The Fiber Imp

Adventures in food, fiber, and family


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New Roving Blends In Stock!

Thanks to the wonderful workings of Fedex, my order of roving arrived here 3 days early!  Yippie!  I now have 40 kg of fiber to dye, spin, and snuggle.  I spent the afternoon counting and sorting and generally organising, not to mention trying to decide what I was going to play with first.

I decided to stick with the bamboo as I haven’t dyed any plant based fibers before and it’s always fun to try new things.

I started by soaking the bamboo in a solution of water and urea.

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I then mixed up a solution of water and soda ash, poured this into 3 squirt bottles, and added dyes in the primary colours.  I mix all of my colours from the primaries, it’s simpler than having 60 different jars of dye powder kicking around (you do need to be careful with breaking colours if you do it this way).

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Next I put down a length of saran wrap (about 6 ft long) and ran the bamboo up and down the length of the saran wrap.  This way you get a good length to lay down your colours.  I then use my squirt bottles to paint the roving (give the roving a little sqeeze to help distribute the colours more evenly).

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Once your happy with the colours fold one side of the saran wrap over, then the other (it should make a sort of sausage looking thing), then roll up from one end, and tada, ready to set roving.  The bamboo is dyed with fiber reactive dyes so it’s just left to sit for 6-24 hours depending on the colour you want.  I will leave mine to soak overnight and i’ll give it a rinse in the morning.

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I had a little bit of dye left over so I tried to other methods to see what kind of effects I would get.  One is plunck in bowl, squirt with dye, cover.  And the other plunck in bag, squirt with dye, seal bag.  Pretty simple stuff 🙂

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This is a shot of the setup I use for roving.  I dye 4-100g braids of roving per length of saran wrap and 2 sets per colourway.  Since I generally dye at least 10 kilos of roving per dye day, I mix all my primaries in 4 litre pails.  I use a turkey baster to spread the dyes and small glass bowls to mix individual colours.

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Here’s a sampling of some of the new roving colours for this set!  I’m so glad that spring is coming and I can take a step back from the darker colours.  There’s nothing like a cashmere rainbow to brighten your day!

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Shop updates

I shipped the kids off to Grandmas (thanks mom!) for a few days to recover from the holiday craziness that happens when you have not one, but 2 Christmas babies, and I decided to have a wonderfully peaceful dye day in the kitchen.  I made 9 colourways of yarn and for the first time, I love them all.  Now I just have to decide which ones will be hidden away in my stash and which make it to the shop…

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And some proper pictures taken with good lighting!  These are availible for purchase but won’t be up in the shop for a week or two.

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New shop items for 2014

I will be expanding my product lines this year with lots of new goodies!

I have been busily spinning up some new handspun yarns.  Twists, which are a two-ply yarn made with one ply of silk and one ply of handspun fiber. They have a really unique look and feel compared to standard handspun.  I’ve also done a few skeins of super bulky handspun, definetly a change from the fine spinning i’m used to.

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To make these I tore a lightly felted braid (I have many of these from a rain storm that came while my pretties were out drying on the line, lesson learned) in half, and in half again, to make 4 strips of roughly even thickness.  Then run them through your wheel with an art yarn flyer (watch out for too much twist, it goes quick) and tada, super bulky yarn.  To join the next strip, I fluff out the ends a bit, then get them wet and roll them together between my hands (pretend you’re trying to start a fire with a stick).  This felts the join so that it won’t fall apart later.

I’m also really excited to begin dyeing bamboo top.  So far i’ve only done protein fibers and I love the look of handspun bamboo yarns…Now, if only the mail would get here, umm, now 🙂  Have any of you spun bamboo top?

And last but not least, I have some silk scarves on order that i’m looking forward to dyeing up.  I love bright, bold colours and silk takes up dye so very well 🙂

Well, that about sums it up!  Have a great week everyone!