dyeing


So I had decided that as part of my knitter’s development it was time to knit a shawl.  Note, this is not a stole, but an authentically ‘get your granny on’ triangular shawl.  Though this undertaking involved the obvious danger of looking ridiculous, I had seen many photos of hip young people wearing shawls such as this like scarves, and figured I could pull it off!  So I dyed some recycled cashmere, and eventually cast on!  Laminaria (a free pattern from Knitty.com) was an absolute joy to knit, and I got through it in 4 days!  I took the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria and got a lot of knitting time in both ways, so that helped.

My husband and I had to sleep on the couch one night so that I could block the shawl out on our futon!!  The yarn is approximately fingering weight, and I used a 5mm needle, and it required approximately 500 yds.

unblocked shawl

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OK, I know it’s positively depressing, the lack of knitting that has been posted on this blog of late.  So though it’s not terribly exciting, I have for you: Noro Silk Garden, knit up into a garter-brim hat.  I loved working with this yarn, which is a joy, and I enjoyed this simple hat pattern I ‘designed’, especially as I made a couple of modifications the second time.

Secondly, I’ve started on YET another hat, knit from Malabrigo Merino Worsted, which until my employment at Urban Yarns, I had not tried.  MMMMmmm it is lovely to knit with (like butter), but I fear it will pill and wear quickly.  But I’m withholding judgment for later.

So of course, I’ve also been spinning!

And loving the results – though they are but meagre.  Upper left is a single-ply mystery-wool that came in a box from a friend of my mom’s, and which I dyed into intense (offensive?) pink, purples and blue – about DK weight, and 170 yds.  To the right is 2-ply, fingering weight merino, spun from tiny balls of roving I bought at a lovely artistan’s shop during my bike trip of the oregon coast (december 08).  It’s about 40 grams, and 130 yds.  At the bottom is ‘wildflowers’ a single-ply silk which I hand-dyed and spun, also procured from the box of mystery handed down to me by a spinning friend of my mother’s.  I have TONNES more silk to spin, but I am seriously lacking the skills to do it effectively.  This little skein, ~ 100 yds, is uber lovely, though, I must say (so modest!).

Last night I had friends over to dye some sock yarn:

It turned out so wonderfully!!  I can’t wait to see how all these luscious colours knit up!  We had a yummy meal, and then started mixing up the dyes, and painting them on the kitchen floor.

This is the most luscious cashmere I’ve ever seen, and I’m SO happy with the colour I’ve achieved.

It’s 600 yds, on 3 skeins, and it’s a little heavier than a standard lace weight, but definitely lighter than fingering.

I’m planning on making it into Laminaria, a beautiful shawl published on Knitty.com.  I’m not sure yet whether I will knit it holding this yarn single stranded, for a lighter effect, or double stranded for something more like a DK weight.  I think I’ll swatch it both ways, and see what I like best.

I’m currently designing this sweater… (well, I guess it’s only a sleeve and a half so far.. hardly qualifies as a sweater)… which is going to be pretty stripey all over.  It’s knit from recycled and hand-dyed merino yarn, and it’s at a pretty fine gauge, knit on US#3 (3mm) needles.  As the same needles are being used for gloves that I’m currently knitting, I have had to wait before getting back to the sweater.  Of course, I’m impatient, because who doesn’t love stockinette in the round with only stripes to distract one from cheesy TV?!  And I think the end product will be very wearable – that is if I ever finish it!!


Black Heart – this is my first try at hand-painting yarn.  I’m ecstatic about the colours, but the process was a little time-consuming, as I had to dye twice after the first round left too many white patches.  I found out that it’s much simpler to set the dyes in the microwave than by steaming on the stovetop (this was discovered after I scorched the bottom of my dye-pot when all the water boiled off).

I have 3 more skeins of the base yarn, which is knitpicks ‘bare’ merino / nylon sock yarn.  I haven’t knit with it before, so I’m hoping it’s decent – and if I feel like it won’t stand up to hard wear as socks, I may knit a hat or scarf with it.  OR… gloves for me?

I have been making progress on Mark’s birthday present: simple merino wool gloves.  I’m just working out the pattern as I go, and now that I’ve got the left-hand glove fitting perfectly, all that remains is to knit it again for the other hand!  I’m not really loving how many yarn ends have to be woven in…

But of course, despite the downsides, I’m going to have to knit myself a pair as soon as his are off the needles, because it’s still cold and crisp here in Vancouver, and fingerless gloves are really a joke when it comes to keeping you warm!!

Lastly, I made a second purchase at Urban Yarns, and it is none other than the lovely malabrigo merino lace, a buttery soft and brilliantly dyed single-ply lace yarn.  I have lusted after this yarn for SO LONG, and finally have it in my clutches!!

The swatch shows the stitch pattern I’m using to create a fat scarf / stole.  It’s a pretty brainless stitch pattern, so it’ll even be suitable for knit nights, and watching TV.

I have been having a great time lately dyeing roving and spinning – here are my latest creations:

Both yarns are quite similar – they started out as undyed polwarth which I bought at Birkeland Brothers Wool here in Vancouver.  I dyed them both in using Jacquard acid dyes, by putting my big dye-pot into the oven on 150-200 degrees for 1-2 hours.  The purple roving required more heat and time than the multi-coloured one did – I believe this is because the magenta dye has a higher strike point.

The purple yarn is a much belated christmas gift to my knitting friend Helen – I hope she likes it!  The multi is for me,  but I’m not sure whether I will use it for a hat… though it’s likely not enough… or I could use it in this crocheted afghan that I’ve started, and which is my current obsession!

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