Monday, March 17, 2008

Where Did Spring Go?

I should have known that I was enjoying the spring weather too much. Today is very cold and rainy and yukky. A good day to stay in and get stuff done indoors. I spent a goodly part of the morning sorting out all my recently collected knitting and crochet patterns and reorganising my “Inspirations” binder. I was reminded how many things I want to make Some Day. Not enough lifetime left to do it all in but that’s just fine. It’s the anticipation that counts. Besides, my grandmother lived to be another 40 years older than I am so you never know. At least I won’t be bored.

I stopped swatching and actually started on the Red Fields Shawl aka Zetor Scarf. I found out that Zetor is a brand of red tractors made in Czech Republic. Since I’m part Czech on my grandmother’s side and the pattern could be said to resemble planted rows (use your imagination, will ya), it works for me! I was surprised while checking out everyone’s versions on Ravelry how much the look of this pattern differs depending on how dense or lacy the knitting is. Mine is definitely lacy:

I forgot to mention yesterday that I also dyed a bunch of sock yarns:

Still trying to use up some old dye stock. The paler colours are weaker dyestocks of Lanaset (aka Telana) dye and the rusty red is made with stronger acid dyestocks. The yarns are ones I haven’t dyed before: the ocean blue-greens I named “Sea ‘n’ Sky” was a natural white On Your Toes (wool/nylon/aloe), the light blue with speckles was over KnitPicks Bare tweed (wool/nylon), and the rusty red that I’m calling “Persimmon” was a single skein of Louet Gems machine washable merino super fine/fingering.

I used what I call the “kneading” method to get near-solid colours. This works fine with the superwash sock yarn but I wouldn’t try it with anything that will felt. I soaked the yarn skeins in acid water (90ml of 56% acetic in 4 litres water) for 10 minutes. Then I poured some of the dye stock in a small plastic pail, enough to be absorbed by the yarn. After squeezing out the acid water leaving the skein damp, I quickly plopped it in the dye and wearing rubber gloves pushed and squooshed it around. Then I pulled the yarn out and added a bit more dye of a slightly different colour and repeated the kneading. When I was satisfied with the colours, I squeezed out any excess moisture (usually with not much colour left in it, except for the acid yellow that’s been giving me a hard time recently) and wrapped it in plastic wrap. The packages went into a heatproof dish for two 5 minute runs through the craft microwave with a 10 minute rest period between. After they cooled, I rinsed them and ran them through a few minutes of the spin cycle on my washing machine and then hung to dry. With the damp weather it’s been taking longer than usual to dry.

Oh, I don’t have to be Irish to wish you a Happy St. Paddy’s Day! Even if I am wearing red instead of green today…

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