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!!


For Christmas my aunt gave me some gift money to enhance my craft supply stash, and I used it to buy more colours of Jacquard Acid Dye, which I use to dye yarn.  These are dye tests on recycled yarn of various sorts; white alpaca, tan merino, light brown merino, and light blue cashmere.  From left to right in the picture, these fibres were overdyed with my 4 new dye colours: aztec gold, brown, magenta, and turquoise.  They form quite an amazing rainbow, as each yarn took the dye differently, and the way the dye colour interacted with the yarn’s original colour created many different effects.  I love colour!

So the apartment now has colour, and I have the most amazing space I’ve ever had in which to adore fibre of all kinds: my craft corner!! OK, it’s more like an alcove, … and lets face it, it basically takes up the entire dining room… but I am overjoyed, to say the least.

So I’ve also been making some stellar progress on the Lady Sweater – I’m done the body, and part-way done one of the arms. I’m VERY excited, as I intend to ACTUALLY FINISH this sweater, and that will make it my first! Hopefully my aran cardigan will follow soon after…

I’ve also been unravelling more thrift-store sweaters, and dyeing roving, and doing a bit of spinning.

The blues/greys roving is polwarth sliver that I got from birkeland bros. here in Vancouver, and hand-dyed using the hot pour method (stovetop). It felted very slightly (not as bad as I have done before, but still not great), so I think I’m going to go back to the oven-dyeing method, which I think is a little safer.

Here are a couple of yarn shots of some spinning tests I’ve done with this roving:

This is a design I’ve been working on, and has yet to be entirely perfected.

Further pictures and pattern to follow soon enough. The mittens are knit in a recycled merino that is very springy and lovely. I dyed it last year, when I was just first experimenting with dying, using food colouring. The colour is somewhat more faded and muted than my generally intense and saturated preferences, but I do like it.

The mittens are knitted very densely, so they will be quite warm, without being bulky. I think they will be very practical, and I’m very excited to perfect and complete them! Of course I was inspired by the mitten craze and the current Vogue Knitting, which features a bunch of mittens with cable designs.

At the same time, I’m progressing on my February Lady Sweater:

I’ve gotten to the stage where I’m bored of it, despite loving the colour, and the lace pattern. So now I just have to suck it up and continue, despite boredom. Of course that’s why I started designing the mittens!!

And as the weather has started to turn crisp and cool in Vancouver, I’ve also picked my aran sweater back up… but then the Lady Sweater kind of eclipsed the progress I was making… I guess I’m not so much about finishing things, if you hadn’t noticed already from looking at this blog!!

I’ve recently realized that I hadn’t gotten around to trying plying recycled yarns to create newly spun yarns. So I got out the spindle; and had a go.

I haven’t knit with this yet, so I’m not sure yet what the result will truly be, but it looks pretty successful and beautiful to me! Perhaps I over-plied it a little.

Next I will try a 4-ply cabled yarn, so that the twist that I add into the first ply will be balanced by the second plying.

I’ve also blocked the first part of my pillow cover project; a yellow lace medallion in bulky angora/wool recycled yarn.

In the kitchen, I cooked up some deep purple sock yarn… OK, I’ll admit it, this was not the colour I initially shot for… But when the teal which I’d lovingly coveted turned to dark green after I added the vinegar and the yellow dye really STRUCK, then I had to dump in other random bits of dye I had hanging around, and voila! purple. Not bad though!

I’ve also been to the thrift stores, and had some success;

  • Mohair/nylon sweater, which I over dyed to wear.
  • 100% lambswool LS sweater
  • 70% angora 30% nylon MEGA sweater in flourescent orange (AMAZING!!)
  • felted wool cable sweater, which I’ll make into a felted bag
  • 70% silk 30% nylon short sleeve sweater – very slinky yarn, which takes dye well
  • and last but not least, a 100% cashmere long-sleeve women’s sweater, in a purple I actually like!! This might have to be a vest? Or a hat+gloves set? Mmmmm something with cables? Maybe doubled up and bulky… Very exciting, that’s for sure!

70% silk / 30% nylon recycled yarn

Two new yarns; or little tiny tastes of yarn, anyways:

  • Polwarth – roving dyed, then spun – 12 wpi
  • Alpaca/Wool – spun then dyed – 16 wpi

And I’m working forward on the hand-spun toque too!!

This is a little scarf that I’m working on with the yarn I hand spun from hand-dyed polwarth roving [see dyeing in previous post here].

It is a very satisfying little project, perfect for the bus and skytrain, and yes, nerdiness abounds, I’ve even begun to knit while walking, I’m embarrassed to admit. It’s just such a great way to relax after a hard day of work!

It’s only 18 stitches wide, knit on US#7 (4.5mm) needles, and the pattern is one that uses multiple wraps to create elongated stitches; it’s a really easy way to make an open, lacy fabric. I really love it as a way to show off this yarn, because the color shifts turn into fairly wide stripes, and the thick/thin inconsistency of the yarn looks nice. I’m not sure if I should block it after it’s done or not…

I started out knitting simple uniform rows 8 row repeat: <K 3 rows, then 1 row wrapping each stitch twice, then K3 more rows, then 1 row wrapping each stitch 3 times>

Then I got bored of that, so I switched to a pattern which creates ‘open’ rows that are shaped like eyes and hourglasses:

R 1-3: K all sts
R 4: K2, (Knit, wrapping twice) 2 times, (Knit, wrapping 3 times) 3 times, (Knit, wrapping 4 times) 4 times, (Knit, wrapping 3 times) 3 times, (Knit, wrapping twice) 2 times, K2 <18 sts total>
R 4-7: K all sts
R8: (Knit, wrapping 4 times) 2 times, (Knit, wrapping 3 times) 2 times, (Knit, wrapping twice) 3 times, K4, (Knit, wrapping twice) 3 times, (Knit, wrapping 3 times) 2 times, (Knit, wrapping 4 times) 2 times
REPEAT THESE 8 ROWS

I’m very pleased with the result – I’m 2/3rds of the way through my 170 yards of yarn, and it will be very

lovely when it’s done!