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Friday, 13 February 2015

Dip Dyeing a Shawl with Woad

Happily for me, my current fetish for spinning laceweight from Polwarth locks coincides with an absorbtion in lace knitting. It seems to me there is more knitting in a fine shawl than there is in a chunky jumper. Though the metres of yarn used are fewer, the stitches per metre must be far more numerous. This pattern is by Boo Knits and is called Drift Away.  I thought I had made it rather quickly once there were only four rows to go.  Then it took about a week to do those rows, including spinning extra yarn to complete the picot bind off.  The stitch count doubles just before the end and I had not really appreciated that if casting off two stitches on the final row means casting on three and binding off five, that is much the same as doing an extra three super long rows.  I finished it last Saturday.
"This is totally frilly and great fun, Elinor."
"Much too coquettish for anyone with wrinkles. Unless you get a small fluffy lapdog, develop a larger bosom and wear all your beads at once - that would work."
I decided that although Elinor Gotland was still nursing a sore head after the opening game of the Six Nations, she did have a point.
"Do you think it would reduce the full on froth effect if I dyed a gradient of woad blues?  I've still got a few grams of powder left after doing those curtains last year."
"Doesn't really matter what I say, does it, Beaut?  You just get that dye pot out and give me a bit of peace."  Elinor shut her eyes and replaced the wet flannel on her forehead.


Threading a length of garden wire through the top of every picot was a marathon in itself. The woad vat was made with 5g powder, using the instructions on All About Woad. Dangling the end of the scarf from the towel rail on the extractor hood for five minutes, then airing it for ten minutes, then dropping the scarf a bit lower for another five minutes, I spent half of Sunday afternoon getting through eight successive dips.  Each dip gave an incremental depth of blue to the wool, the deeper shades have blended into each other, but there are tide marks on the paler stretches.



All that dangling stretched out the picot edge, so I only blocked the scarf very gently after a proper wash the following day.  

I shall call it Tidelines.

10 comments:

  1. OH MY GOODNESS! That is just absabloominlutly gorgeous Fran.

    Spinning wheel is one made by my husband. I think he should have made another treadle as it is single tread. Might be easier to use.

    I have just got out my loom too... am going to weave up some Aran weight yarn into a wrap. It is pretty darn cold in this 'ere van.

    Jaki

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    1. Now I understand. Vans in February are no place to wash or dry raw fleece. Roll on summer. I've not really had a go on a proper loom, your aran weight wrap sounds like a top plan for this weather.

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  2. 'T'is a shame you are so far away Fran, you would be welcome to come and play with the loom at anytime. Jaki

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  3. Beaut of a shawl fran. No fear dipping! It turned out well. Move to Pembrokeshire, please...

    Susan.

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    Replies
    1. Nice idea, but himself will leave here in a box. Pembrokeshire is permissable for holidays, we used to bring the kids and stay in the Narberth area. Lovely.

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  4. Oops! You more than deserve a capital letter.

    Susan.

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  5. Stunning!
    Lovely shawl and the dyeing is awesome !

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    Replies
    1. Thanks very much. 5g woad goes a long way, I was surprised to find how much blue got into some fleece I put in for a long soak at the end. If I had given the scarf longer dips, I might have got a real indigo as the deepest shade.

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