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.

 

Dyeing adventures take three

Hello everyone,

How is it going? All has been good here, although I am still waiting for summer to arrive in our little corner of the UK. Our vegetable patch needs some work, but sadly with all of the rain we have been having, it has been feeling a little neglected. Oh well, saves on the watering!

Whilst we have been having all of this rainy weather, I have been partaking in some yarn dyeing. I am today going to share with you my latest skeins of yarn.

I recently decided I wanted to make another lush cardigan (first one here). But not only did I decide that, I decided that I wanted to dye the yarn for it! Nuts right? Well nuts as it may be, I excitedly ordered 500g of undyed worsted weight yarn and some new dyes. I ordered some Wilton’s food colouring gel. As this is a new to me dye, I decided to get some practice in before I tried to dye 500g of yarn! Sensible I thought…. plus it means more time to play with dye. So I bought two 50g balls of superwash wool (DK) in the clearance section, got out the dyes, pots, citric acid and gloves and off I went.

I decided on six colours in the end (I added one after this photo). The colours I went with were green, orange, blue, red, yellow and then I added some purple. I used the same method as when I dyed with kool aid in that I soaked the yarn in water before starting, then put the yarn into new water (this time with added citric acid, about 1.5 tsp) and then dropped dyes on top. I then warmed it up for about 30 minutes, let it cool and then washed it out. I then hung it up to dry and this was the result

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Excuse the messy skeins… I found it hard to skein these with the ties attached for some reason!

I am really pleased with them. The skeins are different, but they have the same colours running through them. I am going to turn these into walking boot socks. I know they don’t have nylon in, so won’t be as hard wearing as they could be… but they will be perfect for walking boots and I know I will get some good use out of them 😀

Now I am all practiced… onto the 500 g sweater weight! This will at least be one colour (purple)… I will let you know how I get on soon!

Works in progress – including hand dyed sock

Hello everyone,

How are you all doing today?

I thought I would update you with the projects I have on the needle/ hook. I am currently being restrained and only have two projects on the go. The first of these is my crochet ripple blanket (pattern by Attic24, colourway Cottage yarn pack, also by Attic 24). I have now crocheted 34 rows (17 colours). I am loving the colours as this blanket progresses and I always can’t wait to see what the next colour brings. So here it is so far. What do you think?

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Aren’t the colours glorious? They make me sing with happiness! So that is the project that is on the hook, I also have one project on the needles. That is my hand dyed zigzagular socks. I cast them on the other day and I have enjoyed watching the yarn unfurl itself. It was fascinating to see what my Kool Aid adventures would knit up like. Want to see too? Well here it is, the first sock of the pair.

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I am very happy with how it turned out. I love the colours and I love the random way they come out around the sock. I really enjoyed making this and I am looking forward to making its pair. Oh, and another skein of undyed yarn may have found its way into my possession… funny how yarn can do that! I am dreaming up a colour combination for that one, I will of course share it with you once it has been dyed!

I hope you have lovely afternoons planned (or mornings if you are on that side of the world). I am off to work some more crochet ripples.

Kool aid yarn dyeing

Hello everyone,

So today’s topic…. yarn dyeing! First of all. How had I not already done this! It is so much fun. I have only done one skein so far and I am hooked! I can’t remember when I suddenly decided that I wanted to dye some wool myself. But either way, after a bit of googling it seemed that using the American drink Kool Aid was a great way for beginners to start learning. So for Christmas my other half bought me some Kool aid and some undyed sock yarn.

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The process itself was really easy. Kool Aid contains a lot of citric acid, so this means that the dye will be able to fix itself to the wool, an acid dye technique. So all you need to do is choose your colour (note go by the colour in the glass, not the colour of the packet), choose your yarn and go! I picked three colours, a purple, a red and a blue and off I went. As this was my first time and I really didn’t know what I was doing, I followed the tutorial I found here. It was very good and walked me through the whole process. So supplies gathered, tutorial found and off I went. So much fun was had! So want to see how it turned out? Well first up we have a picture of it simmering away in the pot.

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Aren’t those colours lovely? After this photo I actually added some more red (a darker shade) into the middle as there was a little too much white left. So after it had simmered away for a bit I then took it out, rinsed until the water was clean, and then started the drying process.

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Look at those colours, aren’t they fab! It spent a couple of days hanging out about the shower drying out and eventually I ended up with this 😀

I am over the moon with how it turned out. There is a little white left in the skein but I think it will work out really well. I am going to turn this into a pair of zigzagular socks. Keep watching to see how it knits up! I can’t wait to start it!

A finished elephant

Hello everyone,

Happy Sunday to you all 🙂

Today I have a finished object to share with you.  A friend is having a baby in March so I decided to make the baby a toy, I will probably also make a hat…. but for now the toy at least is done. I used the elephant pattern from the book Knitted Wild Animals by Sarah Keen. I used random stash grey DK yarn for this. It is a dark grey, I think it is Hayfield Bonus DK but I am not 100% sure. The elephant knitted up quickly, and it was an enjoyable pattern. Although it definitely takes a while to sew up at the end! I stuffed it tightly and I am very happy with the finished object. So here it is. I didn’t want to add the tusks, I decided it looked better without… so it is going to be a she called Olivia.

She is quite big, about 40 cm high and is super squashy. I hope she will be a nice companion with the baby as it grows!

I will be back in a few days with some yarn dyeing…. I have been experimenting with Kool aid today, stay tuned to see the outcome!