Monday, March 28, 2011

Dyed & Plied, A Tale of Two Yarns :: 2KCBWDAY1 ::

Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.Banner

What better way to break my blogging abstinence (holiday, followed by new job means that I haven’t quite managed to fit much knitting and blogging into my new routine!) than Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.

My tale begins with the dyed:


This hank of 4-ply Bluefaced Leicester is destined to be a birthday Ishbel for the Boy’s sister. I’ve had it in mind to knit her a shawl for a while now, but after gifting Holden to their mum for her birthday she proclaimed how much she would love one for her birthday. Whilst I’m a little sad that it’s not going to be a surprise any more, at least I know that it’s something she wants!

Anyway, back to the yarn. The Boy tactfully managed to find out that she’d love a shawl that was a dirty lilac colour but definitely not too purple, and proudly relayed his good work back to me. I was a little perplexed as to what exactly a dirty lilac was, but luckily my Google-fu was on form that day, although I still wasn’t sure how to stop it from being too purple. In the end I just decided to dive right in and see what happened.


It’s been a while since I did any dyeing, and this is the first time I’ve dyed to order. My usual dyeing “technique” is to have a vague idea of an end colour and then throw colours in the pot until I’m happy, so it was a little stressful to try and dye to something quite specific but it was still a lot of fun. I added things a little ad hoc, a bit of this and a little of that, and just played around with it. I wish I’d kept a few notes on what colours I’d used, because I think this is a lovely colour and I’d love to try reproducing it for myself some day. Perhaps it’s a little too purple for L, but I did try to grey it out slightly and I think the result is wonderfully fresh colour which reminds me of Parma Violets, perfect for spring.

It’s come out as a subtle semi-solid, which is my favourite kind of yarn. I’m not too big on variegated yarns, and solids can sometimes be a little too plain, but there can be so much depth in a semi-solid. I can’t wait to see how this knits up!

Onto the next yarn, and a bit of a cheat since it not strictly plied!

I’ve obsessing over spinning some silk for the past couple of months when I remembered that I had some silk noil lurking in my stash.


I carded some vanilla noil with some turquoise, added a dash of petrol blue and a generous helping of waste silk strands.


I’m still very much a novice at fibre preparation so I’ve no idea whether I was doing it properly, but I ended up with some pretty rolags. I love how the brilliant white of the silk waste contrasts against the pillowy cloud soft noil. It has such a dreamy quality to it.


I did start spinning this up, but I think I’ve spoilt it (plus the photos are terrible because they were taken at night!). 


I’ve spun it pretty thin, and although it’s still kind of pretty and still soft, nowhere near as wiry as it looks… it still looks wiry. I knew when I carded the fibre that it was going to be a textured neppy yarn, which is something I usually shy away from in favour of smoother yarns, but I can’t help feeling that I’ve made an incredible mess of this. I know that silk can take a lot of twist, but I think that I’ve overdone it slightly so I’m hoping that a lot of this comes out when I ply.


To be honest I wish I’d spun this a lot thicker with a little twist to preserve all that poufy loftiness that I loved so much in the unspun fibre. Or even just drafted it to a thin pencil roving and knit it up like that. But that’s what happens when I rush headlong into a project without thinking things through, and these are lessons learned for next time. And it’s still a pretty yarn, even if it’s not as pretty as I’d planned.

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