Monday, September 24, 2007

Its term break so ..... fibre time.

School holidays started on Saturday, for two weeks, and smallest child has gone to visit granddad for much of this week, which leaves one 8 year old underfoot. Things are pretty calm here so I've been playing, some dying, some buying and some finishing up of a project that never even made my WIP list a few weeks ago. And yes, Tania - another post another stash enhancement. So in a year when other knitters are knitting from their stash, I am actively growing mine.

The dying, when I finish Hedgerow, I plan to knit Brother Amos mostly because Brenda has made it clear just why she chose each construction technique, and you all know I'm a sucker for techniqe. I had stashed undyed trekking away to use and inspired by Clara's newsletter on how to create your own semisolid colour sock yarn I painted flame based colours onto the Trekking, using chocolate, two shades of red, egg yellow, and an orange mixed from the yellow and the reds. I took my time and did some test yarns first, and then painted away. I am still using at home amateur food colour dyes, the powder ones, but got a really good result. First result was a bit orange, so while it was still damp I returned it to the pot and over dyed with chocolate so now have glowing ember colours to keep my tootsies toasty warm.

At the last weavers and spinners knitting group, many of the other knitters had their little miniature Guernsey sweaters finished which spured me to finish mine. I reknit it, and it has little under arm gussets, a shoulder strap. I did omit the neck gusset as Curley has a large head and didn't need the neckline pulled in. Curley is in Waimate with Poppy just now, so she couldn't model for me. The Guernsey is sitting beside the sink as an indication of size. In case you are wondering, this is a Kauri wood bench, the original kitchen bench installed in the house in 1939. It shows wear, but looks much better than I'd imagine any 1939 formica or synthetic would look today. Its like having a giant chopping board to use, and no - we have never died or suffered from food poisoning.

The next 'class' is on Peruvian knitting and we were asked to bring fine yarn, in lots of colours to work with. I did a little swotting up and read about how bright colours are traditionally used so set about dying some. Yesterday Toby and I drove to Milton, 40 minutes south of Dunedin to check out the Milton Woolen Mill factory yarn shop, what a find! I purchased two cones of wool, one merino crossbred and one unknown 'wool' from the sale table. They also had possum merino 50g balls of dk weight for $3NZ, merino alpaca, and several weights of cone yarn, all labeled by sheep breed and spinning style. A fine gauge knitters idea of a yarn shop.

The original white yarn was a cone of merino 2 ply, the finer of the two in the image above, bought for the substantial sum of $5. It was marked 500m, but I wound of 2 batches of 200m yesterday to dye and didn't seem to alter the cone size at all. I clamped my warping pegs to give a skein length of 1m, and wound off two hanks each 210m, then dyed one orange and one green, they yarn bloomed considerably when dyed/washed. I plan to add blue, purple, pink and chocolate brown over the next 3 weeks so i am ready to knit something Peruvian at the next class.

While I was at the Mill factory shop, I did get waylaid by a basket of yarn at 20c a ball, which I though would be of use for the Peruvian class, but on arrival home found it was mostly singles yarn, so not of use for knitting. But I do have that table loom ...

At The Mill factory shop, also sold fibre for spinning in what I think are called slivers(?), most was merino blends, with silk or tencel, but they did have dyed merino fibre for $10 a kilo, in deep red, orange red and green. I've been thinking about spinning and so bought 50g of fibre on a whim, a whole 50c investment. Latter that same day I used internet instructions to build my own spindle, and last night played with spinning. Its not easy, but it was day one for me the beginner spinner and I liked it, I liked it a lot. The single yarn I made is not the kind of yarn I like to knit with, much to much twist, but I am a beginner and it was strangely satisfying. On friday I'm off to Ashburton home of Ashford, and thoughts of acquiring a spinning wheel are strong. Chris is not helping much, he is enabling this thinking, I have been scouting around second hand ones on Trademe, the New Zealand version of E-bay, .... I'll let you know.


KathyR said...

Welcome to the dark side! (spinning, that is!) Lots of fun is stall for you. Enjoy your trip to Ashfords - just watch your pennies. They can disappear fast there.

The singles you have spun look fine (what I can see) but will improve with practice. Quite a bit of the twist will come out in the plying as it is twisted in the opposite direction. Could be possibilities of using the "energised" yarn for knitting. There was an article in the Spin Off mag a while back (I think). Maybe your spinning group has it?

Tanya said...

What beautiful colours Stella! Really vibrant.

Nikki (Mother of the Devil Child) said...

Lovely dyeing! The colours are gorgeous! And well done on the new skill :) Looks like there is much more trouble to be had now... look out world!

EnnaVic said...

That mini guernsey is gorgeous :)

Looking forward to seeing some of your Peruvian knitting :)