Tuesday, 28 April 2009

More yarn dyeing

I bought myself a big jar and had a go at dyeing mercerised cotton. I wanted sort-of peacock colours, and proceeded to pour in a variety of shades of blue, green and purple but was alarmed when my jar looked like this:


(Photo taken with flash - without flash it looked like a jar of black.) The yarn wasn't emerald green as the colour suggests, but a mid blue, with the dreaded pale spots (interestingly these were mainly purple). So the yarn got slung back in the jar with more blue dye:

This yielded a better result, though it killed the purple. The excess dye was a real pain to wash out - it never seemed to stop coming. Due to messy skeining round the back of chairs (no niddy noddy... yet), I would it into cakes as soon as it was dry:

But my 'cakes' were more like... donuts...?

Mercerised cotton, it seems, doesn't collapse so readily in on itself after being removed from the wall winder.

The colour ended up as variegated turquoise/blue. Not as bright as I would have liked (who says fibre reactive dyes work better on plant fibres - the dilutions were about the same as I used for the kettle-dyed sock yarn in the previous post). The yarn is currently being made into Elizabeth Myers' Feather Stole. Oh, and my hands haven't turned blue so maybe I'm just being paranoid about the amount of excess dye.

Finally, a real yarn cake (2-ply merino laceweight, dyed by me and in the previous post but one):

Thursday, 23 April 2009


Overdying the skein that had naked patches worked, and I'm really pleased with the result.




Admittedly I reskeined it in an effort to be a bit fancypants, and it's in two mini skeins now because I did something silly when I opened the knots holding the skein together. Anyway, I'm really pleased as the ugly naked patches are no more. I could get into this... Now I have to work out what to make with it.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Pssst.... could it be AN UPDATE?!

Well, I promised one... eventually...

Quick rundown of recent projects (clicky for bigger pics):

Wavy Scarf using the Pink Waves Scarf pattern by Emily J. Miller. The Yarn is Posh Yarn Lei that I bought at Wonderwool Wales last year, I love the texture in this scarf and I think the yarn was perfect for the stormy sea feel.



Alpine Frost Scarf from the Winter 2008 issue of Interweave Crochet using one and a half skeins of Araucania Pomaire that I bought in HK Handknit's closing down sale last year (dunno what I'm going to do with the other one and a half skeins mind - they're the same colourway but very different from each other):

Christmas Barrel Scarf from a nineteenth century pattern for a mourning shawl. Why the name? Nearly every winter I re-read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. At the end of the book, when the trains start running after six months of being cut off the Ingalls family receive their Christmas barrel, complete with a turkey that has stayed frozen all winter due to the cold. One of the items in the barrel is

The most beautiful thing - a shawl made of silk! It is dove-coloured, with fine stripes of green and rose and black and the richest, deep fringe with all those colours shimmering in it.

Well, I took some liberties and found a merino/tencel blend from Krafty Koala and never mind that the mourning shawl pattern was from a good quarter-century earlier, I made my Christmas Barrel Shawl:

Christmas barrelshawl

Ellie Cardigan from Inside Crochet Magazine for my cousin's 4 year old daughter (second cousin once removed? - the extended bits confuse me). I don't normally do kids' stuff and usually flick past such things in magazines with irritation, but this really caught my eye. Mine is a little lumpier than I would have liked, and I modified the pattern so each motif was crocheted to its neighbour as I went along as I couldn't bear the thought of sewing together 120 motifs. The yarn is James C. Brett Kool Kotton (utter bargain at about £1.20 a ball - I'm thinking of getting some for myself for the River Road pattern from the same magazine). Sorry about the fuzzy photo, I don't quite know what went wrong:


I never want to crochet another blimmin' circle again.

I also made a scarf for my mother's birthday but didn't photograph it. Although I got a new camera for my birthday (a Canon EOS 450D) I've been remarkably sloppy about photographing my projects. I'm trying to hold off on the startitis and get some projects I started ages ago finished. So I'm finishing two cardigans (one started last summer), and I will give my crocheted socks another go - I was put off when I started a top-down pattern, did the cuff and realised there was no way it would fit over my high instep! Then the yarn snapped when I was frogging it which made me very grunpy as it was self-striping.

There has also been yarn dying. Semi-solids seem to be the in-thing with indie dyers right now and I'm not in the mood for them! When I was looking for them before I couldn't find any I liked. I like semi-solids for more intricate things where a variegated/multicoloured yarn would kill the stitch pattern, but whilst I'm not a fan of clown-puke I do like different colours in my yarn. Oh, and I only like pastels for about two weeks in December - if I'm nuts enough to buy any they sit in my stash for months. I'm very pleased with these though:

The right hand one was kettle-dyed, but came out with naked patches so I overdyed it and gave it a good stir in the pot. Lo and behold it still had patches screaming "we'd rather go naked than wear dye." I took the photo and hummed and hawed before finally chucking it back into a pan of dye today. The naked bits are now grudgingly wearing dye whilst the rest of it has lovely rich tones of blue, green and a little purple. The conclusion is "we need a bigger pan." I love dying yarn and am trying to hold off ordering more undyed yarn, and blue and purple dye which I use more of than any other colour.

For once my yarn diet and food diet are going fairly well - 7lbs lost (and 28 to go...) and although the yarn isn't going down, it's not rising rapidly either (but like most dieters I have 'sock yarn doesn't count' moments) - and I've got several projects from stash in progress.

And finally, some pretty spring pansies (or more correctly, violas). I bought these a couple of years ago as annuals, but this is the third year they've flowered, and the ones in the photo are from a stray seed that's landed between the flagstones - and I couldn't bear to pull them up, especially as they're in far better condition than the original plant, which appears to be providing a feast for the resident slugs.