Monday, August 03, 2009

A Little Disappointing

Well, I used the second half (actually slightly more than half at something over 2 kilos) of my woad. And got…not so much blue. Whahhhh! I don’t know what I might have done differently or if it was the presence of the bolting plants or something else that made the last batch so dark. Perhaps it’s the fact that the first area I used gets somewhat more sun than the plants I processed today? Maybe the 3-day gap between batches was just enough to make a difference? Who knows? Anyway, I got the same lighter blue as I did in last year’s batch even with numerous dips. I dyed one 100g skein of Zephyr merino/silk for yet another lace shawl and 100g more of the Crossbred roving. And no, this time I didn’t use the leaves again in a boiling water bath. You aren’t going to get a photo yet because I’m too tired to get the camera – plus it’s still wet and oxidising. I won’t give it all a final rinse until tomorrow. So I’ll show you the final results when it dries.

What else? Oh yeah. My Ravelry Meetup group voted the Ugly Skein (the Alpaca Lace, comfrey/coreopsis overdyed in woad) as Not-So-Ugly. Fine. I will leave it as is and eventually knit something or other with it. I’m all about the lace scarfy-shawls these days. And tams. I want to make so many tams. What I really need though are sweaters for next winter. I’m tired of living in polar fleece when I could be wearing wool. I figure the Heather Hoodie Vest (Ravelry link) by Debbie O’Neill from the newest KnitScene is a perfect substitute for my favourite fleece hoodie. Unfortunately every sweater I decide I want to knit is in bulky yarn and I need to spin some first! Bulky is hard. I can do 2-ply laceweight in my sleep but heavier yarns are much more difficult and take much heavy concentration or I revert to finer and finer singles. I also want to make a blend of a bunch of different stuff from the stash and I have to wait until it’s cool enough to go stash-diving in the currently-oven-like temperature of the attic. I need something over 2 pounds of fibre in order to spin 1000+ yds of bulky-weight and I may have to do it as a 3-ply just to get the thickness for the gauge of 3.5 sts per inch. If I can process it before we go on vacation then I can spin it while we’re camping.

Speaking of oven-like temps, it’s been a little cooler at a mere 27C. Amazing how much cooler that can feel after the stupid-hot days last week! The gorgeous weather continues though it’s supposed to become a little cooler each day. I’ll take it. And be happy.

I hope all my buddies who are going to the Sock Summit in Portland this week will have a wonderful time! Without me. Sniff. However, have you seen the Ravelry Sock Summit hand-dyed yarn contest? The photos are a wonderful inspiration for anyone who loves to dye their own yarns. Unfortunately my current fascination with botanical dyes from my own garden doesn’t lend itself particularly well to the hand-painted look. You can get something like it with extracts but the best I can do is dye fibre in individual colours and spin that into a more variegated yarn. Of course I have yet to actually spin most of my fibres! I’m waiting for a) it to cool off some so the stuff doesn’t stick to my sweaty hands and b) to have enough to work with because I dye in very small batches. More about this anon.

I’ll be babysitting the grand-beasties tomorrow afternoon while their parents go get their teeth cleaned at the dentist. Haven’t seen them for several weeks after the overdose I got when their mom was away in England for a week. I’m sure growth and maturity have occurred in the interim. It’ll be fun! Oh, and I’m nearly finished Milord Son-In-Law’s birthday socks. Yay!

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