Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dyeing Easy

The fibers in Ziploc bags were dyed with Cushing Perfection Acid Dyes. They come in little envelopes priced $3 and weighing 1/3 ounce to color a pound of wool. Nothing else to add other than vinegar. From left: orange, mint green, redgrape, jade green and pink.

Four of the colored fibers were carded side-by-side and the 5th color, pink, was carded over them.

Here are the resulting rovings.

Cushing dyes may be easy to use, but if you want the ultimate dye for dummies, try Gaywool from Australia/Louet. They are used like Kool-Aid: no salt or vinegar necessary. I have even used them without pre-wetting the fiber with success. The colors are electric. There are also the Gaywool Bush Blend dyes which are slightly cheaper, but are so much paler.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Little Gem in a Backpack

I must admit that though I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Majacraft spinner, I have been envious of the Victoria Louet's backpack. Looking around the house for a solution, I remembered a roll-on cabin luggage I bought years ago that converts into a backpack. It's from a store call Muji, which my brother simply calls, 'the no-brand store" because the shop never puts a tag on its products.
Happily, the folded Gem fits perfectly in the luggage and is held in place by the built-in straps.

To protect the wheel from the detachable metal part, I used a light blanket to wrap the latter.

Ben, voilĂ ! C'est parfait!

Okay, so the case is not as tight as Victoria's. The point is, I can get the Little Gem on my back just as well!

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Little Gem under Cover

Now you see it...,

...and now you don't!

This spinning wheel dustcover was made with a brocade skirt bought at Salvation Army for $3. It's from Talbot's and never worn -- it still had the tag when I found it. I simply sewed it along the waist like so:

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Springwater Fiber Arts School

I count myself lucky to have a fiber community in my area, the Springwater Fiber Arts School. I live in Maryland, but Springwater in Alexandria, Virginia, is only about 15 miles away and the route, all of which is along the picturesque George Washington Memorial Parkway, is a beautiful drive.

Springwater is supported by grants, donations, a well-stocked yarn-and-fiber store and, of course, the school. Donations are sold at the store or used in its outreach program. Recently, it found itself with massive bags of scoured fiber donations. Springwater's Sylvia Delmar and Linda Hurt, who teach spinning and weaving, respectively, recently set about to further prepare the fibers by picking and carding, and dyeing them before putting them out for sale.

In the photos are Linda, working on her Pat Green Triple Picker, and behind her, Sylvia, carding away.
Linda shows how to feed wool into the Triple Picker safely. There are 600 long, sharp nails waiting to claw at you if you're not careful.

If you live in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area and have fiber supplies, tools and equipment sitting idle at home, consider donating them to Springwater to support the school, and avail of tax deductions. The Springwater Super Bowl Sale is coming up on February 4. This is when designated items are sold at 60% off when the shop opens at 7 am. At 8 am, the discount go down to 50%, then at 9 am and the rest of the day, shoppers get 40% off.

If you are thinking of getting spinning and/or weaving equipment, this is a good time try your luck at bargains. Loyal shoppers are known to camp outside the store as early as 5 am with their mugs of coffee.