First, I want to thank all of you who responded with offers to send me sock yarn... I will be well on my way towards enough for my Fiesta Friendship Shawl. Already, I received in today's mail a great, huge box of colorful choices from Cookie A... who I didn't even realize lived less than 100 miles from me! Thanks so much, Cookie... I was amazed when I opened the p.o. box!
This will be a great carry-along project, at least in its early stages, as it is made on the same modular premise as the Diamond Patch sweater (Ravelry) I made last summer... whoo, hoo!! I am aiming for completion in the fall, maybe even in time to wear to Lambtown (Carrie's going - who else?). Once it is completed, watch for a giveaway drawing to pass along the leftover yarns to the next person wanting to make one.
My Circle Vest (Ravelry) has been sorely neglected for many months. A few will recall that I started this project last summer, as the first garment I would make fully from my own handspun yarns. I made great progress until early fall, when I had almost used up all the yarns I had spun... oops!
I had already determined that if I spun the rest of an 8-ounce gift of greys and forest greens, and then overdyed the yarn with turmeric, I would get a very lovely bronze color for the outer rim of my circle, which is also the portion of the vest that folds down to form the collar. It helped that this was the softest of the yarns I had used. I spun here and there, but was getting rather bored with the dull, pre-dyed colors. So, the project was easily superceded by (many) more pressing knitting choices. A knitter is easily inspired to start something new! Many of those projects are now completed, but the real reason that the Circle Vest is getting a turn again is that there is a deadline looming! I am not usually a deadline knitter, but have always had a streak of pragmatic procrastination that tells me I can put off something that doesn't need to be completed yet in favor of another item that is REALLY pressing... maybe that is why I am a good grantwriter... the urgency of a looming deadline helps me to focus.
So, focusing on Circle Vest led to lots of spinning and some dyeing this past weekend. First, I finished navajo plying all the grey/green yarn I had already spun and wound it off, washed, pounded, etc. I added it to the small pile waiting to be dyed and discovered I had close to four ounces, so mordanted with alum on Saturday (too hot for this!) and then early Sunday morning cooked up my turmeric to start the dyepot.
Yarns after mordanting... rinsed and ready.
Small jar for mixing turmeric powder and hot water into a paste... this paste is then added to the dye kettle with lots of water and simmered for an hour.
Then, the heat is turned off (thankfully... the dye bath smelled heavenly, but the kitchen was getting awfully hot!), and steeped for another hour, while I spun up some thrums I had overlooked. They will make more of the pinky-mauve yarn on the outer edge in the photo above; somehow the package had gotten buried in spinning stash and I thought there wasn't any more! At least I will have enough yarns to finish. I think.
The cooled and steeped dye mess is then strained through a fine mesh strainer lined with paper towels... I don't want all that pasty part to dry into powder attached to my yarn! Turmeric will make a lovely color, but will need lots of rinsing to get any spicy bits out. The fragrance lingers enough to make wool less appetizing to bugs. As you can see from these photos, I am a bathroom chemist... after I posted this photo, I realized that drying in the background are two hats, one from my handspuns that I knit for DH last Christmas, and the other a beret I 'unvented' about 16 years ago. I am STILL working on washing handknits and putting into summer storage. Also to the right is a really cool rug I bought recently, woven from recycled silk saris, to use as a bath mat. Really... silk underfoot... I knew it would be quick-drying.
I plan to steep the yarn in the sun for at least two days. It is plenty hot enough here, though my bucket will probably barely get over 100 degrees... perfect for dyeing yarn and keeping the kitchen cool at the same time.... results to come!