Saturday, November 28, 2009

Socks, socks and a dress

Today, I've got some sock progress (both pair), and I've not done much other knitting because I was distracted by dying and dressmaking. That means I've got non-knitting content to report, I scored some really really cute and perfect fabric for my Poppy so whipped up a little summer number for my Pop, and I've dyed two lots of fibre, one worked the other I'm not so sure, well its worked but do I like it? I'm not sure - but I'll show, what is the point of hiding the mistakes?

First up socks, I've worked Poppy's afterthought heel sock right up to where the waste yarn needs to be knitted into mark the heel. I'm planning to video this one, so will park it on hold until my camera-bear is able to record that process. Unfortunately that might be next weekend, unless we have nice light one night this week - and we both remember.

Bears new socks developed a little more this week, I finally cast on for the second sock and worked a good way up the foot. So far so good, except it had been a good while since I knit the first toe that I forgot the increase placement was 2 stitches in on each side and worked these ones 1 stitch in ... no one will know except you and I, and maybe Bear if he is paying attention.

Poppy got a new dress this week, the fabric was some one of our 2nd year students used as toile fabric for her last design project. I mentioned my daughter was called Poppy and asked her where she bought the fabric and she named a shop out of town but offered to give me the unused fabric. I negotiated a fair swap using our standard school currency - a block of chocolate and took her up on the offer.

I used the same pattern as for Poppy's last dress, sleeveless, empire line and flared skirt, but added pouch pockets, faced at the top and gathered in with elastic just so all her dresses don't end up looking the same. I did have to buy a white zip .. but other than that it came in at the cost of a block of chocolate. Now all she needs is a return of the hot sunny weather to give the opportunity to wear it, the last few days have been decidedly cooler, too cool for a sleeveless sundress. Bear thinks it would work with a black long sleeved merino top and black tights and shoes, except that she doesn't have a black long sleeved merino top.

At the Milton open day I picked up 500g of combed carded white merino - with the aim of playing with dye. Reading Pat Olds new book, In a Spin fired up my enthusiasm again as she provided details of a no-felt, no mess method for dying sliver. The method contains all the dye mess in a plastic bag and then the fibre is boiled-in-the-bag, which really cuts down on the agitation and potential for felting. The other interesting thing about Pat's method is she suggests applying dye to dry fibre, with a wetting agent - the opposite of most methods I've read or seen online. I liked it, this is an inky blue purple blend, which had me all encouraged to try another.

...which didn't work quite as I had hoped. I know I had too little dye in the pot, and the plastic bag burst so I was a little anxious about it simmering. I removed it prematurely and as a result got a candyfloss pink mixed with pale amber and apricot. I was aiming for orange and medium grey - which it is not. Its pretty but its not what I would choose to spin - there is 150g. This is a mixture of penedale, alpaca and angora so will spin up with a fluffy halo - ideal for this colour perhaps but I am tempted to overdye it .. but no hurry.

I've already sorted the next fabric for the next sewing project, its not the summer dress for moi I still have planned, I've got to make the pattern for that one or at least modify the pattern for the last dress I made a little so it suits the fabric better. With any luck I'll have time at work this week during my lunch times to work on that, I love to use the large cutting and pattern making tables there, so much more space than the dining room table it just makes it easier. I still have to tidy up just like at home, I'm getting better at that. This is bag fabric .. and its fun, it makes me smile.

Take care
na Stella


Knitting Linguist said...

So many good things! I love Poppy's new dress -- it's just perfect for her, and I bet she loves it. And the lovely colors in that first dye batch are amazing. I like the second batch, too, and I think you're right that the resulting yarn will be very nice, but if it's not your kind of thing, overdyeing seems like a great option. I can't wait to see your new dress! :)

KathyR said...

Sometimes I feel as if I'm head of your fan club because so much of what you do I absolutely love! The socks are looking great, Poppy's dress is so sweet (I agree with Bear - a little black merino top, or maybe a little shrug, and tights could work for cooler days) and your dyeing is lovely! I really love the first sliver - smoky and sultry. The second is nice, but yeah, not really my colours either. Maybe does need a little something to jazz it up. Could be nice spun up and knitted in a colourwork design with another colour if you don't mind the halo. Otherwise, maybe another dye job would be the answer. More fun to look forward to!