Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hearts and Flowers: My First Hand-dyed Handspun Yarn

Back in the summer I took a fiber dyeing class. It was the first time I'd ever dyed wool and it was great... problem was I didn't have a spinning wheel so I didn't really have a way to make it into yarn.

Ok... technically I could have used my drop spindle but I found it really slow and frustrating after I had a weekend getting to know the wheel.

Once I got the wheel I really wanted to dive right into my hand-dyed fiber but I made myself wait to use any of it until I'd spun an entire bag of plain natural fiber for practice.

Once I was reasonably sure I could get a yarn-like product I dove into the bags of hand-dyed.
This is what I started with- pink, purple and natural solar dyed in a mason jar.

And this is what I ended up with-

77 yards of 2-ply (pink and white for 1 strand purple and white for the other). It was so much harder to spin worrying about color consistency as another variable but I'm really happy with the results!

One of the things I love about yarn is that lots of colorways have a name instead of a number. Although I'm very far away from being able to produce more than one skein of a particular colorway (if I ever even get to that point) I felt like I should name this.

The perfect name hit me while I was walking home- Hearts and Flowers.

Not only did I spin this on Valentine's Day (which was fitting given the colors) but it reminds me of my favorite ice cream (called hearts and flowers). It's lavender and rose water flavored, so delicate and creamy it almost tastes just as soft and lush as this yarn feels.

My spinning is definitely improving, this is the third skein I've done and it's definitely the most consistent.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Winter Wreath- Ta-da!

It's been a while since I first posted about the winter wreath... but I didn't forget about it!

I started out with the bird in the middle on the bottom (which is always where I always pictured it) but wasn't totally happy with how it was coming out. Even though I wanted good amount of grapevine wreath to show and as my husband said... the glitter bird looks like something Liberace would have owned (or like it flew in from Vegas) the wreath felt a little plain or sparse- static even!

I just couldn't get the picture in my head to translate to the actual wreath... until I made it asymmetrical.

With the bird perched on the side of the wreath and the berries sprayed around it I was much happier! It felt a little more organic. Now I didn't mind so much of the grapevine showing and it had the sparse but complete winter feeling that I was going after.

And I love that red glitter, it even sparkles at night in the porch lights.

The bird ended up needing one good coat of Mod Podge and glitter (Martha Stewart- Ruby), once that was dry I filled in any bare spots.

Then sprayed it with a sealer so it could survive outside.

I loved that the glitter was able to cover up the blue feathers of the bird so well!
(It took about 1/4 of the small bottle in the 24 pack).

I'm really happy with how the whole thing (but especially the cardinal) turned out.

If you remember from my last post I was thinking about putting some glitter on the white pearlized beads too. In the end I decided not to, when I tested a few and it definitely made the whole wreath way too heavy on the glitter.
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