Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Colour, colour, colour deep and strong.

Quick post before we drive north tomorrow, and more colour, finally a fish report, Toby my 8 year old has a knitted project he insisted I include in this post, and more on my latest fetish - spindle spinning.

We plan on going north to Waimate Thursday, where we will leave the 8 year old with the 5 and 73 year old*, departing Friday morning to to Geraldine (rumored to have alpaca for sale), then on to Asburton (home of Ashford! - with the factory!), on to to Christchurch where Bear wants to take me out for dinner and buy lots of dark room supplies. He and two buddies are setting up a darkroom studio, and yes we know it is the age of digital, we have had that conversation already. Its the same as knitting when you can buy clothes.

I'm always surprised at the intensity of these yarns, somehow I expect hand dyed yarns to be pale, subtle and faint, but these are strong and vibrant. Usual recipe, skein up yarn in 210m hanks and soak in a liter of warm water with 1/3 cup white vinegar, this time I boiled the yarn, so to one liter of water, 2 mustard spoons of powdered food dye, a squirt of brown dye (in liquid form - to tie the colours all together), mix, add wet yarn, and simmer gently until liquid is clear or clear-ish. The yellow, green, and orange all exhausted, that is the water turned clear as all the dye was taken up by the fiber. The blue, rose red, and brown didn't - mental note, use less brown and blue next time. btw the rose red is sold as rose 'pink' - maybe I used to much? So beautiful strong colours, all ready for the Peruvian knitting workshop in 3 weeks, me I'm not over keen, am I? does it show? And I am wondering what colours I would dye for me to knit and wear ... something not so bright perhaps?

And this? I wound off the cone some of the 4 ply natural merino from the Mill shop in Milton. I want to swatch knit, and fish for the fish blanket seem a good idea. The first cone of wool bloomed so much, that while this looks like heavy fingering, - I just want to check it doesn't turn into something heavier once washed.

Here is the latest fish, No 97 I think ... each square of the check is just under a cm, so more of a goldfish or sardine really.

Toby is 8, and has been working on these for a while now, occasionally I catch him sitting quietly in front of kids-tv knitting away. He has a french knitting doll, the kind that makes I-cord (has around 70 cm done), and a plastic knitting frame. Some time early last evening he came and showed me his 'innovation', he had created a thumb hole by 'not knitting a few' and wanted me to cast off. So I did. I let him know there was a 'neater' way to make a thumb but his way was just fine - and just between you and me, that really isn't ribbing, its ladders. Nothing wrong with feeding fiber obsessions in one so young is there?

This is the frame he uses,

And spinning, yes I'm sort of addicted, mostly because I want to get it right. I can see my errors, to uneven, to thick, to slubby, and much to much twist. This is day 3/4, and I have switched to a different fibre. In the batch I bought from the mill there was a some smooth and straight, and some with more crimp. I've been to the library and got out every spinning book I could and they all say more crimp is good for beginners. This morning I switched to the crimpier fiber and it was immediately, and easier and finner. Some how I would have thought straighter fibers would produce finner yarn, but for me right now the crimpier ones make finner yarn. I'm working on reducing the twist, I realise the spindle shouldn't spin like a furious top, more like a lazy spin, giving me time to feed out a really fine even bit of fibre to add.

* the 73 year old is my dad, the 5 year old is Poppy. so nearly 2 days, one night childless ....... :-D


Diantee said...

Hi, looks as though you have been very productive lately. How come you have such exciting workshops down there. Nothing like that up in Wellington. Diantee

JustApril said...

He's already looking for innovative ways to create thumb holes! He'll be a true knitter. All of your hand dyed stuff looks awesome.

Knitting Linguist said...

Ooh! Those colors are lovely -- so deep and rich. And I love your son's mitts -- anyone who can figure out the first step to a thumbhole on his own is bound to be quite a fiber artist. Travel safely!

Desiknitter said...

OMG that is so beautiful! He actually figured out thumb shaping all on his own - congratulations to Toby! Very well done.

Lovely fall colours....

Shirley Goodwin said...

Lovely yarns Stell -no way does hand dyeing (painting in my case) produce pastels! I have wonderful vibrant colours. Hope the trip went well.

I have a spindle too but have been totally unsuccessful at using it.

Jessicah said...

Wow your dying is stunning! I use food colouring too- but the liquid kind. It looks as though the powder gives much more vibrant colours- where do you get it from?
The Milton Shop sounds like a real goldmine- Next time I'm down that way I'll be sure to check it out!
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Looking foward to seeing how your spinning goes :)