Yarn Teaser

Here’s what’s on my Minispinner bobbin.  This is sort of a hodgepodge of fibers, stuff I had around the house; what you see in the picture is mostly sable angora.

I’m taking a spin break for a few days.  My eyes have been bothering me, and I can’t tell if it’s the angora fibers, the new skincare, or the dry air in the house.  Neither Chris nor Alex is suffering, but my desk is right above an air vent.  I used the last of my old Glytone (= non-irritating) skincare last night and this morning, but my eyes are still burning, so I’m guessing that’s not it.  I’ll try to eliminate the angora by avoiding spinning until Monday.  We’ll see what happens.  Luckily I have eyedrops around from all my prior attempts at contact-lens-wearing.


The Minispinner is cherry, as is the bobbin.  I splurged on a bloodwood bobbin for my plying bobbin.
The Minispinner is cherry, as is the bobbin. I splurged on a bloodwood bobbin for my plying bobbin.

The World is Still Not Logical!

Remember my post about the padded envelope?  Got one to top it.

Nordstrom’s offers three free samples of beauty products when you order any beauty product online.  Since my local Nordstrom doesn’t carry my new skincare (the Somme Institute line), I ordered the starter kit online, choosing my three free samples at checkout.  The starter kit was $28 and I got free shipping.

Yesterday I got the starter kit in my UPS delivery.  No big deal.

Today I got the three free samples!  In their own shipment.  Three tiny sachets of beauty products, in a box bigger than a shoe box.  Sent via UPS.  I have to wonder what these Nordstrom people are thinking.

Schacht Sidekick Spinning Wheel

Bought one, never use it.  Want it?  I also bought the bulky flyer kit because I wanted to use this as my plying wheel.  Currently a new one is about $1050; I’ll sell mine (which only has about 5 hours’ use) for $950 and deliver it within 50 miles of Seattle.  If you’re outside that range by a significant amount, we can talk about shipping, but it might be fairly high.

The original maiden, flyer and bobbins, with the manual.
With the bulky flyer kit mounted

That yarn, caked

I should have put these pictures up before.  Here are those skeins wound into cakes.  The four on left were wound from the outside in (meaning that the dark outer part that you saw in the blue dye pan is now at the center of these cakes), and the one on the right was done the opposite way, so that you can see the dark progression of the outer part that was sitting in the dye bath.  You’ll note the pale parts are no longer “pink”; having taken up some brown or teal they’ve neutralized quite a bit, to a weak mocha color.

The second picture is a top-down view of the two rightmost cakes, so you can see into the center and get an idea of the color flow.

The five cakes are for sale as a lot on Etsy for $60 shipped.

All five skeins, caked with the center of the original ball on the outside, except the right one, which has the outside of the original ball on the outside.
Top-down view.

Dyeing Yarn in Balls

There was some talk about this on Ravelry in the “Love to Dye” group.  I’d bought this pink yarn (and you know how I feel about pink), a 100% cashmere from Filatura di Crosa called “Hyrcus,” on clearance, intending to overdye it, so this seemed like as good a test as any.  Unfortunately, as you’ll see in the final results, these commercial “ball-cakes” (or whatever you want to call them) don’t really result in a dye style all that much different from my usual.


The pan is filled with water and acid prior to putting the yarn in.


Here, the dye (Jacquard’s “Spruce”) is in the pan, and the dry balls of yarn are floating on top. I left them for two hours to absorb as much dye and water as possible.


The Spruce dye is exhausted and has soaked about halfway into the ball. Now it’s time to make a new color (Jac’s “Chestnut”), flip the balls, and soak them.


The Chestnut has been added to the pan. You can see the color difference between the yarn and the liquid.


I missed taking a photo of the final few steps.  When the Chestnut was exhausted, I used a squirt bottle to squirt Jacquard’s “Olive” into the center of each ball, and let it sit for an hour.  Then I nuked it according to my usual schedule.  When it was done, I washed in Synthrapol, rinsed clear, and re-skeined so that the air would circulate better and it would not rot.


Here we see the reskeined balls lying in a pile after completely drying. (The yellow you see is just the ties at the ends of the skein.) It gave a very broken effect; the sections of each color aren’t more than about 3″ long.


For comparison, here are some skeins I did with the same colors, with the more standard method of dyeing in the skein. I’d have to knit with them both to get a true comparison, but looking at them side by side the ball dye is a little more broken – but not much.


In the end, I’ve decided that dyeing in a commercial ball form is not worth it for “dye effects” (mostly because reskeining them when wet was a huge nuisance), but it might be good to overdye to a solid color, just to get it to something usable.  I’d never have knit with pink for my own purposes.