Spin knit dye. Yeah, that’s backwards.
Wednesday February 22nd 2012, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Spinning,To dye for

Hey, Don, you got your new computer working yet?

And over here…  Once upon a time there was some yarn at Colourmart.  Really nice yarn, in a very thin laceweight, finer than I wanted to work with but very nice yarn of very nice content and very cheap. (Their prices include shipping, too.)

They had a free twisting service to hold multiple strands together. I did not look around their site to notice that if you want the strands actually plied the way a mill would do, you have to pay an extra $5–which is super reasonable, actually.

So I bought 450 g of the stuff and asked them to twist it by threes for me.

Being me, when it came, I immediately hanked it off that cone into a big loop  and scoured it in hot water to get the mill oils out that their stuff tends to come with; I don’t like to spend hours upon hours knitting with something that’s only going to feel supersoft for someone else later–I’m paying for me to be able to enjoy it, too. The mill oils feel like dried hair mousse, so, out!

Hitchcock music time: over a thousand yards of strands only barely held together, all felting randomly with other parts of the skein in that sink. I hung it to dry and saw it and it hit me. All. That. Yarn. The only thing that saved it was the fact that there were cashmere and silk in there as well as that felting merino.

Help Cecil Help!

I’m a-comin’, Beanie Boy! I spent a long time gently pulling it back apart. I didn’t dare risk dyeing it then for fear of having to do that again.

At each stage of this I threw it in the back of the closet till what the stuff was made of refused to be ignored.

So on the next time looking it over, I was afraid that that bit of twisting they did would put torque into whatever I knit. There were a few places where it had left one strand loopy and uneven with the other two, with me trying to ease the ease back in.

There was only one way out I could see.

I ran it through my spinning wheel. Clockwise. Two bobbins’ worth, let’s try this much out first before I do more. I plied those two on each other counterclockwise, treadle, treadle, treadle.

Now I had a good, balanced yarn–and it was a worsted-weight-ish 6-ply. Um, who wants a white hat? (I know, I know, all the good guys do.)

And so that’s exactly what I knit, finishing it today without even using all the one doubled bobbin’s worth. The 6-ply was splitty as all get-out and a nuisance to knit, but after I pulled that hat out of my dyepot in the afternoon, the felting action helping me out this time, it was a deep deep indigo, the silk just slightly lighter and dancing in the background to its own happy tune.  When it is dry it will do so even more.

Wow.  Gorgeous.  And so, so soft! It was worth every minute and every angst and every stitch and every stir of that pot. This is what it aspired to be all along. I almost put it on for a moment in celebration, still wet–and had a sudden vision of being an old blue-haired grandma before my time. (No, it’s not crocking dye. Even so.) Let’s not.

Only 136 more grams to spin (maybe) , 196 to knit. Be still my heart.

8 Comments so far
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(Let me guess – I’m usually first when I post because I live on the East Coast?)

Sometimes the yarn just has to wait for you to figure it out. I grabbed a project bag last night where I had frogged a sweater. It never wanted to be that sweater, believe me. I tried it as a nice little Tunisian crochet pillow top. It evidently wanted to be Tunisian crochet.

Comment by Afton 02.23.12 @ 6:35 am

Thank goodness for your fiber experience and expertise – and patience! A good yarn has evolved into a great project. Yay!

Comment by Channon 02.23.12 @ 7:16 am

Yes, I am back in business! More about that later, probably on my blog.

You know that I can scarcely understand this spinknitdye business, but I do understand the ability to figure things out.

Comment by Don Meyer 02.23.12 @ 8:58 am

I truly love the 100% cashmere and do not notice the oil. I just knit and then soak in hot water with a bit of Dawn; rinse in hot water; and block. Everything has turned out wonderful. I highly recommend it–a bargain to buy, nice to knit, and wonderful to wear.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 02.23.12 @ 9:07 am

isn’t it just lovely when the fiber takes on a life of it’s own! Glad you were able to salvage it (do we get pictures?)

Comment by Bev 02.23.12 @ 9:18 am

Your patience with that yarn is the stuff legends are made of! Consider this my “checking in” to say….still here. Bit of a funk going on, but still kicking. (and screaming)

Comment by Ruth 02.23.12 @ 2:14 pm

Wow! Sounds like you made a great hat out of what might have been a disaster. So happy it turned out well

Comment by DebbieR 02.23.12 @ 5:11 pm

Valiant effort! I’m glad it paid off.

Comment by twinsetellen 02.23.12 @ 9:13 pm

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