Tuesday, 27 April 2010

surprise, surprise!

at the beginning of last week mail income was slow - probably due to the flight disruption caused by the volcano eruption in iceland. but it looks like being back to normal - and the highlight today was a surprise parcel from Germany! I saw a blog entry recently with lovely "wollmeise" yarn - just my colours. the comment that this should be mine and not the blog owners to knit - was meant as a joke (really!:)).... but this arrived in the post today:

not only one hank of wollmeise "poison" (another kind of poison, won't go with my green, I suppose?) - but also several things in my favourite colour purple/lilac. one handmade bag, purple inside and newspaper fabric in different languages on the outside - just right for storing socks in progress.... also one small knitted p0uch - which contained 5 lovely stitch markers (you can only see the one here in front - because its siblings are already hard at work:)) - and, DS's favourite - a "ruler", foldable, also usable as a key ring - with the writing "real women knit socks":)) yep, I agree - or so they should! thanks, Kristin - that's a real surprise - but maybe I should keep my big mouth shut in the future?:))
of course now I have to think about a suitable project for my very first "wollmeise" yarn. it's 150 g - too much really for socks! it's pure wool and soft - so my thinking goes towards a lace scarf..... I just need a suitable lace pattern that goes with "poison":)) darts maybe???
one other idea came to mind, when I saw the little pouch! I bought a table cloth for my garden table, but it's often quite windy over here, so I need something to hold it in place. I don't like those metal "springs" all that much, but I do have small clips with rings, to hang up curtains etc. if I knitted 4 or better still, 6 little pouches, filled them with gravel or something else with enough weight - I could use them for holding down the cloth - and use up leftover sockwool at the same time:)) yep, sounds like a plan - esp. as it is raining right now (and probably on and off for the rest of the week!) - I might manage the pouches before the sun comes back!
I also received the black rocailles beads yesterday - I finished my "tea embroidery" a few days ago, but had to wait to "dot the i's" with the beads. once I find a suitable fabric as background and "frame" - I can hang up another finished project!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Miss Messy at work!

I couldn't help myself - again! whenever I dye, I just can't resist throwing fibres or yarn in as long as the liquid shows even the slightest bit of leftover colour! I have had many skeins with barely any dye on them, but there's nothing to loose - it's easy enough to overdye again! same with the poison green - but this time I didn't add a skein; I put in a ball of sock wool. the idea was to wind two threads of the sockwool into one flat ball - which I'd then dye to achieve two very similar socks in the end. this ball was quite tightly wound - but it took the colour beautifully. I was pretty sure that the colour wouldn't penetrate fully, but I didn't think about the fact that of course the middle (where the cone of the ballwinder sits) would be loose enough to dye evenly.
this is the result - a strong green, nearly as strong as the first batch.
then I rewound the yarn, the outside went into the ball first this time.
obviously the lighter part is outside now, together with the patches from top and bottom, where the dye attached well.
I then sat the ball into half a pot of blue leftover dye, turned it over after half an hour and put the undyed half into purple dye. I figured 3 dye sessions should be enough for one skein - but I couldn't wait until the ball was dry (this takes extremely long!), so I wound the damp ball into a skein and hung it up outside. the dyes aren't spread evenly, on one end there's a lot of strong green, on the other end is more blue and purple - and the patches are spread out all over. but I still like the colour - now I just had to separate the threads!
this is not the fun part! of course when winding the two threads into a ball, the threads wound around each other, which meant that I had to unwind them again when making the separate balls! grrrhhh.... be warned, if you try this, you'll need a lot of patience! of course you could just start knitting with one thread and keep winding on the other - you still have to separate, but the annoyance factor might be lower during knitting:))
tada - the end result! two pretty identical balls of sock wool - each enough for one sock! I have to finish another slouch sock first (1/2 way finished), but I am looking forward to how the colours will look when knitted.
now - in my eagerness to dye a lot of sockwool - I made 3 more "double balls" like this - which I want to dye - and have to separate after doing so:)) if you hear funny sounds, that'll be me gnashing my teeth in the process.....

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

what a difference a colour makes!

I finished plying and winding the "easter yarn". I decided first to try plying with a commercial purple yarn, alpaca, but there was quite a lot of yarn on the bobbins - so I ended up plying the rest with a commercial sockwool, dyed charcoal (used for the tree of life socks...). all in all I have nearly 600 g of yarn now, though in two batches that don't really go together. still - the cat approves:)) ehm, that cat - quite embarrassing...when's a cat not a cat? when she is actually a tomcat! she must have been very young and we didn't look too closely when she "moved in", but now it's easily visible - and it explains, why "she" didn't like to befriend the neighbouring tomcat:)) he is quite small for a tomcat - but very friendly and he likes textiles to boot!

I wound 4 balls - but I have to admit that I prefer the purple one. not, because I like purple anyway - but I think even though the coloured yarn is the same on both sides, the mix with purple looks much friendlier and more inviting.
I also dyed the yarn with the Goodall's food colour - can green actually look poisonous? I think it can:
I spread a little bit of yellow food dye on the two skeins before, irregularly, so that it isn't a totally even dye. then I just put 125 ml of food dye with some vinegar into my dye pot - added water and the wool and heated it all up. simmering or 30 minutes seems to have done the job:
the green is actually very strong - and I'd say if poison had a single colour - it wouldn't be too far off:)) but I like it - I found a pattern for a lace scarf online and even though I wouldn't like to wear a whole sweater in a colour like this - I think a scarf like this would look good on any dark colour!

Friday, 9 April 2010

the surprises of natural dyes

I promised to upload pix of my egg cozies, here they come:
both cozies and doily are unfelted yet. the egg cozies shrunk as expected and fit well, even though the colours changed a bit. the crochet shrunk far less and stayed much softer. which is ok for this purpose, I didn't want a board made from wool:)) crocheted egg cozies on the other hand would be rather floppy!
here the felted cozies - as you can see, the colours changed most in the lighter ones on the left and right.
this is the original light green yarn on the right - and the change to grey, both in the doily and the cozy.
and the light yellow, that changed to apricot - luckily not to grey, or the original yellow cozy would look rather sad:)) I have had colour changes before, when adding washing powder to the felting process with naturally dyed yarns, some changed dramatically. but I didn't use any on this load, so I suppose there must have been enough residue in the machine to work small changes. for this project it didn't do much damage - but if you plan on a larger one, where the colour changes might ruin it - I can only advise to either let the machine run for a clean at hottest settings - or not use the machine at all (or wash with powder on purpose and test for changes beforehand:)).
this is the rather mucky, yucky looking superwash top I used to mop up the leftover easter egg dyes. I think next time I'd separate the green/blues and red/yellows...
the yarn doesn't look bad though - as a singles. it's rather fine like this and I am not sure how to use it. I could ply it, but this would muddy up the colours even more. I could navajo ply - but that's not my favourite technique:) I might use a single colour yarn to ply it with - but first I need to spin the last of the three parts of the plait!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Happy Easter!

not much text today - just pix from my "easter nests" (didn't work quite as planned, the yeast dough grew a bit too much and closed the holes for the eggs:)) but they tasted lovely as did the easter yeast plait....
we also dyed our traditional easter eggs. we used the liquid food dyes from the supermarket for the first time and they worked very well. I used 2 tbsp of dye in a glass, added 2-3 tbsp of vinegar and filled up with cold water. I boiled the eggs and dumped them hot for 2-3 min. in the dye - lovely strong colours, even though 1/2 blue and 1/2 red ended up in a rather brownish purple:)) and the yellow looks more orange - on the brown eggs (for some reason I cannot buy white eggs over here!)
because there was so much dye left I grabbed some superwash top, plaited it up and sprinkled all the dyes on top of it. after I set the dyes in a turkey bag in the oven - I rinsed them out, no dye loss whatsoever. the top looks very autumnal - but I found out that the green dye unblended gives exactly the strong green I was looking for to dye some lace yarn! so off to the supermarket next week to stock up on a few bottles of green:)) and the top - might end up as sock wool.....
off to eat some waffle eggs (no easter cake this year, I couldn't be bothered - too much else to do!).... Happy Easter to everybody!