Thursday, 10 July 2008

knit, purl or shadows?

difficult decisions have to be made! I tried the spun sample of "hummingbird" colours, but I am not so sure about its looks when knitted (or purled?) up. I think all in all there is too much of the red in it! I took the same proportions of colour I used in the shrug, but either due to the different intensities or to the way I spun - the red stands out too much for my liking. so what do I do now? take less red and more yellow and blue? or change the plying? or both? anyway - I think I like the purled "species" better - but I might change my mind once I have changed the proportions. another spin sample - followed by another knit sample! who said life is easy:))

something else has been more successful - I finally started on the "Dark Mark" scarf - a pattern I downloaded from the net. I have read about shadow knitting, knew how it basically works - but haven't done a project with it yet. as you can see on the left, the pattern looks like basic stripes from above - more or less. and it's only knitted with one colour in each row, stripes, changed every second row. but - when you look at the knitting from a different angle - you can already see the pattern, the coiling snake head and it's tail! that's a fun thing to do - I am definitely going to try it on something else, once the scarf is finished! it looks complicated, but it isn't - every RS row is knit, the pattern only forms in the WS rows! and it's all done in knit and purl, no colour changes or difficult stitches. basically what happens is that the purl stitches form "hills" and the knit stitches "valleys". the two black rows echo the green ones in that you purl the green pattern in the WS row and knit the black pattern stitches on the WS row, too. this means, that the black "valley" stitches aren't visible from a flat angle and the green "hill" stitches stand out - simple. as usual the written description sounds slightly lunatic, but once you knit it becomes clear.... and it knits up fast - the yarn (half merino, half polyester = soft, but washable) is knit with needle size 4 mm - I did 1/4 of the patterned area this morning! the question now is, will the recipient (DS) wear it to the premiere of hp film 6 in november?:))

on the dye front I picked two lots of berries from Berberis darwinii - they looked so tempting, like blue grapes with a bit of a bloom on their skin. India Flint mentions them in the book - so I had to use them:)) the new bible or what? I froze them, separated into ripe and unripe (more or less) to see if there's a difference in colour later. we have quite a few of the shrubs and all of them are covered in berries, so I'll pick some more over the next few days. unfortunately the shrub is a bit mean - below each leaf whorl there is a whorl of thorns, which makes picking painful, because the branches aren't easy to hold still:(( well, every cloud has a silver lining - as long as I will end up with a nice colour later that is!


tumbleweed said...

Hi Bettina,I'm deeply envious of your abundance of berberis berries...it'll be interesting to see whether they dye as nicely as those in Wellington, New Zealand did...or perhaps even better! given the many variables..soil, climate, water (both thagt or irrigation and that from the tap for processing). best of luck!
warm regards, India Flint

Bettina said...

I am still collecting, the bags in the freezer are filling up nicely! I also saw that the rhamnus trees are full of berries again - more to pick! last year I used them ripe and got a nice, strong green on wool with alum, so I am going to experiment more with them. I am lucky in that I have only rain (soft) and well water (very hard) - no tap water and no chemicals it it. I think it's easier to put mordants into water than to take anything out of it:)) thanks for writing this book - I think it is a long awaited addition in the dye book section!

Helen said...

I have just read this post about yoru Berberis berries. I am really interested and excited. so keep us all posted.