Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Lights! Color! Action!

We've got sunshine here today (finally!) after days of rain, gloom and damp. What's a person got to do to get some snow or a hard freeze around here? I know, I know, the only solutions are: a) Stop global warming or b) Move North. I'm naively hopeful about either or both options.

I'm creating my own bright winter glare with colorful knitting and dyeing this December.
I promised photos of my other TNNA swatches, knitted up and sent off in the mail a couple of weeks ago, and here they are. First, we have the cranberry colored Sandesgarn Alpakka. (If you clickety click on the photo, you'll get to see it up close.) This is a DK weight 100% alpaca yarn, very soft stuff. I used a double mock ribbing pattern which lent it some body. This was nice luxury stuff but as with all alpaca, it is limp limp limp. Better add some elastic ribbing or a cable if using this. I could imagine it in a cabled or textured twin set. Very classic knitting...

Next is my baby mitten, knit out of Dalesgarn Baby Ull. I already knew this was great stuff--I've used it before. 100% wool, machinewashable and very plush. Great for babies and also, I think, it would be good for socks, if you were doing stranded knitting. Yes, it doesn't have the nylon/silk/mohair (whatever) blend for harder wear, but it's a tough wearing yarn. I think it would stand up to socks. The gauge for this yarn is 8 sts to an inch on 2.5 mm needles. It's not speedy knitting, but it's lovely.

The last swatch I did this year was Mountain Colors Twizzle. The color is Sunburst, and the DK weight, Merino silk blend is lovely. I used a slip stitch pattern to break up the color striping, and it is nice stuff. I lucked out with these samples! I loved knitting with each of these this year. I hope I'll get a chance to play with these yarns again. I have a partial ball of each left for more design swatching.

Finally, here's a photo of my latest silk dyeing experiment. This here is bombyx silk, about 3 oz. I used that highly professional and time honored stainer, kool-aid. The colors featured here are blue berry(?), grape, and black cherry. I used a generic brand, about 6 packs, so this experience cost me perhaps 60 cents, plus vinegar, the silk, and the energy spent in the dyeing process. In order to get the color to truly saturate, I soaked the fiber in warm soapy water for 30 minutes before dyeing. I also donned gloves and fanned out the fiber to make sure it was color saturated, using the extremely scientific "dye dumping" method. (dilute the kool-aid with water in a jam jar to the right color.) Dump on fiber. Repeat dump until you're sure the fiber is full of color. I then baked the whole thing in a pyrex dish in the oven at 350 for another half hour. As you can see, it worked this time! I'm looking forward to spinning this soon, just as soon as I finish enjoying the spin time for some Chasing Rainbows merino/mohair in Mendocino Hedges and get that off the bobbin.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

gosh that silk is beautiful stuff. way to go!

December 27, 2006 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

The silk colours turned out very nicely and the Mountain Colors swatch is really interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing the bombyx spun up.

December 27, 2006 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Shelly said...

Echo, echo! I can only echo the other's comments about the colors of the silk and the mountain colors yarn . . . gorgeous!

One of the silks or silk blends is high on my list of yarns to splurge on next!


December 27, 2006 at 7:07 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

I bet your silk smells fruity! I love koolaid dying. I love how yours turned out, it is lovely.

December 28, 2006 at 8:46 AM  
Blogger e's knitting and spinning blog said...

Pretty colors!!!

December 28, 2006 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger CatonsvilleCats said...

Wow that silk is beautiful! I have all the right supplies to do some dyeing but never have the time. Some day...

December 29, 2006 at 8:41 AM  

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