Monday, January 23, 2006

sometimes the old ways are the best ways...

Okaaay. So, I finally got a chance to work on the Ann Darrow cloche I promised Radioactivecrafter (on Craftster as a swap angel)... and here we are! I think I can get this thing done within the next 3 days :D I'm posting an extra-long, chock-full of pix, post cuz I shan't be able to post for a couple days - my schedule is CRAMMED with stuff...

Anyway, here's what I did tonight:

I started with an 8 oz skein of white Lionsbrand Fishermen's Wool:

I wound it into several skeins (after having knit 2 identical swatches - 25sts x 16 rows at 4sts/ inch). I ended up with 5 skeins:

Which I then threw in my St Vinny's $4 rice steamer. I poured in 8 cups of water and a tea spoon each of Wild Iris and Raspberry One-shot dyes - Radioactivecrafter said that her favorite colours were purple, burgundy, and green. Here's the skeins, still white and about to meet their fates (insert evil cackle):

And, while the dye was setting on my lovely wool, I went to felt my sample for the practical application of making a pattern that'll fit Radioactivecrafter when the cloche is done. Concept, eh? I'm really not comfortable with washing machine felting. I was taught, by one of my art instructors, to felt using a old fashioned washing board. And, it WORKS, lemme tell you. After, at most, 10 minutes my swatch was FELTED. I did this in my bathtub, to conserve water and keep it from getting all over the house. And, yes, I used shampoo as my felting lubricant. I got the washboard at True Value Hardware:
Here's the control swatch next to the felted one. It went from 6.25" x 4.5" to 3.25" x 2.5". Woohoo. You couldn't even see the stitches anymore. I'm not calculating the math right now... I'll figure that out before I cast-on the cloche. Here they are, for now:

At this point, the dye still hadn't completely struck on the skeins... so I let my hands keep themselves busy (while watching Law and Order, yeah!). I pulled out my The Art of Shetland Lace by Sarah Don and some ultra-fine Egyptian cotton handspun I finished plying on Saturday (did I forget to mention that? oops). Anyway. The pattern is the Celtic Cable Lace panel - I'm thinking it'll make a great headband. The yarn is soooooo soft. I've only spun, like, a 1/4 of an oz, but I'll definitely have enough. I got thru 2 repeats of the pattern:

And, then I could finally take my skeins out of their dyepot (or rice steamer...). Here they are, rinsed and beautiful! (I rinsed them in my bathtub, because my art instructors would have my HEAD if they ever caught me dyeing in my kitchen). I think they look like wood violets:

Then I put them on my drying rack in my shower. Yeah, I don't need to bathe or anything. yarn is sooooo much more important. Obviously. And it's for a good cause. I'm worried now that I'll have issues letting go of the cloche when it's done - look at these skeins! It's going to be looooovely. (who cares about modesty??)

Anyway. So, our lesson tonight is that sometimes the old ways ARE the best ways. I infinitely prefer washboard felting because I can contorl it (and it's faster - I listened to 1.5 songs on the radio during) and because it's such instant gratification. If the skeins are dry by tomorrow morning (doubtful), then I shall start the cloche. If not, I'll start on it on Wednesday.

Tomorrow I have a weaving class in the evenning, and office hours during the day. Then on Wednesday... who knows? Maybe I'll be half-way thru the cloche... And *after* that I can make myself one - I bought a ball of fuschia Nashua merino/alpaca yarn at Woodland that has so much potential ;)

& Quack
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    Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

    I'm a recent graduate of the University of Oregon, a Peace Corps nominee, and trying to knit, spin, and craft up my stash before I get sent off to a foreign country for 2 years.

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