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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Yarn Along - A Sheep Of A Different Color

You should probably better sit down.  I know I did several times ;-).

Sheepmom was here over the weekend.  Julie, too!  She didn't fill her truck with sheep this time, but she did fill it with pots, pans, miscellaneous supplies and...jars of wool dye.  Yeah, I know.  I told you to sit down ;-).  Somehow I got talked into adding a little bright color to my life.

I have a couple of white fleeces left from this year and surprisingly, Renny's fleece is still here.  I always hate to see her (or any of them, honestly) go each year (but I can't spin them all) and took this as a sign that this was my year.  I decided we would dye part of her fleece.  

I want to try a cardigan with steeking, or cutting your knitting to add a button band.  Yes, that's scary for sure, but oh so brave Renny will be perfect!  I always check Kate Davies patterns first, especially for colorwork, and something like this is at the front so far.  I'm envisioning a light gray (natural) body and colorful yoke.

I picked colors that I liked but also meant something to Renny's story.  Green for her coats she used to wear, rose for her best friend Miss Ewenice.  The yellow was just to add a bright pop if needed and blue as a possible background color.  Let's see how it turned out! 

We sorted out the darkest of the grays for the darkest color, hunter green (8 oz).  The next darkest went for a medium blue (12 oz) somewhere between the two bottles set out.  The lightest gray went for the bright yellow (6 oz).  A darker gray would have made it look pretty dull and dark I think.  The remaining was divided between light green (8 oz) and rose (12 oz).  This is about 1/3 of her total fleece.  The rest was left natural.

Robin uses Jacquard dyes and I was very happy with them as well.  After we had all the fleece divided, we filled a couple stainless steel pans, heated the water to 160 degrees, carefully added a small amount of dye, a goodly amount of vinegar and then the fleece.

Using insulated gloves, we slowly pushed the wool into the dye pot and then put the pot into the oven, set at 200 degrees.  I do realize that technically we should not have been doing this in the kitchen, but we did almost everything outside except the oven...but everyone knows how much little that oven gets used for food around here anyway ;-).

We monitored the pots carefully, watching to make sure the colors were looking the way we wanted and also if the dye had "exhausted" or was completely absorbed so the water remaining was clear.  

Some things we did to tweak the colors was to add some yellow to the greens to keep them from looking too blue.  We also ended up adding some black to the pot of dark green to make sure it was dark enough.  I didn't have to breathe into a paper bag even once and I have to admit it was even pretty fun ;-).

Since we only had a few pots, we transferred the finished dye pots to roasting pans to cool so we could start the next color.  It looks like I could make Kate a new rope toy with these two pans. Speaking of dogs, Kate and Weaslie spent the afternoon in the house so they wouldn't get into anything dangerous.  Betsy spent the entire day sleeping in various rotating positions under the same table so was therefore in no danger ;-).

Here are the colors we used.

And here's how they turned out.  I think we nailed them!

Interestingly, each lock took up the colors differently.  I noticed it first with the rose and when I pointed it out to Robin she explained that sometimes the tips will take up more than the cut end.  The blue color apparently didn't get that memo as it's the reverse.  I'm sure there's a scientific reason for that.  Anyone?

And here she is!

I think this is going to be fun.  I can't wait for it to dry (surely by today, although with all this rain, nothing's really drying :-o).  Obviously there is way more here than I need to make a sweater, so I hope I have it planned out so I can divide everything in half and maybe sell the second half to someone else who'd like so spin and knit a Renny project.  

On the reading front, I'm listening to Go Set A Watchman, the sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  I just started it yesterday (the release day) so am only a few chapters in. I have a feeling even if it's awful, we'll all enjoy it regardless.

Joining in with Ginny...

1 comment:

Simply Playing said...

I knit the Kate Davies sweater you are thinking of for my mom a couple of years back. It's a great pattern, very flattering to with a slightly fitted top and a A-line bottom, oh and the pockets are just perfect. Your colors look fabulous! I can't wait to see them all knit together.