Knitting and a Movie

This is yet another knitting blog

Friday, July 13, 2007

Weed Play

I had these weeds growing in my yard, they reminded me of Japanese Indigo and I thought maybe I can do something with them:

As a Girl Scout, I always won the plant identification contest, I enjoyed poring through books to find the match. So I used Google and identified these as Polygonum Persicaria, in English smartweed (among other names: Redshank, Lady's thumb, Heartweed), in Icelandic flˇajurt, in Norwegian h°nsegras. (It's really interesting to me how sometimes weeds have so many names, this one even has two different Latin names, the other one is Persicaria maculata.)

Lots of sources said you could dye with these, and it would be yellow, including a Norwegian site given me by someone on the Natural Dyeing list which said the Vikings used this. (Too bad it's not THAT closely related to Indigo!) I also found in one of my books that it suggests drying them and then making a solution and letting it ferment... so I have dried some of the plants (240g) that I picked to see how that goes. But these ones I tried fresh. First I made the dye solution of 288g of fresh plants (stems, leaves, and flowers), by bringing them up to a simmer and simmering around 2 hours.

Then I tried two things. I was going for variegated yarn, so I put 1 Tbsp baking soda in one jar, and left one alone. I stuck one end of my skein (86g) in one jar, the other end in the other jar, and put the jars into the dye bath. I didn't get so vibrant a colour, because the yarn was crowded in the jars. I would love to hear a better solution for this. Anyway, the baking soda end came out more golden-brownish, and the regular end came out more greenish, and here's my swatch:

I then tried a skein (78g) just straight into the dye bath, like normal:

It's definitely a deeper yellow than the Lily of the Valley one.

All yarn here is mordanted with alum (I mordanted while dyeing). Both skeins I cooked around 2 hours, I believe, and let soak in the bath overnight. I'll post again when I try the dried leaves.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

White Coral Bells

I have a lot of lily of the valley growing in my garden:

So I decided to cut it up and put it in a dye pot:

I cooked it and let it sit overnight. Then I strained out (and discarded) the leaves and put yarn that had been mordanted with alum into the pot. I cooked that for a couple of hours, until it looked ready, then I left it overnight. I washed it out in the morning, and let it dry:

Now I have some pretty yellow sock yarn. Not sure yet what I will use it for.

NOTE: Lily of the valley is highly toxic to eat. I used all separate non-cooking utensils for this project. Some people on the Natural Dyeing list even said not to use it at all, but it's only poisonous for eating, not for touching or breathing. I didn't use gloves to handle it, but I probably should have and then I wouldn't have been so paranoid about washing my hands after.

Today is the first day of Mystery Stole 3. I downloaded the pattern, but have not yet got the yarn I was going to use, so I have to wait. I am SO IMPATIENT! Signups are open for another week if anyone else wants to join it.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Stepford Wife

I got a pool membership today, so I think that makes me officially a suburbanite. Scary.

In keeping with my Stepford Wife status, I made some food for a school fair, Swedish meatballs and Pepparkakor. (This recipe is really nice, but they aren't kidding about it making around 300 cookies. Usually when a recipe says "Makes 3 dozen" I get a dozen. But Ingi likes these one better than the Icelandic ones, so I guess it's OK that we have too many.)

I also finished the first Bavarian Rockstar sock, using my Kool-Aid yarn. This pattern is pretty fun, although there are a few errors, I have to remember to email her. I have taught myself to cable without a cable needle on these, it's really the only way to go with this pattern. I also did a funky elastic bindoff from Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks, Warm Feet. It's the only place I have seen this particular bindoff, it took a few tries to get it right, but it does make a nice elastic edge. If I can find it somewhere online later, I will add a link.

However, I am afraid I am going to experience Advanced Second Sock Syndrome. At some point between being out knitting last night and coming back to sit on my couch and finish binding off, I lost 2 of the only 4 remaining Pony Pearl needles that I was using to knit these socks. I don't have any other needles in this size. So I am hoping I find the needles in my car or under the couch, or I will have to wait until I can go out shopping for new needles.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Kool Yarn

I dyed some yarn with Kool-aid this weekend:

I love those expensive hand-dyed yarns that get pretty variegation in the same colour. So I wanted to try getting that effect with Kool-aid dyeing. I love how it's knitting up so far.

Here's how I got the effect. I took one 100 g skein of superwash white yarn and soaked it in the sink with 1 cup of vinegar and a squirt of castille soap and warm water. Then I put it into a glass baking dish lined with plastic wrap. I took 4 packets of grape Kool-aid and mixed them as follows:
Cup #1: 1 packet of Kool-aid, 2 oz (60 ml) vinegar, 12 oz (350 ml) water
Cup #2: 1 packet of Kool-aid, 2 oz vinegar, 6 oz (175 ml) water
Cup #3: 2 packets Kool-aid, 2 oz vinegar, 6 oz water

Pour cup #1 over yarn, turning as you pour, to get it mostly covered with the Kool-aid (some white spots are OK, in fact, are kind of nice, but try to get it somewhat even).

Then take an eyedropper, baster, or a spoon, and randomly squirt/drop/pour the contents of cup #2 over the yarn in swirls. Then do the same with cup#3.

Wrap yarn tightly in plastic wrap so that it is sealed. Microwave for 2 minutes. Then check to see if liquid is running clear. Mine wasn't, so I microwaved it for two more minutes. Then rinse with wool wash or castille soap, and hang to dry.