Ep 118: Stash, Natural Dyeing, and Spinning Tips

Kelly Locke

Lots of travel knitting, a natural dye workshop with fiber friends and some listener questions about spinning and stash are the topics for this week. Come join the community on Ravelry or become a patron and support the show on our Patreon Page.

Save the Date for a Washington Coast Meet-up!

September 20-22. We'll be meeting to knit and chat at String Theory Yarn and Fiber. Find lodging for the weekend in Seabrook, Washington or in nearby Pacific Beach or Ocean Shores. Or join us for a day if you are nearby! Click here to RSVP so we can reserve your goodie bag! Here is a link to the Ravelry thread about the meet-up.

We just spent a week together in Seattle! Kelly came up to join Marsha and some fiber friends for a natural dye workshop. The dyes used were coreopsis, lichen, avocado, and cochineal. They were dyed on a variety of natural colored yarns using different strengths of dye. We also used an ammonia modifier to change the color of the dye. Very inspiring.


Marsha's Projects:

I finished the Lace Market T-shirt by Marie Green using Schoppel-Wolle El Linio several weeks ago. The neck is too big and I had planned to re-knit picking up fewer stitches, small needles, and slightly less loose bind off. Where did the time go?

I turned heel and worked gusset of Schoppel-Wolle Das Paar socks. About an inch of the foot is completed. I also finished body and neck band of Fine Sand by Heidi Kirrmeier, using Fibra Natura Unity.

Knot a long: Nothing!!!! But that doesn't mean you shouldn't enter. So far we have 38 FOs, our biggest along ever! Enter by August 31st. Remember, it'a any fiber related item that is not knit, crochet, spinning or weaving. We'll draw for prizes in our first September episode.

Kelly’s Projects

The most significant FO for this week is my 5th metatarsal! Bone is 90% healed and the boot is off. Now on to the physical therapy!

I also finished Two cowls from Alchemy yarn 100% silk. The pattern is Simple Yet Effective from Tin Can Knits. I finished the first one on the road trip to Seattle and the second one I almost finished on the trip back home.

The Silk Cardigan from Dragonfly Fibers Dance Rustic Silk is also finished. The pattern is Koru by Aroha Knits. I got some good wear out of it during the trip to Seattle. The fit is good and the armscye works ok with some of my short-sleeved tees.

I also finished the Tarantula that I was making for my grand nephew. Did you know that Tarantulas have 8 eyes? Two larger eyes and 6 tiny ones. I tried to make this tarantula as realistic as possible. The grands are keeping the class tarantula for the summer, so they are a little tarantula-obsessed!

Finally, I finished the miniature punch needle rug. The kit by J. Conner Designs was a gift from Tori (wideanglemind). It was so fun and fast to do and turned out so cute. I will definitely try more of this mini-punch work. The fabric is thin and flexible compared to the regular punch needle. It is more like embroidery and is often called punch needle embroidery.

Questions from Listeners

PegofmyHeart (Peggy) asked about keeping her handspun yarn consistent.

"When I returned to spinning I must have changed my gauge. Now I have a sleeve that needs to be ripped out. New fiber spun, hopefully at a better gauge, and knitted again. HELP!"

Suggestions: Take a piece of freshly spun singles off the bobbin and let it ply back on itself to be stabilized. I hang this on my wheel so I can keep checking my spinning against this yarn. Unply it so you can see the single if you need to. You can also make a “Spinners Control Card” where you wrap both freshly spun singles and the plied-back-on-itself yarn around a stiff card and keep that with your spinning. This will help with consistency in spinning. Don’t wrap it too tightly or it will seem thinner than it really is.

Other tricks are:

Spin all the singles before plying and put them all on storage bobbins and ply them first bobbin to last bobbin, second bobbin to penultimate bobbin, etc. This presumes that the most widely differing bobbins are first and last and plying them together will average out the inconsistencies.

Spin all the yarn before starting the project and calculate the yards per pound or yards per gram. This will help you see inconsistencies in the skeins and allow you to use the most similar skeins where gauge is important. Any that are significantly different can be used where it matters less or maybe they won't be needed at all.

Cindy (CindyQ) and Valerie29 (Valerie) asked about stash busting, and stash organizing.

Marsha suggests: I organize my wool stash by weight and store them in labelled plastic bins I pick up at the Goodwill. I have a separate bins for cotton and handspun. Braids for spinning are stored in those plastic covers that bedding comes in. Yarn/fiber I buy at stores is listed in Ravelry. I tried posting yarn I pick up at thrift stores/destash rooms in Ravelry, but it honestly got to be too much.

As for using up the yarn, I made a scarf called Mini Mania using leftover sock yarn. I also made a Steven West afghan called Garter Squish that used up about 5,700 yards of worsted weight yarn. I made a shawl called Sunny Delight using yarn from the NoCKRs retreat destash room. Socks and hats are another great way to use up stash.

Here are some other patterns I have been looking at to use up leftovers.

Lily’s Scrap Blanket

Vintage Crocheted Throw & Afghan

Briochevron Blanket (not sure I can do that much brioche)

Stashbuster Blarf

Stashbuster Sweater

Kelly says: Right now I have yarn all over the place. Larger weaving cones are on a shelf in the garage and the smaller cotton, linen, etc. cones are in boxes in the garage since my only available looms are out there. Usually most of my knitting yarn is in baskets and bowls and sorted however I think looks nice. It varies. Sometimes by color, sometimes by type, sometimes by weight. Because of the electrical work mess, some of my yarn is also in boxes/bags in the living room (where big piles of stuff are being stored).

After using an already created warp from a destash, I’ve been thinking that winding warps and storing them as warps would be a great way to have weaving projects ready to go. When the inside studio is available again I’ve thought of a system for threading cones onto chains that drape across one of the walls. I like to see my yarn in different combinations to get inspiration. The downside of this system is that there could be sun damage to the yarn if I don’t use it regularly. I’m also not quite sure of the system for getting yarn down easily without having the whole string of cones come down on my head!

My stashbuster projects for using leftovers are bears for the Mother Bear Project, charity hats, and baby socks. I also find that having yarn out on display gives me other ideas for combining yarns that weren’t originally planned to go together. Another possible project for using up waste (thrums from weaving) and other leftovers are to make hot pads. One technique is to use multiple strands that are twisted and plied to create a square that is then sewn together and felted. Another technique is to wrap rope with yarn using a coil basketry technique to make a spiral the becomes a round hot pad. Both would be perfect projects for the (K)Not Along that is going until August 31).

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