Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dying to Dye In This Heat

Top:  Gray Alpaca in Dye pot.
Bottom:  Alpaca All Dyed.
Merino In dye pot.
A little bit of dye spillover into pot.
This past Friday I finally ordered some new dyes I was itching to try out.  However, the weather has been extremely brutal (especially on pregnant ladies) and running a stove in my kitchen was the last thing I wanted to do.  Luckily since they were ordered and I opted to have them sent first class mail it meant chances are they would take a while to come in.  This spared my family of the added heat from my excitement and impatience.  Imagine my surprise when I found them in my mailbox on Monday!  An added bonus is that by Monday the heat finally broke and we were welcomed with on and off thunder showers throughout the day.  A perfect day to play with dye.  I grabbed some gray alpaca roving that I had an abundance of and some superwash merino and went to town.  As I assembled my materials, I realized I was out of saran wrap.  Bummer!  I really wanted to try out some progression dyeing on my merino and I felt hand painting it would be the easiest.  Then it finally it me, d'oh!  Why not do immersion dyeing similar to canning.  To my surprise, it worked great.  Next time I'll need to use larger canning jars.  Notice the white splotches from the fiber being crammed into the smaller jars?

Merino Hanging to dry
Merino Dry and Braided
Another accomplishment on my weekend to do list:  I finally got my upgrade that I ordered (and received last Feb./Mar.) onto my Blue Bonnet wheel.  This upgrade now allows me to use my wheel as a double tension or a scotch tension with only having to change out the whorl and smack on the correct belt.  What should have taken maybe an hour or so project took about five hours.  No lie!  It wasn't the installing of the upgrade that was the problem.  It was finding all the correct tools as I needed them.  Instead of assembling everything I would need ahead of time, I waited until I came to the step that I needed to use them.  I would have to drop what I was doing, go on a manhunt (anyone who has seen my husbands garage or the organization of his tools would feel sympathy) and come back and have to fix any adjustments the kids made to my wheel while I was gone.  All the kids were cranky as we were feeling the effects of the continuous days of excessive heat.  They had been lacking in naps since their rooms were too hot.  They had decided it was more fun to play in the A.C. rooms that were offered as napping alternatives.

 I was beaming when I finally finished it.  I tweaked the settings and spun my first roving on it.  I am ecstatic that I can now do lace weight yarns!  My double tension set up was perfect for art or bulky yarns leaving my options limited.  Now it does about everything and in about half the time!

Rhubarb Pie
Late Night Stroll
I also got the unnamed superwash merino spun up.  It was aptly named Rhubarb Pie because, frankly, it reminded me of rhubarb pie.  I decided to enter it in my Blue Bonnet's summer SAL challenge through Ravelry.  I dyed up about 8 oz of it, this picture shows one of the skeins.  I also dyed and spun up a little over 4 oz of alpaca that I named "A Late Night Stroll" that I entered as well.  We were allowed up to three entries but with me wanting to hone up on my upgraded wheel and play with my dyes I know that's all I will have time for.

Husbands (at least mine) don't understand these little deadlines we put on ourselves.  They are very important to us.  When these are going on that means all cleaning is on hold.  Dinners will be quick made portions.  Phone calls will neither be answered nor returned right away.  The fact that your favorite clothes aren't clean are of no importance to me.  We need groceries?  Best go down to the basement and see what goodies are in the chest freezer.  It's really not that he doesn't care, or doesn't support.  It's more of a "Are you feeling okay?  You've got me worried." Obviously he cannot understand the excitement those of us can get over these simple things.  I also get, "I think you need to get out of the house for a bit.  Even if it's just for a ride".  Then I have to try to compose myself from showing what I'm really thinking:  "No!  Please!  That means I will have to leave all my "work" and get nothing done!?".  If my face showed how I really felt it would cause him extreme worry.  Somewhere on the lines of I think you should see professional help worry.  To avoid all that my usual response is, "Eh.  That's okay.  It's such a pain in the butt to load the kids in the car just for a ride.  If you think of something else we could all do though, I'm all ears". It works as a great save every time.  It promises me at least another two hours to wrap up whatever I was finishing. I admit getting away is healthy.  It gets me away from this stuff and out enjoying time with my family.

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