So what have I been up to over August? Mostly, knitting. It started to cool off a couple of weeks back – just at night, but down to temperatures that usually feel like early fall, rather than summer. I started to smell sweater weather on the horizon, and it got me going on a couple of projects.

First off, I finished the yoke on my Walpole.

Walpole Blob

It’s kind of looked like an ungainly, sweater-ish blob for the better part of a month. I bound off a couple of nights ago, though, and I am fully determined to get finished-sweater photos to prove it.

I also started work on my handspun sweater project. Specifically, I started with this fluff.

Dye Camp 2014

And turned it into this yarn.

Sweater Test Handspun

Which then became this hat-in-progress.

Swatch Hat

Swatch hat

Handspun w cat

The idea behind this is to swatch – I have a sweater pattern I want to spin for that calls for worsted-weight yarn. This test spin looks like the worsted weight yarn I want, but the swatch will tell me if that’s actually the case, and if it’ll knit up into a nice fabric at the correct gauge. This way, there’s a smaller chance that I’ll spin a sweater quantity of the wrong sort of yarn.

It is also really, really fun to be playing with fibre that I dyed myself. I did run into one or two spots that were a little felted, but fewer than I worried, and none so bad that I couldn’t spin them.

I haven’t finished the hat or blocked it, but even while knitting, this feels like the yarn I wanted.

Some Nature

I have been back from Haliburton for a few weeks now, but I dove right into work when I got back and it’s taken me a little while to organize myself to talk about the experience I had learning to dye with Kim (of indigodragonfly).

In short: I had a lot of fun. Like, a lot of fun.

My lifestyle involves a lot of creative downtime (come over sometime, see my ‘craft corner.’ It’s under the stack of half-cut fat quarters and handspun), but the experience of going up and doing a four-day intensive class was very different.

I went up with a short-list of goals, but I didn’t want to get too precious or particular about being able to dye something specific, because I also wanted the experience to be fun and relaxing. I wanted to figure out how to dye a sweater quantity of sock yarn for myself, and I wanted to learn how to dye roving with an eye towards maybe dyeing for a handspun sweater.

I met an internet-famous chipmunk.

Internet Famous Chipmunk

I dyed some test yarn.

Dye Camp 2014

I dyed yarn for a sweater!!

Dye Camp 2014

And I dyed a LOT of roving. Some test bumps, to learn the process and figure out how I was going to do my colours.

Dye Camp 2014

And then 800g of ‘real’ stuff, Polwarth in four colours. We learned how to kettle-dye and handpaint roving and yarn, and I struggled for a while with how I wanted to dye my sweater roving. Eventually, I decided on the fluff below – four colourways of kettle-dyed fiber that I’ll spin together into my sweater yarn. Plus some extra purple, just in case. For those doing the math, I ended up dyeing a full kilogram of roving over the course of the week.

Dye Camp 2014

Dye Camp 2014

Dye Camp 2014

Dye Camp 2014

I did also handpaint a little bit of roving, just for fun. This is 100g of a merino/yak/silk blend that I’m super excited to play with sometime soon.

Dye Camp 2014

It ended up being a stupendous amount of really meditative, creative fun, and I’m so glad I had the chance to go. I don’t know that more yarn-dyeing is something that’s in my future, but I was really surprised at how much fun and satisfaction I got out of playing with unspun fiber and dye. I definitely want to find a way to play in that side of things more in the future (although how is another question altogether).

First, though, I’ll need to spin down all of this.

Posting about the end of my Tour spinning got away from me, but I promise, I had a good excuse.

Anyway, where were we – I think the last spinning I shared was the end of Day 13/July 18th. I finished spinning my braid of ITW Polwarth over the next few days.

Tour de Fleece Day 15

All of my singles were ready for plying by Day 16 – a pretty quick turnaround for me on fine singles, and I spent most of my spinning time that day plying. I ended up with some really pretty fingering-weight yarn.

Tour de Fleece Plying

Which looked even prettier once I washed it and skeined it.

I spun this as a ‘traditional’ three ply – so, I split the braid in thirds, and spun each as a single, then plied them together. I had hoped to have divided the braid well enough that all of the singles would line up, and I’d preserve the colour progression through the skein.

Unfortunately, I did a really good job of making two of my sections equal (they were within 2g of each other in weight) and the third was a little bit lighter (37g versus 41g and 39g) and that ended up making a big difference. Everything lined up for the first few metres, and then started to separate. You can see there’s a lot of barberpoled sections – those are all because of the single from the smallest bit of fiber. You can sort of see in the photos, but for most of the barberpoling two of the plies are the same colour and the third is different – by the end of plying, it was off by almost a full colour repeat!

I chain-plied the leftover singles from the remaining bobbin into a little mini-skein.

Tour de Fleece Day 16

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with this yarn – it’s nice yardage (about 300m total) and I managed to account for the Polwarth “poof” effect and still get fingering-weight yarn, which I’m not always the best at.

Tour de Fleece Day 16

Indigodragonfly Fiber Club Stash

I spent the last few days of the Tour working away at some Indigodragonfly club yarn that’s been waiting in my stash. I didn’t get too far, because I only had time to spin about 20 min a day, but I still spun every day of the Tour, which I’m pretty proud of.

The last few days of my Tour spinning got a little sidetracked both by life, and by the fact that I had to travel over the last weekend – because I had a chance to go to Dye Camp!! It was a really amazing experience, and I can’t wait to share all of the pretty things I made.

More Posts

tour de fleece: week 2
19 July, 2014

tour de fleece: week 2

tour de fleece update: week 1
12 July, 2014

tour de fleece update: week 1

handspun: ‘the verse’ gradient
4 July, 2014

handspun: ‘the verse’ gradient

finished knit: germinate shawl
2 July, 2014

finished knit: germinate shawl