Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend Fibre Warrior

Now, what the world has asked for! Damn the Olympics! Everyone..I'm waiting with baited breath to see what all I've gotten accomplished on my hubby-free weekend, and I just couldn't disappoint everyone!

I have, of course, knit more on the "Socks Ahoy" sock project, although really not enough progress has been made to warrent a picture. I have switched off to my last two "half balls" of Koolaid dyed Patonyle, and have added another pattern repeat to either side of each sock (that would be two pattern repeats per sock) to compensate for my fat calves. I expect to have them finished in the next few days, although as we all know...anything can happen.

Finished or not, I do plan to cast on for another sock (or something small) project before next weekend, which is "State Titles" in Western Action shooting. I'm off work Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and we have a cabin over near the state shooting park for Friday and Saturday night, so I will need a small project for the event. The Socks Ahoy are just too close to completion to last thru that. Trouble is, I haven't settled on anything yet.

I also managed to get some dyeing done. I had 3 50g balls of white 8ply Heirloom superwash that I'd bought heaven knows how long ago, so Saturday morning, I put the wool on the skein winder and got it ready to dye.

I tied green cotton yarn around each skein, and then tied all three skeins together, so that (hopefully) they would stay together during the dying process and match fairly well.Then I gave the whole thing a good 24 hour overnight soak (ok, maybe 22 hours..but whose counting?)

I wanted something this time that wasn't quite as pastel, or as bright, as what I've made before. Something a bit more earthy...colors anyone would wear. So I got some ideas from this article in Knitty and from my Twisted Sister's Sock Workbook (which is, by the way, more about dyeing than about knitting socks)and went to mixing Koolaid colors.

I sat up the "dyeing lab" (the dyeing lab meaning old bowls, aluminium baking pans and a mismatched collection of jars) and I did a heap of experimenting. I really wish that I could tell you how much I used of what, but in the end, I really couldn't. I had decided that I was going to "dip dye" this lot, and that I wanted a yellow base and brownish goldish colors (that was the plan, anyway) I took a few packs of yellow koolaid and disolved them in water in a bowl. Then I looked at the color wheel. Purple was on the other side, so I added a few drops of purple to tone down the yellow. That was going to be my base color.

Then I took yellow or orange and added either blue or purple (those "opposite" colors on that wheelie thingy) and made a few other shades I wound up fairly happy with.

I took the skein out of it's soak, squeezed out some of the excess water, and dunked the whole bit into the bowl of toned down yellow. Then I took it out, set it aside, dumped the clear water left in the bowl and took the next lightest color, the more orangy one, and poured it into the bowl. Once again, I dunked, but this time only a part of the skein. I did this twice more, going from lightest to darkest shades, and leaving a gap of plain yellow for good measure.

I stuck it in the microwave for two-ish minutes and then lay it out to cool for about an hour (although it was probably cool in 10 minutes...but I had other things to do).

Then I gave it a bath in sudsy wool wash and rinsed and hung it in the utility room sink.

I'm pretty happy with the colors so far, but it's yet to dry, so I'll have to get back to you on my final verdict.

Now, on to other things. I had the intention of spinning something over this weekend, and having the "poodle trauma still fresh in my mind, I though perhaps a change of fibre would be in give me new incetive...a new zest for the spin.

Not too long ago, my friend from Moseley Park Shop had sent me some silk caps that she had dyed with some Koolaid I had sent her (aren't we knitters a sharing bunch??!!??), so I's the ticket. I'm not sure what exactly I had expected. When the package with the silk caps had arrived, I had looked at them, even taken them out and felt of them, but I guess I hadn't examined them all that much. When I took them out this weekend with the intention of working with them, I discovered all sorts of things I hadn't counted on.

For instance, did you know that silk caps really do look like caps? Well, I didn't. But when you open it up, it does look like those little paper caps I used to make in grade school. Cute, but what on earth do I do with it?

Faced with this delimma, I consulted the Google Gods, and found this website with pretty dang good instructions on how to make rovings out of your cap.

So I separated the layers and came up with very very filmy stuff.

Then I poked a hole in the center of that and stretched and stretched and stretched until I had this HUGE circle of silky roving.

(that's a two dollar coin in the picture)

And came up with what looks like the right thickness..although I think the thickness is optional depending on how thick you want your yarn to be.

But now, I can't find any good advice on how to actually spin it. The fibres are so long...and ordinarily I would say that is a good thing, since I cannot handle shortish wool fibres...but these are so long I'm not sure how to draft it. I've read that you can't get silk to be smooth, that is, it will have texture, but I don't want it positively bumpy.

So, I've requested help from some spinners I know on Ravelry, and I'm awaiting thier advice at this point.

That's pretty much how my weekend went. Hubby is due back sometime this afternoon, but by then I suppose I will be in bed sleeping, getting ready for work tonight. Meanwhile, I'll play around on here trying to work out what my next sock project will be. Must cast on...must cast on..

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