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Dec 17 / Jamie

Just dyeing to spin and knit!

I started knitting just around the time J turned one. I was using cloth diapers and wanted to make some of the cool wool soakers I had seen everywhere in Eco-mommy land. But more than knitting, I REALLY wanted to dye the yarn to be self-striping using kool-aid. They turned out awesome awesome (and I still have that first pair of soakers, M is just about too big for them now) and I was off and running down the path that would eventually lead to our farm.

I love wool, especially dyeing it, but also spinning and knitting. In fact, I think I love to do the things in that very order. So, the holidays wouldn’t be complete without some hand-dyed, hand-spun, and hand-knitted additions.

Hat from our wool
This hat is for someone who shall remain nameless, but he knows it’s for him, so it doesn’t really matter. This wool came from Francis after her spring shearing. It was carded at a local mill, then I dyed the roving. I used Greener Shades dye and spaced out a blue-black combo. If I had to give the roving a cool name, it would have been something to do with faded denim. Some bits were almost black, mostly it was a great indigo blue, but there were bits of the creamy natural wool poking through as well. I spun it as fine as I could and then plied it with more of Francis’ wool in its natural color to give a beautiful tweed. I ended up with four ounces of yarn.

Knitting it up was pretty simple, I used my Addi Turbo needles in size 4, 47″. I make all my hats from the top down using “magic loop” until I get to the final circumference and then switch to (usually) 16″ Addi turbo circular needles. For this hat, I cast on 8 stitches using the figure eight cast on method and increased evenly by eight stitches every other row until I had about 120 stitches. I worked down a few inches and then worked a 2 x 2 rib until it seemed long enough and then did a stretchy bind off. This is my standard method for making hats, it works well and they fit great b/c by working from the top down you can try them on as you go. I make things interesting by sometimes working in a lace stitch, fair isle, stripes, etc, but that is my basic “recipe”. Kind of like a basic cookie recipe for the holidays, the 12-in-1 recipe, I think. Only for hats!

Hand-dyed and spun yarnHere is another yarn, also from Francis. I dyed two ounces red and white and the other two orange and pink. I spun them kind of chunky and then plied them together. This yarn is ALL MINE! I love the way the colors came out and I think I will make a hat for myself.

Enjoy this time of year, it is perfect to stay warm with hand knitted goods. Knitting is really easy, if you have ever wanted to try it, why not start now!

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