Working on only one project at a time leaves little room for spontaneity or creative inspiration. Being pretty much stuck at home these days, I need to find ways to add spice and variety to my life.
I’m currently knitting up a 3-ply art yarn I created and spun last year. I’m really pleased with how this yarn, meant to be an interpretation of an Alaskan sunset, turned out and I’m hoping the end result will delight the intended recipient. 💗
I’m only including a small sample here since I want the finished piece to be a surprise.
While enjoying the process of knitting this piece, my mind is already on my next project.
I actually hand-dyed this (see below) fine merino wool last summer, which was an interesting project in itself. I had about 16 Oz. of a natural dull beige-shaded wool that was purchased with the intention of over-dyeing it.
What I mean by “over-dyeing” is taking a fiber other than white and adding another color on top of the natural shade. In this case, by using a beige wool, I hoped to obtain a deeper, more muted version of what would have been brighter, clearer colors if I’d used a white fiber as a base.
I partially succeeded; the colors I used for my three shades were “Tropical Punch” (blue), Pineapple (yellow-beige), and “Pink Lemonade” (pink/coral).
The colors didn’t come out exactly as I’d envisioned them, especially the Pineapple, which I’d hoped would be a bit more yellow, but over-dyeing is not an exact science and you get what you get.
In the case of my “Pineapple”, I think the dye was actually lighter than the natural shade of the wool, so all it did was add a slightly yellow cast to the light beige wool. 🤷♀️
By the way; if the names sound familiar, there is good reason. I dyed this wool with Kool-Aid! Yes, the kids drink. The powdered version makes perfectly legitimate dyes with no nasty chemicals to deal with – and by using plain white vinegar in the rinse water after dyeing, it sets the colors nicely.
I dyed, spun and knit a wool hat for my blacksmith hubby, Jerry, about eight years ago with Kool-Aid, dyed flame-inspired colors; red (Cherry), bright orange (Orange), Lemonade (Yellow), Strawberry/Mango (reddish-orange) and a combo blend of Black Cherry and Lemonade for yet another deep shade of orange. If I remember right, I also added a little commercially-dyed bright yellow as well, since the “lemonade” wasn’t quite as fire-bright as I’d wanted. The colors are still holding up just fine, although the hat itself is getting a bit – all right, a LOT ragged. At least it’s been well-loved. 🧡
Anyway … I’m almost done spinning the blue wool and am looking forward to starting the pink. Once all three are spun onto individual bobbins, the plan is/was to ply them together into a 3-ply spiral yarn. There should be enough for 2-3 full skeins. We’ll see. The nice thing about creating your own yarn is that you can always change up the plan part way through.
Right now, I’m sort of thinking I might save the blue for another project, spin up a bobbin of dark brown and maybe end up with a 3-ply, brown, pineapple and coral-pink yarn. Or brown, blue and pineapple. Again … we’ll see.
With that project on my spinning wheel, and my knitting progressing on schedule, I’m now debating whether to hand-dye more wool (maybe a multiple-color roving destined to be socks?) or pick some already dyed fibers from my stash, pull my manual carding machine down from its shelf and blend a brand new color-way based on one of last summer’s travel photos?
Hmm … then again, I really do need to fit in some time to work on my monster jig-saw puzzle. Do you think a 1,000-piece puzzle might have been overly ambitious?
I also promised Miss Rhonda we would work on her Expert Trick Dog title this winter. Hey, could YOU say no to this face?