Friday, 21 November 2008

Two weeks to the craft fair!

My yarn has been measured and the labels are made. My price list is set and a poster for it created. I've started packing my suitcase of stuff to bring with me to the fair, and figured out what types of baskets and other display items to bring - mostly, anyway.

All but two of the bigger stuffed animals are finished, and I still have some mini-sheep faces to make, but other than that all the knitted/crocheted items are done. I still have to put together the sock dyeing kits, though.

Once I get all the yarn labelled I'll take a photo!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


Here's a photo of the finished roving, from the experiment a couple of days ago. I like it!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

The promised Workshop photos

Shots from a weekend dyeing workshop at Handweaver's Studio - highly recommended.

The general activity hub:

Very colourful results in wool, hanging to dry:

Now we get messy - this was my favourite part!

Some results of experimentation:

Dry, labelled, and ready to be squished!

Monday, 17 November 2008

My new dyeing training

I spent the past weekend taking the two-day Dyeing workshop at Handweaver's Studio in East London. It was great fun and I'll be posting some photos in the next update - they're uploading right now.

While you're waiting, I can show you what I'm working on right now. During the workshop I wanted to know how I could use my existing equipment to make the dyed rovings that I love so much (and spend so much money on!) One reason I'd like to make my own dyed rovings is because sometimes, after I spin and wash a pre-dyed roving that I buy, the colour washes out. It's incredibly frustrating, and I figure that if I dyed my own rovings then either they wouldn't wash out or I'd have no one to blame but myself!

So - I measured out about 100g of Bluefaced Leicester roving, and put it in a soak of water with a touch of Ecover washing detergent. While it soaked, I prepared three dye stocks from my Kool-aid stash. In each of three canning jars I put two packs of Koolaid (5g each), 10g of white vinegar, 250ml boiling water and 250ml cold water. I chose Lemon Lime, Orange, and Black Cherry for my colours.

Once this was done I laid a strip of cling-film (saran wrap) in the tub - I chose the tub because when I did this in the class I got dye all over the place!) I picked up the roving from the soak and let the extra water drain away, then laid it out on the cling-film. Using a 10ml syringe (without a needle!) I placed dye on the roving like this:

Then I rolled up the cling-film, from one long edge to the other. This sealed all the dye inside. Afterward I rolled it from end to end, and put it in a heatproof baking bag:

Then I placed this package inside the crock pot, which had a few inches of water in it, and semi-sealed the bag with a plastic tie (I want the heat to build up but I don't want anything exploding!). It'll be in the crockpot on high for a few hours, then I'll cool it overnight and take it out in the morning.

Fun times!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Three weeks to the fair!

Less than a month before the We make London craft fair. I've got nearly all of my animals finished (still have to embroider a face on a glow-in-the-dark-sheep) and a large quantity of handspun yarn that needs to be measured and labelled, but a lot of the logistical details of preparing for a craft stall are finished. If you're coming along, be sure to try out my Dark Bag - a little patch of nighttime where you can see the glow in the dark animals working!

In other news, I am currently spinning up this lot, which you might remember from July:

It's Donegal wool, dyed with Koolaid. I've got a full bobbin so far and I'm trying to decide whether to ply it with glow in the dark or to ply it with itself, since I have so much of it. I think I'm leaning toward plying it with itself, and maybe I'll end up with enough yarn to make something bigger than a two-foot-tall teddy bear. I've been carding it on my drum carder which has been remarkably easy to do, a lot easier than when I was carding the Romney wool that I have. But I think I was trying to card too much Romney at a time.

This weekend I'm taking a Dyeing workshop at the Handweaver's Studio in London. I'll bring my camera!