Alpaca Fiber Dye Day

Well I thought I might divide up the job into two days but I got an early start yesterday, at 8:00 a.m., therefore, I ended up pushing on through all 32 pounds of it in one day. I am sure sore today though, LOL!

Here are the final results taken at the end of the day. The light was fading a bit when I took them since it was around 6:00 p.m., so the colors are slightly off.

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This picture is everything except the last batch, the Deep Teal, because it was still in the pot at the time. I wanted to get a picture while there was still halfway decent light.

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The picture does not do these colors justice. The lime green and robin’s egg blue on the Suri/Silk is gorgeous in person. I am especially happy with these two.

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This is the olive drab Suri/Silk and the Suri/Tencel in emerald. It is darker and richer in person.

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These are the two Suri/Merino blends. Lovely!

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Suri/Bamboo blends here in light pink and saffron.

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These four colors (above and below) are all darker and richer and the shot at the bottom is closer to the true colors.

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See you in a couple days with a knitting update on the ladies Sorrel. I am almost halfway on the yoke so it should start moving faster when I start the decreasing.

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Fiber Dyeing Day 1

I picked up a large order of fiber to dye for New Era Fiber Mill on Tuesday. It amounts in all a little over 32# and I plan to get it finished by Saturday so that I can deliver it on Tuesday before I have to leave for Chicago.

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It is mostly Suri Alpaca to be blended with either silk, bamboo, tencel, or merino at 80/20 ratios with the larger numbers being the alpaca. There are two batches of Huacaya Alpaca and they are not to be blended. They are the two darkest bags you see.

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I usually start these custom orders by doing samples to make sure my dye mixture and saturation are right to match the desired colors. Here is the 10g jars soaking before I add the dye mixtures.

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I made the samples match the percentage that will be in the final blend so that I will know how the dye will take overall. The alpaca will absorb and bond differently than the other fibers they will have added to them. You will see what I mean in the picture further down of the samples after they come out.

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Here is a slightly blurry (sorry) shot of the jars with the dye added before they go into the pot for heat setting.

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I was pleased with the results and only need to tweak a couple a bit. These are the Huacaya, and that little brown bit in the front is the color before I dyed them. The red is more burgundy and the other a forest green. My camera didn’t capture them very well.

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The left sample below is Suri/Bamboo and is a perfect match to the card. The right sample is Suri/Merino and while it was intended to be a few shades darker I over compensated on this one so have adjusted some to lighten it.

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These three samples are all Suri/Silk and I am pleased with these as they are. The intended colors were olive drab, lime green, and Robin’s egg blue.

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The top left sample is Suri/Merino to be dyed eggplant. Once blended it will be closer to the card. Next to that is a Suri/Bamboo to be dyed a cinnamon color. On the bottom left is a Suri/Bamboo also to be dyed emerald, and I am adjusting the color deeper on that one. The dark teal and the saffron on the bottom right are both Suri/Tencel blends and came out perfect too. 

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So, the rest of today I will be mixing up the dyes and starting the silk soaking. Silk needs to soak at least 24 hours to open up the fiber and make it more receptive to the dye. I will begin the dyeing tomorrow and finish up on Saturday. Look for more pictures soon plus a knitting update.


I am plugging away at the ladies Sorrel design. I have completed the stitch pattern section in the yoke and am adding some more length before I do the first decrease round.


I am still not totally decided on how deep to go for the overall yoke since I feel like I want to make it more shallow than the original. I definitely won’t be adding the back button detail since that is not needed since it is not going over baby heads. :-)

I will probably knit this for about another inch or so and then work the decrease. I just don’t want to make the mistake of a narrowing the yoke to soon and making the underarm area pull under stress. I am loosely following EZ’s percentage system for proportions here but since my neck treatment will be different than a traditions sweater that is my concern for getting it right and not wasting valuable knitting time by having to rip back.

In other news, we celebrated another birthday here yesterday. It was Kyla’s 16th. She got her presents early. She wanted a copy of Go Set a Watchman which we pre-ordered and received on release day. She opted not to wait and read it that day. She liked it better than I did. I was meh on it, maybe 3 stars; She gave it 3 and a half. Her other presents were a soundtrack CD she requested and a new pair of headphones. Don’t happen to have pictures of the presents but I did take take some with the cake. She insisted on making it herself and it was yummy. :-)

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Officially Done!


Unfortunately I don’t have any babies in house to model this properly so this will have to do. I am quite pleased with how the yarn looks an feels and I predict it will be a hit at Stitches in a couple weeks. It is perfect for baby knits because it is soft organic cotton that is easy to care for. This little classic sweater is also great for everyday use, no need to save it for only special occasions which sometimes is what people do with hand knits for little ones.


Since only two skeins are needed, it is an economical project too. It might be possible to get the smallest size out of one skein since I only used 19-20g from the second skein, but I figure it’s always good to have plenty and you can definitely get a hat and maybe booties from the leftover yarn. :-)


So, with the baby sweater squared away it is time to get back to the ladies size Sorrel top. I am working a couple inches before I start the stitch pattern on the yoke so it doesn’t look much different yet. I am really hoping to finish this prototype and write up the pattern in sizes ranging from 23” to 50” in time for Stitches. We’ll see if that happens. I am done with most of my other preparations on my task list so it may be possible. I will keep you updated. :-)

Finishing Touches

It is down to the finishing touches on the Organic Cotton Sport Classic Baby Cardigan. I finished the knitting this morning and took this shot before I wove in the ends and put on the buttons.


I did those tasks while doing school with the children and the sweater is as we speak washing in a delicate cycle. I will show you the blocked results next time.

It is perfectly on gauge and measures exactly 21” at the chest. I used just under 120g of yarn which calculates to about 336 yards for this size. I padded the yardage requirements on my patterns by about 10% so it is using about the same yardage for the cotton as it did for the merino wool I designed it with. I wasn’t sure that would work out but I am happy that it did.

That’s it for today. Final pictures to come, probably tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday tasks


Sleeves are so quick on baby things aren’t they? See, I am on the second one and they only take a few hours of knitting each. I should be on to the collar and button bands by my next post.


I had a little bit of dyeing to do today. I found some skeins in inventory which weren’t quite up to specs so I decided to overdye them. I am much happier with them now so it was time well spent. 😊



Saturday Post


It has been a busy week but I did squeeze in some knitting time and am ready to bind off the body and start the sleeves on the Organic Cotton Sport Classic Baby Cardigan. I planned to write a post several times during the week and it just didn’t happen. I have been getting tons of new stock in the trailer and doing some general changes to how I pack and how I will set up the booth. I will be doing the shows solo for the first time and felt like some streamlining of the system might be in order.

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A part of the reason for the change is due to Meredith and Luke moving to Nome Alaska this week for at least two years. They both took some good job offers and are going to see how it goes. I miss them but am happy for them to have the opportunity and adventure. Why this affects my travel is that Meredith was the main one able to help out with some babysitting when it was needed at night. My oldest daughter still at home will be filling that role which means there is no one else to help me at shows. I know many vendors manage solo so I am not worried. There will be some inconveniences I am sure but it will work out.

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I took these pictures on Wednesday when they came for a last good bye. They spent nearly all day Thursday in traveling but I got a text around midnight my time that they arrived safe and were getting settled in.

I bet they are enjoying the temperatures in Nome today at least. It is 51 degrees there right now and in the upper 90’s here with humidity in the low 100’s. I wouldn’t particularly want to trade places in about 5-6 months from now though.