Friday, May 18, 2007

DIY hackle

So, I needed a hackle, and they're really expensive. I ordered the "spinner's choice" hackle from pacific wool and fiber, and what it is is just a pine board with THICK, rough nails stuck through every 5/8". I sent it back, and figured, hey, a board with nails I can do!! I got a 1x2 piece of red oak, 48" long, and cut it in half, so I had two 24" pieces. I left 2" of space to either side to attach the clamps, without nails. On the remaining 20", I first marked lines running the length of the board, 3/4" from each edge. That left 1/2" in the center of the board. Along one line, I marked every 1/2", and on the other line, I staggered it 1/4" off, so I had offset lines, and marked every 1/2". I drilled pilot holes, put 3 1/2" THIN nails through, and tapped them all the way in. Then I took the other piece of board and Gorilla Glued it to the bottom of the piece with nails, so the nail heads were enclosed, and gorilla glued. The finished piece

I stained it with an alkanet stain

A drill press would have let me set the nails perfectly straight, but this one works perfectly well. I made a diz with a piece of 1/2" PVC, cut to a 1 1/2" length and then split down the center of the tube, so I had two half pipes. I drilled a 1/4" hole in one, which is a bit too big, and then a smaller hole in the other. I sanded everything all up, and it works as well as the pricier hackle that I had for my combs.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A bed of roses

I have been doing a lot of natural dyeing, but haven't seen roses mentioned anywhere as a source of a GOOD dye. A few places mention them as not being lightfast, and giving a range of pale pinks. I had 2 dozen roses starting to wilt, though, in a lovely deep red tone, so I decided to try, I figured, what can it hurt, right? Most flowers give the best colors if you steep them sun tea style, too much heat can destroy the pigment.
BRIEF TUTORIAL (not meant to be a natural dyeing tute, just how to get the rose color.)

I took my 2 dozen petals ,put them in a BIG jar, crushed them up with a fondue fork (hey, it reached to the bottom of the jar, ok!!) and covered them with water, put the lid on the jar and left it outside for 4 days, shaking it every day to prevent mold. The 5th day, I dyed some pre-mordanted fibers with the resulting liquid. I mordanted with tin for 1/2 hour, rinsed VERY well, put the fiber in lingerie bags , and put the fiber, the dyewater AND ROSES from the jar, and enough water to fill the crockpot into my crockpot and set it on low. (the lingerie bag was to keep the rose petal bits from getting meshed into the fiber). The silk cap was done in 3 minutes of dyeing. The dark linen was done in 1/2 hour, two days later (I poured the dyebath back into the jar and let it sit some more. The dye got darker, and is STILL not exhausted.) After the first one (the sock yarn, 15 minutes) turned out so well, I just kept putting stuff in . Here's what I got


Superwash merino

Silk cap

merino/seacell (started out life natural tan)

Merino/bamboo sock yarn

tussah silk (started out life natural tan)

I tried some soysilk, and it literally did not take up ANY DYE AT ALL. I left it in overnight, even, and nothing happened.

I called the florist and asked if they added any preservatives or dyes to their roses, since I figured that they MUST have added dyes, since this is well over a pound of fiber, and flowers usually need up to 400% by weight for deep tones. I had 3 oz (fresh) of roses. They assured me that indeed, they did not add anything to their roses. I doubt that claim, but I'll let it go, I just won't count on being able to duplicate it.