Thursday, March 25, 2010

More spinning fun

And more blues, of course.

Remember the blue roving and spun yarn I dyed in the same pot?

I finally spun up the roving. I manhandled the roving too much in the dye pot and it got a little matted so drafting was a little difficult and the resulting singles were not too uniformed. It's so interesting and very educational, thoug, how exactly the same amount of roving, dyed at the same time, turned out quite differently.

It is really a learning process. I have about four ounces of each. I think I will make Andrea's Shawl from it.

I also dyed two skein of sock yarn. One was done using Wilton food coloring colors. I was experimenting the the kettle dyeing method. Not bad.

The other skein was painted. I probably could have done the immersion dyeing and gotten the same result than the time-consuming painting it. On well, as I said before it is a learning process.

I like this one a lot.

And two more roving -- a corriedale and a cormo -- dip-dyed with Gaywool acid dyes.

Do you think I have a prolem with the color blue?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I am getting a head start

Let's see if I can keep this up.

Hey, I've got the first of the 2010 Christmas gifts done!

I decided this year I am going to give give of not only handknits, but handknits from handspun! How ambitious can that be.

Well, I am getting off on a good start.

Here is the fiber from the Yarn Side.

It's four ounces of 80% merino/20% cashmere roving that was just a dream to spin with. It took me no time at all to spin it up. I Navajo-plied it to keep the colors as intense as I could and to minimize barber-poling. It still barber-poled, but I was quite pleased with the yarn I got:

Only then did I realize that because I was doing the Navajo plying -- in essence three-plying the singles -- I ended up with much less yardage than expected! Well, what I got was about 120 yards of worsted-weight (12 wraps per inch) of absolute beauty and softness.

Now what to knit with it. I wanted something simple that would show off the beauty of the yarn. I spent hours perusing Ravelry and finally came up with this:

The Birthday Cowl.

Four stitches per inch on #10 needles. Cast on 77 stitches. I have about three yards of the yarn left. Perfect.

One gift down. How many more to go? I am on a roll!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

An experiment in dyeing

A couple of weeks ago I took a synthetic dyeing class at the Mannings, a knitting, spinning, weaving shop and school in East Berlin, PA, just outside of Gettysburg. I learned how to use synthetic dye to dye yarn and roving. There are several methods -- immersion, dip-dyeing, painting. It was a lot of fun. It was amazing how a little bit of dye, vinegar and heat can transform a skein of yarn into some colorful hand-painted skein you could be paying top dollars for.

I decided to apply the knowledge I learned to my handspun and roving. I wanted to see how different dyeing spun yarn and dyeing roving and then spinning it would make. So I started with a skein of merino yarn I spun and the same roving.

After soaking both the yarn and the roving in a vinegar bath, I dunk both in the pot on the stove and pour in the dyes. I was using Gaywool dye colors Indigo and Cornflower.

I let the yarn and the roving simmer in the pot for about a half hour then turn off the heat and let them cool. Then I dumped out the wet matted blue wool in the sink:

Several hours later after they dried:

The roving is more verigated than the yarn. The yarn is more semi-solid. I think it was because the dye striked the roving more unevenly. I will spin it up and see what it looks like plied. More fun to come!

Friday, March 05, 2010


You can never have enough blues...


Have you seen the latest issue of House Beautiful magazine? It's called "all about blue." That's my next house. I am saving the copy.

In the meantime I am making all the necessary accessories:

A pair of blue socks:

This is Skinny Bugga! sock yarn in the colorway Blue Metalmark. The pattern is Loksins socks.

To go with a blue shrug/cardigan for the upcoming spring --if it ever gets here:

After the intensity of the cables of the Ravelympics cardigan I decided a plain stockinette would be a nice and easy knit, so I cast on the Whisper Cardigan in Madelinetosh Merino Light in denim colorway.

And to complete the blue package I picked up the Swallowtail Shawl that has been languishing in stash for some time.

The first part is now finished. I am on the border now, with the infamous Nupps... Can you spot one?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I did it!


And I couldn't be happier.

Seventeen days from cast on to bind off.

Pattern: Fiona Ellis' Gathering Intentions from the book Cables Untangled, with modifications.

Yarn: Have You Any Wool Luxe Worsted, 7 skeins

Needles: size 7

I have about three yards of yarn left.

It's blue; it's cable; it fits.
What more can I ask for?

Another gold medal, of course!