Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mixed Berries...

... is my tentative name for these skeins of homespun fingering/sport weight yarn from some Polwarth roving I bought last summer at Black Sheep Gathering.  According to my rough estimates, it's about 440 yards, enough for a shawl.  It's not superwash, so it's not practical for socks (at least not in my house, where you can't count on anything being handwashed unless you intercept it yourself first every time.)  But it will make a nice shawl, and I've been queuing quite a few shawls on Ravelry.  I don't wear them much because they make me look like a dork, but that's beside the point.

I dyed the roving using food colorings.  Wilton's cake decorating gels are great, and I also have a few of the liquid kind you find at the grocery store.  I have an old canner kettle that I use for dyeing.  You pre-soak the wool for 30 minutes, add it to the kettle (already filled with water and a few glugs of vinegar) and slowly heat it to a simmer, adding your dabs and drops of food dye at will.  Nothing terribly scientific about it.  When the color disappears from the water and seems to be absorbed into the yarn, you take it off the heat and try to be patient while it cools.  You should soak it in water the same temperature as the cooled dyebath to make sure any excess dye gets removed.  Still, while I was spinning it, my thumb and fingers got pink.

The top photo is the truest color, but the strong natural light washes it out a bit.  The lower photo is too blue, but shows the tonal variation a little better.

No comments: