Undyed Stuff

My work tends to get the most attention when it’s bright and loud and saturated with color. I know in most cases, that’s what the Tiny Dino Studios brand is known for. I also happen to really love working with natural fibers and fibers from different breeds. Knowing there different fleece characteristics across different breeds and then actually exploring some of those differences for myself are two very different things.

I have my comfort zone wools for spinning, Falkland in any form, and Merino I like, but as long as it’s not top (because I am picky.) Alpaca is fun and different. And just generic American Wool is fun and durable and soft. This is what I spin most often because it’s what the people around me produce or sell, so it’s easy to come by. But I have been trying to branch out a bit.

I’ve been working through some Cormo, which is lovely to spin. It’s soft, but not so soft it doesn’t have any durability. It’s my favorite parts of Corriedale with the best parts of Merino thrown in. Then, I received my Tunis roving back from the mill. Tunis is a little coarser, and you can feel the difference between a mediumwool sheep and a finewool sheep when you hold a skein of Cormo in one hand and a skein of Tunis in the other. And yet, they are both soft. Perhaps it’s just the way I spun it (worsted, chain-plied, heavy fingering weight) but I can hold it up to my neck and it doesn’t prickle. And though it has less crimp than the Cormo, the Tunis feels distinctly springy–like it’s got the energy to paint the town red while the Cormo wants to eat bon-bons while reclining on a silk settee.

The color is vastly different as well. Tunis is known as a red sheep, and while the wool is not actually red, it has a peachy, kind of antiqued white color to it.

Tunis_Handspun_Yarn
It’s hard to see on it’s own. In this photo (which is too bright, I will give you) the skein just kind of looks to me like a skein of springy undyed wool.

But when you sit it next to the Cormo, you can really see the difference.
Tunis_next_to_cormo
The Tunis is on the left. The Cormo is on the right. Please study carefully, there will be an exam.

Then, I received this in the mail yesterday:
Rambouillet_Lock

That is a lock of Rambouillet. I purchased a 10 oz bag on Etsy last week and it is gorgeous. As you can tell from the veg matter in the photo, this lock is unwashed–unwashed! Look how gorgeously white and crimpy that is! I am very excited. This is possibly the softest lock I have held in my hand ever. And the locks were so beautiful, I couldn’t quite bring myself to break them up by throwing them in a big tub to soak.

washingwool
To keep the lock integrity as much as possible, I am using the Yarn Harlot’s method for stove top wool washing.

Updates when it’s clean!

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Dye Day Party

Over the weekend, the spinning group I go to held a dye day. It was fabulous. We all got together and dyed yarn and roving and silk. There was color every where, and most of us somehow came away with green hands, even though we were wearing gloves.

I even hand painted some yarn, which is not something I do very often, but I like the results.

All are one of a kind skeins hand painted on to my Pteranodon base. (100% Merino worsted)

I also brought with me a single skein of lace weight yarn with the intention of experimenting with food safe dyes. Experiment I did.

I achieved this “tie dye” look with food coloring. And on Friday, I will tell you how I did it. (I am taking pictures for a tutorial today). For now, I would just like to admire the effect. . . .

. . .

. . .

It reminds me of a book we used to read all the time when I was a kid. Oh Were They Ever Happy! by Peter Spier. You can see what I mean.

I should get that book for Athrun.

As always, these beauties are all available in the Tiny Dino Studios etsy shop.

Also, it’s not too late to sign up for either of the knitting classes! They begin this week.

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Linen Stitch Scarf, Day 2

The Scarf, Day 2

I put another 7 or 8 rows on the scarf yesterday. It is now a whole 2 1/8 inches wide. I feel very proud.

Part of what kept me from knitting too much on this scarf yesterday was the giant shipment of yarn I received yesterday morning. It included this:

Some bulky weight merino yarn. For some reason, since the fall I have been itching to knit with some good bulky yarn. (That might explain the closet full of commercially dyed bulky weight yarn. . . ) Even though I own plenty of large, cushy yarns in a few different colors, I was still hankering for colorful hand dyed stuff. So, of course, when it came in yesterday, I immediately skeined up a whole cone of it and test dyed a couple skeins in a lovely faded red type color. (Alas, it is winter, and it is still drying.) Today, I have turned my kitchen into a dye factory and am doing up the rest of the cone in rainbow colors. I have red and orange going right now. Look for it in the shop in a few days!

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January Spinning Complements

January’s spinning complements are here. And they are spectacular if I do say so myself.


Diagon Alley


The Boy Who Lived

Not only are the (1) Harry Potter themed, but they are (2) superfine Merino and (3) fun whimsical colors.

Together they make up just about 8 ounces of luxury spinning fiber, great for any mid sized project. You can find them both in the Tiny Dino Studios etsy shop, along with a couple of other Harry Potter inspired tops.

Happy spinning!

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Handmade Cyber Monday Haul

Last Monday morning, I sat down to work on my blog post for the day and edit some pictures for the etsy shop, but when I pulled up my etsy account, I got a little side tracked by the wonderful sales my online fibery friends had going.

Fiber Blending

First, I am in the process of putting together materials to work on my very own homemade hackle.. I have the fiber blending bug. Plus, there is just something so charming and nice about spinning with hand pulled roving. Since a drum carder is out of the question at the moment (where would I put it?), a hackle and hand cards are what I have to work with. Now, I normally prefer to dye my own stuff, but I came across this little bundle of mohair locks

and couldn’t quite resist. This mohair comes from MacGregor Hollow Farm. I plan on returning to perhaps purchase some undyed locks in the future.

A little more definition in this photo. I love how brilliant the color is, and I have some purple firestar that would complement it very nicely.

Sheep Shopping

Next, I have been thinking about what kind of sheep I would like to raise on the Future Fantasy Farm. I have been reading a little about Romeldales and California Variegated Mutant. I like that they are a rare breed. They are supposed to have really nice fleeces, and the CVMs have those adorable little badger faces. To find out for myself, I went looking for a little bit of fleece to test out. (Still thinking about purchasing a whole fleece in the spring) I found someone, namely Stella’s Fiber Farm on etsy who was selling only an ounce of CVM fleece.

It arrived on Saturday. I washed it immediately, and this is what it looks like now

A great big pile of fluff.

The fiber is finer than I expected it to be. For some reason, even though I had read in both The Knitter’s Book of Wool and The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook that CVM was a fine fiber, I still expected it to be closer to a medium wool. I was dead wrong. This fiber is fine fine fine. When I was at shepherding camp, I picked a merino fleece (as in prepping the fiber) and I swear this is finer. Of course, I know nothing about the sheep this fiber came from. The staple isn’t very long, and it doesn’t seem to me, to be in the greatest condition, but I am going to card it and play with today anyway.

Speaking of shepherding camp, when I was at Juniper Moon Farm last month, this one gigantic braid of roving kept catching my eye. It’s dyed in bright amazon rain forest Macaw type colors and did I mention it’s gigantic?

It’s so big I had to wrap it around itself to get a good picture–mostly of the colors–I admit. As soon as I read about the Juniper Moon Cyber Monday sale, I went over and snapped this baby up. It is nearly 8 oz of the strongest, crunchiest medium grade wool I have handled in a while. I keep thinking of navajo-plying it and knitting a big cabled gansey to wear outside in the cold to help out on the farm. Now, I know it’s not enough to make a gansey for me, but if it could only be part of a gansey, the technicolor parrot dye job would still just make my day every day.

Supporting Local Shops

I made my way back to etsy with the notion of supporting one my local sellers. I headed over to Lori Warren’s shop Blushing Ewe and purchased a gorgeous Merino/Silk batt.


(This is one of Lori’s photos from the listing, used completely without permission, because I have already pulled this batt into roving and half spun it up. Pictures of the yarn to come. Plus, this photo is much better quality than any of mine today.)

Lori does a beautiful job of combining texture and color in her spinning fibers. She is also very helpful when a newbie spinner like me starts asking questions about technique and blending. (She even let me come pick this up form her house instead of shipping it–since we live about three miles apart–and I got to see her Cricket loom. Now I must have one myself.) Plus, I unfurled the batt after it sat on my desk for a couple days thinking I just wanted to admire the layers of merino, silk, and firestar. Before I knew it, I had pulled it out into a great big ball of roving and was spinning it up.

I love the contrasting textures available in hand blended fibers over tops where everything is combed together. For instance, I bought this gorgeous merino/silk top which I dyed up and put in the shop. I am in the midst of spinning up a little bit to bolster the handspun section over at Tiny Dino Studios, and it’s just kind of, eh. I mean, it’s gorgeous fiber. It’s soft and fluffy and has an amazing hand, and I know there are some folks out there who just swoon over the ability to spin those two fibers together in a well-combed top. I am not one of them. I am much more excited about the crunchy medium wool stuff. Give me texture over softeness any day–and I realize this is not necessarily a very popular position, so somebody please take this merino and silk top off my hands!

Merry Christmas

Finally, my self-indulgent splurge was another skein of sock yarn for myself. A Christmas present of sorts.

I am calling it my sparkle yarn. Hot pink and black, self striping sock yarn with little flecks of sparkle here and there. It’s like Laurel from Spinning Fates was reading my mind when she dyed this yarn. I applaud her clairvoyance. And I can’t wait for January and the chance to cast-on.

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December Spinning Complements

When I launched the idea of Spinning Complements last week, I didn’t expect them to sell on the same day. However, since they did I thought I would make an extra special December edition.

Up in the etsy shop right now.

This month I am featuring a blend of 70% Merino and 30% Tussah silk. It’s gorgeous, fluffy, and oh so soft. Done up in teal, ice blue, and grey I give you both night and day of an outdoor ice skating rink.

3.5 oz individually or 7 oz of spinning fun together.

Happy December!

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Teasing: What I did in July

So, I posted my spinning from the first day of the Tour de Fleece, and since then there has been blog silence. I realize it’s been a month, but I have been working hard. What follows is just a peak of what I’ve been up to.

Here is the rest of my TdF spinning:

Hummingbird Handspun from Cosymakes Farm Wool Club
Humming Bird Corriedale from Cosy Makes

Brown Shetland Handspun
Natural Brown Shetland

Brown Shetland and Fawn Alpaca Handspun

A Little Bit of Brown Shetland plied with a sample of Fawn Alpaca

009

My First 3-Ply! BFL in Stina from Blue Dog Fibers

021
Some Targhee/Mohair from Cosy Makes again. Not a great picture, but really great yarn, and fun to spin. I. Love. Mohair.

I dyed some Merino/Cashmere/Nylon, which is so soft I want to sit and snuggle with it more than anything else. I have been working on some autumn colors and am completely in love with this amber/gold.

023

Despite the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing in Kansas, I am still managing to get some work done.
Knitting has been flying off my needles in the form of test knits for the shop. Expect photos of those to come!

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Preoccupied

Since I opened my etsy shop last week, I have been distracted. I have been attempting to distract myself from the fact that I have not yet made any sales, which I kind of expected at this point, though that doesn’t make me feel any less disappointed. You see, I had dreams of selling my whole inventory in the first twenty minutes because I am such a yarn-dyeing genius. Of course, I was prepared for other possibilities . . . like having tons of people love Dino Carnage

But nobody buying it requesting a sweater’s worth of it (That might have been a hint. It’s mostly brown, I promise).

I have also been trying to distract myself from my day job–which is becoming less and less ideal every morning when my alarm goes off hours before sunrise. Sunday morning, I woke up at 4, checked the clock, and the familiar thought of “OK, I have a little while to sleep yet” lingered as I closed my eyes again. Then I remembered that it was Sunday, and that Athrun willing, I could sleep to the late, late hour of 6:45. I actually squealed a little bit in excitement and promptly fell back into a blissful slumber.

One of the ways I have been distracting myself from the day job (besides the shop) is to start slowly easing myself into freelancing (writing). It terrifies me. As my lovely sister, Audrey said a couple of weeks ago, “Whoever thought it was a good idea to have to make authors pro-active? We’re hermits.” (It might not be a direct quotation, but you get the idea. My problem is that I have hardly been taking the time to write anything at all. It’s a lot of pressure to sit down to write something that you are going to sell. So, I have signed up for something I only feel so-so about. The plus side is that it has already given me the incentive to write a little blurb about Little Women, which I just re-finished for the first time since I was 10. The down side is that there is a lot of SEO stuff involved. Though, if I ever want to show up on google, I suppose it is not bad to know. It doesn’t keep me from feeling just a tiny bit hack-ish. Basically, I write and get fractions of pennies every time somebody stops by and takes a look at my articles. So if you go take a look at my writing, you are helping me make money. I have made $.05 so far, so you know, things are going well. You can find my author page here. It’s an experiment. We’ll see how long it lasts.

In fibery news, I have something special in line for the store. I am working on getting some proper graphics made by an actual designer. When that’s done, I am planning a grand opening sale. The terms are yet to be determined, but I don’t sell anything after that, you are going to be seeing a lot of yarn pimping. At least you have been warned.

This yarn is my new favorite.

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Tiny Dino Studios is *this* Close to Becoming Reality

The likelihood that I am going to be opening up shop earlier than expected is looking good guys. I have been working hard on getting a lot of little nit-picky things done, like fine tuning the official IRS-interested businessy side of things, which was really not as traumatic as I thought it was going to be…but I have also been dyeing, drying, skeining, photographing, and reskeining up a storm. In fact, at this very moment I have two pots going, one with this beautiful orange which reminds me very much of Brock’s Vodka Cream Sauce. The other is a vibrant chartreusey green, which was not only exactly what I wanted to acheive, but also gives me a little thrill to look at.

However, here’s what I have dry and ready to show off so far:

A slightly variegated lavender merino/bamboo blend

The same colorway in a merino/nylon blend, with slightly less sheen.

Some very lovely 4-ply Blue Faced Leicester in Midnight Blue (Athrun’s choice of dye bath, for the record.)

And the same color on some squishy, 100% merino

And just for posterity, the hand spun I finished around Christmas time, but just now got around to photographing.

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