Solar Dyeing with Turmeric
I have been very, very busy! The good news is that, for once, lots of that has been in a fibery direction. In the past few days, I have managed to spin what I hope will be the last of the yarns I need for the Circle Vest, as well as let the sun simmer away at my bronze color.... here's the latest report on the solar dye pot:
The picture is not the greatest... there's a lot of glare outside in the mid-afternoon this time of the year (though the heat wave has broken and the temps are almost ten degrees cooler than Sunday, when I started the dye pot), and the yarn looks almost one of Steph's favorite swampy green colors, but I think when the bits of turmeric powder held in suspension are rinsed out, the color will be pretty close to what I had hoped for. At least it isn't a grey-green any longer. I am giving it another day or two out in the sun, depending on my schedule. Tomorrow is jam-packed, with working in the LYS all day, popping in on the Thursday Night Market, and making it home in time for our local Knit Night, so it will be Friday at the earliest before I start the final rinsing and soaking to get the dye out.
I have truly knit up almost every last bit of yarn into the Circle Vest, except for several yards from a one ounce bump of Pink Quartz merino top from The Dizzy Ewe, bought three years ago at Lambtown...ready for me to knit in. I also finished spinning up my re-located Spinderella thrums and Navajo plying two partially-filled bobbins, for approximately two ounces more of this soft stuff. One skein is soaking as I type, just off the bobbin, and here's the other, washed yesterday.
I have used this project to try and perfect my Navajo plying technique, and the one I just finished was finally making me happy. I don't especially want to enter this vest in the fair, simply because some of the vastly more experienced members of my guild will be examining it and seeing just how bad my earlier plying attempts really were. Stephanie is also in our guild, and says if we didn't do our part and enter items, there would be nothing on display to encourage the public to take up the fiber arts. Good point there, grrl. Guess that has been my motivation as I have really burned my way through the stages that were unfinished in this project over the past week.
Washing, beating the yarn with plunger and whacking against the side of the tub, hanging to dry with weight - all have helped to make more presentable yarn, and knitted up, it actually, mostly, looks pretty good. However, though not a perfectionist, I can still recognize the undeveloped state of my spinning... yes, and the progress made over the course of this project. For one thing, I have been able to spin a fairly consistent size throughout. I have also, as I said earlier, gotten smoother at Navajo plying, and am happier with the results. Now that I have worked so hard on perfecting this method, can anyone tell me why it has both proponents and detractors, and why some of the 'big names' in spinning don't even bother to mention it in their books?
The other project occupying my knitting moment this past week has been Ulmus, which is now about sixteen or twenty rows away from the switchover to lacy border. I have loved the slip stitch section of this pattern, and know this will be a shawl to really wear a lot and enjoy... now, to decide whether to go with the light or the dark yarn for the lacy border. I don't know if it will be apparent to viewers, but the brown yarn (Meilenweit Mega Boots) has a very long color repeat in one of the two plies, which goes from a greyish color all the way through a light swampy green (funny how your friends rub off on you!).
I think there would be more color interest in the border if I use it. I spent some time on Ravelry this afternoon, looking into what others have done with this design choice, and am leaning towards using the brown instead of the solid light green (Isager Alpaca #2)... what do YOU think? And astute observers will notice that, yes, that IS a design variation up near the top right-hand corner... four rows of green instead of the two the pattern called for... yup, I know. Design variation. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!
Happy 4th to all... I hope to be posting photos of the parade in Downieville and other fun events.