Sunday, 14 July 2013

Third Year of Projects Week 2

So this is my first update of the new year of projects. I have finished one knitting project (a pair of socks I've literally just bound off), but it's Sooper Secrit for now, so I won't be showing pictures of it today.

I've been doing a lot of non-knitting things though (warning, VERY picture heavy post ahead).

Last Sunday, when it was gloriously sunny, I sat in the back garden with a bottle of cider and a barbeque, watching Andy Murray win the tennis, and spun on my spinning wheel.

This is "Wool" which I got from UK Karma swaps quite a while ago, and which I started spinning into a single in 2012! The second is "Wool and Linen," from the same swap

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I finished the Wool single, and spun up the Wool and Linen into a single as well.

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And plied them. The larger skein is fingering weight 2ply Wool/Wool and Linen (330 yards), whilst the smaller was the rest of the Wool single, Andean bracelet plied, and is again fingering weight (70 yards). This method of plying is something I haven't done before, and I massively overplied the yarn, and had to run it through the spinning wheel again to take out the twist (although I accidentally added more twist to start with, and now understand more about twist directions and how to tell which way to turn the wheel.)

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Then yesterday, I decided it needed dying, using Wilton's Icing Dyes. I was finding it too hot to knit, so clearly it was entirely sensible to stand over a hot stove all day.

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I felt like a mad scientist playing with my dyes!

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I dyed the small skein red, and the larger one yellow, then dried the yellow and wound it into a tight ball.

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I put the balls of yellow into an orange dye bath, and made sure it was all cover in the orange dye.

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This led to a gradient effect with the yellow slowly turning to orange

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And the finished yarn! The white flex in the yellow/orange are the bits of linen in the yarn, which obviously didn't take up the dye, as it's not an animal fibre.

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I also decided (as I had the dying bug), to try a different way of gradient dying yarn. This is some sock yarn that was a gift for Renee at Confessions of a Yarn Addict.

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I split each 50g skein into 5 equal 10g mini skeins, which were still joined together.

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I then mixed 5 different shade of dye bath (yellow, 50:50 yellow:orange, orange, 50:50 orange:red and red), and microwaved the yarn

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Here you can see the gradients really well

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And the finished skeins. As you can see, the front skein is lighter than the back, as I don't think I stirred the yarn enough to equally distribute the dye, and it is also more golden rather than yellow, as I accidentally dipped the yellow mini-skein into the orange, and it took up some of the dye, even though I took it out immediately.

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Finally, I'd been meaning to dye this yarn blue for ages.

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In the dye bath

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And the finished yarn. It's hard to see in the picture, but it has subtle variations in colour when you lok closely, as I tried not to stir it much.

So that was my week of fibre arts! I'm now planning to knit the Lindisfarne shawl in my handspun. I forgot to include in my list that I would actually like to knit up the things I spin, as well as spin them! I've entered the dying into the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup on Ravelry as a Not Quite First Year, as I've seen a lot of people being involved in it, and it looked really fun.

Since this post is already super long, I might as well make it longer, and tell you about my life. I'm currently on a placement in Vascular Surgery, which I am really enjoying, although it's very long hours. I've also got involved in a audit, which my consultant is running, and which should be published with my name as one of the authors, which will be amazing, and very helpful for jobs.

I feel like I'm actually helping, rather than getting in the way. On Friday, I scrubbed into surgery and was actually needed to help, rather than just standing there. Only problem was, it was 8 hours of standing with no food, no water and no way to go to the toilet. That wouldn't have been a problem if the air conditioning hadn't gone funny, making it 23 degrees in the operating theatre, and at least 33 under the surgical lights. The nurses were having to mop the surgeon's brow, which they apparently haven't had to do for 20 years.

I've seen loads of interesting stuff, including emergency ruptured aneurysm repair, and the operation I was talking about above, which they apparently only have to do about twice a year, and I got a really good mid course appraisal from my consultant, who has also told one of my friends that I am "very enthusiastic."

So that's my post, well done if you made it this far!

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  1. Wow what a week! I love all of your dying photos! All of your yarn is beautiful!! I've never tried dying but your photos make me want to :)

    Congrats on the finished socks! Looking forward to seeing a photo when you are able. Also I enjoyed reading about your work. I made it to the end :)

  2. Look at all that gorgeous yarn! Can't imagine the hot stove part though ... why not just use a microwave?

    1. I did use the microwave for the yarn in the jam jars, but the only place in my tiny kitchen for a microwave is on top of the fridge freezer, so I have to stand on tiptoe to use it, and it's very hard to see how the yarn is doing, and to stir!

  3. Woo-hoo! So, I have a question for you (and you can respond to me via email or Rav or whatever)...when you do your Andean plying, do you wrap the whole bobbin on your hands at once or is there a way to break it up where you have sections? I'm thinking along the lines of color changes if you're working a stripey you would do the first color section and get that all plied but is there a way to connect a second section? I'm just curious as I've discovered my dislike of chain plying.

  4. All of those colours are lovely, but that blue is fabulous. I too would like to take up spinning and dying now!!

  5. Oh my gosh I just love the yarn and your shawl is going to look amazing in what you've dyed it and spun it to. I love that. Then the mini skeins in the different gradients is just brill. Now those and the blue one you did are they just normal skeins of say shop bought yarn in a white that you've dyed ? I find this really fascinating and would love to give it a go but haven't a clue where to start. I think the children would have a ball helping me to lol. Your job this placement sounds so interesting, coming from a family who has a few aunts who are nurses I'm used to the speak but find it interesting to still listen to what your doing.

    1. They are both shop bought. The blue yarn started out as white, and the gradient yarn started out as tan. Both yarns had a nylon/elastic content, but that didn't seem to effect the outcome of the dying

  6. I've dyed wool before and loved it. I actually over-dyed wool material for hooking wool rugs and for wool applique which I am much better at than knitting! LOL! I would like to spin also but I will wait until I am moved up North where it's cooler to do all that stuff! LOL!
    Your spinning looked so nice and then the yarns came out gorgeous! The only thing left now is to buy your own sheep and shear them! You go girl!
    On the medical side....good for you! I was a medical lab tech years ago and a vet assistant who helped with surgeries and as a lab tech I was the only one who would help with the autopsies. I found it all fascinating! I enjoy hearing about your experiences. My Mother was a surgical nurse also so it's very interesting to me. Good luck!

  7. Holy Moses. I've always wanted to learn more about dying techniques and this post provides so many great examples. Suddenly dying yarn doesn't seem so time intensive.

    ha ha

  8. Wow! You are so experienced at spinning and dyeing. How fun to have those skills.

    1. You're way too kind. It's only my second spinning wheel yarn, and my first time dying. There are a lot of mistakes, but I'm too excited about the firsts to care!

  9. I love your colors. Makes me want to go home and dye more yarn myself!

  10. I love your idea how to make gradient yarn, so smart!