Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dyeing to start

This week we reviewed a PHENOMENAL book on the podcast- it's Coastal Knits by Alana Dakos and Hannah Fettig. They're both brilliant, and this book is - as the kids say - 100% full of win. It took real restraint for me to actually sit and record with Mom instead of just go stashdiving and start half a dozen new sweaters.

Seriously. I love all the sweaters in this book. Instead of pulling yarn for all the sweaters, I decided to start with ONE (restraint! Self-control!)- the Rocky Coast Cardigan:

Picture shamelessly stolen from Alana's blog.

There are so many things I love about this sweater- mostly that it's an open-front, drapey cardigan that I can wear regardless of how big the bump gets. It will also look great once I've lost all the baby weight and have a six-pack. (A woman can dream!)

One of the (many) great parts of Coastal Knits is that they suggest alternative yarns for each sweater. And for the Rocky Coast cardigan, Malabrigo is a suggested substitute.

I have a robust stash. I could have *sworn* that I had a bag of navy blue Malabrigo in my stash- and I'm rarely wrong about what yarn I do - or don't - have. I checked the stash, and there were other colors, just no navy blue Malabrigo. Boo. (Any bets on the navy blue turning up when I'm 90% done with this sweater?)

I went and fished the poison green (which they call "Apple Green") out of my stash, and to my utter shock and delight, this cardigan calls for *ONLY* four skeins of Malabrigo. I had four skeins, five if you counted the skein that was in a Hugo-in-Progress.

I swatched, because I've never knit Malabrigo at 4 stitches per inch- in CABLES!

Ever-so-gently blocked. Houston, we have gauge!

In the spirit of "making it work" a la Project Runway (CAUTION: noisy site), which we're FINALLY current on, guess who has two thumbs and still had 4 (or 5, if you count the one skein in my half-knit Hugo monster) skeins of poison green Malabrigo leftover from her Twist cardigan, and a dyepot? This gal.

I have faith in Hannah Fettig, but when it comes to custom colors, an extra skein is always better than trying to match it at the end. So, I ripped out my half-knit monster and told Hugo, "Sorry, this is for the good of the sweater."

I threw all five (neatly tied) skeins in some soapy water to soak, and waited.

I had to wait for Andrew to get home, because my dyeing stuff is all neatly tucked away behind some of the baby stuff we've got- but completely inaccessible to my short and round-in-front self. While he was not thrilled that I was cooking wool (instead of, you know, food), he knows better than to put a dampener on my enthusiasm. Smart man.

(He also made dinner while I was cooking wool.)

I used Mother MacKenzie's miracle dyes, because *somehow* I am completely out of any and all blue Jacquard dyes. I have enough red to dye the Nile, but blue? Nuthin'.

Just blue in the dye bath yielded these results:

Dye bath #1

Not dark enough. Not navy blue, not hunter green, not a nice teal. I decided to let the pot cool overnight, and overdye it the next day.

I got up early yesterday morning and fired up a pot of the Mother MacKenzie's worker blue and a good dose of black. Today? We have a beautiful, albeit damp, hunter green.

Now if only it would hurry up and dry so that I can cast on. Dyeing is not for the impatient.


  1. I was so excited to get this book in the mail earlier this week when I was stuck home sick in bed! The sweaters are all gorgeous, I almost can't believe I haven't cast on for one yet.

  2. I haven't gotten to the book review in the episode yet, but I did peek at the patterns and hoo boy, that sweater is gorgeous! I'll be watching to see how yours turns out. I have six skeins of Malabrigo in the stash that have been there for several years waiting to be turned into something.

  3. If you hang the skeins outside to dry in the wind they will dry VERY fast. Just watch out for the bluejays. You know how I know.

    And that sweater... I made a white one in about the same cable pattern in high school. Still have it. Still fit into it. Zips up the front only because my mom took pity on me and sewed the zipper in.

  4. My fingers are feeling mighty itchy after your glowing podcast review!


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