I had an absolute blast dying some Merino that I picked up earlier this year. I am trying to gear up for Spinzilla this October, in preparation I decided I wanted to spin my own Colorways. To spin my own colors then I need to generate them, starting with dying the fiber. To dye these fibers I soaked the batches of fiber in water for at least 5 minutes, usually longer. Once they were saturated I wrung them out. While they were soaking I mixed up some kool-aid in the color I was looking for. In the case of Yellow I added in some food coloring left over from Easter. I will admit that I added in a glug or two of white vinegar to each of the baths in an effort to maximize the dye absorption.
It was so much fun to set up a few batches on my bathroom sink then go to work or to bed and come back to find the fiber a beautiful color and the water clear or almost clear. Every single time it looked a bit like a miracle.
I had no problems with felting so I plan to spin up the multi-hued batt I created straight from the combed top. The rest of the hues will be blended with different fibers, some silk, some other materials, to create rolags or mini batts to be spun up for Spinzilla!
By my calculations I have about a month to get this fiber carded and prepped for spinning!
The Paint stripper works really well. I did find out that I need to use steel wool to scrape the paint off and it will probably take me a couple of coats to get the little remains off, but this is much better than taking months to get a few little sections done. The fun part of stripping the loom and getting everything reworked is that I am getting to know my loom much better. This is very good, I know where the beater brakes are now and how that works, but it also allowed me to discover a potential problem. As you can see in the photo above the wood by my pedals is starting to split, ack! I am hoping that something like gorilla glue will keep it together for a good long time. If I am able to get the glue in deep enough it should hold together. The last two pedals are not happy if they are asked to move independently from each other, this could cause problems in the future. Hopefully some rust remover will help them move independently. I am also concerned about the reed, but that is the easiest fix (though a little expensive). If the rust remover does not work for the reed then I can purchase another reed, in stainless steel this time.
I managed to get more scraped off with my hand drill, this amount of progress makes me think that my project will take the next couple of months to finish.
Keeping that in mind, I went to the hardware store to get another drill bit because the times were wearing off of the one I have already. The gentleman asked me why I wasn’t using a paint stripper, I did not have an answer for that! Now I am using a paint stripper on my piece, starting tomorrow. He also recommended a liquid rust remover that I am hoping will do some good. I am really excited about this and cannot wait to see what a difference the paint stripper will make!
This is where I admit that I have been Pre-Scheduling these posts so that I am able to have content each week! Lol. If I did not do that then I would have 20 posts in 2 weeks then it would be 3 months until I get back to it. That being said, by time you read these posts I hope to be done with my project, but stay tuned to see how my summer went!
I promised myself I would do a number of larger projects this year. Due to circumstances I think that my larger projects are going to be:
- Get the paint/rust off of my ‘new to me’ loom and heddle bars; repaint it and reassemble it for use (probably next year)
- Make sure that I have enough projects ready to go for a set of classes 1-2 a month (1/week if I can swing it) for the public library! Very exciting
As a refresher, this is what my Loom looks like.
It is a bit hard to tell from here but the bar on the bottom that the pedals are attached to is completely rust covered and there are rust spots all along the paint. Not pictured are the weights that came with this loom, since it was a Therapy Loom. The heddle bars, pictured left, are not supposed to be that color, they are completely rust covered.
I just started this last night and since then I have managed to get the heddle bars completely cleaned off and one side painted for 7 out of the 8 heddle bars. The 8th is being used to hold the good heddles, 734 total. Tomorrow, if it is not raining, I plan on painted the other side of my first 7 heddles.
I have also begun trying to get the paint and rust off of the weights that come with the loom. They are in pretty bad shape and I thought they would be a good place to make any mistakes. Using an attachment to a cordless drill I am able to get the paint off quite quickly. Within 30 minutes I had the paint off of one side for 2 of the pieces. The rust is in there a little more deeply than I would like and so after I get the paint off of all of them I will get to work on the rust. After they are cleaned off to the best that I am going to get them I plan on putting Rustoleum Primer and a topcoat of Yellow paint.
This is a huge project and I am a bit intimidated to get started with it, but I hope bit by bit this gets done this summer so I can have a fall and winter of picking out yarns to use on it next year!
I am having an absolute ton of fun with my facebook fiber find. Admittedly the quality is not quite what I expected, but the colors more than make up for it. I am finding quite a bit of the fiber to be rough and in some cases sticky. The locks pull apart and are a bit course to work with, but I am pressing on!
I turned the locks into a big pile of fluff that I then spun into 2 singles that I then plied! This resulted in a coarse 2 ply yarn, about 64 yards, that I hope to make into a hat at some point, or weave into something!
Once I had the fluff carded out it was a ton of fun to spin the fiber. Look how pretty it is after being washed!
I think that this would make a great hat, or something similar. I would want to be able to show the colors off, but it is not a good fit for a piece intended to be worn next to the skin.