Thursday, June 28, 2012

The sweater project: step one, dyeing the wool

I have finally begun a project which I have been looking forward to for some months. I found a really cute sweater pattern in this book (which I found in my library), and have been itching to make it for my daughter. The other day everything was in place: 2 lbs. superwash Bluefaced Leicester wool roving, check; dyes, check; daughter, check; time, check. So we began.

First phase: Dyeing the wool.

We set up the tables outside and got the dyes ready. We are using weak acid dyes, which are set with vinegar and heat. The heat can be supplied in many ways, but we used the oven and the microwave. Here is our setup (click on any of the pictures to see them larger):

I left the mixing of the colors to my daughter so that she could get the colors she wants for the sweater:

Here is the first batch of wool getting its color. This batch is all one color, so it was dyed all together in an aluminum roaster:

Ready for the oven! This batch will go into the oven at 400 degrees F for about 40 minutes:

What a gorgeous color!

Now, on to the next batch, four 4-ounce lengths of roving which need to be handpainted in mutliple colors:

My daughter had lots of help:

Some of which took breaks in the shade or sun, according to species:

A length of colors:

Ready for the microwave! The roving is encased in cellophane, rolled up, and microwaved for about 4 minutes to set the colors:

Here is the dyed roving, after heating and setting the color, laid out to dry in the sun:

And here is the dried roving, it's so soft!:

Next phase: Spinning the wool into yarn.

I will have to spin it all a consistent gauge, hopefully at 4.5 stitches per inch on size 7 or 8 needles (US). That's the tricky part. Wish me luck!

Here is a picture from the Yarnplay book of the sweater we are aiming for (but ours will be in my daughter's colors).

My knitting skills are only so-so. I'm hoping that I'm up to the task, but I've been wanting to delve into this project for a very long time and I'm excited about it. It's all a learning process!


kreativa said...

Helo, I come from germany. I have a wish to you: please put on the right top of your blog: "translate". You will find it by layout-gadget. Thank you very much.

ICQB said...

Hi kreativa!

I put it there but I am not sure it is working.