Monday, February 11, 2008

Going Grey

At the risk of turning this into a pet blog, I have to post the following picture...

...because I am beginning to suspect a conspiracy. Look at the "Who, me?" expressions, and Orlando is once again concealing his face. Bobbins everywhere...Beware!

So, on the spinning front... I am more or less finished spinning the merino/silk blend that I have been chipping away at for the last month. I'm very happy with the yarn, which is a 3-ply woollen, roughly sportweight, though I managed to take a photo of a slub that makes it look a little heavier. The yarn is very soft and cushy, and I had great plans for a coat with intarsia concentric circles in various shades of cochineal reds or pinks.

Oh, I dreamed of the wonder and glory of the design as I spun. I debated adding beads to the pattern. Should I knit them in or embroider them on later? I could see the glorious hues of burgundy, rose, blush, scarlet, vermillion. I pondered the length of the jacket's skirt, whether to put a pleat in the back, buttonhole options. Then came dye day.

I wound five skeins of 50 yards each for a series of shades. I carefully mordanted and weighed out my cochineal. I ground those little buggies into powder and gently simmered a beautiful deep red dyebath. Then I carefully lowered the first skein in. And let it simmer for 6 hours before I got this:
Yes, there is a hint of pink, though the photo does not show it well. The dyebath was very strong when I started, but was fairly well exhausted when I pulled this skein out, even though I had used enough cochineal for four more skeins. The fibres were just too dark to let the color read well. The skein that did get dyed is very lovely and interesting, but there is just not enough contrast to make the pattern that I had designed work.

Back to the drawing board. Perhaps something in a solid grey and lacey pattern. Out came the Harmony Guides, Barbara Walker, Nicky Epstein. There was a brief consultation with EZ. Much heavy pondering and navel-gazing. Then, inspiration struck, and sampling began.

I have now officially cast on the diamond lace border for a Chanel-style jacket with diamond motifs, knitted in one piece. I have already named the pattern "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend", and I am at peace with the Universe, which is apparently still unfolding as it should.

This will be my travel project, along with a pair of bright red socks. I am off to Vancouver for a week to visit my lovely and talented daughter and get some much needed R&R. I am somewhat concerned about the effects of knitting grey in grey Vancouver, but those red socks will snap me out of any doldrums that may arise. I'll try and send a postcard!

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