Absolute Jeanius


Shop Update! March 10, 2011

Filed under: absolute jeanius,dyeing,fiber,handdyed,indie — jeanius80 @ 2:17 pm
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I’ve been busy!

I really love all the colors that I’ve done recently, and I’ll be adding 4 new listings of fiber, hopefully by Tuesday! I’m waiting patiently for them to be fully dry, then I’ll get nice photos up and have them listed here on the Shop page. These are all punta* combed top, and definitely felt-able! Here is a quickie photo of the fibers, hanging to dry:

top-bottom: Citrine, Mojito, Ocean, Amethyst


I had fun trying different method on each piece, and it was interesting to see how they each turned out! Hope you enjoy spinning these as much as I did dyeing them!



*‘Punta’ is a name given to a blend of medium fine wools from South America, with counts in the 60’s, and similar to average merino.


Dyeing with Lichen

Filed under: dyeing — jeanius80 @ 1:39 pm

This Summer, the husband and dad decided to cut down a tree that had seen it’s last Spring.


The tree was a fantastic shade tree with three central trunks that gave the appearance of a nice seat. Unfortunatly, it didn’t return healthy this Spring, so it needed to go. The tree was very tall, probably 30 feet at least. I collect as much of the lichen as I could find as then cut it down and sawed the limbs up.


I weighed it prior to soaking it. I had collected just 20 grams.

I did some research online, and was dismayed to find very little information. I decided to do an ammonia and water soak. I poured 2 cups of ammonia and 1 cup of cool water into a bottle. I then added the lichen. After closing it up again, I gave it a good shake. I continued to give a shake everyday for a few weeks. TYhis served to airate the liquid, and make sure the lichen was well soaked.


I figured the dye was ready when I no longer noticed much change in the color of the liquid. I soaked 15 grams of sock yarn in water that had alum (a mordant) mixed in. I let it soak over night:


yarn, alum soak


The next step was th pour the dye into a non-reactive container ( I used a plastic bowl) and to strain out the lichen:


lichen, strained out from dye bath


I added the yarn and a generous ‘glug’ of vinegar to acidify the dye bath:


lichen dye bath


I let the skein soak for about an hour, and it had pretty much reached it’s final color, though I decided to make sure, by putting the dye bath and ayrn into the crock pot to add heat. I fiured it couldn’t hurt, and may well help set the dye better:


first soak in lichen dye bath heat setting the lichen dye


I let the pot heat completly, then turned it off and let it cool over night. It did appear to have gotten darker, but after the first cool rinse, it lightened back up:


lichen yarn, prerinsing rinsing lichen yarn


The final color is a very soft mauve. It would be great to learn a bit more and purhaps be able to get a much more intense color from thelichen. I wonder if cooking down the liquid and then using it would be beneficial? Anyhow, here is a shot of the final yarn, destiny unknown:


lichen dyed yarn


Market Survey August 11, 2009

Filed under: absolute jeanius,design,dyeing,goals,help — jeanius80 @ 5:27 pm

I have been thinking about branching out and (hopefully!) opening up a shop in my local area. The branching out part will happen this spring, and the physical shop is a future goal 😉

To help focus my plan, I created a market survey, and would appreciate it if you would take the time to answer the questions. Just a quick note, it is about dyeing and fiber, so proceed with caution 😉

Survey Link


Dogs, Fiber, Festival

Filed under: absolute jeanius,dyeing,etsy,fiber,garden,goals — jeanius80 @ 11:34 am
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Sumner Arts Festival was a lot of fun to attend! My festival companion, Jill, had her beautiful Samoyed with her, Topper. She spin beautiful yarns from his undercoat, which she brushes or plucks (but never cuts). It spins up a bit fuzzy, but over time, from wear and washing, it gets an amazing halo all over, so much so, that you cannot see the stitches anymore! The crowd loved Topper, and would joke about spinning his fur, and then be almost shocked to learn, that yes, Jill does! The yarn is lovely, and the mittens she brought to display were incredibly fuzzy and silky. I think I need a Samoyed! lol (PS, if you are looking for the yarn that was displayed at the Sumner Arts Festival, it was not mine, but Jills. Please leave me a comment and I will forward her contact info to you)

I did sell a bit of fiber, but don’t have my supplies available to put up in etsy (Jill held them for me to keep them out for sale on Saturday, as I couldn’t stay past 2pm), so the shop sits empty for now. I also got almost 4 ounces of Falkland spun up, and it is lovely to spin! So soft, and has great crimp. The single will be chain plied, and along with some pretty Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino fiber I have in Wish You Were Here, to make Makenna a sweater.

I also have a really big idea as far as fibers, yarn, and dyeing goes. I’d share more.. but I don’t want to let it all out, and then not deliver the goods. 😉

Our garden is doing great, as far as the corn is concerned. I think our soil was not quite right for the radishes and carrots to thrive.. and the tomatoes are doing fine, though with the drastic switch in weather, I am nt sure they will ripen in time to actually eat them!

Sorry for the lack of photos, my camera has decided to hide from me. I think I need to set out a bribe for the house brownies/elves/faeries. They seem to like to hide things from me!


FiberNation: A dyeing tutorial February 27, 2009

Filed under: dyeing,fibernation,roving,top,tutorial,wool — jeanius80 @ 3:13 am

So while doing some research on methods for dyeing spinning fiber (roving and top), I kept finding links to a dead site. (http://www.fibernation.com/inside_the_pot) I thought I would try the WayBack Machine to find the information. While the sites linking to FiberNation had good information, I figured it would be better to get it direct from the source. Since the site is long gone, I decided to re-post the information, and share the photos (don’t worry, no bandwidth stealing here, I saved them on my own drive to re-post here).

Dyeing 101

[imagine a photo of two big balls of undyed wool]

Here is approximately 2 pounds of fantabulus soft wool top. The term ‘top’ refers to how the wool was prepared. With tops the fibers are combed parallel to each other. I could just as easily be dyeing roving (carded fiber) or yarn -my technique is essentially the same for all- but I will say a few words about dyeing yarn at the end of this little display. The tops have been soaked in water and vinegar. It’s important to really soak the fiber, it should be saturated not just wet.

Next I coil the fiber in my crock pot. I pretend that I am making a coiled clay pot – just like I did in 7th grade art class!

This is a large crock pot that I use only for dyeing. I usually do my dyeing in the basement, away from anything that comes into contact with my family, but for the sake of nicer pictures, I am dyeing in our kitchen today.

Now I start squeezing dye onto the fiber.

Although I love the randomness of hand dyed fiber, I have found that there needs to be a basic structure to what I’m doing, so I apply the dye in a similar manner to each layer. Here I have decided to do stripes of blue, magenta and yellow.

Here are my dyes. These are liter squeeze bottles with fiber reactive dye that I mixed up. I get my dyes and other supplies (they have nice fabric!) from Dharma Trading Co. Wool can be dyed with acid or fiber reactive dyes. I use both types. Acid dyes can be used only on wools (fiber from animals) and silk while fiber reactive dyes work with cotton also. I use only primary colors (or a close relative) and black when mixing dyes. This simplifies buying dyes and lets me be creative. The black is used to shade (darken) a color, while adding more water tints (lightens) a color.

I just continue coiling the fiber and putting on dye, adding layer upon layer. While I really like the bright colors, I am actually planning on darker shades with this dye pot, so on the fourth layer I sprinkled black over everything!

More coiling…

As the pot fills up I am still following the basic pattern of placing on color. Three stripes of blue followed by magenta that overlaps into the blue, and then yellow that overlaps on both the magenta and blue. As I get toward the top I am using more blue and magenta for I am running low on yellow because I love yellow! Not so much for yellow on its own, but for what it does when it comes into contact with other colors. In my own little basement dyeing world when in doubt- add more yellow. We all know that yellow turns blue into green and red into orange, but when you are dyeing in this manner it also gives you many other wonderful in between colors.

I’ve reached the top and added alot of black to this final layer. Because I only put black on one other layer, I put alot on this one. The black will seep down into the other layers and give me the darker shades I’m looking for. I know this looks kind of scary, but just wait, it’ll be okay.

I didn’t worry about squeezing the soaking water out of the fiber before I began this process and so the pot is fairly full of liquid right now. If I had spun the water out before putting it in the pot- which I do sometimes, but I was washing clothes when I began this and didn’t want to wait for the washer- I would now pour water and vinegar over the top (mix about 2 cups water with 1/2 cup of vinegar). I still need the vinegar though, it sets the dye, so I just poured the vinegar over the top.

Now I put the lid on, set the pot in the base, turned it to high and let it cook until it is simmering. This will take about 3 hours. Now you should know that I used a lot of dye here. I read about people who strive to have no dye left when the cooking is done, only clear water to pour off. This will not happen here, when it is done cooking there will be dye left in the water. Often when I dye a solid color I will strive for complete use of the dye, when I do color, such as these I don’t worry about using all the dye. My goal is little or no undyed fiber at the end.

Here is the fiber, dyed, cooked for about three hours and then left overnight to cool down (I left the top on all night so it is still slightly warm). I will now take it to the laundry room, pour it into the empty washing machine and spin the water out of it. I will just spin it – no water. After it has spun I will remove it and fill the washer with water that is close to the same temperature as the fiber, and put the fiber back in to soak. I will add about a cup of vinegar and mix the whole concoction around with my hand. Next I will put it through another spin to remove most of the water.

A note on wool, water, heat and agitation. Unless you are working with superwash wool (or wool from a breed that you know doesn’t felt) you do not want to agitate the wool when it is in hot water or subject wool that is still hot to cold water. So as you are working with the wool at this stage, do not let your washing machine do anything other than spin. My washing machine sprays the contents of the washer with water during the beginning of the spin cycle, since this can be a very bad thing if the fiber is fresh out of a hot pot, I set the dial part way into the spin cycle, past when it would spray and I don’t go far away. This way if I misjudged the correct starting point and it does start to spray I can stop it right away.

I’m not worried about completely rinsing all the dye from the fiber at this point. This is because I am afraid of felting the fiber slightly, which would slow down my spinning time. My intent at this point is to get most of the dye out, but I’m not looking for the ‘water to run clear’, as all the books say when rinsing after dyeing. That will take place once the fiber has been spun and I have a finished yarn.

The fiber is now drying (its on top of one of our heating vents). As you can see it is no longer tie dye tee shirt bright. Instead it is a gorgeous mix of reds and purples with occasional hints of green and yellow.

Ask me questions if you have any as I’m sure I have neglected to mention something or need to be more specific about something else and of course check back soon as I continue the process toward the final product – some very lovely, unique, hand spun yarn!

finished yarn:

Before spinning the dyed fiber I like to divide it so that the colors are distributed more evenly throughout the yarn. I pull the tops apart in sections about 16 inches long and then divide each one of these sections into 5 or six thinner strips. This is also also serves to pre-draft the fiber. If I didn’t spend the time to divide the fiber this way the colors would be much more concentrated. I prefer to have the colors spread out through the yarn so I spend the time to divide the fiber.

Here is the yarn spun on my spinning wheel. It is approximately an Aran weight.

Also, East Kentucky Fibers recently posted a dyeing how to. Something must be in the air!

I have no clue who fibernation was operated by, but if the prior establishment prefers, please contact me, and I will take down this blog post!


Moonspinners Guild February 11, 2009

Filed under: dyeing,fiber,guild,knitting,moonspinners,Puyallup,spinning,Sumner,weaving — jeanius80 @ 5:49 am

This post is to help get the word out about the Guild I am a member of..

Moonspinners is a guild for those interested in all types of fiber crafts with emphasis on spinning, weaving, dyeing and knitting.

*Programs exploring some aspect of fiber crafts are held at each regular meeting (The second Tuesday of the month). The guild maintains a library of books and magazines on a wide range of fiber subjects for member use. Carding and weaving equipment are available for guild educational/challenge projects and for individual member use.

*The Moonspinners guild gives numerous demonstrations throughout the year to educate the public, recruit new members, and generally promote interest in fiber crafts.

*Membership is encouraged (dues are just $15/year) and help provide funds for programs. However, membership is not mandatory to attend guild meetings.

Interested? Come check us out. We meet at the United Methodist Church of Sumner, 901 Wood Ave. Sumner, WA. Second Tuesday of each month, 7:00 pm to 9:00 PM.


little girl October 21, 2007

Filed under: dyeing,quilt — jeanius80 @ 11:58 pm

I’ll admit that I have saved more of my dd’s little clothes than one momma needs to. What do i do with it all? I am wondering if i could talk a quilter who knits, into some kind of swap. I could dye up some custom yarn in exchange for them quilting dd’s beautiful, cute clothes into a keepsake quilt! I even have a few 100 2×2 cotton squares i could send. I would do it myself, except i want something beautiful when all is said and done. 😉

ETA- to answer the questions 🙂 We plan on having at least one more! But I want to have a quilt made from each kids baby clothes. ‘Cause I’m sappy like that sometimes 😉