Wednesday, January 20, 2016

having a crack.

yesterday i woke up feeling tetchy.
and the longer i was awake, the tetchier i felt. checking social media and emails. having a shower.
in my tetchy state, i flopped back onto the bed, checked social media and email again, and began playing a game on my phone.

now the real reason for my tetchiness? i was stroppy as i felt that i hadn't had a chance to do anything i really wanted to get done this month... working full time these past couple of weeks, coupled with my days off being quite warm had left me ridiculously pooped!
yet here i was, with time to spare, playing a game on my phone?? how ridiculous!

i dragged my butt off the bed, chucked on some clothes and got to work. tidying the kitchen and bedroom a little, watering the plants in preparation for another hot one, AND something i've been thinking about since the weekend...
solar dyeing.

a jar of walnut shells and a skein of yarn, sitting in a sunny place to solar dye

on saturday morning, i picked up a veggie box from rohan, aka wholelarderlove and inside was a generous handful of walnuts. still in their shells! once i got into work, i hunted down a hammer, and got to cracking, revealing the delicious nut inside. but what to do with the shells?
i contemplated taking them home for the worm farm, but then remembered back to all of the instagram pictures i've been seeing the last couple of months of folks using natural dyeing ingredients and the heat of the sun in a jar to get some awesome dyed yarn and fabric!

a jar of walnut shells and a skein of yarn, sitting on my front doorstep to solar dye. surrounded by lots of plants

so back to yesterday morning, and after doing those few chores, i set to setting up the dye jar above.
winding off my ball of yarn into a skein, giving it a good soak, and layering the walnut shells above and below it in the jar, topping it off with water and setting it in a nice sunny spot on the front doorstep.

now, will i have the patience to wait a while longer before pulling it all apart to see the results? hopefully!
though after the stinker of a hot day we had yesterday, the yarn is already looking quite a bit darker than it was when i took these pictures yesterday morning... will definitely be posting an update when it's ready!

oh and i guess i should share some technical details? or as many as i have... the yarn i used was leftover 4ply shilasdair from this hat in colourway 'fleece cloud', a non-dyed yarn. there was probably about 15-20g of yarn left from the 50g skein.
i used approximately the same weight of walnut shells, and tried to bash them up relatively small.
i didn't premordant or anything, other than soaking the skein in water. hopefully that doesn't mean all of the beautiful colour will run out when i rinse it!
this is a one litre jar and everything fit pretty perfectly...

have you tried natural dyeing before? or gotten one of Ro's veggie boxes? what do you do with walnut shells?

Thursday, January 7, 2016


the first of five current works-in-progress that are on the fast track in 2016 to get finished.
as much as i want to be all, new year, new projects, i started a LOT of things last year (and the year before *ashamed face*) that i really do want to get done.

anywho, back to these finished beauties...

a pair of socks knit in grey patonyle for my great uncle frank

now to tell you the truth, this wasn't a project i started last year... it was one my ma did. she started them mid way through last year, and got the large majority of one sock done and dusted.
in october however, she had a fall, resulting in a break to her elbow and shoulder and no more knitting!
one thing led to another, and unfortunately, she passed away just before christmas.

close up of leg section of a pair of socks knit in grey patonyle for my great uncle frank

the last time i saw her, we had a discussion about me taking over the knitting of these socks, as they were cast on as a birthday present for her brother, who is turning 70 midway through this month.
so takeover i did, and boy did that tight deadline put a rocket under my bum to get them done!

now, my ma and i, we have quite different tensions, so these are two very different socks. i realised quite early on, that if i wanted them to match, i definitely should have changed my needles to a size or two bigger. but i kind of like the idea of using the same needles for each sock... and that they're quite different in size. my ma's brother will always be able to tell the sock that was knitted by his big sister, and the one knitted by his grand-niece.

close up of heel section of a pair of socks knit in grey patonyle for my great uncle frank

ma knew her sock pattern by heart, so i had to do a fair bit of reading of the sock she had already knit to ensure we had similar heels, cast-ons and toes.

it was such an honour to continue on with this pair of socks that my beautiful ma had started.

stay tuned for hopefully quite a few more finishes as we travel through these first few weeks of the year...