Wednesday WIPs: a Mid-Week YOP Update

My weekends have been fairly busy, and I haven’t been able to post a Year of Projects update in a bit. So here’s a combo post!

Knitting

I am working on sport weight socks for Bob, a Halloween cardigan, and my Arrowhead cardigan. The yarn shown in the featured image is from my stash and will be used in a Summer Solstice Ambah knitalong. I am also working on my knitting pattern design for the Volunteer Sunflowers yarn mystery box.

The Halloween cardigan is from the Fall Favorites Collection, Pumqueen version. The yarn is Cascade BFL, which I am really enjoying working with. I’m modifying the pattern to be a cardigan with a steek.

Sewing

I am focusing on project bags right now. I hope to have a finish to show by Friday. But I did sew matching KISS pajama shorts for Bob and me.

Dyeing

I continue to experiment. I am mostly focusing on the Volunteer Sunflowers yarn mystery box yarn. Only one week left to order. Please share with people you think would be interested!

Spinning

I haven’t been doing this. I hope to start back up next month.

In other news:

We have two baby groundhogs in the garden right now. They are so cute.

We enjoyed our trip to ParaPsyCon III at the Ohio State Reformatory. Very creepy and lots of fun!

Wednesday WIPs: Pink Moons and Birthday Skeins

This week I’ve continued to focus on the Ocean Moon shawl, which is finished and blocking. I’ll post pics of that on Friday.

I also recast on Bob’s socks. I found the flips a little slippery, so I’m back to my Lykke Driftwood and magic loop method.

I’ve been practicing my dyeing. These skeins are inspired by an artists’ trading card I made years ago. They are 50/50 cotton and wool dyed with low impact acid dyes. The cotton content creates a heathery effect, as the wool takes up the dye but the cotton doesn’t. The three skeins shown came out as expected and are now listed in the shop.

Two skeins came out muted due to a less consistent dyebath temperature. I decided to try overdyeing them, inspired by the full lunar eclipse. (Image of lunar eclipse on right by friend Miriam Climenhaga.) I was hoping for a complex black with pops of red. Because of the cotton content in the yarn, there is no way I could get a true black with acid dyes. They are more gray, but a nice memento of seeing the Flower Moon eclipse in the sky on my birthday.

I don’t know whether to call it Flower Moon or Blood Moon. I guess it was a Full Flower Super Total Blood Moon Eclipse! It was quite a sight centered over the trees behind our house. I’m still singing “Pink Moon” to myself.

I’ve also been practicing with procion dyes for the Volunteer Sunflowers yarn mystery box, but won’t share images as they are a mystery! I’ve got a pretty good handle on procion dyes for cellulose fibers and acid dyes for protein fibers. It’s the blends I’m practicing to see if I can improve techniques there. I also want to make sure I know how to get the most vibrant colors possible for nonsuperwash yarns, as colors tend to be less vibrant than on superwash wool yarns. I’m experimenting with that, and ways to ensure the colors are well set and lightfast —all while trying to exhaust the dye baths and impact our watershed as little as possible.

I had a lovely birthday and received heartwarming cards and gifts. This is a small sample of knitting related gifts from friends. I can’t wait to start reading the Knitstrips comic book!

I also finished weeding and planting the garden. I planted less this year in hopes it won’t be such a jungle.

Today I hope to get some sewing done! What are you working on this week?

Garden Update

Madder root?

I’ve been weeding the garden in patches. Today I cleared out the snap pea patch and put in their climbing supports. While most of the deep rooted weeds and vines are gone (there are still a few) we now have hairy cress all over the place. Also some kind of ground cover. So gardening is my exercise this time of year. If I worked out and gardened, that would be it for me!

I accidentally pulled up this plant which I think is madder root. My plant ID app disagreed with me, though. I put it back in the ground, just in case. I wasn’t sure if the madder survived since the indigo overgrew it. I’m pretty sure this little guy is madder, though. Fingers crossed! I might have a little root to dye with this fall if so.

Wednesday WIPs, Including Me

As I transition out of my job, and into focusing on home, my (very) small business, and my creative endeavors, I’ve been struggling to blog. Transitions are hard for me. It’s not that I don’t like change — and this will be a good change. It’s difficult for my nervous system to regulate change. I’m always surprised by the period of paralysis that is inevitable.

I couldn’t wait to cast on my Spring Thaw yarn. I’m making a Bandana Cowl Number 4 by Placemarker. I’m thrilled with the feedback I’ve received on the box. And I’m so grateful to everyone who placed orders, and to the talented makers who partnered with me.

I got a head start on my flax seedlings in my Megs Levesseur Ceramics pot.

I’ve been testing rose wax and lanolin candles for the Wool & Roses Yarn Mystery Box. Only a few days left to order! I can’t wait to see how Kelley at Dye Mad Yarns interprets this colorway in alpaca and silk yarn.

My Vertices Unite is coming along. I want to finish this before April 15, when the Ambah Ocean Moon Mystery Knitalong starts. That’s probably not going to happen, but I’m going to try anyway.

My Arrowhead Cardigan looks much the same. I try to knit a row or two a day, striving to get to the shoulder seams.

I finished the ribbing on my Auchnaha cardigan. I’ll probably put this away for a little while, until I finish Arrowhead. Although, I’d like to be wearing it now!

It’s supposed to be 75 degrees Fahrenheit today, after a low of 19 yesterday. I guess I’d better get my seeds started. I’m going to grow more natural dye plants this year.

What are you working on this week?

Spontaneous Fresh Leaf Indigo Dyeing

Yesterday, Bob was clearing out the garden, and mistook my vigorous indigo patch for weeds. And then he pulled up most of the plants! I had been imagining trying the fresh leaf printing technique on my Virginia grown cotton canvas, and although I hadn’t planned to do it right away, I knew I had to get on it or I would have to wait until next year with a new garden patch.

I put together the video to show the process. I told Bob I was beating the heck out of indigo leaves instead of throwing the mallet at his head. He said he appreciated it. Anyway, I can now check this off my list. Thank you, Bob! I also learned from a follower on Instagram that this technique is called Hapazome.

I am setting the fabric with a white vinegar rinse, line dry, and then an iron. What will I make with the fabric? I guess it depends on how well the print sets. It seemed to hold up in the washer okay. Maybe more overalls? If it doesn’t hold the dye well, maybe some cushions for the porch furniture.

Happy Saturday! I hope everyone has some relaxing Labor Day plans this holiday weekend, if you are in the US. Or just a relaxing weekend, wherever you are!

2020-2021 Year of Projects Completed List

Fiber Art

  1. I have a solo show in September 2021, and I need to make a body of work for this show. My goal is 10 pieces. 8/10 finished.
  2. I dyed most of my own wool for this work.

Finished Fiber Art

Haze Over Maize: Granville 2020 for Mother Artists at Work Show

Litmus Cowl in Moondrake Advent yarn

Finished Knitting

  1. Spring Socklings in Bone and Birch Honeybees and Violets Please
  2. Anker’s Summer Shirt in Serpentine Blacker Lyonesse
  3. Water Shawl KAL
  4. Malabrigo Anniversario Rikke Hat
  5. Getting Warmer in Handdyed Red Kenyan Merino (silent auction prize)
  6. Kenora Toque
  7. Moondrake Advent Litmus Cowl (Ravelry project link)
  8. Blue Turtledove
  9. Franca
  10. Pride Socks
  11. Purple emPower Bandaner
  12. Shetland Tweed Throw
  13. Arachne Sweater
  14. Four Square Cowl
  15. Mistletoe Kisses Socks
  16. Pumpkin Spice Latte socks
  17. Broom Riding Cowl
  18. Halloween Socks
  19. Trans Pride Socks
  20. Accidental Autumn Barley Light Hat
  21. Rikkemas Hat
  22. Meep the Christmas Mouse

Finished Sewing

  1. Birdies summer top
  2. Knitting alpacas PJs
  3. Raglan Dress in blue shirting
  4. Ophelia Overalls in brown twill
  5. Water Shawl KAL project bags
  6. Raglan Dress in plaid flannel
  7. Poudre linen curtains.
  8. Coffee filters
  9. Knitting Sheep flannel PJ pants
  10. Halloween Rachel blouse
  11. Winter Solstice project bag
  12. Manatee tote bag

I’m going to try to continue to post music with my YOP updates, as a way to keep up with listening to music intentionally. Here’s an old favorite.

This has been a Year of Projects Update. This is my final list for 2020-2021. I’m pleased with how much I accomplished this year. You can find out more about the group here (Rav link).

Natural Dyeing Experiment with Apple Tree Bark

The first thing you should know is that I basically followed these guidelines. I cut the apple tree prunings into small pieces. I discarded anything old and dead. I soaked them in filtered water for several days. I noticed on Day 2 that the water was a lovely golden color. By Day 4 the water was cloudy and the color was gone. I was worried that my dye bath was past it’s best by date, so this morning I put it all in a pot and boiled it.

As you can see, I basically made some apple tree bark beer. It didn’t smell as good as it sounds. It was putrid, in fact.

I read that apple tree bark dye bath does not require a mordant. Ordinarily, I would go ahead and use one to try for best results. But because I’d made apple tree bark beer and didn’t want to waste perfectly good alum, I decided to try my luck just using the — I want to call it “wort”. Is that correct? That’s probably for something you imbibe. I’m going to use this term anyway. If you know the correct term, please let us know in the comments.

I strained the wort with a colander into a roasting pan with a little more filtered water in it. I added about half of a cup of baking soda because the guidelines said that would make the dye more pink. I stirred it well and added the fiber and yarn. I used merino roving and Cascade Eco yarn, which is Peruvian Highland wool, both natural in color. I covered the pan and put it in a 225 degree oven for three hours.

As you can see, my results are not dramatic. The roving and yarn were natural (compare the undyed roving below) and are now a lovely blushing ivory. I do like it and am planning to knit a cowl with the yarn. I have a lot more apple wood, and I may try it again after mordanting a different yarn with alum.

What do you think? Do you like the results? Have you ever dyed with natural materials? Let us know in the comments!

Saturdye

Today Bob pruned one of our Apple trees and I saved the bark for dyeing. I’ve not done this before but I’ve been doing some research on it.

Our apple trees are old and neglected and they need a good prune. We think we can probably cut them back a little harder, but we’re going to look into it first.

I read that the best part to use is the inner bark and twigs. I focused on the green wood as there was a lot of dead stuff coming off. I have no idea what’s better for dyeing but the green shoots made sense to me.

It was suggested to soak the wood for about a week before using them in a dye bath. I used our double ceramic filtered well water to avoid any metals and other weirdness. I’ve got them sitting in a sunny window. JoJo is curious and also mad that we went outside and didn’t take her with us, which we never do. But if we leave the house, when we come back she yells at us for awhile to express her discontent. Or maybe she is just asking us where we went and why didn’t we take her with us? We’re always telling her it’s not safe out there for her (foxes, coyotes, falcons, crows the size of… well, the same size as JoJo) so she’s probably worried about us when we go outside.

I also dyed some wool with acid dye today. This color is silver and you can see I am able to recreate my results from a few weeks ago. The Merino takes the dye well. The Shetland is middling, and the Romeldale-CVM which is unprocessed and sunbleached takes the least color. I used vinegar in this bath.

L to R: Merino, Shetland, Romeldale-CVM

These will be perfect for my next felt piece which is about a stormy day in Iona, Cape Breton.

I received what I think? is my last installment of my Fairlight Fibers yarn club. I guess she got a little behind on her shipments as I canceled in January after six months, which was what I had originally signed up for. But it kept charging me so I had to go in and manually cancel. I enjoyed this club but wanted to try some new ones. Anyway, this gorgeous yarn is 50/50 alpaca and rose fiber. That’s right. Rose fiber! It’s very soft and has a lovely sheen. Not sure what to make with it. Something special.

I hope you’re having a lovely Saturday, whatever you’re doing. I need to catch up on my Water shawl as all my KAL pals are way ahead of me!