Monday, October 30, 2006

Indigo Dye

Saturday I took a pound of wool and used up the indigo dye bath that I have been fermenting for three weeks. Since I had let it sit for so long without using it I thought for sure that it wouldn't work.

It most certainly did work though. It dyed the wool a beautiful shade of blue - first a light shade and then darker and darker after every dip. I dipped it about 6 times over a three hour period of time.

I can think of nothing but blue jeans when I look at the color. The indigo color is just like the blue jeans of today.

I had done quite a lot of things different than the indigo recipe called for. I did not keep it in a warm place and therefore it took quite a while to be ready - a good two weeks at our room temperature (about 65-68 degrees) vice the week that the recipe stated. Since the indigo color was too blue in the dye vat, I felt it needed more soda ash and added 2 more ounces to the bath - doubling what was called for in the recipe and making it significantly more basic. After doing that, the dye bath finally turned a blue-green color. I also didn't stir it everyday like I was supposed to. I kept it quite airtight in a lidded crock that I bought in Germany which I think really saved it from ruin.

According to the recipe, the yarn should have been a yellow-green on the initial dip and then turn blue when it touched the air. My yarn did turn a greenish-blue in the initial dye bath but it was hard to see because it turned blue very quickly.

I am very pleased with the results. I can't wait to knit a pair of socks with the wool.

I also did another pound of wool in the walnut dye that had been sitting outside for a month. I filtered off the mold from the top and heated it back up. The brown was not as strong this time but it still is a very pretty color. I threw out the rest of the dye bath after this use. I didn't keep the indigo either.

Not sure what color is next. I bought some cochineal bugs so that may be the next color.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Black Walnut and Onion Mitten

I finished one of my mittens made with the black walnut and onion dyed wool dyed. I designed them with sayings from "The Crisis" by Thomas Paine.

The mitten is beautiful but it is too small. I saw that it would be too small about halfway through but I wanted to finish the design to see what it would look like. I am glad I did. I learned a lot about carrying the yarn in the back and saw some design flaws.

I made the mitten to the size indicated in a knitting book for a size 7 hand. It turned out to be the exact size so I know my gauge is right. But, obviously, the size is not right in the book. Very frustrating.

I have graphed out the new designs and can't wait to start knitting them!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Caroline Ribbon Sweater

I believe I have the flu. I have been on the couch now for four days. With nothing to do but knit, I was able to finish the Caroline Sweater. I used Berroco Zen in color 8215 which is a real nice smoky blue.

It was the first and last time I will ever knit with ribbon yarn. I had to find out the hard way that ribbon yarn is difficult to knit with and it is absolutely horrible if you have to rip out stitches. The needle points constantly kept hitting the middle of the yarn and caused the stitch not to come all the way through. Same problem when ripping out and trying to pick the stitches back up again.

The sweater is beautiful though and looks great on me (I couldn't get the picture to show its great charateristics). I knit it using the 35" bust size. I can't wait to wear it. I finished it in the fall though and will probably have to wait until spring to wear it. I am already calling it my flu sweater.

My next project is a pair of mittens with the beginning of the "The Crisis" by Thomas Paine knit into them. I am going to use my walnut and onion dyed yarn. I already did the swatch using size 00 needles. I should get 8.5 stitches to the inch and 9 rows to the inch. It will take me a long time to finish these. I'll use steel needles so they will be 18th century correct and will be able to knit them while I am re-enacting.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Finished Bobble Sweater

Here is a picture of the finished James Coviello Cropped Bobble Sweater. I did not put the bows at the top and the ribbon still makes the sweater great. It is hard to find velvet ribbon in anything but Christmas colors. I used a chocolate brown.

Now I need to find an occasion to wear it!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Bobble Sweater

I don't often knit sweaters for myself. But I saw a sweater in Vogue Knitting that I loved. It is the James Coviello Cropped Bobble Sweater from the Holiday 2005 issue.

I didn't have any problem knitting it. But I did have trouble putting it all together. I don't believe that it is put together in the same quality that I did with the knitting. If I really wanted to I could rip it out and do again. But, it looks good enough for me for now. I knit it in small and used Lion Brand Wool-Ease instead of the Blue Sky Bulky alpaca wool that the pattern called for.

Anyway, I finished putting it together last night. I still don't have the ribbon to put in it yet. I'll try to pick up some this weekend. It looks good without it and it will look even better with it. I don't think that I will put the bows at the top though.

I also don't crochet so I just couldn't get the finishing chain stitches to look right so I just left them off.

Now I am working on the ribbon sweater and a swatch for a pair of mittens that I want to knit. I want to knit them with small steel needles and my walnut-dyed yarn. I want to add a poem or something on the front using the onion-dyed yarn that I made. So, I need the swatch to figure out how many letters I can fit on a row. More to come.