15 February 2013

Dyeing with Eucalyptus and Sea Level Take Two

I've been wanting to experiment with eucalyptus as dye stuff for quite some time, then one day when I was out walking with the old man I saw this fallen branch lying on the ground, it was still fresh, so I brought it home (the old man walked a few paces behind pretending he didn't know me, ha!). It was my first time trying out this method although I've been reading about it, first I striped all the leaves and tore them into small pieces, next I soaked them for a few days, then I boiled and simmered the leaves in a pot for a couple of hours and let it cool. I used a skein of natural coloured merino/alpaca blend which I soaked in a vinegar solution, no mordant was used this time because some say you don't need mordant with eucalyptus (but I will next time).
The yarn was dunked in the dye bath, heated and simmered for an hour before being rinsed until water run clear. The colour is much lighter than I anticipated, well I didn't really know what to expect but somehow I thought the colour would be darker. The photo doesn't quite show the true colour, it really is a honey lemon sort of yellow. I wonder now perhaps I should have let the yarn soak for a few days before boiling, maybe next time.


When I run out of yarn for the Sea Level shawl using my handspun many of you suggested that I should carry on and use a colour that matched the skein, I didn't have any matching colours in the right weight in my stash (would you believe it?!) so I spun up a contrasting colour using my home dyed fleece. But then I did a handspun swap and received a gorgeous skein made of Loop! Self Striping Spontaneous BULLSEYE which was perfect for the pattern.
It took me nearly three weeks to finish but I'm very pleased with the result. The pattern was written for handspun from the Loop! batts, having completed the shawl I can really appreciate the beauty of both the design and the yarn, it's a perfect match! My Ravelry project page is here.

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08 February 2013

Cold Sheeping ... well, the start of anyway ;)

OK folks, I joined the "Cold Sheeping 2013" challenge on Ravelry. The idea is you pick a starting date and if you can refrain from making any yarn/fibre purchases for the next 30 days you get a 30-days badge, and if you can stick to it for another 30 days then you get a 60-days badge and so on... there are badges for 90-days, 6-months and 1-year. If you fall off the sheep you start all over again. My starting date was 1st February, and you are my witnesses, so far I'm still on the sheep. The dates are counting, slowly... ...

I was really pleased with my Tulipano Piaf Cowl  from last week, and in line with my cold sheeping theme I finished another project using the same stash yarn. As a result I used it all up (well, about 10 meters or so left but I call that used up), the yarn has been in my stash for over 2 years so it is quite satisfying to finally shift it.

I made this crochet capelet, another quickie project :)
This is a Drops design, very easy to make. My yarn choice is larger than what the pattern called for and I used a larger hook. So I started with less stitches to counter the differences, other than that the pattern is a straight forward one.

Apart from that I'm still working on a couple of WIPs and spinning away for DH's jumper, I've done 8 skeins so far, but the supply is running low even though I bought 1.8kg of the fleece. But the fleece has "dandruff" in it so intense carding is required, hence the high wastage and low yield. I might need to add colourwork if I run out. Lesson learnt: Do Not buy fleeces with "dandruff"!

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01 February 2013

A filler of a project :)

Thank you so much everyone for your encouragement on my half finished Sea Level Shawl, after  reviewing my options and my stash carefully I decided to dye some fleece and spin another skein to use as the contrasting stripes, which means I will unravel what I have done already. But with the new contrasting colour I should be able to finish the shawl whilst keeping the original Sea Flower's colour sequence. Fingers cross this will work, I will keep you posted.

In the meantime I have started and finished a filler project :)
The pattern is The Piaf Scarf by our own Denise of Voie de Vie, except I made it into a cowl that can be worn doubled up or hanging long.
This was a very easy knit and with 6mm needles a quick one too, I love the effect. The yarn is a mohair blend so there's a soft halo on top of the lacy stitches, the colourway reminds of the woodlands in spring with bluebells and snowdrops dotted here and there, it makes my happy :)

... is it just me or is my mannequin slopes a bit to the right, I mean to her left?

Thanks for dropping by, there is more fibre arts fun at Wisdom Begins in Wonder. Indulge your creative side and join the party!