Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas all,
Hopefully this posting is finding you happy, healthy and tired after a night of reveling. 
These are just a couple of quick photos to share my Holiday with you.
My front room and Christmas tree, the night prior to the kids opening rampage.

Father Christmas hanging on the tree, watching the action.

Our "Peace Dove" keeping an eye towards the coming year.

Isn't this a cute miniture reindeer?  Its made of wood and comes apart for easy storage.  I keep trying to get my guys to make me some full scale ones for the front yard.  Ah, mabie next year..........

Thanks for taking a minute check out my Holiday pictures. 
Wishing you a Happy, Healthy and SAFE New Year.
See you in 2013!

Spin faster, I'm dyeing here!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Stuff Coming

Hello All,

After a successful show season, Jenn and I have put our heads together and reviewed the notes.  Looks like a lot of customers were looking for smaller skeins that worked together.  Like a mix and match kinda thing.
So I got to dyeing on our Plum Panda sock line.  This yarn is wonderful, a superwash merino, bamboo and nylon mix.  It looks like there is silk in there, thank you bamboo, but there is none AND it is actually washable.  After the fiasco with our Saunderstown Line FELTING (!!!!) we have been very careful to make sure it won't felt up when you hand wash your lovely project.

I've added in a few pictures to get you drooling and would love to know what you think of the new sets.  I'd also like to hear about the colors you would like to see.

Thanks for your help!
 600 yards of yarny goodness

Pink pink and more pink, oh my!

Darn camera won't show the wonderful tonal differences in the blue-purple range.  You get the idea from this picture but it is sooooo much nicer in person.

Happy knitting.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hi All!
It's Tuesday and here are some of the new stuff I'm listing in the shop.  Ususally I don't promote in the blog, but I'm short on time this week. Sorry

Maelstrom, Merino Wool.  So very cool!!  Will make a killer yarn or felted scarf.

 Zeus, Merino Wool, new colorway.  The colors are a bit deeperr than in the pictures.  I really gotta get a new camera.  Santa?????

Cabbage Rose, Merino Wool.  Soft and subtle the perfect christmas colors.  Red, white and a hint of tan to ground it.

Equinox, Merino Silk Blend.  Deep gold in a continuous gradient out to a dark blue.  Again, damn camera.

Hope you have seen something you'll love.  See you next week.
Happy Spinning,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Felted Soap What FUN!!

Hello all,

I had the sweetest client ask me to dye her some rovings for the sole purpose of making felted soap.  Cool. Fiber dyed, dryed and mailed, when I get a e-mail with a picture of her final project!  God I love that.  Well after studying her work I decided that it looked REALLY fun and that mabie I could take an hour or so and play with my fiber.

I am sooooo glad I did.  I started by hunting down some soap.  My loving hubby travels quite a bit for work and is always bringing home a soap or two.  We usually use them when we have stay over guests.  You know, with their towels stacked on their bed.  Looks sharp and makes them feel special.

The soaps I found were a hodge podge of big and small hand made and commerical bars. 

I then used some old hand dyed BFL roving.  I hadn't sold it.  It ws an early "version" that I felt had cooked a bit too long and would not draft as easily as it should.  I planned on dyeing it black and giving it to my friend Lia who needs it for the back drop of her Halloween Town she sets up each year.

I took the roving and broke it into pieces and began to pull it into a thin sheet.  The sheet was then stripped into thinner lengths.  I wound them areound the soap, making the layers into a hatch work.

The picture shows the pulled wool and then up in the corner is a wrapped piece.

You can get the complete steps in my (sorta weird)  video tutorial. :)

Here are some of my finished products!  Cool Huh?  The blue ones are done with "Deep Sea" colorway in BFL and the rusty-green ones are "Dappled Forest"

Here are my finsihed soaps!  Aren't they great?  I'm going to give one to my Mom when I go down and keep one for the outdoor shower and sell the rest at KDO in September. 

You can make your own Felted Soap also,  I've already set up, what?, 12 kits.  Stop by Knitters Day Out, September 7th in Harrisburg PA and grab one (or two).

These are fun, fun, fun my friends. Makes a great gift as is or felted!

Happy Felting!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Did someone say Nuno Felting?

Hi all!
I gotta tell you that I hate to felt.  I go thru all sorts of pains to make sure my fiber DOES NOT felt prior to getting to its new home and is spun up into something wonderful.  But Jenn comes back from Rheinbeck and tells me that Nuno Felting is "in".  And that "kits" are in" and that we should pull something togehter from the shop .......  I agree with her (because she is smart) and get to work on figuring out what Nuno Felting is.  Because you can't build a Kit without knowing what is what......Right?

So I have done some research and I'm working on some instructions using the fiber that I dye. Easy right?  I can't get the friggin stuff to felt correctly for me.  So this will be the saga of Cheryl's innability to get wool to felt.  Poor Child.

 This is the Hand dyed (by ME!) silk scarf.  Cool huh?  That was supposed to be a gift for Jenn.  Just rewards I guess.....
This is the roving bits I used in a colorway called Plums and Berries in Merino.  Very cool as a spun yarn.

 OK I flick out the necessary fiber on the top - going one way - and on the botton - going the opposite way - carefully and not too heavy, gotta get the fibers to go thru and hold hands....
 Spray it with the water and sprinkle with the "Soap Gel" I made.
I'll go into that later.  Great stuff for cleaning you hands of dye.  Smells wonderful too.  This is as far as the purple/pinks made it...... Bummer it was pretty.

 This is try number two with silk and a copper color........

 Again I had a dyed silk scarf.......So sorry Jenn......  But wait! why is this not felting??????? Hot Water, Agitation, Alklinity........Help!

Tune in later for more exploits  with the Dyenamic Dyestress in "Why won't this darn stuff felt?"
PS: I am not good at this.......

Crappy....oh I mean..... Happy Felting


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kettle Dye your Balls

Hi all,

I'm trying out a cool new technique that I found in "Yarns to Dyed for" by Kathleen Taylor.  What fun!  She give al sorts of information on how to dye yarns for specific projects.

This is "Immersion Dyeing for Graduated Bands of Color" big name for something that is fairly easy.
Bring a BALL of yarn up to a simmer in your kettle.  Make sure this is a ball done on your nostepinne.  I used a center pull ball, when she specifically said not to, and pulled the yarn from the outside.  Which was all well and good until I got closer to the center.  Then the other end popped out and an unholy mess ensued  Take it from me use a BALL!!

Above is the ball simmering in Strawberry dye, and you can see where my end is draping out as I let the dye soak into the yarn.  I used a Superwash Falkland fingering weight.  I was hoping that the superwash would dye quickly, because it drinks up dye like a Irish sailor drinks up beer, but that wasn't the case.  It still took me the better part of 2.5 hours to get this done.

I'm not using my niddy noddy as you can see.  I could have because it is teak but this worked out better for me.  Allowing the the water to drip into the sik between pulling. and keeping the yarn under relatively even tension.  I got this swift from the Auction at Maryland Sheep and Wool.

As the yarn comes off ou can see how the colors are changing each time I add more dye.  The green portion seems to be the largest.  I was going to dye the last part black but decided it wasn't necessary.

Here is the dry skein all pretty and waiting to have its picture taken and put into the shop. 

All in all a pretty cool new technique.  The next one I think will be a variation on a theme.  Bouncing back and forth in between two like colors to see how that will look.

This skein can be purchased from our shop on Etsy.  Thanks for stopping by!

Happy Knitting.....

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Have A New Tool

Hello All,

I came accross this beauty in a local "Antique Barn".  It was hiding in the corner with a very dead spinning wheel.  i took a moment to say goodbye to the wheel before I, literally, jumped on this.

The arms had been broken off and when I brought my new found friend home, my sweet hubby was puzzled.  It was dirty and broken and he wasn;t sure why I would bring a piece like this into our clean and orderly home.

I bathed it and I lemon oiled it and soon the importance came to light.   As you can see it stands alone and rotates by the turning of the crank but what you can't see it that it is ALL made of wood.  The interior crank and the gears are ALL made of wood.  Such wonderful craftmanship.  The only nails int he piece are on the outside where some misguided soul attempted to "fix" it.

The built in counter marks 40 rotations.  Once it marks that it "snaps" and continues on. 

The arms my extraordinary hubby has put on it will hold 2 yards with one rotation.  80 total yars each time it "snaps"  He also improved on the arms to make them adjustable.  I can bring it in to only one yard per rotation if it is needed.  Or when I need to remove the yarn from the machine I just drop in one hand and the skein comes off perfectly.

I plan on darkening the new pieces to match the original.  Oh yeah, and the arms are removable to make it easy for storage.  Like I'll ever NOT be using this.........but it was a nice idea.

I've used it many time since I purchased it 2 weeks ago.  It is light and very easy to use.  I love it!!
Oh and BTW, I got this gem for $20.00.  Some guys just don't know what they have......
He has another larger version that I may have to go snag for Jenn for christmas........

Happy Crafting all!


Fun with Dye

Hello all,

I've been working with my techniques and my mixing.  Seems like my recipe cards are a little old school and need to be updated.  I've been going thru my colorways, slowly, and checking on my dye mixes and seeing if they are easily expandable for more fiber.  I dye in multiples of two right now.  Two 4 ounce hanks of fiber.  For that I have my recipe card......but Jenn is looking at coming up and I want to be able to mix the specific dyes in large enough amounts to cover the pounds of fiber we will be working with.   I don't want to fall short on a dye lot, you can try to re-mix a dye to match, it'll be close but it'll never be exact.

This is what the fiber looks like after wetting and pouring on the dyes and then sprinkled with vinegar and wrapped in plastic wrap.
Dyes blended and placed in their bowls with the appropriate amount of water.

Then it's flipped over and gently manipulated to get the dyes to "chat" , the cool color changes you get where the dyes marry is where the magic happens.  I sue a soft roller and a tilt board, to get my dyes to move about without beginning the felting process.

Mixing bowls are emply and the dyes have merged.  This is a "camo" pour technique.  Named because.........yes! it looks like camoflage. 

Other side, I've purposfully left white patches, they won't stay white once the package goes into the steamer.  The colors will wick over and fill the spot with a interesting translucent shading.

All done!  Steamed and hung out to dry.  I use an old salad spinner to gently take out the extra water.  It helps it puff back up to its original fluffiness.

See where the white has been invaded by the color.....this picture sucks.   The pales portions are a golden tan.  The black broke into a steely dark blue

This is the picture that went into the shop.
Soft, fluffy and fantastic color variances.

Mmmmmm, see where the rust and the black meet.........yum!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a quick trip into the dyeing of this fiber.  It's a BFL Silk mix called Jasper and you can find it in our shop.

I'd love to try and answer some of your dyeing questions.  Feel free to comment on this blog or e-mail me at

Happy Spinning!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Custom, Custom, Custom!!!

Hello All!

I've picked up another custom dye/spin comission from a wonderful man.  DH has asked me to dye, in a June Pryce colorway, something fun and colorful.  BUT it must be washable, no problem SUPERWASH to the rescue!  This stuff is wild to work with.  It drowns itself in the water, and floats apart if you'er not careful. 

But once you get it on the table it plays hard ball, grabbing and hoarding all of the dye placed onto it.  So you can't move the dye about, blending it together.  Knowing this I intentionally poured on extra dye manipulating as much as possible before it struck and I left white patches.

You can see where I was able to get some marrying of the two colors to get that great green.

The next step was to spin it, you see he wants this dyed, spun and then knit up into a hat and mittens for one of his nephews.  Completely hand made, so sweet, my DH. I'll get to do this again for another of the nephews with a different colorway. :)

So here is my first bobbin of clockwise spun singles.  I'll spin another whole bobbin and then ply them together in the opposite direction.  Its should fluff and puff up.  Squishy wonderfulness!

As soon as I have them spun and plyed and before I send them off to one of our test knitters, I'll take some pictures and post them for you to check out.

Happy Spinning

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Trying Hand Painting

Hello All!

I've been comissioned to dye some of our Beavertail Line DK weight yarn by this delightful woman.  This stuff is great 80/20 Polwarth and Tussah Silk. 

Well when she approached me we talked colors and shading the first step fun stuff.  Then she asked me to make ther repeats only about 3 inches in length.

Can't, no...... won't,  do this project as a dip dye.  OMG.  So I pulled out a old paint brush and wet my yarn and set to work.  It was difficult gage how much water was left in the skein as it was on the table.  I had left alot and had to abandon my mixed (water to dilute) dyes and go straight to the stocks.  Once I got the concentrations correct with was alot of fun. 

I've kept the repeats about 3-4 inches in length varying each colors size.  I wrapped it all up in plastic wrap just after it was sprinkled with white vinegar and set it into the steamer for 30 minutes. 

The colors, as you can see, stayed put and did minor mixing.  I'll need to be careful of that when working on the custom order, she wasn't interested in any white/pale spots.  I also want the colors richer and deeper.  Not super dark just more opaque/saturated.   

The test run came out pretty and I think that with the modifications to the dye strengths and limiting the amount of water still residing the the yarn, I'll get the results I'm hoping for.

Happy Knitting