A year ago a friend who also owns a small fibre business asked me to dye her some Autumn-inspired rainbow yarn for her to knit with for her own client. I was happy to oblige, and very pleased with the end results. This is the picture of the leg warmers she made. Her name is The Crimson Rabbit on Ravelry and here is her profile.
Now, repeating a colourway when you have no written data on how you accomplished it the first time can be a bit tricky, but not impossible. If you’re used to the same dyes you sort of develop an eye to recognise them, and this is more or less what happened in this instance.
You can see the yarn starts out a very light yellow and progresses to a slightly more orange-toned one. I mixed some dyes up, eyeballing the colours and dipping a corner of kitchen roll tissue in the liquid to determine when I was happy with the mixture. I did the same for each colour. I was lucky I recognised the yellow-brown dye at the end or I’d be in a lot of trouble to reproduce that particular one.
This is what the skeins look after they’d been steam-set and dry. I think it looks quite similar from the original one, don’t you? Winding these two skeins back to functioning yarn took me (I kid you not) around two hours. I had divided and tied up each section previously by weight, and boy it’s a lot more work to put it all back together…
Now, since I know my post is a little late (sorry about that) and a bit on the thin side, allow me to share a couple of images of the park near me when the cold arrived. Our friends over in North America will no doubt think this type of cold is cute, but I sure felt it in my bones…
Finally, another exciting commission: a raven! I was asked to make this and it had to specifically be a raven, not a crow. Not sure exactly how to tell the difference between the two, I did some internet research and, a few documentaries and image searches later, I think I’m a bona fide corvid geek now…
What exciting stuff have you been up to in the fibre world? Share away, I’d love to hear it.
A while back I dyed some silk and wool experimenting with making browns with acid dyes.
I wasn’t sure what I’d use it for, but I fell in love with the coppery silk habatoi. I made batts with the wool.
I had purchased some alpaca yarn this summer and wasn’t sure what I would do with it. For some reason it called to me even though it’s not my typical color way. But putting it next to the cooper silk, I had to come up with something to do with it.
I made felt base and placed the silk over it to nuno felt. I still wasn’t sure how I would attach the yarn. But then Ruth posted a blog about couching. Bingo!
I decided to make gingko leaves using the couching method of attaching the yarn.
It was a long process. I first had to outline the shape with stitching ( I tried white pencil and other pens, but this worked best.)
Then I pinned the yarn to the shape and began the couching process. Because the yarn was variegated it created some interesting color contrasts along with the variegated nuno background.
Then used straight stitching for the veins.
The yarn was two ply and I thought that the veins for the secondary leaves should be less obvious so I separated them to make the veins ( long process). Here is the progress –
Why gingko? I like the shape and also have a metal vase in my bedroom water closet that has the gingko leaves embossed on it. I thought this would tie the picture together with the vase.
The wall color is a purple haze which I thought would be a nice contrast. while the leaves aren’t perfect, I’m pleased with the result.
After my four days of dyeing experiment, I carded a bunch of batts with the different fibers I had dyed. I decided I wanted to do something a little challenging using the batts. So, after doodling around with a few ideas I settled on a handbag using a couple of the techniques I learned in Fiona Duthie’s Surface Design Class.
I didn’t have a pattern. So, I used the general shape of the purse I carry now and added 30% for shrinkage and made a template. It took a lot more planning than I had anticipated so I got very engrossed in making sure I had everything organized and followed each step in the right order. Unfortunately, I worked intuitively and forgot to write down the procedure and take pictures at each step.
I wanted to use fiber for the shoulder strap, but I also wanted it to be strong and not stretch. I made the shoulder strap first using a tightly woven scrim cut with the grain between layers of wool. I left long ends unfelted and wrapped plastic at the ends to try to protect it from the water, not that it helped. This would be the part I would felt to the bottom and sides of the handbag so it would be all one piece. Then I used a dowel to roll the strap until it was partially felted.
Here is one side of the purse with scrim lining between the wool layers, resist and a resist for one of the inner pockets. I wet one side then proceeded to lay out the other side working backwards from inside out. Laying out more pocket resists, the back and back pocket. I know that sounds strange, it was a little mind boggling.
The decoration for the flap had to be done first before attaching it to the bundle to felt. The middle was felted by hand and the circle of fiber around it was left unfelted in order to add additional fibers to felt into the bundle.
The handles were laid out on the bottom and the sides then worked on the sides first to ensure they held together during the felting process.
It was quite a thick bundle and once it was felted enough, I cut out the resists and continued to full and shape it until it sat up by itself. When dry, it had that “thud” of being completely fulled.
Three inside pockets.
One back pocket.
I wonder if I could duplicate this again? Maybe if I do I’ll write a tutorial. The one thing I would do differently is to put the shoulder straps on the inside of the bottom and sides rather than outside. That would be another challenge. What do you think?