Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Hand spun, Naturally dyed Waistcoat

Hand Spun, Naturally Dyed Yarn

   The reason I bought a spinning wheel many years ago was to spin yarn for my weaving. Of course it takes time to reach an appropriate standard and along the way I have spun much yarn to use for knitted projects, some of it successful, some not appropriate for the intended finished item, but that's not unusual. There are many factors to take into account to be sure the yarn will behave as you want, and, if you are dyeing the spun yarn, well, that needs thinking about and sampling along the way.
   Spinning became a means to relaxation and a better night's sleep for one such as me, whose thoughts and planning seem to difficult to dismiss, continuing well into the night!
   The result has been many skeins of great yarn with no end product in mind. But they have been worth their weight in restful sleep!
   I am unable to wear most woolen products - being a sensitive soul :-)) - but have discovered that I can find some hope in organically prepared fibres.
   The 3ply yarn for this waistcoat was spun from organic falklands fibre, dyed with Walnuts hulls acquired from a tree in a garden just over the road from where I live. The tree has a preservation order on it along with another that stands in ground that once belonged to Poplar Farm, in Eaton Bray. The occupiers of the two properties are frustrated by the number of husks and nuts that have to be picked up from their gardens and without gloves this is a messy job which results in well stained hands.
   My request for bucketsful of  'walnut debris' was welcomed with some curiosity!
Chemical fixatives are not needed to achieve a permanent colour, so that was another plus for me.
   I was pleased with the shade of brown, deep enough but subtle at the same time.
A tension swatch made me realise that I hadn't dyed enough for a cardigan so I chose a modular knitted waistcoat of my own design.

   I began with the front, and knitted on the diagonal to reduce/eliminate the chance of any sagging, until the piece was long enough to reach the outer shoulder line. I weighed that piece to calculate the weight of yarn needed for the front and back plus side panels and was very close to the weight of dyed yarn. With a slight panic over, this inspired a design opportunity!
   I knitted a band with alternating rows of a silk mix yarn, spun some time ago, with the walnut dyed wool. Hey presto!
   Now, I am looking for a suitable, possibly a bar brooch, to use as a fastening, either at the top or lower down the front.

No comments:

Post a Comment