Friday, February 27, 2009

Stupid Stupid Stupid

Yes, I’m talking about myself!!! How could I have spent close to a month spinning, plying, washing, mordanting and dyeing something and be so absolutely flat-out WRONG about it? It’s NOT silk and wool but silk and COTTON! DUH!!! Sorry, I am definitely shouting. And thumping my forehead on the wall…

So how did I suddenly discover this minor little fact that I managed to miss before? To be honest, I kind of thought the “wool” was rather short and clumpy while I was spinning. But it was soft! And some merino feels like cotton to me anyway. No, I didn’t do a burn test. I believed the label that I had put on the bag lo those many years ago. I ignored all evidence to the contrary and carried on thinking I had wool in there. But unfortunately after I started to rinse the pretty dyed yarn late yesterday a whole lot of colour came out. I rinsed and rinsed and got sick of rinsing. Now it’s quite pale and it never did rinse clear. Why is that a clue to the cotton you ask? Because I didn’t scour the yarn as for cotton (which is too hard on the silk anyway because of the high pH soda ash) nor did I mordant for cotton (tannin/alum/alum) so the brazilwood didn’t stick well to the cotton, only to the silk. You can also tell because the cotton ties I used on the skeins are very pale indeed. On top of that when it dried it lost several more values so the final colour is much MUCH lighter than I wanted:

Silk-cotton Handspun

Boo-hoo! I kept it orangey by using a little citric acid in the second-to-last rinse (otherwise it was heading for pale raspberry pink) and now it’s almost exactly the same colour as my Swallowtail shawl which was definitely not my aim. Plus now it looks like string, not fluffy. I restored the sheen somewhat when it was dry by slapping the skeins on the counter. That string-like look is the big disappointment for me since I was hoping for a bit of fluff to go with the silk sheen. However I don’t have time to begin again so I soldiered on:

Estonian Lace Scarf_beg

This is the centre of the scarf (finally decided on Estonian Lace by Nancy Bush, IK Fall 2001) and it is definitely narrow enough to use as a swatch. So I just began with the recommended crocheted provisional cast-on and my 2.75mm Addi Lace needles. I might have tried a 3mm but they are in use! It looks ok and a larger needle size might increase the “thready” look too much. I like the beads that I chose to be the nupp-substitutes: lilac transparent with a gold surface wash in size 6. The beads don’t show up quite as well as nupps do but they are faster and give some weight to this fabric. I think once the edging is knitted on the scarf will be around 8” or so wide at the points. Maybe. It might also have to go longer than the 15 more repeats specified. We’ll find out for sure eventually.

On a happier note, go check out the Think Outside The SOX contest entries here. 292 pairs! My favourites are the fish socks #73. But there are a lot of very gorgeous and/or wild ideas in that gallery. I never underestimate the ingenuity of knitters!


Anonymous said...

It's lovely though. :) I think most merino feels like cotton when I spin it. Might be why I don't like spinning it much!

Louisa said...

Thank you, hon'! I need all the encouragement I can get right now.