What do you get if cross alpaca wool and blackberries?

Blackberry yarn of course!

Hello everyone,

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and that the beginning of the week is going well for you. We had a lovely relaxing weekend as I hoped we would. Plenty of knitting, film watching, reading, a few walks when the weather permitted and some foraging. Here in the UK we are on the border between summer and autumn and that means one thing… blackberries and lots of them! Bushes dripping with blackberries line the edges of fields and I couldn’t be happier. This time every year we collect loads of them, we turn them into jam, crumble, pie and cakes. Delicious! This year though we did something a little different. Surely everyone who has ever picked a blackberry has noticed that it leaves your fingers stained pink? Well I decided to try and capture that on some yarn. So how did we do it?

Well first up we collected a mixing bowl full of blackberries, probably about 400g. There was no quality control here. They all went in… over ripe, under ripe, somewhere in the middle, a few sticks and leaves for good measure. Once we got home, I dumped them into a big pot and mashed them up a little bit with a potato masher, I then added about 200 ml of water. I then put them onto simmer for about an hour. Whilst this was happening I soaked my yarn (a skein of baby alpaca 4ply) with water and some citric acid. I then let the blackberry mix cool completely and then yarn to soak properly. After a few hours I strained the blackberry mix  and then combined my yarn and the blackberries. I then added about 3 teaspoons of citric acid and simmered for about 1 hour. I then turned off the heat and left it overnight (the hardest part).

 

 

The next day I took my yarn out, gave it a good rinse and then hung it up on the line. It is a bit paler than I thought, but I am really happy with how it came out. It is not my usual colour, but I still love it. I hope to knit this into a shawl and every time I wear it I will think of blackberry picking and look forward to the next autumn! Maybe next year I will try sloes or elderberries?

The colours are accurate… it faded a fair amount whilst drying!

Happy crafting.

 

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A new hat!

Hello everyone,

How are you? Have you got any good plans for the weekend?

I have a project to share with you that I actually made last weekend, this is a new hat. I decided I wanted a bobble hat, so I looked into my stash and dug out some Rowan Alpaca colour that my other half bought for me one birthday. I had it in two colours and decided it would be a great hat. For the pattern I used Gather by tincanknits. The hat used a smocking stitch, this was completely new to me so it was good fun learning it. I think the effect of it is great, and I really love this hat. I think the stitch would look lovely on some mittens, and also a little jumper. Don’t you think? This hat has been well road tested and I can confirm it is as soft and warm as it looks!

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It did a great job of keeping my ears warm on a windy walk around the lake, I reckon the bobble adds to the warmth of it.IMG_9857

A close up of the smocking stitch. It was so easy to do and it looks so magnificent.