranberry Orange Breakfast Buns - Can never have too many recipes for early morning sweets. 

Five Ways to Find Inspiration Offline - I’m really fond of getting out of my own four walls and going for a long walk. 

Kelpies, Giant Horse Head Sculptures in Scotland

The Knitting Collection of Loes Veenstraand 

Hypnotic Kinetic Sculptures by Anthony Howe - "What matters is putting human feeling into your design."

How to Wash Excess Dye Out of Yarn

...or, I’m really tired of my hands turning blue.

A few months ago, I was spinning some bright blue roving into yarn. The roving, besides from being easy to draft, was pretty and soft but turned my hands and spindle blue. Drafting the singles, blue hands. Plying the singles, blue hands. Skeining the yarn, oh look, blue hands. Thankfully, a bath to set the twist was a perfect time to get rid of all that extra dye. But first, research. To the internet!

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My first thought was to try a vinegar bath since I’ve repeatedly heard that adding a little vinegar to the water will set the dye. Numerous blog posts and message boards later, I came to the conclusion that just soaking the yarn in vinegar wouldn’t do a thing. There also has to be heat for the vinegar to do it’s job since the vinegar acts as mordant which lets the dye set on the fiber. I wasn’t willing to cook my yarn which meant the only way to fix the blue problem was to wash the dye away. 

If, like me, you don’t put your yarn on the stove, you’ll need a sink, cool water, and good soap to wash the dye away. Wool wash is the best choice but dish detergent works too. I used a combination of Dawn Ultra and Eucalan.  

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1: Fill the sink with enough cool water to let the yarn soak and float. Add soap after the sink is full to prevent suds that you’ll just have to rinse away later.

2: Dunk the yarn in the water. Let it soak for a few minutes and gently swish it around. If the water dramatically changed color, immediately skip to step 3.

During the yarn’s first dunk, the bath turned so blue that I couldn’t see the bottom of the sink through 4” of water.

 

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3: Drain the water and rinse the yarn with as little agitation as possible. Repeat as necessary. 

I had to put my yarn through 5 separate baths and it was still dripping blue water when I hung it up to dry.

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Pro Tip: Even if you’re using a soap that doesn’t need to be rinsed, agitate the yarn as little as possible. Wool and other animal fibers can still felt in cool water. All the rinsing and agitation can add up over multiple baths. If the yarn does start to felt but you catch it soon enough, the yarn will still be salvageable and knit-able. 

I accidentally felted my blue handspun but stopped washing the yarn when I noticed the felting. I hung it up even though it was still dripping blue water. When it was dry, I had to pull the skein apart one strand at a time. I lost some yardage to shrinkage but I didn’t have to cut anything. Surprisingly, I like the yarn better felted.

Pro Tip #2:

Be aware that the yarn might lose some of it's color during the repeated baths. Mine went from gym short blue to sky blue. 

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Marble Dyeing

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The second Saturday of April came and went while I spent the morning at my favorite fiber guild, The Greater Birmingham Fiber Guild. This month we played around with marble dyeing silk handkerchiefs. I’ve never tried marble dyeing before and was looking forward to learning something new. To dye the cloth, we dropped dye on water thickened with methylcel and then swirled the colors before laying the handkerchief on top. The treated water had the consistency and feel of slime so everything floated.

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The process was pretty fun and there were some great results after a bit of troubleshooting. Sometimes the dye wouldn’t spread and just fell to the bottom of the pan. Sometimes the dye spread too much. Other times the dye wouldn’t stick to the cloth at all. The secret to marble dyeing might be holding your jaw just right. 

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My first attempt came out pretty well even if it doesn’t look like traditional marbling. I’m going with surrealist peacock feather. The second try was only half successful since only one of the colors really shows. Stare at it long enough and you’ll start to see things. I’ve noticed a few faces, an alien, and an epic fish. What do you see?

Now to figure out what to do with two silk handkerchiefs and stare at marbled paper with new found appreciation. 

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