Tuesday, September 28, 2010


As a reward for making the Ugly Gloves, each day I would spin. I'm working toward a new silk fabric, with a few things in mind: it will have some spindle spun silk, and some wheel spun silk. It will be interesting to me to see if these yarns behave differently in the finished fabric.

You might remember the genesis of this project: some spindle spun silk with too much twist in the ply for knitting. I ran those skeins into a warp chain and overdyed them.

I gathered some previously spun silks, some the right color (Red. Need you ask?), and some of which I dyed.

Then I started spinning, and plying, spinning and plying, spinning and plying more silk, mostly on a wheel, but some additional on spindles while traveling this summer, all with the goal of a 2+/- yard piece of fabric in mind. Not a shawl per se, but shawl length. If the fabric is interesting it might become a shawl, if it is curious, it might become a curiosity (always good for instructional purposes). If it's really beautiful beyond words, it might become some other garment.

Nevertheless: I needed about 20-22 inches in width, and at 48 epi that's over 1000 ends, at at least 2 yards long, we'll say three for argument. That's a bit of spinning:

handspun silk warp Sept 2010

While spinning, I was imagining a ""red" look to the fabric. While dyeing, I can get carried away from any pre-set goal, mostly with golds and yellows (dyeing is fun! Oooh look! Nice color!). Gold and yellow are two very nice accent colors, but too much of a good thing is not a good thing in this case. Over-dyeing to the rescue:

silk warps dyed

The multi-colored warps are the wheel spun yarns. They are painted, then steamed to set the dye. To overdye, I used a crockpot with a very low depth of shade to correct, not cover up the color. You can see how light the color of the dyebath was, these ends were white:

silk ends

I always de-gum silk, yarns or fiber, before I dye, using a small amount of soda ash, detergent and hot water (I use the crockpot for this too). Silk varies in the amount of sericin left in the fiber, I always consider it partially de-gummed, through sad experience (sericin will take dye, being a protein substance, making the fiber look brilliant. But then sericin washes away, taking it's dye with it, making the silk less brilliant). This is the gunk that comes off the silk:


It will take me a week or so to get this on the loom, not that it will take that long to actually thread, but because I am away from home again, rewarding myself with a visit to this pumpkin:

marin Tuesday

And Patricia? Give my best to Tuck.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Well, the second glove was a slog. It was hard to work on something that isn't lovely, isn't coming out well, but for which I still had some hope. It was a slight improvement over the first:

spindle spun gloves sept 2010

But the dyebath certainly helped both of them become acceptable:

red gloves

They were overdyed with Lanaset scarlet, at a 2% depth of shade, in a crockpot. Easy fix, still not lovely, but they make a better canvas for the glove covers:

red gloves covered

This is the first incarnation, I may rip and tweak a bit, I'll know after I block this one. I started with a stranded pattern in the body area, not just the cuff, but changed my mind, I think because of severe ennui with the whole project.

In the midst of this knitting I have been able to do some other things, including:

silk for SOAR 2010

dyeing some silk for SOAR 2010, coming up soon in Wisconsin. Also making a few garments for this child:

marin August 2010

whose little face makes me smile, and who I get to go visit next week! Grandma rides again.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Dreaming of Dye Pots

This yarn, previously termed *ugly*:

did not improve with knitting:

Homely is polite. Really. Ugh. Travel knitting, something small, easy to do without a pattern, and potentially useful. Well, they are warm, and fit me. I used Lace up Mittens pattern from All New Homespun Handknit (because it is in my head), changed into gloves. The yarn is spindle spun, 3 ply wool, spindle plied, and nice, if you close your eyes.

My consolation is the dye pot. These will be thrown in forthwith, once both are done. Then I will knit glove covers for them, and they will be warm, still fit, and forget their homely origins.

I need to finish the second glove. I persevere:

lace up start

This is the only travel project I have with me, so it's easy to keep working on it. I did want to see how the colors look worked up.....oy!

I will leave you with a prettier image:
shannon and Marin sept 2010

Marin and her Mama.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Why Movie-Watching Pays

If I had not watched the Bourne movies, I may not have been able to light the gas stove to make my tea this morning:


We are in DC. We are in a very nice, well-located hotel suite, with a kitchen. Well-located but not well stocked. Today I will buy some matches!

Gratuitous baby picture:

Marin and me August2010

That is all!