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10 July 2007 @ 06:39 am
"If you're in a hurry, you're in the wrong room"  
More fun was had by all during day three of Judith's workshop. We started the morning by unwrapping all of the handpainting experiments from the day before. It was like Christmas :) Everyone had produced gorgeous rovings. It was very interesting to see how some of the colors had combined with the painting. M****'s roving looked like irises. We also had a bit of discussion over the last 2 days regarding how such unique rovings will turn our when spun - the one's with larger blocks of color will obviously have longer color repeats, but also the colors will be much more intense. The rovings with smaller and a larger variety of colors will be more subtle and muted. Judith says most people buy roving that looks like what they want the final product to be. I think the translation betwwen painted roving and yarn is a skill that more people need to develop.

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I'm pleased with the way this blue / cyan / purple 50/50 merino / silk experiment came out. It's not even green ;) I think that adding more of the purple in between some sections of the blue and cyan would help everything pop a bit more. The roving itself turned out nicely, without any felting.

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A***** and I were both trying for the wonderful almost-metallic copper we had seen from the hankies Judith dyed on Friday. This seems to involve some combination of yellow, magenta, brown and cyan. Neither of us got exactly what we were looking for, tho we both did get small spots of copper and bronze. This is my 100% silk roving.

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I'm excited about my dyeing now, with some good tips and ideas from this workshop. One thing I think is going to help is using the brushes rather than those foam things.

"How long do you steam it?"
"Until it's done"

Which is exactly the right answer, even if it can be a confusing one. Judith showed us how to test for doneness. At the same time she urged us not to rinse our fiber, as this is the leading cause of felting. It's much better to wash the finished yarn. (I wanted to chat a bit about wet finishing at this point, but didn't get my question in before the topic had moved on. We were a quick group). She pointed out that a little extra dye never really hurt anyone. Soooo, there's a habit I need to have a stern lecture with myself about. I confess, I'm a rinser. Not very much, but especially when painting I find myself wanting to get out that extra bit. It's difficult to gauge the proper concentration when you're stroking random amounts of dye on a roving.

At one point the question of the moment was "Alison, what's in the brownies?"

Judith gave us some great info on making felted silk scarves and fabric. This is much more appealing to me than silk fusion. Especially the functional aspect. Silk fusion is pretty to look at, but you cannot really wear it. The fabric she showed us was gorgeous (even if it was pastel purple ;) ). Thr process seems pretty straightforward. These look like fun projects, even if the actual rolling takes a good hour or so. I look at it this way - it takes me that long to warp the loom as a slowpoke baby weaver. A little extra exercise will do me good. I just have to remember to eat my Wheaties beforehand.

We got a really informative chat about and demo of making boucle.

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The dreaded boucle has been a nemesis of mine. The way Judith explained holding one finger in between the plies was really a lightbulb moment. That just makes sense to me, and I can see where I was making it hard on myself the way I was trying to do it before.

She gave us a very handy trick for estimating needle size:
- fold yarn in half.
- put in the hole of your stitch gauge.
- see where it fills the hole without being crammed in there.
- that's the right needle size to start sampling at.
- go up or down in size from there to get the fabric texture you want.

I don't need to do this so much, as I was taught as a little girl in my Moms yarn shop that I should understand the yarn/needle size relationship from just looking at & feeling the yarn. It should not be strictly based on what some person or pattern says. Not all worsted weight yarns are created equal. It's a good skill to have. I tend to yank out a handful of circulars from the bag and just pick the appropriate one by sight, without looking at the size. This is a great tip to pass on to some of the newer knitters who haven't developed the eye yet.

Other yarney tips:
- knowing not only the diameter but also the ypp of a yarn you are trying to substitute is crucial to get a good equivalency if one wants something that knits up the same. Diameter alone will not do it. This is another thing I know, but it's sort of subconcious. Good to hear it out loud occasionally.
-cabled silk makes great socks. If I only enjoyed knitting socks. I may have to find someone trade with for sock knitting.
- 2-ply yarn is not a shorcut to a faster garment. Judith pointed out that spinning the 3 ply yarn may seem to be more overall work, that's not the case. It's really just more work upfront, with less knitting in the construction stage. It all balances out between the spinning and knitting.

Quote for the day ""If you're in a hurry, you're in the wrong room"

I'm sure I'll have more thoughts and comments about the workshop. We all had very full brains after 3 days with Judith.

-the redhead-

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