My friend gave me about 4 oz of grey English Angora fiber to spin that she had been saving from her rabbits. She doesn’t spin, but is an avid knitter, so she was looking forward to knitting with her own fiber.
I hackled the fiber to sort out all the short bits, neps, and hay, and was left with about 1.7 oz of prime fiber. She asked for pink in the batts, so I used 2 different shades of pink Tussah silk, and dyed some merino/silk blend top to layer in the batts.
I spun and 2-plied the batts into about 180 yards.Although I love the softness, I don’t care for Angora’s tendency to bloom and shed, so I spun the singles with a very high twist so that the loose ends have a harder time escaping the yarn.
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Remember the Wensleydale wool I dyed with pokeberries and cochineal back in the fall?
Once I carded it I then spun it into a 153 yd Navajo ply yarn.
But then I had to decide what to make with the yarn! I knew I wanted a pattern that would really highlight the gradient, so after trawling the Ravelry in search of a pattern I settled on the Prisma Loop, an Infinity scarf pattern. I got sidetracked a few times to knit last-minute gifts, so it took a while to finish but I finally did!
It turned out the perfect length to wrap around my neck twice. I did a crochet provisional cast-on, so when I finished knitting I unraveled the cast-on and grafted the stitches together to make a loop. And the coolest part was that when I made the batts, the last one ends in the same deep plum color that it begins in, so when the loop is formed the colors line up seamlessly.
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On Saturday I attempted hand painting a 50% alpaca/50% wool bulky yarn for the first time!
It turned out great! I used Jaquard acid dyes for this project. First I soaked the yarn in cold water with about 2 T of white vinegar, and covered the counter with a garbage bag while it soaked (it’s works nicely and we didn’t have any plastic wrap, which is what you’re supposed to use.) I then mixed my dyes with hot water, but they cooled down over the time I was dying. Probably not a big deal. Then it occured to me that the yarn might need to be hot, so I microwaved it for about 2 minutes, but that cooled down too. It’s the vinegar acid and the steaming afterward that sets the dye.
I spread out the yarn on the garbage bag and painted that dye on! I used a cheapie foam brush for the dye. I wasn’t too happy with the way it looked after I painted it, but the steaming was yet to come. I wrapped it in the garbage bag the long way, coiled it up like a cinnamon bun, and than put it in a steaming basket over boiling water. Once the water boiled, I turned the stove down to low for a half hour and let it steam.
I was a bit concerned about the garbage bag melting, but thankfully it didn’t. When I unwrapped the yarn it looked great! The steaming mellowed and blended the colors wonderfully!
the yarn I used
my set up for dying
soaking the yarn in cold water after steaming
the lovely finished yarn!