Sunday, 12 September 2010

other colours

I did dye a lot last week, green and yellow and orange... and blue/purple too! this is the result of my rhamnus berries - nice colours like last year. esp. on silk... silk and wool is bluer and even the second batch in the same dye bath gave a nice colour on mohair and tussah/wool.

I had planned to take pix when all the wools are properly rolled into balls - but it took so long for them to dry that I lost patience:)) the colours are a bit stronger in real life, but you'll get the idea. I already picked another batch, but first I have to sieve off and dye with my goldenrod!

I also finished the plying of grey/black alpaca I spun. this is meant to be a Sirius dog. the sweater is very dark, so it couldn't only be black or the dog would hardly be visible (which might have suited Sirius really well?:)). the spread of grey is uneven, which is intended to make the dog look a bit shaggy and patchy. and I am going to try to brush up the alpaca slightly to give a more furry effect - after knitting of course. I recently got two small brushes, which are originally intended to fluff up Madeira wool embroidery yarn. should work on a dog just as well?:))

oh yes, and I still had some of the flecked cotton here, which I used for the dishcloths. just now I remembered that I forgot to take a pic of the starfish shaped one... all of those are knitted. I stumbled across another one, crochet this time (originally a potholder) and finished it - but already noticed halfway through the pattern that one thread would have been enough to make a dishcloth! well, I can never remember the US sizes for crochet hooks, so I doubled up the thread and worked with a 3.5 mm hook.... which resulted in a doily, far too large to use as a dish cloth or potholder:))
or maybe only useful for Hagrid's large tea mugs (buckets:))... well anyway, it doesn't look too bad and is fully washable, so what the heck. I did work one more round and an additional round of crab stitch, so that I only had about a metre or two of yarn left. which means - that the next batch of potholders/dishcloths can be in a different colour of leftover cotton yarn:))

late yesterday evening was spent with scratching seeds/seedhairs out of about a ton of rosehips (ok, it wasn't a ton, but it took so long that it seemed to be more:)) - I scratched for about 4 hours, not only the seeds, but also my arms etc... those seed hairs are itchy!! but I listened to some old cd's in the meantime to pass the time a bit faster... and stumbled across this: the hunting of the snark. somehow all of a sudden I had the idea of spinning a yarn inspired by this - might take some time, but I already know what I want to do. so let nobody say that scratching out rosehips isn't inspiring:))

colour red

this week is nearly over - time to post my favourite dark red. well, I like darker red anyway, but this week my dahlia gave me so much joy (even though she dyed golden yellow and not red:)) - so here it is:
it was a bit bedraggled by rain already, when I took the photo, but I had cut off all the others for dyeing:)

next week it's going to be pink - there won't be much in the way of textiles as I am not really a pink girl. but I am sure I can find pix from the garden.....

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

more natural dyeing

while I am dyeing like mad - I am also translating several articles from the spinoff autumn issue - about natural dyeing... very befitting, though I don't agree with everything that's written there:)) anyway, I finished my red dahlia session - two dips, the first one (on silk/tussah blend) is a strong golden yellow, nearly light orange. the second batch turned out much lighter, silk/tussah in the background and in the middle a smaller amount of superwash wool top. which took the dye better - now I wish I'd used it in the first bath, too:(( there are a few more dahlia flowers to come - maybe I do get the chance for a small lot of it, though it depends on how the rest of september will turn out to be weatherwise. but at least now I know that I have the right dahlia variety again for dyeing yellows and oranges - instead of yucky dirt beige/brownish! I had to run around with the clothes drier several times though - and in the end there was a shower so heavy that I gave up - and had everything wetter again than it was before I put it out:((

the photo also shows the dried silk/tussah blend dyed with the reed flowers - this time the light was better and the green is much closer to reality than the last photo.
I think the colours go very well together - but I still need the purple I had planned to use with it. first up are the rhamnus berries though - 1.5 kg in this lot! though it might be a bit less as I nearly dropped the bucket they were in - and spilled a good lot on the kitchen floor:(( we'll see if dog hair and dust bunnies will influence the colour outcome:))

I still didn't block the green scarf - can't seem to bring myself to do it... unfortunately the edges are wavy from the leaf pattern, so I can only use my carbon fibre rods for the outermost stitches - and have to fix the rest with pins.... I might do it tonight - when the kitchen table is empty and nobody needs it for urgent jobs such as forgotten homework, messing around with paper and glue etc....

Sunday, 5 September 2010

autumn = rich pickings for natural dyers

the weather has finally changed. after 10 lovely days, warm and sunny and dry, we are back to more normal irish autumn weather - it started raining this afternoon. it's not cold, but pretty windy and a lot of the leaves are already coming off the trees - mainly the maple leaves, as they suffer from blackspot disease over here and fall earlier than in germany. I just made it in time today to pick a small bucket of rhamnus frangula berries - not for eating (they cause severe diarrhoe) but for dyeing. on wool they give a lovely grey-green with a blueish tinge, but on silk they give a dove blue! and they seem to be pretty lightfast, there has been very little change on the dyed fibres from last year, even though they were kept in normal daylight with occasional sunlight on them. I stopped picking when the rain became heavier - but I hope I'll get a dry spell again tomorrow to pick more - there are plenty on our 3 small trees! they are odd really - the trees are full of unripe and ripe berries - and at the tips they start flowering again! they are easy enough to pick - if you don't mind the occasional spider running all over you in its attempts to get away from the rude picker:))

I also rinsed and dried about 200 g of a tussahsilk/wool blend I dyed with reed flowers yesterday - the green is difficult to catch in a photo, the real stuff looks less flat and livelier somehow, it's "greener", not as grey as this:

I also did a small cross stitch project - an insert for a birthday card, with a summery theme - but when I worked on it we still had lovely sunshine:)

the aida is white of course - but I took the photo inside and couldn't avoid a bit of shade on it. I hope it arrives ok; I put a piece of bubble wrap on top of the charms, which should really be enough to keep it from poking through the envelope....
I also finished the green spring leaves shawl - with a few problems at the end:(( I weighed the yarn into two equal balls - or so I thought. of course there might be a very slight difference in length - but I didn't expect it to be enough to work a whole pattern sequence! or rather not to work another sequence... I did 11 plus the last finishing pattern on the one side - but had to frog the 11th on the 2nd side, because I ran out of yarn. after finishing 10 repeats plus the finish on the 2nd side I am left with just 3 or 4 m of yarn! well, it might not be perfect, but it's quite a long piece and as long as the two sides aren't put exactly on top of each other nobody will see the difference (but me, which annoys me of course:)). I have to block it first though - a bit of a job with this long band - pix to follow.

and being sunday today - we had the first plumcake of the season. with our own plums! yummeeh - I tried a new recipe, where the base is made with quark (a kind of soft cheese) and oil instead of the usual yeast dough. and on top of the plums are lovely streusels (a topping like crumble) made with brown sugar, almonds and butter..... half of the baking sheet is already empty:))

Saturday, 4 September 2010

black and white "colours"

this week it's black and white - and there is really only one black and white thing that is really important to me. written words, books, mags, patterns  etc. I knit a lot, but I read even more:) I can't imagine my life without reading; I do it all the time and voraciously - the saying "inhaling books" fits me very well. so here is my one and only choice for black and white:
word puzzles, (blurred) texts, a cross stitch pattern and even a piece of knitted text (I think M. Isager "invented" the newspaper sweater?) are my very small choice to stand for all books and texts that have changed the world so much over the last few centuries! I wonder where the world would be without the invention of language, writing and printing?