Monday, October 17, 2016

Finally finished! and Rhinebeck 2016

I spent the past few weeks finishing up a blanket that is going to get donated to the local domestic abuse shelter. Many moons ago, my professional society asked me to run the knitting part of a community outreach project and I thought of Project Linus. However, we wanted to do something local so we decided to make a blanket or two and donate it locally. There was also a parallel quilting project. Fast forward a year and the quilts were done and donated but we didn't have enough patches for our blanket. So we continued and then I disconnected from it for a few years - between work and going to China. When I came back, the board asked me if I would take it over. I agreed and was promptly presented with a large bag full of patches. Some had been crocheted together but most were just sitting there. They were all different sizes!

We met once in 2015 and made a little progress but not enough. So this year, I tried to do a monthly meet-up to work on the blankets. Thanks to a core group of dedicated people, we did. We crocheted around the smaller patches to make them the same size as others and sorted them into similar sizes so we could make two blankets. I brought one blanket home to finish crocheting the last strip on, weaving in the ends, and doing a border and another lady took the other one home to do the same as we were very close. I haven't had a chance to wash and block hers but mine is done.
I'll post a picture of the other when it is blocked. They will be donated in the next couple of weeks. It feels good to have completed this project.

Beyond that, I haven't done much but I am planning to now spend an hour every evening working on something. I did start untangling the silk yarn that got into a huge tangle. I think one more evening and I can start knitting it again.

I also took an inventory of my Rowan Calmer stash and have planned to make a hooded sweatshirt type of sweater from one of the colors. I may make a few more in other colors. I thought I'd make a Wonderful Wallaby but the gauge doesn't match up so I'll just work up a similar sweater in the Calmer gauge.

Next up was Rhinebeck. I took 2 classes. A two-day acid dyeing class and a 3 hour indigo-dyeing class. During the acid dyeing class, we used Washfast dyes and made a color wheel and a grey gradient to learn how to mix and dye colors from a set of primaries as well as dye various depths of shade. Then we went to town and handpainted yarn and fiber. I worked on fiber only. I dyed some Corriedale roving and a bunch of Montadale/Corriedale locks that I had washed from a partial fleece.
 That is my roving on the right in the top picture and the locks I dyed in the bottom.
With our color wheel and gradient skeins, we made color cards for ourselves with the recipe foe each color next to the sample. This is the color wheel we dyed. This photo shows the full 5 gm sample skeins that the teacher brought to class. We dyed the same colors in class but cut up our skeins to make the cards.

While I've dyed before and am quite a confident dyer, I didn't feel I had the details nailed down to produce consistent and repeatable colors. Now I can use my icing gel colors or synthetic colors like Washfast to dye more systematically and therefore repeatable and consistent.

My final results from the 2 day class:

I plan to flick the locks and spin them as is. They were a medium gray to begin with. I am surprised at how bright the color is on them. The roving is a sample from the Corriedale I bought in New Zealand. I want to spin it and see how it works up and then I'll dye more. I made notes on the colors I used. I was inspired by the fall.

The indigo class was a lot of fun also. The teacher made an indigo vat and we did shibori work and dyed a silk scarf. Mine needs to be finished with the last couple of soaks so I will photograph it when it is done.

There are the vats we used and a close up of what it looked like inside the vat.

I also bought fiber and an impulse purchased shawl pin. The only item on my shopping list was Power Scour as I believe it cleans at a lower temp than Dawn blue detergent. In order to get the Dawn to work, I have to add boiling water to my laundry tub that is pre-filled with the hottest tap water. This involves many 8-qt pots of boiling water that have to be carried from the kitchen to the laundry room. I don't enjoy this process because I am prone to dropping things and boiling water all over me won't be pleasant. Shipping costs on Power Scour are high so I wanted to buy it. I went to Carolina Homespun and was told that they don't sell it at fairs where they have to ship because of the weight! Fortunately, Susan's Fiber Shop had it. They probably drive here while Carolina Homespun ships their stuff to Rhinebeck.

The haul:

 A Cyprus gradient from Fiber Optic Yarns. I am going to spin this with Wild Thyme, starting with the green and going to the blue and blending the two blues before going on to the green in Wild Thyme. One blue is more purply than the other but I put them next to each other and they look good.
 A braid of Queen's Red. I have a one-of-a-kind braid that is similar to Queen's Red and I think I can ply them together to create more of a complex color. I'll have to see. Either way I love the red.
I also bought 4 oz each of 3 different tops from Maine Top Mill. This is the Lightspeed blend of merino, rambouillet and sparkle nylon.
 This is the cStorm from Maine Top Mill.
And lastly, this is 14.5 micron merino (in the cashmere range) blended with yak. The top is very good quality and very airy. A lady in the booth had bought an ounce the day before and spun it in the evening. She was back to buy a bunch more and said it spun like freshly combed top.

I got 2 bags of the Odds and Ends from Into the Whirled. These are inexpensive for hand dyed fiber and are a lot of fun to spin. You can spin them on the go on a spindle as they are small quantities. Then you can use them together because she has combined colors that go together in each bag. Last year I stopped by on Sunday and they were all gone. So this year, I went over after lunch on Saturday, after the hubbub had died down. I was able to pick from quite a selection.

This was my impulse shawl pin. It is sterling silver and copper and is knitting needles and yarn. I bought it on a total impulse and it was expensive but I love it. I hope it stays in. Most shawl pins fall off and I'm afraid of losing them so I don't wear them. It is from On the Bend. I asked if she could make me a spindle pendent and she said yes. That might be something I commission.

 In my dyeing class there was a lady from Australia. Her shop is It's Ewe! and she breeds 15 micron or AAA rated merinos. She says the fiber rarely leaves Australia and what does leave is snapped up by top designers. She gave each of us a sample of her fiber. It is lovely!
Finally, last but not least, this is a scarf a friend is making from my handspun. The fiber is from Gale's Art and is called Moldy Pumpkin. It was a Rhinebeck purchase from a few years ago.

I didn't try to keep the colors together. Just divided in half and spun it end to end and then made a 2 ply. I think that is the perfect choice of pattern for the yarn!

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