Saturday, March 25, 2017

More Rhubarb & A Field Trip

I just couldn't bring myself to dump out the rhubarb root dyepot quite yet! So I tore off a width of the wool gauze knit I told you about and gave it a quick wash in Unicorn Power Scour (there was quite a bit of sheepy smell and grease or oil in the fabric). The cut edges madly rolled up to the right side so I didn't think any kind of edge finishing would be necessary. Then I popped it in the reheated pot for an overnight soak. Of course I couldn't leave it just plain, could I? Instead I scrunched the whole loop up in my gloved hand and dipped one end in the soda ash jar and the other end in an iron solution. When I realised that I'd somehow gotten drips of iron water on the pinkish edge, I dripped some more on both edges to make the mistake look deliberate. Somehow those drips are darker than the greenish edge - both iron and alkaline creating grey? In the end I didn't leave the piece very long but tried rinsing it out quickly in order to avoid getting iron water all over it and dulling all the colours. The end result is not terribly exciting but I like it wrapped 3 times around my neck:

It stays put very well and keeps my neck warm but not too hot. Oh, and the sock yarn dried to a slightly more golden hue than the Highland wool did:

Very pretty! The little swatch of 20/2 wool was in the same pot and it is quite a bit lighter lemon yellow. Fascinating stuff. Meanwhile I still have some yellow in the pot but now I'm really planning to dump it because there's nothing left to dye right now. That was about 450g of fibre and only 150g of rhubarb root. I would say it's a pretty giving plant, wouldn't you? Roots (dye), leaves (mordant and dye) and of course the stalks (eating!) Here's one of my precious patches:

What else? Oh yeah. A proper photo of the Late Winter Fields Shawl:

I really like how it turned out and the handspun Corriedale holds its blocking beautifully. The pattern is Shaelyn by Leila Raabe. I made a few changes: balancing the lace pattern, knit 5 pattern repeats and didn't do the p2togs in the final lace section. I bound off after the last garter row with the Russian bind-off (k2tog tbl) for a nice substantial edge. Sadly it may not see too much use now until next autumn. But that's ok. It's a great memory of the snowiest iciest winter that I can ever remember in Vancouver.

Speaking of which, the city finally came and swept up all the sand that they threw on the icy streets. It was too much too late but better late than never, I suppose. Now maybe the vehicles won't get so covered in the dust!

On Thursday, Thom and I went to Granville Island for the opening of my friend Dawn's gallery show at the Craft Council of BC. Entitled "Thirteen to Zero: exploring sustainable design", she is working with historical cloth-cutting techniques to reduce fabric waste to zero. Dawn also uses plant dyes, rusting and other eco-conscious colouring methods. This approach is right up my alley, although I'm not so fond of the fit on my own body of most of the ethnic and historical garment shapes. I was curious to see what she did with the ideas.

The top on the left is pieced from small squares with the surface patterning eco-dyed with leaves and seeds. The bog jacket on the right is handwoven silk and Hanji paper yarn and rust-dyed. And this indigo dyed wool jersey top has no fabric waste:

This Greek-inspired cotton/linen dress is also indigo shibori-dyed to evoke dappled light on water:

The last piece is the most elaborate: subtraction cutting technique, ferment/compost dyed linen:

There was a photo of this gorgeous dress on a model along with the pattern:

You can see Dawn explaining her techniques to visitors just behind! If you are local, you should come and check it out in person, on at Crafthouse until May 4th. Dawn Michelle Russell, Della Terra Designs.

May I add here that knitting my sweaters is very minimal waste! A few small ends for the compost and sometimes leftovers to be used in another project. Result: a garment that fits exactly the way I want it, one stitch at a time. In my sewing I have a few more bits of waste depending on the pattern but I've discovered that if I'm making more than one garment I can arrange all the pattern pieces at once and become very efficient. Like a real-life Tetris game! My expensive Italian wool suiting had barely the tiniest scraps left over and I got a shirt-jacket and a vest with pieced collar and pockets both of which I wear a lot. Sewing doesn't always work out quite so well but we do what we can, right?

So if you didn't see it on Instagram (my user name: this is my next spinning project, the yarn for a sweater for Thom from the lovely Coopworth roving I bought at Fibres West from Birkeland Bros. The actual colour is a little cooler than the photo - kind of a warm mid-grey. He loves it and I've already spun nearly half a bobbin of singles. I'm going to be using my new Killer Kate to ply this so I need 3 full bobbins first! It spins up easily so will be a very pleasant task. Good thing because this will be a lot of yarn! Again.

I also want to whine about wanting to start my new yellow sweater as soon as the Cloudborn yarn is dry. However, I still need to finish a few other knitting projects first, not the least of which is the Isabel Likes Espresso cardi. I'm nearly up to the armholes and I'm still on the second skein. This stuff has amazing yardage! Though I'm sure I'll be joining a new ball tonight while I watch TV. Moving right along...

1 comment:

Sharon in Surrey said...

That's a pretty little shawl you made!! I hope you get to wear it before next fall. And isn't it amazing how some fabric that looks like old leftover rags on the hanger turns into a gorgeous dress when worn by a person. I am blown away. Looking forward to seeing Tom's new sweater.