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Monday, December 26, 2011

Faux dyeing

Ah, the day after Christmas and a day off work.  Time to dye!  I had some faux cashmere that I have been wanting to dye so today was the day. 

This stuff is amazing!  It takes the dye like no other fiber I've seen...vibrant and rich!  It's silky soft and blended with other fibers gives it not only softness, but strength. 

Here's wishing all my friends a happy, healthy and safe new year:)  2012 holds amazing things to come!  XXOO

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Balls, balls and more balls

I am up to my ears in balls....dryer balls that is.  These are 100% wool, felted balls.  They are perfect to use for dryer balls.  You just toss 5 or 10 (the more the merrier) in your drying load and they cut your drying time by 25%...more if you use more balls.  How does this work?  Well, it fluffs up your clothes allowing the air to circulate more efficiently thus cutting down your drying time.  And, this is the best part, you don't need to use dryer sheets.  I don't anymore and I live in the high desert.

I know what you're thinking...what else can I use these balls for?  They are the perfect dog toy...they love em!  And the more they slobber on the balls, the more it felts and the more dense it gets. The wool soaks up the slobber so the ball doesn't feel slimy.  I hate slimy dog toys:(

Oh and you can use them for juggling balls for all you jugglers out there. And kids love 'em too!

What else can you do with a dryer ball....leave a post if you please.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Beaded spiders??

I thought I was done with festivals this year, but there is a festival at Wheeler Farm in Salt Lake City that I really wanted to do.  It's a charming historical farm and I thought it would be a fun show.  So I talked to my friend who does a ton of shows all year and she said the show was closed and had a long waiting list.  Well I called the person in charge anyway and sent her some pictures of my yarns.  She called the next day telling me someone had cancelled and I am in!  Woo hoo!   I've gotten into more shows this way:)   If you're in the Salt Lake area come on by and say hello.

I thought I would give a plug to my friend who makes these amazing beaded spiders.  Yep, you heard me right....beaded spiders.  Check 'em out.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy Holidays:)

It's been a while since I've blogged, but for some reason the darn program would not let me post!  So finally I get it working.  I have done a few shows around town and the picture shows just a sample of the yarns I have spun.  I would have to say I have spun at least 100 skeins of yarn.

I did a three day show a few weeks back and spun for three days straight.  A couple days after that my right leg and ankle started to hurt.  Shin splints, I believe.  Who knew?

The last show I did was at a local cultural center.  I absolutely love the small, homegrown shows.  I even met a "lost boy of Sudan".   He was part of some 20,000 misplaced children during the war in Sudan and they sent them all across the US to start a new life.  My booth neighbor was a young man from Ghana that started a company to help the women out in that country by providing them with income from selling their woven baskets in the US.  Man and are they nice baskets.  I bought two and they will sit beside my couch to hold my many fibery delights and I will look at them fondly knowing they were made by hands of a true artisan.

So, one of the things that sold like hotcakes at the shows are my new dryer balls. Yes, dryer balls. They are a solid wool ball that you throw in the dryer with your wet clothes.  They fluff up the clothes as they dry letting the air circulate, cutting your drying time by about 25%.  They eliminate the need for a dryer sheet and clothes are more wri
nkle free.  I use 10, but I think you could use as little as 5.  But the more you use the better the results.  Check my Etsy in a couple of weeks for more amazing dryer balls:) 

I've been busy destashing, as my husband is having trouble walking through our small basement...oops.  Little does he know he's making room for more stuff...shh don't tell him.

I'm getting busy for Christmas, shipping gifts, yarns and batts.  I have some amazing fleeces waiting for me to wash and dye them.  I have the most amazing merino fleece!  It's virtually has no VM, is very fine, crimpy and cards with no noils.  That is gonna be something special.

So if I don't talk to you all before the holiday, I wish you all a very, merry, happy and healthy holiday:)  I love and appreciate you all!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thick, thin and coily things

 Just got done with a Utah fiber fest and did quite well!  Lot's of folks interested in spinning and sold a ton of my yarns.  It makes me happy that the labor of my love is going to good homes;)  On to the next show....I signed up for a local craft and holiday show in Salt Lake. It's one of the biggest shows of the season here. What was I thinking!!  I am spinning like a crazy woman to get inventory for the show. Luckily a friend of mine who raises alpacas, knits and spins will share the booth with me.  Between all the washing, dying and spinning I finally made two on spinning thick and thin yarn and the second how to make coils from the thick and thin yarn. 

Enjoy the videos and when you make your thick and thin or coils I would LOVE to see your work! 


How to spin thick and thin yarn

How to spin coiled yarn

Friday, July 29, 2011

How to dye groovy tye dyed top

I dyed my wool top with this really cool technique that I would love to share with you. I used wool top superwash, just because I had to "man handle" the fiber a bit with this technique. Here is how it will look when it's done.

The first thing you will do is weigh out 4 to 5 ounces of top superwash.

Next, make it into a tight chain. Here is a video that shows you how to do that.

Next, pre wet the chain in luke warm water with a splash of vinegar. Soak for about 30 minutes.

Prepare a dye pot with orange (or blue) dye.

When the fiber is pre soaked, put the chain in the dye pot. Turn the heat to just about boiling then turn the heat to simmer for about 30 minutes or till all the dye is exhausted and the water is clear.

Take out the chain and put it in the sink to cool a bit. You could even run cold water over it because it's superwash! It's won't felt! When it's cool enough to handle, take apart the chain.

Now here comes the trick. Re chain, yes I said re chain, the fiber.

Make a new dye pot with yellow (or green) this time.

Put it in the pot and simmer for 30 minutes till all the fiber is exhausted and the water is clear.
Take apart the chain and hang the fiber out to dry.

 You can use any colors you like, it's best to go from dark to light.  You can also use more than 2 colors to get a more groovy look.

Here are some beautiful thick and thins spun from this type of top.

Thank you for visiting and become a groovy "follower" of Camaj.




Thursday, July 14, 2011

You can spin like me

I love making instructional videos and have many posted on You Tube.  I thought, hey why not charge a small pittance for some of my videos.  Hey, a girls gotta eat ya know.  I have come up with a few unique spinning styles that you spinners might like to learn how to do.  They are yarns that incorporate a few yarn spinning techniques and if you can already spin they will be easy peasy.   I will even show you how to ply on pearls!   And the best part they are only 5 bucks.  Here's where to buy my instructional videos

Ugh, it's been 100 degrees here in Salt Lake, UT the past couple of days and it's just too hot to think about yarn.  So, let's think about chocolate!!  I made these fun little chocolate cups and wanted to share how I made them with my fans. 

I used to run chocolate fountains in a past life and even wrote a book on how to run a chocolate fountain business! Here is where you can find my book "Sweet Taste of Success".

Monday, July 11, 2011

Turning poop into gold

I received this Blueface Leicester fleece about a month ago.  I finally threw it on the skirting table and man was I surprised.  It was the  dirties, greasiest, stinkiest fleece I ever had.  This was going to be a scouring challenge.  I soaked part of the fleece in a huge bucket of cold water overnight.  The next day I washed it in super hot water with Dawn dishwashing liquid.  It was so dirty I had to wash it twice.  I rinsed it two times and in the final rinse I added a little Unicorn Rinse.  Right after the final rinse I chucked it in a pot of dye.  Man did it ever turn out lovely, shiny and silky soft.

Scouring, or washing, raw wool is all about chemical reactions.  Once you understand the way soap reacts with grease and water temperature you are golden.  I did a quick video on how to wash wool if anyone is interested in seeing my side of the golden fleece.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

It's so big!

So, I finally broke down and bought my second spinning wheel. I'm well on my way to becoming a truly addicted fiber artist.  I currently have a Louet S10, which is very sentimental to me since it was my first wheel. It does a great job spinning yarn, but the orifice is a bit too small for my bigger yarns.  Hence the new wheel. My new shiny prize is the Ashford Country wheel with an orifice that is nearly one inch!   The bobbin is enormous!  I bet it could hold a pound of fiber, but I've yet to test that out.  It comes "naked" and needs to either be painted, stained or just leave au natural.  My dear husband stained the new addition to my fiber family a lovely, deep stain and sealed it with a Minwax oil.

So to try out the giant orifice I spun a super huge, bubble core spun yarn. I'm always trying to push the envelope...trying to make things bigger and more interesting. Stay tuned for more wonderful yarns.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dye baby dye

I love dying wool and yarn.  I have been using the Country Classic brand dyes, but have recently tried the Jacquard dyes.  The Country Classic have citric acid right in the dye powder and have more of a veriegation of colors.  For example, the Pansy will turn out many shades of purple.   Where the Jacquards do not have the citric acid included, the colors are extremely vivid and do not have the veriegation....the purple is just purple.

If you want a good book on dying fiber check them out on amazon.  My favorite book is "Dying to Knit" by Elaine Eskesen.  A color wheel is also a great tool for the dyer.

I usualy kettle dye my wool top, but had fun today dying my wool top with dye stock solution.  My last post was how to make the dye stock solution.  My most recent video shows you how to use that stock solution to dye wool top.  Take a look and have fun!

How to dye wool top
You can use the same technique to dye wool yarn

Friday, June 17, 2011

How to make a dye stock solution

I made a little video on how to make a dye stock solution.  I have kettle dyed rovings and yarn.  I have also handpainted yarn, but I really want to try and dye roving with squirt bottles of dye stock solution.  I used the technique from the book "Dyeing to Knit" by Elaine Eksesen.  It's a wonderful book on dyeing techniques that translate well into amazing knitted garments. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Let's spin!

I picked up on core spinning very quickly and now it's one of my favorite techniques.  You can core spin fluffy or smooth, it just depends on the look you want.  I especially like to spin silk waste.  I buy silk waste directly from is the fiber waste when they make sari's.  It is super soft and so light weight.  Here is the video I made and some pictures of fluffy core and smooth core spun yarns.  Give it a try! 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Jacey Boggs is one good spinna!  She has this amazing video on spinning that is both entertaining and informative.   You need to check this out if you are they type that learns by seeing.  Here is a little sample of Jacey.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's needs to be BIGGER!

I have found that I really love making chunky, funky big yarns.  But I'm using a Louet S10 spinning wheel and the orifice is just too small for these larger diameter art yarns.  I literally have to push the yarn through the orifice with a knitting needle.  Yep, getting tired of doing that.  So I'm on a search for a bigger and better wheel.  Right now I'm looking at the Ashford Country wheel.  The orifice is almost one inch.  I'm drooling over the Aura, but it's double the price.  Here are some pictures of my yarn, which will be part of my new collection called Coral Reef.

A carding fool

It's a happy day:) I just received my Louet Classic Carder. I had some alpaca that I dyed with koolaid sometime back and carded 12 batts in less than an hour! Man this thing is fast!!! Not sure if my shoulder will hold out, but hey, I'm a physical therapist and will heal they self. Check out some of the batts I made

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


With my love of texture and color a coarse drum carder was the next obvious move.  I love my Patrick Green, but an art yarn spinner it’s not practical.   I researched many different carders and after talking to several fiber artists came of with the decision of a Louet Classic Drum Carder.   I found a brand new carder on Ebay used only a couple of times and it was $100 less than a brand  new one! 

Did I hear someone say Wool fest?

I thought since I was now an official member of the fiber community I needed to become a Ravlery member.  I received a message from a local group looking for vendors for a local fiber fest.  I had plenty of yarns I could sell and thought why not.  It was more of a hands on exhibit kind of fest where I could also sell some of my yarns.

So I had this idea to buy pretty baskets, fill them with various types of fiber, print of picture of the animal it came from and attach the picture to the basket.  I then made yarn from each of the fibers and put it in front of the basket so the kids could see the animal it came from, the raw fiber and the finished product. 

My husband made me a sheep made from peg board that was the cutest thing ever!  We set that up with some of my yarns attached to it to make the sheeps wool. 

It all came together exactly like I had in my minds eye…that was a first!  Hundreds of people came through with their kids and they loved the exhibit.  I finally met other spinners and yarn store owners that asked me to teach them my dying and spinning techniques.  This was the first time I had met other fiber people, as I had been a lone wolf learning everything on my own.    What a wonderful day talking about fiber and making new friends.

Then to Now

Over the past months I have researched and practiced more on washing fiber, dying fiber and spinning fiber keeping a detailed log of all that I do.  I have made many mistakes and have had some great successes.  I continue to make videos to share my successes with all that care to watch and learn.  There are many amazing spinners and fiber people in this small, loving community and we all have a part we play and can learn from each other.  There are many ways to wash a fiber, many ways to dye a fiber and many ways to spin a fiber. That’s what makes us all unique in the way we do and teach.  Though we are the part of a small sub culture there is still much room for creativity and learning.  Join me in my journey to see what comes next!

What's in a name?

Now that I was spinning and wanted to sell my wares I needed a name for my “company”.  I had named of my alpacas Camaje (pronounced ka-ma-shey) and thought that would give the name a sort of exotic flavor. The name came from using the first 2 letters of my daughters names- Carissa, Marla and Jessica.   I did a google search for Camaje and found a restaurant in New York City had the same name.  Darn!  I wrote to them and told them I was thinking of naming my business Camaje, but of course could not because they had already used the name, but I was curious as how they got the name.  They told me the three owners used the first 2 letters of their wives names!  What a weird coincidence.  I asked them if they wouldn’t mind if I just took of the “e” and called my yarn co. Camaj.  They were more than happy to let me do that and a name was born!

Camaj Handspun Yarn's photostream

IMG_2023wool in treewool 2wool 1woolmary and alpaca
Hand painted rovingHand painted rovingHand painted rovingHand painted rovingetsy picture camajhand spun and hand dyed yarn