Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Momentary Dye-gression

Dyelots Roving
Originally uploaded by Project Pictures
For quite a while I have admired the "My So-Called Scarf" pattern on Ravelry, especially when knit with particular Malabrigo colorways. The herringbone stitch pattern looks lovely and warm, sturdy without being too heavy or overpowering.

After making Versatility with Manos del Uruguay, I decided I wanted to do a hat with the same herringbone stitch in a lush, chunky single. After listening to the Y Knit podcast on spinning, I gave in to the desire to make the yarn myself!

I had the good fortune (and wonderful, understanding DH to enable me) to take a class in hand-spinning with a drop-spindle at one of our two great LYSs. Over the course of four weeks, we started with raw fleece and ended up with yarn. We fluffed locks, carded rolags, spun, plyed and finally washed out all the nasty yuck and came up with .. well. It was yarn. I knit a 1x1 square out of it and stuffed it in my cabinet. But it did give a very firm grounding in the art and craft of spinning yarn with a drop-spindle. I just wasn't in love with the fleece-processing.

It took me these last few years to realize that I could skip that part. You can drop spin from all that delicious, gorgeous roving that is in so many places around here. A local dyer provided me with 8 oz of lovely roving made of merino wool blended with bamboo fiber. Because it is acid-dyed, the merino wool took up the color beautifully, but the bamboo (being cellulose and not protein fiber) remains untouched and silvery white. She also gave me a quick overview of how to deal with the roving for spinning. Easy!

I took it home with the promise to myself of doing the spinning .. sometime later. That didn't last. I had to play with it, and then I had to spin the whole thing!

I was going for a bulky single, so I spun what felt thick. Now that I look at it.. it isn't just bulky, it is "holy-cow-that's-some-thick-yarn" extra chunky. It's still gorgeous and soft. There are about 40 yards in that effort.

The second half went even better as I worked more consciously on drafting an appropriate amount of fiber. I ended up with 75 yards of something much closer to bulky-weight. Both halves are luscious. I'll probably use the thicker weight in the brim of the hat and do the crown in the (slightly) thinner yarn.

I do need to finish a couple of things first, but I've already re-engineered the herringbone stitch to work in the round. The idea is continuing to percolate while I finish up my Violeta mitts and Gumdrop socks. I can't wait to get started!

No comments: