sarahbird spins

(and does other stuff, too)

As the weather gets warmer… April 26, 2009

Filed under: dyeing,etsy,handspun,knitting,roving,spinning,yarn — sarahbird @ 9:35 pm

…I’m more in the mood to work with wool! How strange is that?

I’ve been doing a ton of dyeing lately. It’s finally warm enough that I can dye my wool outside, then bake it in the oven to set and hang it out on the back porch. I love dyeing when it’s nice enough out to do it outside – no worrying about dye spills!

Here are some recent dye jobs. I am totally obsessed with the yellow and gray! That’s my new favorite color combo.



I’ve also started knitting with some of my handspun. It’s kind of weird that I’ve never done this before, but ever since I started spinning I very rarely knit! I’m working on turning this yarn into a pair of handwarmers.


As far as yarn goes, I’ve been spinning tons of soft, bulky singles lately. These yarns are some of my favorites because the colors always come out gorgeous, the spin up super fast, and since I can price them lower, they tend to sell faster too.

DSCF4483 DSCF4659DSCF4574

I also spun up a really cool yarn the other day, called Fireworks. It’s super unique and I love it! I spun a single out of black superwash mill end merino wool while holding two of the metallic rainbow threads I bought a few weeks ago. The bright colors really stand out against the black, and one of the threads formed random loops that stick out of the yarn and really look like fireworks!



Back! February 16, 2009

Filed under: celebrations,dyeing,food,roving — sarahbird @ 5:40 pm
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It’s true, I’m back! I’ve actually been doing a lot lately, both fiber-related and otherwise, but I’ve been too busy to post about any of it! Don’t worry though, because I’m back now, and hopefully I’m here to stay!

I dyed some of the most gorgeous roving ever the other day. Here’s a picture I took of it, even though it looks much much better in real life. The colors are just so rich and deep – gold, royal purple, and navy. I’m planning to start spinning it up tonight – I can’t wait!


I also bought some roasting pans from Target to use for dyeing roving. They were $11 each, but in the long run they are going to be so much cheaper (and more eco-friendly!) than using disposable aluminum pans. Plus, for some reason I find them really cute!


This weekend I celebrated Valentine’s Day, which is one of my very favorite holidays. One of my pet peeves is when people claim that they don’t like Valentine’s Day because it’s a “Hallmark Holiday”. Sure, it commercialized and a little bit silly. But it’s fun, and a perfect day to celebrate love in all of its forms.

As a Valentine’s Day treat for my boyfriend, I whipped up a batch of these White Chocolate Oreo Balls, otherwise known as the easiest and most delicious dessert ever! Here’s the exterior view, which is not particularly impressive:


And the interior view. Mmmmm:


Here’s the super-simple recipe:

White Chocolate Oreo Balls

1 package of Oreo cookies, crushed
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
2 bags of white chocolate chips

1. Mix Oreos and cream cheese.
2. Form mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter, chill.
3. Melt white chocolate.
4. Roll Oreo/cream cheese balls in white chocolate.
5. Place finished balls on waxed paper, chill.
6. Eat! Yum.


New Roving, yum! September 25, 2008

Filed under: dyeing,roving,yarn — sarahbird @ 11:06 am

Tuesday was a dyeing day! It was much needed – I was down to my last 4 oz of dyed roving. I dyed another pound, half superwash merino mill ends and half just regular mill ends. I’m trying to get into a good fiber schedule, and I feel like Tuesday and Thursday will be good dyeing days because I can easily dye a pound or so in the morning before my 1:30 class.

Here are my two favorites, both in superwash merino –

Blue and brown, one of my favorite color combinations.


You might not be able to tell from this picture, but this one came out GORGEOUS when it was dry. It’s sort of a mix of reddish-pink, olive green, and steely blue. I LOVE it!


I’ve recently switched to using jacquard acid dyes, after using Wilton’s forever, and I think it’s forcing me to be a lot more creative with my color choices. I only have red, blue, yellow, brown, and black, so if I want purple, or orange, or turquoise, or whatever, I have to mix it myself. I almost never get the color I’m aiming for, which is perfect – unexpected colors are so much more fun!

It made me smile to see that on Tuesday morning someone was searching my blog for information on “dyeing roving in oven”. I think it’s cool that some stranger out there on the internet was reading my blog for information on dyeing roving at the exact same time that I was actually doing it! People find my blog by searching for the weirdest phrases sometimes – someone stumbled across my site while searching for “Marie Antionette’s lips” yesterday – I bet they were disappointed!

The other exciting news from this week is that my roommate adopted a cat! He’s super adorable, very friendly and loves attention – he’ll in front of you and meow until you let him sit on your lap and snuggle! His name is Edgar Allan Paw, which as far as I’m concerned is the best name for a cat ever.


What a cutie!


Coming out of a Rut June 8, 2008

Filed under: dyeing,handspun,roving,spinning,yarn — sarahbird @ 2:57 pm

I’ve really been stuck in a fiber rut the past few months. Being at school, with no spinning wheel and no place to dye fiber really cut off my creativity and lessened my desire to spin. But now that I’ve moved into my own house, where I have my spinning wheel and I can dye whenever I want, I feel so much more creative and productive. I currently have six (!) freshly-spun yarns hanging outside to dry. I feel like this summer is going to be very experimental and productive, fiber-wise, so with that in mind I’ve assembled a list of some of my fiber-y goals for summer.

*Try solar dyeing
*Spin candy-striped yarn (two different colored rovings drafted together to produce a striped single)
*Dye yarn after spinning.
*Knit with my handspun (I’ve actually never done this – weird, I know)
*Unravel thrifted sweaters, dye yarn.
*Use concentrated dye paste spread onto roving with a paintbrush to produce very dark colors.
*Dye with Kool-Aid
*Learn to dye a good brown color.
*Spin more yarns with bead.
*Spin bamboo.
*Start a yarn series – I’m thinking maybe zodiac.
*Dye roving in the oven.
*Splatter paint roving – just to see how it turns out.
*Spin corespun yarn.

Think I’ve got enough?

I got started on my list a few days ago by dyeing yarn in the oven, following this tutorial from Hello Yarn. I picked up all the supplies (except wool and dye) at the dollar store that morning for about $7, and in less than three hours I had dyed over a pound of wool in 5 different colorways! I don’t know how long it takes most people to dye roving, but that was super fast for me. I like this method of dyeing sooo much better than my old method, where I would wrap the roving in saran wrap and steam it on the stove. It’s quicker to apply the dye, you can just stick it in the oven and forget about it, and it doesn’t involve any waste – no using up (and throwing out!) half a roll of saran wrap every time I want to dye.

Here’s a few of the rovings I dyed, still in the pan right after they came out of the stove.




And all of the finished rovings (and a random skein of yarn) hanging out to dry in the hot June sunshine.


Hope you’re all enjoying the start of summer as much as I am!


A post with lots of pretty pictures January 8, 2008

Filed under: dyeing,handspun,inspiration,roving,spinning,yarn — sarahbird @ 2:10 pm

I have a few new things to show off today. First of all, my latest handspun. It’s a two-ply in shades of blue, and it’s 100% merino, which is soooo ridiculously soft. Seriously, I think I’m obsessed with the merino. I’m calling this one Glacier.



To dye the roving for this yarn, I mixed up a bunch of different tones of blue to get a really variegated spectrum of the one color. I really like how it came out, and I want to try it again with other colors.

When I was home over Christmas, I dyed some really nice superwash merino-viscose roving from Shpherder on eBay. Check her out, seriously – her roving is sooo nice, and it’s inexpensive. Plus, it’s all mill-end!


This one was inspired by the colors of the lights on our Christmas tree, but now it reminds me more of a parrot.


I was going for white with a little bit of pale pink and the tiniest tinge of yellow, like a cherry blossom. Didn’t turn out exactly how I pictured it but I still like it.


I looove this one. Hot pink, purple and orange.

Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday! I’ll be studying for my Eastern Religions test tomorrow and spinning up more merino!


New Roving! November 22, 2007

Filed under: dyeing,knitting,roving,spinning,yarn — sarahbird @ 12:17 am
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I came home from college today for Thanksgiving break, and to my excitement there was new roving waiting for me. It’s superwash(!) merino/viscose mill ends from shpherder and it’s GORGEOUS! It’s just about the silkiest, softest stuff I’ve ever felt in my life. I’m so glad I spent the extra 4 bucks and got the roving rather than the uncarded fiber, this stuff is going to be sooo much easier to spin. The only problem is, I realized today I have no idea what kind of dye viscose takes or even what it is! I posted in the craftster dyeing forum, so hopefully someone will be able to answer my question. I figure if worse comes to worse, the roving will just have bits of white in it where the viscose didn’t take the dye. I hope I can get it to work though, because I have looots of ideas for this roving. I want to spin some of it white and then ply it with metallic thread (silver or gold, what do you think?). I also want to try dyeing some of it in an ombre style, maybe a dark pink that gradually changes to light pink. I’m excited to get some dyeing done this Thanksgiving weekend!

In knitting news, I was looking at the patterns on Knitty today and I completely fell in love with this hat –
Foliage Hats!

Isn’t it gorgeous? I want like 10 of them. I wonder if I could make this pattern out of handspun…

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!


Fall is Here! October 17, 2007

Filed under: food,roving,spinning — sarahbird @ 12:47 am
Tags: , , ,

And in the spirit of fall, a few friends and I went apple-picking the other day. And then…we baked a pie! From scratch! I was super-proud of it, considering that an apple pie is by far the most complex thing I’ve ever attempted to cook. Luckily my friend Beth is a good baker, so with her guidance we were able to make a successful pie.

Before baking – can you see the little apple we stenciled on top?


Just out of the oven.


Ready to eat! Yummy.


While I was home for Fall Break, I dyed up the rest of my merino roving! I’m so excited to spin this stuff.

Green, pink, and purple – looks kind of like a flower garden, huh? I really love the purple dye, I need to use it more.


Shades of blue – you can’t tell, but it actually gets a lot darker than this picture shows. It has parts where it’s a really deep bluish-purple. I’m really excited to see how this spins up as a two-ply, I’d kind of like to do a series of 2-ply yarns with varying shades of one color.


I’ve been obsessed with this tutorial on making paper boxes for the past few days. It’s the coolest thing ever – it really works! Go check it out.