Sunday, February 14, 2010

Little Lace Shawl

I just had to share this little lace shawlette I made this weekend. I absolutely love it. After I finished spinning up my Summertime yarn, I wanted to find something small that might only use 1 skein of yarn and so I logged into Ravelry and started searching. What I found was a simple, easy to knit pattern for this little lace shawlette called 198 yds of Heaven designed by Christy Verity. This is a free pattern and you can download it directly from Ravelry. It is not really a beginner pattern, because it assumes the knitter has some prior experience with triangular shawls and their construction and so it does not give any directions for the sequence of knitting the repeats of each row. With a little help from my cousin Holly and some trial and error I was able to figure out the row repeats and once that clicked, I did not have any further trouble knitting the rest of the shawl. It is a little involved for the novice knitter, but I highly recommend it and you can always ask someone for help getting started on the row repeats to make sure you do it right. I am certain this will be my favorite shawl pattern forever, and I will knit them all year long, gift them to friends and family, and make them in colors to go with every season and every dress I own. They will be house shawls and church shawls, and just going out shawls. There will always be a reason for me to pick up some sticks and string and get to knitting another little shawlette.

This little shawlette is being gifted to a friend and I am delivering it to her personally when I visit her this afternoon:)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Summertime Yarn and Fibery Goodness!

This is my first foray into hand painting fiber. Forgive me if I use this term incorrectly as I am just beginning my journey into dyeing fiber for spinning. I have a short little video I will be uploading to YouTube that shows my dyeing process for this particular fiber. As this was my first attempt, I felted the fiber slightly during the dyeing process, I think it was the intense heat of microwaving that did it because I was very gentle with the fiber throughout the process. I really abhor microwaving. I have since thought of a new method of steam/heat setting the color on the stovetop that I will employ during my next batch of dyeing. I will let you know how it turns out.

For the fiber shown here I used Wilton's Icing Dyes, and I purchased small refillable plastic squeeze bottles for housing the dye mixture during dyeing. For this above roving, which is Lincoln Top that I purchased locally, I mixed 1/4 tsp of each of the following colors (green, lemon yellow, pink) in their own bottle with a TBS of vinegar and filled the rest of the bottle with warm water.

Then I laid approximately 4 oz of fiber (This one ended up being about 5.2 oz) in a snake pattern on the tabletop which I had covered with towels and sheets of plastic wrap. Then I proceeded to squirt the dye upon the fiber in a striping pattern, up and down vertically, alternating colors until I had used up all the dye. I then folded in the outer edges if the plastic wrap and starting at the top, I rolled the roving down towards my end of the table in a long tubelike fashion. when I had it all rolled up, I then circled the tube into a donut shape, put it in a glass dish and microwaved it for about 2-3 minutes. Then I let it cool before I unrolled it. The result is as you see above and below.

And this is what it looks like spun up into a yarn. I have not wrapped this yet to gauge its weight, I think it will be around a sport or worsted weight. The colors are more subdued than in the unspun roving. I really like this yarn. I have set the twist already and am just thinking of what I might knit with it. I call it Summertime, because it reminds me of fresh green grass, sunshine, and the shades of summer fruits like pineapple, honeydew, mango, papaya, watermelon and pink grapefruits. I could jump right through spring and into summer.... no problem:)

I ended up with more singles on one bobbin than the other, and so I spun the last little bit into its own small skein. The large skein is 189 yds and the small one is 52 yds, so 241 yds total. Not bad for about 5 oz of fiber. It should be enough for a simple little project.

I plan to check out Ravelry later today to see if something appeals to me. I want to start knitting with this over the weekend.

These are the rest of the fibers I dyed that same day. Each is approximately 4 ounces.

This one I call Peachy-keen. I used 1/8 tsp of pink and brown and mixed each in its own bottle with 1 TBS of vinegar and the rest warm water. (I used 2 bottles of each)

This one I call Calypso, and it was made using 1/4 tsp of aqua, 1/8 tsp aqua, 1/8 tsp of brown each in their own bottle with 1 TBS of vinegar and warm water to fill.

This one I call Eggplant, because as soon as I unwrapped it the purple just jumped out at me and I exclaimed, ooohh it looks like eggplant! This was made with 1/4 heaping tsp black, 1/4 tsp red, 1/4 tsp brown each mixed in their own bottle with 1TBS vinegar and warm water to fill. I was uncertain how this one would turn out because I knew the black would not really be black at all, I was amazed at the final results. The black turned shades of brown, purple and green and blended with the other brown and the red, and the red softened in spots into a soft mango color. This is my absolute favorite of all of them. I think I will spin this next.

I have traded some of my hand carved stamps for 16 oz of undyed merino roving. I hope to receive it within the next few days. I plan to purchase some new Greener Shades Dyes that I just discovered at Pancake and Lulu on Etsy. They come in 9 shades and can be blended to attain different shades and hues, and conform to the Organic Trade Association standards for Organic Fiber Processing.

I hope to do alot more dyeing in the future. I recently washed a whole Icelandic natural white (ecru) fleece that I purchased this fall at a fiber festival in the hopes of doing some dyeing once I get it combed and prepared.

I also just finished washing a natural black Icelandic fleece that I bought at the same festival. I have to comb this one too. I plan to sell some and spin some for my own use. We will see how it turns out. It has quite a bit of veggie in it still, little pieces of grass and straw and a bramble here and there. It is a ram fleece and it had to go through 4 hot water soaks in the tub before my house stopped smelling like a barn.