Crafting for Life

The Zen of Yarn-Winding

Its been over a year since I blogged about something worthwhile here. First off, thank you all my wonderful blog readers. Without you, I probably would have been tempted to shut this thing off.

What prompted me to write this particular one though was an experience in yarn winding that I just went through.

The yarn in question for this post comes from a major brand. The skeins I had wound till date,had absolutely no issues, but this one had twists and turns from the moment I put it on the winder.

So step 1 was to unravel about a meter and see if the rest will follow nicely. After a point, it seemed that the crisis was over and the yarn will go smoothly from here on. unfortunately, a moment later, the yarn was stuck. And stuck how! The yarn had looped back and forth on itself. Which meant that even if I cut the strand (which i was severely tempted to do), I would end up cutting every single turn for god knows how long.

The solution was to find the other end and wind by hand, while ensuring the winder doesn’t turn. grrrr!! Then started the slow and painstaking process of unwinding, while going through every single curse and abuse in my vocabulary. The final step was to wind the yarn from the hand-wound ball into the half-done one on the winder. So eventually a work which should have been done in under 5 minutes, took close to 25.

Towards the end I found myself irritated because I found that I ran out of abuses and all the languages I knew (4 of them). And then came my epiphany: the amount of learning I got from this exercise of unwinding yarn.

  1. I don’t mind if the cheapie acrylic I get here has n number of knots and tangles. I will bear that as the cost of buying cheap yarn.
    • However, expensive yarn is NOT allowed to have the same problem.
  2. I was able to get over the first desire to snip at he yarn and found an 2nd solution ie winding the other end by hand.
  3. I was standing and working the swift and yarn by hand, which counts as exercise.
  4. I realized that I need to learn a new language, one that can be easily pronounced and learnt. (It will make the abuses easier to learn).
  5. Learnt to be thankful for the next skein which got done in under a minute, thanks to no tangles.
  6. Even more thankful when the next yarn bag had already wound skeins (thanks to the sender).
  7. I finally got around to this blog! 😉

I do hope my little blog post made you at least smile! 🙂

 

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The Dye Project .. again!

my updates on the yarn I (finally) dyed.

1) Soaked the alpaca for 2.5-3hrs in vinegar to mordant
2) after letting it semi-dry, put it into cochineal dyebath:

3) after around 3 hrs, i moved into a steel vessel and put it top heat on gas (no micro here)

4) I let it cool in the vessel itself. and once cooled, washed it with running water and hung to dry:

5) So when it dried it looked like this:

6) and finally got it ready to store, to be used for some future project

What I learnt:

* It’s great fun!!!
* It is work.. do not take shortcuts, the results will also be a shortcut.
* if you use expired/really old dye, dont expect the original color to show up. be prepared for surprises
* Learn to live with the surprise 😉 (I’m NOT a pink person)

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The Birthday Swap

Every year, there are groups on Ravelry that organize swaps. You can participate in swaps for dishcloths, mittens, shawls, and even for your birthday! Well, I went ahead and participated in one for my birthday this year. I wanted something special, and definitely different from what I did in years’ past. So I signed up for the Birthday Swap early this year.

When the time came around, i couldn’t be more thrilled. Now came the best part after all: shopping! 😀

I needed to shop for yarn, which was the easy part actually. The rest of the package had to be a minimum cost of $30. The aim was to make the swapee (is there such a word??) feel pampered and loved, even if from far. So I totally went to town with my shopping list. Chocolate, craft kits, and personal care item. It also included a hand-made item from me: my silk-wool shawl Intriguing.

However, I couldn’t manage to make get the package together before Lynne’s (my swap partner) Birthday. I had to send it out before the month was over, and that’s what I eventually did! However, Lynne was a darling and sent mine so that it got to me before my birthday.

Then came D-day: my birthday, and more importantly: package opening day! And boy, was I pampered! Here are the pics of what I received:

The entire package

The entire package. The bag was the handmade that Lynne sent

Lovely lovely yarn! <3

Lovely lovely yarn! ❤

Postcards from Yorkshire

Postcards from Yorkshire

Fat Quarter pieces to push me along in my sewing journey

Fat Quarter pieces to push me along in my sewing journey

Books! Lovely collection

Books! Lovely collection

 

What I sent included:

Manasa Gift 2014 001.JPG

 

Manasa Gift 2014 003.JPG

Manasa Gift 2014 004.JPG

Shawl modelled by Lynne

Shawl modelled by Lynne

I guess the pics taken by Lynne are definitely more detailed than mine! But then I wanted to showcase the sheer amount of stuff she sent across! This was a fun experience, and I will certainly look forward to nest year. 😀

 

 

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When I Dyed….

A few days back a dear Ravelry friend piqued my interest in a post when writing about dyeing acrylic yarn. The reason why I was interested is that till date, I’ve been told that you cant dye acrylic: the color doesn’t hold. So how was this going to work?!

Acrylic mainly needs acid dye in commercial quantities to be viable, and to hold the color the way it does. However, HodgePodge Crochet mentions the use of acrylic colors. Seemed interesting and do-able. So the moment I was alone at home, I got to work!

The first hitch came at acrylic paint. The blog doesn’t really say wall paint, but if you read carefully, you’ll understand that that’s what she meant. Now the problem here is that I get a massive headache with the smell of paint. The only paint I was willing to work with was the children’s acrylic paint bottles. The difference: the paint is more diluted and therefore has not significant amount of smell. One more: I don’t need to burn by hands with turpentine if it does manage to get on me; soap works just fine!!!

I did figure I probably need a lot more color than the “squirt” the blogger mentions, but I decided to go ahead anyway.

The reason I was comfortable to go ahead was a stash of “natural” color yarn lying in my stash, and I had no clue how to get rid of it. Ta-Da! Solution found! So out came the hanks (which I hadn’t bothered to wind, Thank God!)

The starting point

The starting point

Step 1: Wash the yarn in hot water. Since its summer, the Solar Heater in my bathroom works just fine. So the moment I turned on the tap, nice hot hot water came rushing out. The yarn got soaked in this.

Step 2: I had a spare steel vessel I had used last time for dyeing. In this I added Leaf Green, Lemon Yellow and a dash of Burnt Sienna, all being in 15 ml bottles. I was dyeing 3 hanks (approx 150 gms) of acrylic.

The pic here isn’t great. I was conducting the process in my bathroom, which had no access to natural light ( a fact I realized only after dunking the yarn). So please don’t mind the neon shade of green! 😀

Dripping away...

Dripping away…

Step 3: I put on a pair of gloves and got to work ensuring the color reached every bit. Then I let it sit in the color for about 15 minutes, and then hung it over the tap to drip into the vessel. This was finally hung in the balcony to dry out for the rest of the day.

Later that evening

Later that evening

Step 4: I washed the acrylic to check for color fastness. Unfortunately it was not color fast. I remembered to put in salt to hold the color. And surprisingly it did hold. The yarn went back into the balcony for drying out.

The final effect is an ombre-like gradient in green. But without the flow of color. It simply became patchy where the darker color settled at the base…

After the wash, the colors lightened up

After the wash, the colors lightened up

I wanted to try once more to check for the amount of color required. So I dyed a single skein in Magenta. The experiment wasn’t really a resounding success. Apparently you need the amount of color concentration for it to hold onto the yarn. 😦 The pink almost seems faded…

Drying out in Pink

Drying out in Pink

 

The skeins together

The skeins together

By this time the original skeins had dried out, and so I wound one up to see how it worked for a project. I made a doily and a knit swatch to display the colors.

All rolled up!

All rolled up!

a quick doily

a quick doily

 

A knit swatch

A knit swatch

 

Finally I would say that, if you can manage, go ahead with wall paint. Else acrylic colors aren’t bad at all! 😀

Have fun! 🙂

 

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