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I have two undertakings to

September 21, 2003

I have two undertakings to report today. First, here is my newest WIP, Poetry in Stitches p.124 (this is the pullover version of the cover sweater).

I’m not very far along, but maybe you can see the two different shades of pink behind the flower pattern, and how the eyelet row is going to turn up to make a pretty picot edge.

It’s interesting to knit a color design that is NOT geometric but rather representational. She still has a horizontal symmetry in her chart that makes it easy to follow, but vertically it’s making a picture instead of working out a pattern.

I’m using 3.5mm needles which is one size larger than I’d use for a standard fair isle sweater. I knitted too tightly at first so as you can see I have some puckers to block out especially in the darker pink area. Also I stupidly found myself carrying the light color above, which doesn’t work since the light color is the pattern in this sweater and not the background like it was in the last sweater I made – so we’ve got that worked out too and it’s starting to move along more quickly.

Dyeing – Another Thing I Swore I’d Never Do…
Here’s a little photo journal of my dyeing of my plain white merino (spun on my wheel – about 2 3/4 ounces and about 140 yards) with easter egg tablets on Saturday.

First, the yarn before dyeing:

The dye mixture itself, a small amount of vinegar with the tablets dissolved, and me being a showoff with my stained fingers just like the big girls:

I put in the blue and pink tablets, looking for a medium purple, and got: BLUE. In a fit of giddiness I dropped in the purple tablet, and got: BLUE. So I guess this dye was meant to be BLUE.

The dyebath (water brought to a boil, with the dye stirred in):

The yarn just put into the dyebath:

The dyebath after the water has gone clear, about 3 hours later:

The yarn when it was all over:

It may be hard to tell from this picture, but there is a slight variability of color that makes it look much better than it should for the amount of work I did! I couldn’t wait for the water to be totally cold – after about 8 hours when it was still warm I rinsed it in water the same temperature and it seems not to have been harmed.

My plan is to divide it in half and get as far as I can on a pair of ankle socks, and finish the feet with some other bluish yarn I have lying around. I want to reinforce the heels but all my reinforcing yarn is rather dark, I may have to go looking around for some lighter. The pattern I’m thinking of using is the ‘basic sock’ from Learn To Knit Socks by Edie Eckman. I really found this to be a great book for learning the mechanics of top-down sock knitting and I still follow it when I have to graft.

The bottom line of all this is that if I can do this dyeing thing, anyone can!

  1. vanessa permalink
    September 21, 2003 7:00 pm

    wow! caroline, i LOVE that pis sweater, the pink will look great with your dark hair. and the blue yarn is fantastic! wish i could see it in person 🙂

  2. Faylene permalink
    September 21, 2003 8:11 pm

    Prudence, my dear!
    I continue to be amazed at your talent and your productivity. You’re puttin’ me to shame, girl!
    The yarn is just beautiful – love the subtle shading. Socks would be cool – or how about ornaments for OC Easter?
    And I’m looking forward to seeing PIS progress.

  3. kim myhre permalink
    September 22, 2003 1:59 am

    Lovely work with the egg dye. You should be so proud!!!

  4. September 22, 2003 5:41 am

    You don’t even know me and here I am in total yarn lust and envy! Beautiful yarn dyeing and I SO much want to learn to do Fair Isle knitting. Unfortunately I live in such a rural area it’s not likely I will ever “stumble” on someone able/willing to teach.

  5. September 22, 2003 9:29 am

    Hurrah for Lady Fiddletwist! Beautiful blue color, and I do see the variation. It will give depth to whatever you knit, well done my dear.

  6. Linette permalink
    September 22, 2003 10:08 am

    The Poetry sweater sweater is lovely and looks like great fun to knit, and the dyeing exercise is inspiring. What exciting stuff!

  7. September 22, 2003 4:29 pm

    Ah Ms Fiddletwist, what beautiful work you do. I hope you will continue to show us your progress on the PIS sweater. So pretty.
    Your first dyeing effort is just gorgeous. The blue was surely meant to be as it’s SO beautiful!

  8. Angela permalink
    September 22, 2003 5:04 pm

    Miss Prudence, may I follow you around and knit/spin/dye whatever project you have just finished as my own? Everything you produce, I want to do as well! Inspiring as always.

  9. September 23, 2003 5:26 am

    Angela, you can follow me around if you wear that flamingo skirt so everyone will say I have cool friends!

  10. September 26, 2003 11:44 am

    Prudence, cara, delighted with the dyeing! How did you figure the proportions, I mean quantities, in creating the bath? Are there some general guidelines you (or Ryan) can point us wanna-dyes to? Grazie ~

  11. September 26, 2003 6:32 pm

    Well, I had an email from Lori that said, 1) heat a pot of water on the stove, 2) soak the yarn in warm water, 3) dissolve one or more tablets dye in 1/4 cup vinegar, 4) when water just boils turn off heat and stir in dye mixture, 5) immerse yarn in dyebath and leave till it cools, 6) remove and rinse in water the same temperature as the cooled dyebath. That was it. I can’t imagine it being any more simple.

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