Archive for May 1st, 2009

home dyed skein oneI’m shivering through today, shivered through last night, and through yesterday, laid low with another of my recurrent bouts of tonsilitis. I so hate this. I can probably write off most of the next week to misery. I had no energy today so I did little more than make the builder tea, look at a little y-a-r-n p-o-r-n and order some undyed merino to play with when my wonderful package turns up from America. A very kind Raveler offered to send on some precious American food dye, with lots of colors I can’t get here! Yummy colors, no less. I’m getting ready to put my postman through some severe stalking next week.

This, for those who are interested, is the etiology of the new madness. The Beloved plays cricket in the season. He claims “it’s only a short season”, but as it takes an almost day-long chunk out of our weekend from April to September (weather permitting), and one or two evenings a week once things really get going in May, I’m not so sure. However, it keeps him happy – coat in good conditon and his eyes shiny – so I am pleased for him, especially since he is unfailingly supportive of my own amusements, but I do wish it consumed less of our family time. Anyway, off he went on Saturday, and the builders – while not actually around over the weekend – had created an unholy mess in the back part of the house, so I couldn’t even reach Kelvin (he’s sulking: they’ve put a pink and purple dustsheet on him, and are treating him as a coffee table. I don’t know how I’ll make it up to him). There are a few Kelvin ideas percolating, but they’ll have to wait. The little ones were asleep, Child One was lurking with a book, there was nobody to stop distract me…

So, having finally got around to picking up some food coloring in Waitrose, with Child One’s birthday next week in mind, I decided it would be much more fun to let it loose on some interesting eBay yarn I had no idea what to do with. This was 150g of two-ply merino/silk in a natural color of unknown wiehgt/yardage. I thought – correctly – that the wool and silk would take up the dye slightly differently, and anyway, apart from the stash of angora which I want to stay cream, I didn’t have anything else to play with.

I happened to have some citric acid around (from bath bomb making for Child One’s birthday party two years ago), which was handy, as I didn’t have “white vinegar” (don’t really know my different vinegars apart, other than wine versus spirit). So I soaked the yarn for “a while” (aka, not very long really, but it’s all an experiment anyway, so who’s to say it’s not enough?) then laid it out on cling film and poured food coloring, turmeric solution (OK, OK, turmeric in suspension: don’t be pedantic), tea solution and coffee all over it. Wrapped the cling film firmly and steamed the package for “a while” (see above for more specific timing). I’m impatient. I put the finished yarn in a bag and spun it as fast as my washing machine would let me and hung it over the door to finish drying. Then I carried it around in my arms for a while (about twenty-four hours, actually). Child One suggested I could wear it, as is, without knitting, as a scarf, and by George, I think she’s right. In fact, if I hadn’t felt compelled to wind it into a ball to get a better sense of the colors, I would be doing exactly that right now. After all, I am wearing my heaviest cardigan (aran wight, 75%wool, 25% mohair – and warm) and the black wrap/scarf which was almost the first thing I made and all the other clothes I put on this morning when my temperature was more conventional. I’m toying with either a) putting on my fingerless gloves or b) crawling into the oven alongside the chicken I’ve just put in there.

Anyway, this is the result. I think it might be a little lurid, but maybe it will be acceptable. I suppose it depends how it knits. It ca always be redyed to damp the colors down if required. For the record, I also think it’s sport weight and around 240 m. We shall see. A shawl is my best guess, but more specific suggestions – or entirely different ones – are most welcome.

first dyed skein1first dyed skein2fisrt dyed ball

ball winder of notePlus, two good things happened in this winding process: Child One offered her arms, perfectly spontaneously (I think she was fascinated by the whole mad scientist event), and I discovered a ball-winding tool with great potential – Child Two’s plastic toy comb. She was adamant that it wasn’t mine, but hers, and I shouldn’t use it, but I overruled her, invoking the sharing principle. She remains unimpressed, so I’ve hidden it on my desk (this is way too easy to do, and can be passed off as accidental if I’m challenged).

Now I’m going to get myself as close as possible to a source of heat, and take a medicinal scotch, for my throat’s poor sake. Next up: the great hot glass event…

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