Colour steps

So I said in my crafty resolutions that I wanted to try some colourwork projects. Now I will confess, my only real experience with colour work (other than contrast heels and toes on socks) is a very ill conceived attempt at an intarsia sweater when I was a teenager. It involved mohair, a fox pattern, batwings (it was the eighties!) and basically was a project way above my knitting paygrade. It never got finished (as my mother who paid for the yarn at the time still likes to remind me) and I kind of swore off colour work (come to think of it that was possibly the project that put me off knitting way back when too!).

But when my sil was over for the Bendigo Sheep and Wool show, she showed me a DVD of someone doing two handed fair isle (this is an extract of it…it’s a Canadian company called Philosopher’s wool). And it was kind of intriguing even though my brain went “what, how, crazypants”. (And yes, we watch knitting DVDs. Knitting nerds, unite!)

I will admit that a lot of Fair Isle I look at and think wow, amazing work, but it’s a bit too busy for my personal taste. But I have been stumbling over color work patterns on Ravelry that I like so it seemed like time to give it a go (I’m still avoiding Intarsia like the plague). Being my usual Virgo self, I ordered a book or two on the subject (Virgos must READ ALL THE THINGS and KNOW ALL THE STUFF before starting something) then determined that I would order some yarn for a hat pattern in one of the books. In the meantime, I wanted to practice, so I trotted off to the LYS and got three balls of wool and decided to knit the sampler purse pattern from the Philosopher’s Wool page I linked to. Only in eight ply. Because the thought of trying to manage multiple balls of yarn and teeny needles seemed liable to do my head in.

Anyway, this is how far I’ve gotten so far (about three quarters-ish)

Not too bad. The tension seems okay and I figured out not to change the order in which the yarns come over or under after the first five rows or so. And that row near the top with white blue white blue white blue. I totally knitted that using the two handed technique! My continental tensioning continues to suck but I shall work on it as it’s definitely faster than wrangling both yarns in my right hand. Best of all, I’m quite enjoying it! See what happens when you try stuff?

So when my hat yarn arrives I’ll be ready to dive in. My only thought with the whole stranded colour work is that it essentially produces a double thickness knitted fabric, which is going to be maybe TOO warm for Aussie conditions. Then again, I am the chick who feels cold when everyone else is warm, so maybe that’s a good thing.

So, one resolution progressing. My ankle is mending so hopefully I can get back into the spinning soon too! And in a fit of madness, I have signed up for Nerd Wars on Ravelry…eagerly awaiting my team assignment, so I have to make at least one project a month for the next few months.



Last spinning class today. We did silk (cocoons, caps/hankies, lap, tussah top and mulberry top) then angora, milk fibre, soy, bamboo, alpaca top, tencel, corn fibre and nylon glitz.

Tonight I came home and felt like going back to good old uncomplicated wool…so I decided to spin some of the fleece I dyed last week (third pic down). So far, so good, I think it kind of looks like mermaids.

Not sure how much yardage I’ll get but hopefully I can ply it with silk thread or something to eke out the length.

Colour my world

Here are the results of the dyeing adventures at spinning class today…these are all dyed with Landscape protein dyes, using the slather in dye, wrap in glad wrap, steam in a ziplock bag method.

My yarn, the colours are a little deeper than this but you get the idea

Some merino top…which is really a nice jade/malachite semi solid…a colour my camera refuses to photograph well

Some Finn/Corriedale fleece…this is getting close to felted maybe…will have to see what happens when it’s dry and I can flick it.

Hopefully it’s okay because I’ll be interested to see how it spins up.

And some more fleece and ditto.

I managed not to dye myself, so go me! We also tried spinning suri alpaca (in locks…HARD plus the locks look spookily like human hair so it was hard not to feel you’d mugged some poor brunette and shaved her head), bamboo top/carded (ditto), kid mohair (pretty and nice to spin so it’s a pity that mohair makes me itchy), cotton (well, Jo was brave enough to try that and the verdict was WORSE THAN THE ALPACA) then some of the other sort of alpaca which was do-able. After all that, it was kind of nice to go back to spinning some nice coated Finn/Suffolk fleece which I’ve mostly got the hang of. Yay for wool!

Next week is our last week where we shall attempt silk! Should be fun.


This week has been good for the arrivals of lovely new yarn. None of which I’m allowed to play with right now as I am trying to finish revisions and other things on the needles. Will see how long that resolve lasts.

But I can take pictures!

First, June’s instalment from the Stranded In Oz One Hank Happiness Yarn Club…gorgeous icy blue semi solid wool/lyocell yarn. Destined to be the cute beanie you can see here. Which will require me figuring out the whole i-cord thing but I’m sure I can do it.

Next, Kollage Fantastic (lovely 100% Merino worsted?)

No plans yet…shall have to pick something and then acquire more! Gorgeous colour.

Third, Dream In Color Classy in Blue Lagoon from The Loopy Ewe to become a Star Crossed Beret (aka Mel learns to cable). It’s definitely hat weather this winter.

And last but not least, some lovely merino DK weight for me to attempt some Cat Bordhi New Pathways socks. Also from Stranded In Oz. This having a hand dyer in the family is kind of awesome!

And hmm, am noticing a distinct color theme in my acquisitions which will surprise no-one who knows me and my love for blues and greens (I’m sure if I looked at all my stash right now there’d be about 90% these sorts of shades and combos) but think I shall have to be radical when I go to Bendigo and branch out!

Purple, purple oh where for art thou purple

I made my sil a bag. She wanted purple, fair enough it’s her favourite colour. Turns out a good purple is hard to find right now. There’s lots of lavender and mauve and some weird darker warmer…almost yellowy purples, plenty of burgundy but nice deep cool purple was pretty hard to hunt out. Not that hunting through fabric stores is a hardship (though sometimes a danger to the credit card). So note to fabric designers…make with the purple.

Anyway, this is the finished product. It’s the Expandable Tote from U-Handbag. It’s a bit fiddly but turns out really nicely. I think I might have to make one for myself, it’s really roomy if you undo the ties and very cute tied up.