Archive for the ‘dyeing’ Category

At the dye party last week (here, and  here), I overdyed some really nice bulky pink yarn with a blend of silk, alpaca and wool.   The yarn is for an accessory set that I plan on knitting for my sister, who will be heading for a graduate program at Yale this fall.  She really likes the look of garments and accessories made from bulky yarns.  She’s skinny, so she looks good in them too.

In all, I dyed 5 skeins in a gigantic stockpot to get rid of that bubble gum pink color, which both my sis and I don’t like. Because of the large volume of yarn and what I wanted to achieve, I had to dye them together as a batch in 3 major stages.

Left: I forgot to take “before” pictures, but this shows more or less what the original yarn color was (minus the hints of blue), which was a semi-solid soft pink to bubblegum pink; Right: A pile of boiling hot yarns after Stage 1 of dyeing.  I purposefully gave it large chunks and sections of blue and lavender.

Above: Yarn after Stage 2 of dyeing and painting.  I really liked the results in this stage.  It reminds me of a nice opal. However, I don’t think that it’s really representative of what my sis would want.

Above: Much darker! Showing  both sides of each skein after the final Stage 3.  I left some slight hints of pink and bright blue to contrast with some of the darker areas.  Click on photos to enlarge.

And thanks to Denise, I now have some really fun panties!  Yes, I am sharing my panties with the world.

Above: Showing  both sides of each of the undies.  I really like them all, except perhaps the ill-placed patch of bright yellow at the crotch of the one at bottom right.

Above: Showing  both sides of each of the undies.  Boxer briefs for the hubs (he’d better wear them!), a onesie for my friend, and boy short undies for myself.  The onesie didn’t turn out great because I forgot to presoak it in soda ash, so most of the dyes washed out.

Above: Showing  both sides of each sock.  I don’t really wear socks, and am not into colorful socks. However, these would be great with some of my sneakers.  I may give a couple of pairs to my sis, but I don’t think she’d wear them. She loves socks, but she wears them with such a San Franciscan artist’s flair that would give Stacy London a heart attack.


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Some of my friends took more (and better) photos of the dye party than I did, and they’re allowing me to share them with my readers. 🙂

(If you are interested in a private lesson or private group party, contact me about availability and rates.)

Elisabeth’s Photos:

left to right: Kristie and Laura, who sat out in the dyeing, watching everyone’s pots; Denise L showing off her cup of dye

left to right: The hostess with the mostess preparing her hanks; Shanda getting ready to flip her yarn

left to right: the fanciest tool in my dye aresenal; the dye counter

Shanda’s Photos:

left to right: helping Denise with her silk; mixing dyes for KE

left to right: Mary and Denise; Elisabeth adding more colors to her yarn while I help Denise mix some colors for her silk

https://i0.wp.com/farm4.static.flickr.com/3415/3409781170_aff3c211a5.jpg left to right: KE, Amanda and Denise L; Elisabeth adding more colors to her yarn while I check on Denise’s silk

Above: both Denises looking lovely while I practice to be a contortionist

Laura’s Photos:

left to right: Buckets of undies, socks, t-shirts and onesies soaking in soda ash; Chia squirting some dye onto a pair of socks.

You want to do have your own dye party but don’t know how to dye?  I can teach! Contact me about availability and rates.

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This past weekend, Aubrey, who is the one responsible for penning the, Handicraft Café blog, came back to soak in the sunshine of Southern California.  To ward off the pale vampire-white jokes, she did make sure to get some self-tanner so that she wouldn’t blind us with her whiteness.  😉  We had some brunch in Huntington Beach with our good friend Zona and her daughter, who made us all look like really tall Amazonians in this photo that she snapped.

Unfortunately, Aubrey had other family obligations, so she couldn’t join me and my knitting friends in one of the most fabulous dye parties I’ve ever been to.

The dye party was hosted by Denise and her hubs Dave, who generously opened up their home to our knitting group and allowed us to take over their kitchen and backyard with all sorts of fiber and colors.

Denise is a master tie-dyer and helped us dye all sorts of goodies, while I volunteered to teach everyone how to acid-dye yarn in the kitchen.  (If you are interested in a private lesson or private group party, contact me about availability and rates.) Dave kept us well fed with his master BBQ-ing skills.

left to right: Amanda squirting some aquamarine blue on her t-shirt; Amanda’s t-shirt

left to right: Shanda being goofy; Amanda, Shanda and Elisabeth taking a food break

left to right: Dave the master BBQ chef; I dyed some boxer briefs for my hubs in hopes that he’d actually wear it (we shall see!)

We took over the back patio for the tie-dyeing, and the entire kitchen and the kitchen sitting area for the acid-dyeing “studio.”

left to right: Elisabeth and KE concentrating on their hand-painting; Showing several techniques that I was teaching everyone – showing yarns from KE, Amanda and Elisabeth

left to right: Showing yarns from KE, Amanda, Chia and KE; I don’t recall whose yarn was in the large kettles, but the 2 shallow pots contain Denise L’s yarns.

I dyed several undies and socks for myself, and 6 skeins of bulky silk/alpaca/wool yarn that I intend to use for a project for my sister, but I will share that in my next post.

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A couple of weeks ago, I decided to participate in small craft fair held as a fundraiser at a Japanese Buddhist temple. According to the organizer, this was the first time they opened it up to vendors not part of the temple. I’m used to, and like small craft fairs because I rarely have that much inventory for a large one. Plus, the preparations for large craft fairs are tremendous. I was prepared for small, but not for teeny-tiny. There were only 3.5 vendors. The 0.5 vendor was a guy who was waaaay underpricing pottery but he wasn’t even there…his friend sold it for him. This was also the smallest Buddhist temple I have ever been to or seen.

IMG_4505 IMG_4506

All the people there — vendors and attendees alike — were all very nice, but the people in attendance were not crafty-artsy type shoppers and weren’t really buying. Basically, the majority of them probably don’t go to craft and art fairs at all. They were mostly there to enjoy the Taiko performances. Futhermore, I don’t think some of them were prepared to pay fair value for quality handmade items (partly probably not really realizing the hours of work that goes into one project too, because the reality is that in the global economy, most people are used to overseas cheap factory labor.) Anyway, at least I made some money, albeit dismal.



The highlight of the fair was the drumming and Chia, who came out to hang out with me. She had never sat behind a booth at a fair. I invited her to put some of her knitting on my table. Chia managed to sell a mohair shawl that she knit to a slightly eccentric Chinese woman.

For this fair (or rather, small gathering), I painted and upcycled another thrift-find angora sweater into a couple of new Hippie Chicks. I really cute and cool Taiko drummer named Susie bought 2 of the fatter chicks. In fact, the ones she bought were the ones I submitted to Sweater Surgery.
IMG_4495 More Hippie chicks

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Ok, I know I’m lame, but I’m finally getting around to posting my contributions to the Sweater Surgery book. (Disclaimer: I purposefully blurred out the instructional text because of copyright issues. Besides, that way, you can go buy the book. 🙂 Or, if you’re interested, I’d be willing to teach any one of these projects at your shop or party. I also teach knitting and dyeing.)

Book Cover

The instructions are just for the Twiggy Headband (page 63)…it’s the rainbow colored one. The other two headbands are featured in the book’s Gallery section on page 131 and do not include instructions.
Twiggy Snow & Ski

Nine-to-Five was also flashed in a quick 1-second clip on DIY Network’s “Uncommon Threads.” Originally, my friends and I were also supposed to demo this project, but the producers realized that they didn’t have enough time, so we just worked on Shelly.
File Cozy

Everyone loves the Hippie Chicks! I came up with the idea when I was experimenting with dyeing a recycled angora sweater. I love the way the publisher styled Opal and Sunshine. Recently, I sold both of them to a very cute and enthusiastic Taiko drummer named Susie.
Hippie Chicks

Violet Flower was such a labor-intensive project. Well all of the featured projects are, but this one takes the cake with the size ratio. This is made from a recycled, upcycled sweater sleeve that I felted. Then I dip-dyed it (not as easy as it seems because you have to hold it to get saturation and try to control the colors to make sure that it seemed more fluid), hand-stitched the purse and the lining and did the embroidery edges. Each petal is also individually laid out and sewn. The center of the flower also is the closure.

Shelly has an extra cameo on page 14, and has her own Gallery photo on page 127. I had posted about Shelly before and my experiences on Uncommon Threads in September 2006 (Geez, has it been that long?)
Shelly again Shelly

These two hats (page 130) are featured in the Gallery section as well and do not have any accompanying instructions. Gwlana was originally intended to be an artsy-ish woven bowl, but then Zona commented that it could be cute as a kid’s hat — and I agree! Cosmopolitan is made from cut pieces of a felted wool sweater. I used the texture of the sweater fabric to create interest in the hat.

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After months of not spinning, I restarted again, albeit very sporatically, after an invite to Jerry and Debbie’s home for some spinning. I had some crappy stuff that I was spinning just to get rid of it, but I really got bored of it, so Zona gave me some of her hand-dyed silk hankies to spin!
spinning silk

It’s my first time spinning silk and I’m really enjoying it! The concept of pulling the layers and strands of fibers from the hanky is a little strange since I’ve only pulled from commercial rovings and rolags that I combed. The downside is that the cap of my spool popped off, so I have to glue it back before I can resume.
spinning silk

My artist sister came to visit yesterday. We bond over many things and are close in age, however sadly, she does not knit, spin or is crafty in the way I am crafty. 😉
She’s a wonderful artist though and has designed and laid out many logos and publishing things for me though.

When she arrived, I submitted her to a facial, complete with a mud mask. She’s a virgin when it comes to facials. Her mask matches her dress so well, doesn’t it?

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The handmade craft show I did this past weekend ended up being kind of slow. I have no idea why. There were street signs and ads in various papers. I suspect that one reason is that there was a similar one 2 weeks prior in the same area. Plus, being that it’s the holidays, there are lots of shows during this season.

Regardless, I did okay. Enough to cover the fee, and make back my investment for inventory for this show and some chump change. Yay! I had no expectations of how much I would make, especially since I was contacted about this show 2 weeks before it was scheduled, but I actually had thought there would be more people. Anyway, it was fun. I met some great local Etsyians, and have some inventory to list in my shop (when I have the time!). I offered my friend Zona space at my table to peddle her lovely items, so she hung out with me all day and sold some of her hand-knits and handspun yarns.

I didn’t dye any yarn for this show, but used some stuff other handpainted yarns I had in stock. I sold a few skeins of yarn, one of the customers was another vendor who kept coming to my table to look at the yarn. She bought 2 skeins at the end of the day — she lucked out because another customer was debating between the ones she wanted and 2 other skeins. I must also thank JayJay, Marie and Pam from my knitting group who came and supported us.

As far as all the silk scarves I painted, I think the trees with the tiny blossoms are my favorites. I also like the green one on the far right quite a bit.

I did some shopping as well. I bought some YUMMY jam from this guy who makes his own jams, jellies and chutneys, which are mostly made from fruits that he grows! I got a plum chutney — the best I have ever had (I have bought many at various farmer’s markets before) and a jalapeno jelly.

Here’s a Nay. Actually, it’s a big BOO. There was a girl who sold some screenprinted t-shirts, bags and some hand-knits. She’s the kind of hand-knitter I scoff at at these craft shows and fairs. Why? No, it’s not because she was selling fuzzy fun fur scarves. Fun fur scarves only make me cringe a little, not scoff. The boo on this vendor is not something that’s a matter of personal taste. She was selling the Kittyville hat! The only difference in the hat she sold is that she omitted the earflaps. Everything else looked exactly the same. This type of selling bothers me, because it is a form of copyright infringement. Really, the least anyone can do is to do it in another weight yarn and alter the gauge, or even change the type of stitch used. Even then, I would feel weird about selling it, but that’s just me. Maybe I’m being too harsh. All I know is that I would be very irked if I caught someone trying to profit from my original patterns, especially if it’s one as distinctly noticeable as the Kittyville hat.

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