Wednesday, August 26, 2009

cedar apple rust fungus dye experiment #2

After I did the first dye experiment, I poured the left over dye bath into an enameled pot, added the fungus back to it and covered it with the lid. I left it in this pot for 4 months. After 4 months it still had a nice peachy orange color to it(shown in picture above). It did not smell bad or have any mold on it.
I strained the dye and put some Tunis wool into it. I let this set in a sunny(hot)spot for a few days. I was not getting much color so I poured it into my aluminum pot and covered it with glass(an old window pane). I let it sit for a few more days, it was so hot I could not remove it with my bare hands during the day. It took on more color. It did not get the peachy color as in the first dye experiment, but it is a nice khaki color. In the future I think I will dye with fresh fungus only for that nice peachy color.
You can't really see the color in the picture below. The first skein is from the first experiment and the second is from this experiment(it is actually darker than it shows up in the picture).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

cedar apple rust fungus dye experiment

I got this peachy tan color with cedar apple rust fungus.I collected some cedar apple rust fungus from some cedar trees back in March. I boiled them in an aluminum pot for an hour, then left them to soak in pot for 1 week. I strained the liquid and returned it to the pot. I boiled the yarn for 30 minutes. I did not intend to boil it but I got distracted. I used a mini skein of Norwegian wool, that was unmordanted.
Cedar apple rust fungus:

I tested a sample in a hot sunny window(in July) for 1 month and it did not fade at all. I will definitely collect alot more next March.

Friday, June 26, 2009

learning to spin wool

I would like to share my spinning teachers. I have been learning to spin through various means. I have watched some very informative spinning videos on you tube. I have learned some things from spinning blogs. I have checked out from my county library the video Hand Spinning Advanced Techniques by Mabel Ross. I had a 1 year 2007 subscription to Spin Off magazine. My favorite learning tool has been the DVD Spinning Exotic Fibers and Novelty Yarns by Judith Mackenzie. I knew that I wanted to raise Angora bunnies and goats, so I did alot of research through the Internet. I purchased this DVD before getting any Angora bunnies or goats. I have been spinning my Angora bunny wool using the technique from this DVD. I haven't spun any of the mohair yet, I have been washing my first fleece and dyeing some of the fiber. I am still learning and having fun. I hope this post is helpful to some.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

newest fiber animal

Maddyson(pronounced madison) the bred angora goat which I recently purchased in North Carolina had a sweet baby girl on April 22nd. I will have some gorgeous kid mohair to spin this fall.
This is Maddy and her baby Felicity. Maddy is a good mama.This if Felicity at 2 days old, she was born with beautiful curls. She is very easy going, she likes to be held and petted.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

rhododendron flower dye

I used these rhododendron flowers:

I got this gorgeous golden color:

I covered the flowers with rain water and let soak for about a week. I then put them in my aluminum dye pot and added 1 quart of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar and boiled for 30 minutes. I strained the liquid and put it back in the aluminum dye pot. I simmered my wool for 30 minutes and let it cool down before removing it. I let it dry before washing. After washing it and letting it dry again I carded it into this batt. I will do a light fast test as soon as I spin it. I have a larger batch of flowers soaking now(they have been soaking for about 3 weeks now). I will do some more experiments with them soon.
UPDATE:The batch that I soaked for about a month produced less color than the batch I soaked for 1 week.

Friday, March 27, 2009

suffolk sheep fleece

I have been washing fleeces this week. The picture below is about 1/2 of the Suffolk fleece. On the bobbin is a thin single of the Suffolk.
I carded this on my drum carder and spun it woolen long draw. I left some on the lanolin in it to make it easy to spin(I am still a beginner spinner). I spun it thin and I will spin another bobbin to make a 2 ply. I have some natural dye pots waiting for it(that's when the real fun begins).

Friday, March 13, 2009

fiber animals

Sasha and Missy
Missy and Sasha

I went to North Carolina this past Sunday to pick up 3 angora goats. I purchased a 3 year old doe, whom I named Maddyson(Maddy for short). I also purchased 2 small yearling does. I named them Sasha and Missy.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

more on the pine cone dye

This picture may show the color a little better:

The top yarn in this picture is a sample after exposure to sunlight for 2 weeks, there was a very slight fading that did not show up in this photo. The bottom yarn is the one without sun exposure. I am not an expert but I would think this would be considered to have good light fastness. I only wish my pictures would have showed the color better.

pine cone dye experiment

This is the result of my pine cone dye experiment. It doesn't show to well in the pic. It is a yellowish beige color. I used old dry falling apart pine cones. I crushed them and put them into a quart jar, covered them with water and simmered on my wood stove for 10 days. I poured them in to my aluminum pot and added 2 cups of rubbing alcohol. I simmered this for 2 days and then strained it and then put the dye liquid back into the aluminum pot, added the yarn and simmered for 24 hours. I removed the yarn and air dyed with out washing, once dry I washed and rinsed it.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

strauch finest drum carder

I have been carding and carding! I really like this drum carder. It does a great job. I pull my wool apart really well before carding. It makes nice thick puffy batts. I also like to make 2 thin batts of merino and place loose angora fiber evenly over 1 batt and then cover with the second batt and press it down then roll it up like a big rolag(roll from end to end not side to side). I then predraft this into a long thinner length before spinning from it. I then spin this in the woolen long draw.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

fern leaf dye experiment

This is an old once upon a time aluminum pressure cooker pot. In the quart canning jar are 3 1/2 oz. of wild fern leaves covered with water and 1 tbls. of ammonia. I kept them simmering on my fireplace wood burner insert for 2 weeks. I shook the jar 3 or 4 times a day. Every 2 days I would pour the liquid into the aluminum pot, and then cover the leaves in the quart jar with 1 tbls. ammonia and water.
At the end of 2 weeks I added enough water to the pot to fill it up. I had kept the pot on simmering the entire time. I added wetted wool to the pot and simmered for 3 hrs. I removed the pot and removed the aluminum foil cover. I allowed it to cool until it could be handled. I rinsed and washed it and rinsed until the water ran clear. I got a pretty green color, I would say it almost glows:
I put the leaves from the quart jar into this gallon jar and added fresh leaves and covered them with water and ammonia, I set it aside for a future dye experiment:
This is the 3 1/2 oz. of leaves that I stuffed into the quart jar. I only picked the small green leaves:
Most of the plants looked like this one:

made in the USA

This is my spinning wheel. It is a Fricke S-160 single treadle. I always buy American made if I have a choice. It is my first wheel. I have not spun much yet, but it is mine and I really like it alot. It is a reasonable priced wheel. It has 5 speeds. I also purchased the plying bobbin and flyer, but I have not used it yet.

I have a single of undyed merino on the bobbin. I spun 2 bobbins and made a 2 ply thin and thick(aka designer yarn). It was my first full skein of yarn.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

my first drum carder

I ordered a drum carder today from the woolery. I have been googleing and reading reviews on drum carders for over 3 years. I decided on the Strauch finest about a year ago. It was hard to bring myself to purchase it because they are so darn expensive. It should be here in a day or 2. I will use it mainly to blend my angora wool with merino. I hope I will not be disappointed.

Friday, January 16, 2009

another nigerian dwarf goat

This is Almond Joy. She is one of 5 does that I have, I also have a buck that is her father. I plan to get 2 angora goats to breed with my Nigerian goats. I have read that the offspring will produce 4 different types of fiber. One type is like cashmere.

Monday, January 12, 2009

nigerian dwarf goat

This is a picture of one of my Nigerian does. Her name is Peppermint Patty. I think she is beautiful. She has blue eyes like her mama.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

unknown mushroom

On my daily walk I came across these mushrooms:

I believe it is probably a poisonous one. The squirrels and other critters get most of the mushrooms before I can get to them. I assume the ones they overlook are not fit to eat. I am saving them for a future dye experiment, maybe I will get some color from them.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

oyster mushrooms

I came across these oyster mushrooms while mushroom hunting this past Sunday. I gathered about a bushel of them. I have cut them up and they are now drying for future dye experiments.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I am a beginner spinner, a beginner knitter, and a natural dye experimenter.
This blog will be a notepad for my trial and errors in spinning, knitting and dyeing.