Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Yarn Along - A Sheep Of A Different Color

You should probably sit down.  I know I did several times ;-).

Sheepmom was here over the weekend.  Julie, too!  She didn't fill her truck with sheep this time, but she did fill it with pots, pans, miscellaneous supplies and...jars of wool dye.  Yeah, I know.  I told you to sit down ;-).  Somehow I got talked into adding a little bright color to my life.

I have a couple of white fleeces left from this year and surprisingly, Renny's fleece is still here.  I always hate to see her (or any of them, honestly) go each year (but I can't spin them all) and took this as a sign that this was my year.  I decided we would dye part of her fleece.  

I want to try a cardigan with steeking, or cutting your knitting to add a button band.  Yes, that's scary for sure, but oh so brave Renny will be a perfect partner!  I always check Kate Davies patterns first, especially for colorwork, and something like this is at the front so far.  I'm envisioning a light gray (natural) body and colorful yoke.

I picked colors that I liked but also meant something to Renny's story.  Green for her coats she used to wear, rose for her best friend Miss Ewenice.  The yellow was just to add a bright pop if needed and blue as a possible background color.  Let's see how it turned out! 


We sorted out the darkest of the grays for the darkest color, hunter green (8 oz).  The next darkest went for a medium blue (12 oz) somewhere between the two bottles set out.  The lightest gray went for the bright yellow (6 oz).  A darker gray would have made it look pretty dull and dark I think.  The remaining was divided between light green (8 oz) and rose (12 oz).  This is about 1/3 of her total fleece.  The rest was left natural.


Robin uses Jacquard dyes and I was very happy with them as well.  After we had all the fleece divided, we filled a couple stainless steel pans, heated the water to 160 degrees, carefully added a small amount of dye, a goodly amount of vinegar and then the fleece.


Using insulated gloves, we slowly pushed the wool into the dye pot and then put the pot into the oven, set at 200 degrees.  I do realize that technically we should not have been doing this in the kitchen, but we did almost everything outside except the oven...and everyone knows how much little that oven gets used for food around here anyway ;-).


We monitored the pots carefully, watching to make sure the colors were looking the way we wanted and also if the dye had "exhausted" or was completely absorbed so the water remaining was clear.  

Some things we did to tweak the colors was to add some yellow to the greens to keep them from looking too blue.  We also ended up adding some black to the pot of dark green to make sure it was dark enough.  I didn't have to breathe into a paper bag even once and I have to admit it was even pretty fun ;-).


Since we only had a few pots, we transferred the finished dye pots to roasting pans to cool so we could start the next color.  It looks like I could make Kate a new rope toy with these two pans. Speaking of dogs, Kate and Weaslie spent the afternoon in the house so they wouldn't get into anything dangerous.  Betsy spent the entire day sleeping in various rotating positions under the same table so was therefore in no danger ;-).


Here are the colors we used.


And here's how they turned out.  I think we nailed them!


Interestingly, each lock took up the colors differently.  I noticed it first with the rose and when I pointed it out to Robin she explained that sometimes the tips will take up more than the cut end. The blue color apparently didn't get that memo as it's the reverse.  I'm sure there's a scientific reason for that.  Anyone?


And here she is!


I think this is going to be fun.  I can't wait for it to dry (surely by today, although with all this rain, nothing's really drying :-o).  Obviously there is way more here than I need to make a sweater, so I hope I have it planned out so I can divide everything in half and maybe sell the second half to someone else who'd like to spin and knit a fun (and colorful :-D) Renny project.  

On the reading front, I'm listening to Go Set A Watchman, the sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  I just started it yesterday (the release day so many of us have been counting down to) so am only a few chapters in. I have a feeling even if it's awful, we'll all enjoy it regardless.

Joining in with Ginny...




30 comments:

Alicia said...

What beautiful dyed fleece! Dyeing is such a process/struggle for me but you made it seem fun and your results are lovely.

Auntie Reg said...

Very cheerful colors. I cannot wait to see the sweater you are going to make. I have on my Punkin's Patch T shirt this morning and thought the colors were reflecting back onto the wool. Great job!

DianeOart said...

What a wonderful fleece and I wouldn't blink an eye to snatch that second half, love love love.

Alice said...

Those colors would make for a great throw or lap blanket. Are you intending a multicolored sweater or one that's gray with multicolored trim?

Jenny Glen said...

I'm 5 chapters in on Watchman an loving it!

Laura at Beehive Rugs said...

Can't wait to see your sweater! I'm waiting to see what people think about the Harper Lee book. You will have to tell us next week how it's going.

Suzy Mae said...

What beautiful colours and I can't wait to get my hands on that book :)

steph said...

your sweater is going to be amazing!!!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Those are some beautiful colors..blue must have different rules:) That will be one beautiful sweater:)

thingsherelately.com said...

Oh, how FUN!!! You always inspire me with your wool! I can't wait to see your sweater come together. And that blue...SWOON!!!

Sheepmom said...

I had a GREAT time helping with this. Dyeing to match colors was a fun challenge and you really nailed it! I can't wait to see the sweater! But steeking....yikes....scissors on your knitting..... really puts the eek in steek. ;-)

Fiona said...

What wonderful colors....and as to the book. I do wonder how its going to be to have a great hero turn out to be not so great in this time when so many heros are needed?

Michelle said...

Such beautiful colors!! I am toying with the idea of reading the new Harper Lee release.

MarmePurl said...

Well, I am just so (insert teary eyes and a sniffle) darn Proud of you.
Really Really Lovely.

Becki said...

What beautiful colors! And I loved seeing the pictures of the dyeing process. Thank you for sharing.

LannieK said...

How Exciting and Absolutely Beautiful! It's Renny perfect for a skeeted Little Flower �� Maybe a kal down the road?

Michelle said...

You know, every time you tackle a new challenge you knock it out of the ballpark. Perfect colors; they will make a beautiful (and very special, as always) sweater.

Rachel Berry said...

Beautiful colours! It looks like it will such fun to spin and knit too.

karen said...

you have the best life ever! I love the colors and the before and after photos, so so beautiful!

Susan Mckee-Nugent said...

best colours!!! And ANY of Kate's sweaters would be honored to be knitted and steeked by YOU and Renny :) Glad you had a friend to push you along into dye-ing peacefully :) steeking is NOT brain surgery, you CAN do this THING!!!

Natalie said...

All of the colours are absolutely beautiful, but I'm completely smitten with the lighter of the two greens.

Tracey ~ Clover said...

I would love to come to your house to play! Just look at all that beautiful fiber . And steeking, something I really want to try my had at one day.

The Green Dogs said...

The colours look amazing! :)

Wol 'n Draad said...

That's an amazing project! Love how the dyes took on the grey fleece and love the colours.
Really looking forward to seeing the yarn and the cardi you're going to make!
Such fun! :-))
Love, Ineke

sophy0075 said...

Very pretty! You are brave - I only risk one color at a time.

As for Miss Sleeping (Betsy) Beauty - she has enough colors on her fur, so just as well she napped all day. In my experience, when cats aren't sleeping, they are Getting Into Things.

Tyche's Minder said...

So nice!

Lisa Smith said...

You are my hero . . . . such a fearless knitter! Dyeing, steeking, and nary a paper bag was needed! :-) The paper bag comment you made really resonated with me. This Saturday, the 18th, marks 7 years since my heart attack. The day it happened I woke up feeling very "off", but thought I might be coming down with a bug. However, as it started, I asked my son (who happened to be there, thank goodness) to go grab a paper bag, because I thought I was hyperventilating!

I need orange said...

Yellow on gray makes green. :-) I got a lovely olive green, doing that, once upon a time..... I love dying gray wool, because the color seems so rich. The darker fibers in gray give depth.....

I was told, back then, that the tips take the color better because they have been damaged, a bit, by the sun, so they are more open to taking dye. But why the blue was different................ I have no idea!

You certainly got gorgeous results. Looking forward to seeing what you do with them! :-)

Arlette Seib said...

Those are gorgeous colors. Thanks for sharing this post.

Bettina Furler said...

Wow! I like the colors. I've been having a hard time with the process but dyeing is really an enjoyable way to spend my leisure time.

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