Jobo Designs

Letting the crafty creative juices flow. Knitting, spinning, crafting, dyeing, rabbits, sheep and more!

25. April 2009 20:47
by Jobo
1 Comments

Natural Dyeing Series... Black Tea

25. April 2009 20:47 by Jobo | 1 Comments

and you say it's only available in Atlantic Canada?  Pity Ma'am...

The next colourful substance in my series on Natural Dying is Black Tea.

 

I had some older Red Rose teabags in the back of the Cupboard (since I prefer Earl Grey, the plain stuff seems to sit for quite a while) so I decided to grab some more wool, and give it a try.



For my dye bath I took a stainless steel pot (the same one I use to brew my tea for homemade Iced Tea actually... but thats another story)  and added 2 cups of boiling water to 5 regular sized tea bags.  Keeping the temperature hovering around boiling, I left the bags to steep for about an hour.  Resulting liquid - very dark brown tea.

For the wool - I used some polwarth top I had laying around... I had bought a pound of the stuff, and then played with a bunch of it and then forgot about it.  Well, time to enjoy it again!

I soaked the wool in lukewarm water for about 1 hour (while the tea steeped) and added in some lemon juice.  I don't know if tea needs acidity to dye or not, but I figured that since I had a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge, it really couldn't hurt anything could it?  For this experiment I did not mordant the wool... mostly since I did not have anything mordant-able in the house.

 

I laid out the wool in a single layer in a glass pyrex baking dish, after squeezing out most of the water first.  Then I carefully poured the now cooled extra strong tea over the wool.  My goal was a semi solid dye, so I added the dye in a blotchy pattern and then swirled the dish to distribute.  Then I covered the dish with plastic wrap and chucked the whole thing in the microwave and nuked on high for 2 minutes.  I followed the same method as my last dyeing attempt - cycles of 2 minutes cooking, 2 minutes resting, and of course waiting for a longer interval when it looked like the water around the wool was boiling.  I continued in this manner for several cycles, and unfortunately lost count after 5.  Basically I kept the wool hot enough to almost boil for around an hour.

Then I left the wool to soak in the dye overnight.  (it was bedtime, so I hit the pillow instead!)

The next day after work (soaking approximately 20 hours or so) I removed the wool from the dye solution and rinsed carefully in cool water in the sink.  After 3-4 rinses the wool no longer released dye when squeezed.  Of course all the rinsing and swishing were done carefully so as to avoid felting, though since this was all done at a cool temperature, I wasn't really all that worried :)

Next, the soggy wool was drained, squeezed out and rolled in an old towel to absorb as much liquid as possible.  I learned my lesson last time:  if you don't *really* try and get out as much liquid as you can... the Wool takes like THREE whole days to dry.  This means you won't be able to play with it for three days.  totally uncool!.  This time the wool dried on the mesh sweater dryer in a day.  Much much faster.  Point for me!  (wool 0 ; Jobo 1)

The colour?  kind of a brownish caramel gold.  My technique of pouring and swirling (very technical huh?) resulted in a varied semi-solid colouring, which looks like it will have a nice depth when spun up.  I am actually thinking of blending this with some other wool I dyed... which I'm sure will be another blogging project at some point.

The finished braid (set against a nice blue faux suede pillow off my couch!) is a warm comfy beige colour.  I think I would wear a sweater in that colour, since it would probably be complimentary next to my freckles!



Another view of the Braid showing some more dark/light sections of the wool

23. April 2009 18:11
by Jobo
2 Comments

Wedding Favours... aka Candies for You and Me ! (ok, and maybe more for Me :P)

23. April 2009 18:11 by Jobo | 2 Comments

We are on a serious wedding countdown people!  I get married in T-minus 58 days!  Time is flying by, and so are the tasks that need to be accomplished before the big day comes.  Last evening, I went out with the girls and we got our dresses shortenned and fitted.. so yet another chore off the list done. 

I also finally went out and got the candy to go inside the wedding favor boxes yesterday. Some months ago, I purchased a custom rubber stamp from a great little company I found on etsy - Sweet Papery

They were really easy to work with, even with a custom order where we basically took ideas from several existing stamps and modified the design to suit.  Process was fast, easy, and reasonably priced too.  I think I might have to order a few more stamps... maybe address ones, and maybe some gift ones.

For the Wedding Favors, I chose candy because of course, I am completely and hopelessly addicted to candy anyways.  Instead of sticking with one type for all of them, I decided that I would do half and half:  Jordan Almonds (in Mauve and White) and the other half Hershey's Kisses (white and dark chocolate)  The plan is also to "Surprise" some of the most special of guests with their favorite treats.  (i.e Licorice Allsorts in Grampa's Box)

I was lucky enough to find some box kits at Michael's on sale too.  The kits contain cream coloured boxes, Precut Black Ribbon, and some Printable stickers for monograms, but of course I didn't use those since I had my cool stamp just waiting to be inked.  So I used the stamp to print the logo in icicle white ink on Black Card Stock, and voila...



It was hard to decide how much candy to put inside... aka make the supply go as far as possible, but trying not to look like a candy cheapskate either! 



I'm pretty pleased with the end result :)  Now for the hard part.... NOT eating them for 58 more days whilst I wait patiently!

 

19. April 2009 19:51
by Jobo
4 Comments

Sock Fever - (Heidi's by Hand - from London Wul)

19. April 2009 19:51 by Jobo | 4 Comments

Yesterday, we went on a shopping trip to Moncton for the day... we being a knitting buddy and her two twenty-something daughters.  The mall was nice, and lunch was nice.  I even got a new pair of Blue jeans at the Gap!  but seriously folks, the whole reason I went was to hit the yarn store.  I may have mentionned before, but my hometown of Summerside PEI doesn't really have much in the way of Yarn.  We have Zellers and Walmart.  'nuff said.

I kind of laughed... London Wul Fibre Arts was only open until 5pm, and we had lost track of time a bit at the mall, so when someone said - oh its 4:20!  I was thinking crap crap crap!  30 minutes in a yarn store?  you gotta be kidding right?  Anyways we got on the road, and drove there as fast as was legal in the province of New Brunswick, and managed to arrive and explore a bunch before close.  It was really refreshing to go around the store and touch all the fancy yarns.  Funny, when I go to our yarn retailers I do not feel the need to go fondling skeins and holding them up to my face, but in a REAL yarn store I have to hold back.  Really hold back!

I ended up finding some really cool sock yarn - handdyed 75% wool 25% nylon - in some nice big skeins (100 g, 420 m, 459 yds) Each skein should be enough to make a pair of adult socks.  I'm not sure exactly why I am on such a crazy sock kick these days, but I suppose there are worse things to be obsessed with.  At least they are functional items.... I mean, you don't *need* 20 scarves or 20 pairs of mittens... but having 20 pairs of homemade socks means you will never have cold feet.

Here are some pics for your drooling pleasure:  I only wish the camera could capture the squooshiness and texture of the yarn.  When I was at my mom's today I had to fight the urge to wind these two into balls so I could cast something on... Mom is great to help me wind skeins.  Two people, 4 hands, MUCH less tangling.  The designer didn't name the colours, so I am taking some liberties and naming them myself!

Berries and Wine: 




Blueberries:

 




So now all I need is to find patterns for these!  any suggestions?  I'd be glad to hear what you think would look nice with these colours.  I am thinking the semi-solid nature of the dying would make some excellent lace socks?  or something fairly detailled - the yarn is subtle so would show patterning well I think.  If you have ideas:  please leave me some comments :)

Once I brought these home... I realized that I am actually building quite a sock stash!  More yarn/eye candy:


Clockwise from the top:  1. Berries and Wine (Heidi's by Hand - Specialty hand dyed sock yarn)  2. Blueberries (Heidi's by Hand - Specialty hand dyed sock yarn)  3. Handspun by Me!  (Squoosh - "Sun Ray" Superwash Roving, spun 3 ply)  4.  Handspun by Me!  (Squoosh - "Navy" semisolid BFL roving)  5. Santa Fe (Yukon Hand Dyed Sock Yarn- Pagewood Farms, Merino/Nylon/Bamboo)

Now I need to go finish my current pair before my head explodes and I feel the uncontrollable urge to go and buy another set of DPNs... I know I have about 4 sets of size 1's, but whats another pair really?

Don't fight your urge... Go Cast on a Pair!

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