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Saturday, September 15, 2007


I've been ticking nearly all the craft boxes this weekend as I've been knitting, spinning and dyeing.

This morning I headed round to Lara's lovely new abode to drink tea with her and Katie and to watch Lara wind wool. I've been making decent progress on the Hopscotch socks. The first one is resting with its stitches on some waste yarn and the second one is already knit up to the gusset. I'm very nearly (huzzah) at the end of the yarn that I have knit and ripped once before, which is always a good feeling. I have to say, though, that Katie's yarn stands up very well to being ripped back and re-knit which is a good property in a yarn given that all of us make mistakes from time to time.

Hopscotch socks

Last night I had put my found fleece (picked up whilst wandering about in the park) in a pan with 1.5 litres of water and 12 teaspoons of cream of tartar as a mordant. When I arrived home in the afternoon I split the fleece into two batches and mixed up two different red dyes using Supercook food colouring. I added the dyes to the fleece (still in its cream of tartar solution) and put them on to simmer for an hour.

Fleece in the dye bath

I just love this red colour.

While the fleece was cooking I put in some more time plying the hand spun. There's still quite a way to go but I can at least now see that the amount of single ply left on the bobbins is getting smaller. It's coming out at a laceweight and I'll definitely have enough for a lace scarf if not a small stole or shawl. If anyone has a good way of accurately estimating yardage that doesn't involve super precise scales I'd love to hear about it.

Hand plying

An hour after it went in I fished the fleece out of the dye baths and washed each batch separately. Floods of dye came out at the first wash, not so much thereafter and the colours are still satisfyingly deep and bright. I've ended up with two shades ofred, one a bright cherry colour, the other a rich blackberry.

Hand dyed fleece

I've not yet decided whether to spin them up separately and knit them as singles, whether to spin two different coloured plies and ply them together or whether to blend the two shades before spinning. I don't even know how this fleece will spin up as yet but I can't wait to find out.

1 comment:

Kirsty said...

I love that red colour!