Mar. 13th, 2017

infryq: Kitchen scene at dawn, post-processed to appear as if painted (Default)
Over the weekend, I finished plying up my second batch of sweater yarn, washed and set the twist, and counted up yardage for the individual skeins. I'm unfortunately not matching the grist of the first batch, so I'll have to be careful about which skeins I use for what parts of the sweater -- if I can manage to get the whole yoke done out of the first set, the difference will be less noticeable. I've already got the left side of the shawl collar done, and am 1/3 of the way through the right side. I'm about halfway through the yarn I have left of the first batch after my (extensive) swatching. I will probably have to unwind my multi-needle swatch, but I can probably keep the one I did in the round. I probably *should* keep that one until I've swatched the new yarn, to make sure at least that matches.

I also completed most of phase 2 of my natural socks make-along project: dyeing a self-striping yarn. I first wound a centre-pull ball so that I could wind a double-stranded skein, guaranteeing that I'd wind up with two matching dye-jobs for two matching socks. Then I split for stripes. My skein-winder is this enormous trapezoidally-lofted thing on a lazy susan, so I divided it into 4 sections vertically using clothes pins, and wound three wraps in each section, back and forth until I got to the end of the yarn. I tied each mini-skein-stack in several places, and the crosses, and labeled the skeins top to bottom so that I'll be able to sort them all out later. Then I set them in a cold-mordanting solution (8% alum) overnight. Meanwhile, I set four jars of dyestuff in water in a double-boiler to extract the dye: alkanet, coreopsis, cosmos, and madder. The active dye molecules in alkanet, it turns out, aren't particularly water-soluble, so that jar didn't work out. After some research I pulled out the dyestuff from that jar and set it in a mug of isopropyl alcohol, which worked much better. The next day I strained the dye solutions, rinsed the yarn, and set one mini skein in each jar. The hot plate in my dye kitchen is induction, which I've never been more thankful for since it meant accidentally dripping yarn on it didn't result in scorching. It also has several running modes, including a thermostat mode, which was perfect for dyeing and guaranteed nothing would boil (which ruins flower dyes like coreopsis and cosmos). After a few hours I got the saturation I wanted and pulled everything out to drip dry over the tub. The coreopsis didn't get as red as I wanted (alternately: the cosmos went a bit oranger than I was expecting), so I dunked that skein in an after-bath of black walnut and iron, which muted it to a warm brown. I also wound up adding a bit of copper to the madder bath, which shifted the tone from coral to maroon. So now I have a maroon-lavender-gold-chestnut self-striping yarn. Pretty pleased.

I made corn muffins from a box; they were delicious. I set the caucasian mountain spinach seeds to stratify in the fridge. I spun a wee skein of the tiniest yarn I could manage from the rambouillet fiber, which was this month's spinning challenge. It is pretty tiny, but I think I could get tinier if I used a supported spindle. If I get bored, I'll give it a shot.
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