Friday, February 11, 2011

Wakey wakey, have some tea!

So the coffee dyeing went fairly well. Definitively a way to destroy coffee. I also found my two value packs of british black tea I had bought just for dyeing a while ago. I am also no big fan of black tea, because it makes me feel quite weird. But the smell is very pleasant - I was just concerned that the vapours of so much tea would cause some insomnia but it seemed to have no effect whatsoever.

I found a recipe which said something like 8 tea bags for 5l, which would dye 100 g of yarn and I was surprised, checked my tea pack and realized I could have dyed 1kg of yarn with those 80 tea bags which were in it. I re-checked the reicpe and it said it would become some kind of beige, so I decided to make some experiments on my own.
First I used 10 bags, and that gave some quite dark beige, bright brown. Then I used the same dyebath again, put in new fiber and another 20 bags and reached a nice caramel brown. In the end, it put in the rest of the 50 bags and put in more silk and wool/silk blend and got some dark copper.

I like the colors, and it is really easy peasy with the tea bags, no filtering neccessary and no dirty fibers (as long as no tea bags burst open). And very nice colors for a low price.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Wake up and smell the coffe!

As I already reported, we will move soon to another apartment. I took this as a reason to go through my things and sort out what I don't need anymore, because I don't want to drag along all those things I never use from one place to the other.
I came across an old packet of coffee. I must say, I don't drink coffe because I just don't like it. I'm more the tea and hot chocolate type, and the only way I ever consume coffee is in coffee flavoured chocolate. This beforementioned packet of coffee is a leftover from my mum and I kept it because I planned to do some dyeing with it. Well, I never came around to do it, and now I thought why should I move coffee and undyed roving, when I also can just move dyed roving? And also, the process was not very difficult, as it seems as no mordant was needed. The only bad side effect was that the appartment was filled with smells of coffee and vinegar, and thats something neither me nor my boyfriend like much. Anyways, here is the result:

I used merino roving, which I put in at two different times and some tussah silk. I really like the colors, soft brown and beige, and the silk really looks amazing. I am just afraid that I can't spin it before we move, because there are two or three more yarns to finish before and I have so much other stuff to do. There are also two packs of black tea which emerged from the depths of the junk room...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Patchwork Venture

I think I have mentioned my patchwork affinity some time, and in the last weeks it set out in action. After collecting many pretty fabric pieces I planned to sew a cozy for my android phone after this tutorial.

Well, I never finished it. But I got inspired by the stripes and since it was getting cold outside and I dragged out my rapeseed heating pillow I got from my dear sister in law for christmas the year before, I thought this might be a nice first project to practice my sewing skills. And I did not just do one, but already a bunch because it was so much fun to do it (and I had to get rid of 5 kilos of seeds). Here are a few:

I really like my heating pillow and the rapeseed is just perfect because it is small and stays hot for a long time, it was still functional after using it for one year and the ingenious design of separated chambers keeps the seed in place. They are easy and quick to be heated up in the microwave or also cooled down in the freezer. Combined with the pretty cotton fabric they are just adorable. And I sewed them with two layers of fabric to keep it stable and also to give it a bit more of thermal isolation. I decided to have one side built up by fabric strips, and a solid piece on the back. Some pillows are gifts for friends, and one I made with my favorite fabrics for myself, voila:

But there are five more I consider to put into the shop and give it a try. And there are so many more small projects I can think of I would really much like to do and which could go well in the stripe scheme, next might be a knitting needle roll, because I need one for myself anyways. So stay tuned if you are in for a little bit of "off-topic".

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Making Glass Beads

Last weekend was quite short because I took a one-day-course in making lampwork beads. Since there was no offered course in the close area, I had to go to Bern which thus meant getting up at quarter to 6. On a saturday. yay. We started out making simple round beads, then advanced to some different shapes like cubes, cylinder and flat beads.

After that went pretty well, we learned how to mix different colors and add little knobs and dots etc. There is really a lot you can do! Unfortunately some of my nicest beads broke at the end after taking them off the sticks or while cleaning. Obviously I should have let them cool off more smoothly. Anyways, here they are:

They don't look very exciting, but after some practice I think I could make some which are prettier. Also, I don't have the experience yet which colors go well with each other. Our teacher also had some mouth-watering examples from earlier classes and I am considering to continue and take an advanced course some time.

Moving Sale!

It really took a while to find a new appartment, but we finally suceeded! I am excited and can't wait to move. It also means:
- I am going to try growing some dyeplants because we will have a tiny bit of garden and a much sunnier appartment! I already bought some indigo seeds (japanese indigo and woad to be precise, as I heard that other species of real indigo are hard to grow in our region and I could still try them next year) , hollyhock, safflower and asperula tinctoria, and I will see what else I can scrape up.
- I am thinking about getting a real loom with 4 shafts, but that will depend on the space which will be still free after we settled in and if I feel much like weaving. Recently I did some backstrap/loom-less weaving which was not too bad, and I still have my Kromski Harp dormant in my bookshelf, but still, a real loom would be something nice...
- I am dreaming about having a nicely organized spot for all my fibers, yarns, fabrics and supplies, because at the moment they are just in ugly cardboard boxes, and also a dedicated place for sewing would be so cool...
- I will try to keep my yarns for sale easily acessible, so I don't expect any delays in shipping time.
- I will be grateful if we have less stuff to drag around, so I decided to make a little moving sale. I reduced the prices of the following ten yarns, so this is your opportunity if you like them:



Black Glass

Blue Fire

Rustic Green



South Africa

Finally, I will have to think about shipping costs. Because going to France will not be so easy anymore (unless I find another French village nearby) and the Swiss Post is just unbelievable expensive. But maybe Tini is willing to host my yarns and ship them from Germany, which apparently has become even cheaper. We will see what we figure out.