Archive for the ‘dyeing’ Category

Striped Mushroom Sweater Finished!

October 5th, 2012 by knitnzu

It’s actually been finished for a week or two now, but it had to be blocked, and then I had to get pictures of DH wearing it… all the important things, ya know? It’s been two years in the making, but it’s done.

Two years ago I went to Rhinebeck and picked up 11 skeins of plain Bartlett Yarn. A year ago I caked up all the yarn I’d dyed with mushrooms. All the details about which mushrooms gave which colors with which mordants are here. DH’s birthday is in January, and this sweater was intended for his birthday, January 2012. He finally got it mid-September!

Here are a few re-cap pics,
cakes 013 <striped mushroom sweater body

And here it is done,
finished and blocked mushroom sweater (10)

The back, and a sleeve,
finished and blocked mushroom sweater (2) finished and blocked mushroom sweater (7)

And on,
mushroom sweater 009 mushroom sweater 013

Shoulder detail,
finished and blocked mushroom sweater (15)

This is the Real Raggsock pattern from Inger Fredholm’s Knitting with a Smile. I’ve met her and her (late) husband Nils. She’s a lovely person (and he was as well). My pal Alphy is friends with Inger, and I hope she sees this version of her pattern!

More details over on my Ravelry project page for this sweater. Basically I did a bunch of short-rows in the back to account for shoulders. We always think of men as straight up and down, especially DH, who is thin, but men have shapes and these need to be accounted for, just like boobage in women’s sweaters. I made this sweater for DH years ago (another Ravelry project link), without additional length in the back, and it just rides up, about 4 inches in the back! Makes me crazed, but he still wears the thing… even after re-kitting the cuffs twice (and currently the elbows are worn through and the cuffs need to be re-done).

I’m hoping he’ll treat the mushroom stripes the same and wear it all the time.

Crazy dyeing weekend and poking about the garden

August 12th, 2012 by knitnzu

Two weekends ago, I went with Dianna to Kristen’s place in Vermont to hang around with friends and dye fiber and yarn. It was a blast! We had pots going outside for natural dyeing, including an indigo vat, and there were acid dyes on the porch… we experimented with kettle dyeing, painting and steaming the fiber, crock pots, dyeing with plants and fungi, overdyeing what we dyed, overdyeing bleh fiber we brought… Chaos, but great fun, and great folks to spend the weekend with. Many of the same folks as were at shearing in May, but we missed Sara!

All the photos are here in my flickr set, but here are a few highlights…

Everybody hanging on the porch, getting ready,
dye weekend 066

The indigo vat… the fiber comes out of the vat green and turns blue on exposure to oxygen. Way cool!
dye weekend 073

Acid dyes, Toby handpainting, and fiber wrapped and ready to steam:
dye weekend 083 dye weekend 080 dye weekend 090

Simmering weeds, and rinsing Phaeolus dyed yarn,
dye weekend 095 dye weekend 093

Some of our results:
dye weekend 115 dye weekend 116 dye weekend 099

The rain held off until we were done with the bulk of it all! We got to visit with Kristen’s flock, and I got to help with the foot rot treatment (just a few of the goats, they’re all doing far better now).

dye weekend 103 dye weekend 109
dye weekend 047 dye weekend 048

The calf thought Toby was made of milk. He started on her hand, moved to her crutch, and then her knee! Little Blue (see the shearing link, first paragraph) has gotten bigger, and he’s a little fatty, but he’s still the smallest goat!
dye weekend 061 dye weekend 050

And here’s the stuff I dyed:
dye weekend results

Couple of mystery skeins dyed in indigo. I think they both are from Friends Folly; the top one is a mohair/wool blend and the other is angora or an angora blend.
dye weekend results (12)

Some old gray icelandic called Georgetown that I used to make DH a sweater years ago (rav link), and some Aarlan alpaca/wool/silk that was a brownish to start with. The icelandic took the “paint”, the color is more subtle on the other yarn. These are on the bottom, on the right, and here,
dye weekend results (5)

I also overdyed some charcoal mohair in indigo… only one half of the skein. It’s subtle and hard to see in the photo, but I like it. This is hanging in the middle on the bottom of the big pic.

Pretty sure this was dyed initially with goldenrod, and then into the indigo. Much better! It’s just domestic wool roving from Halcyon.
dye weekend results (3)

Tencel and Seacell out of the crock pot and acid dyed. The fiber went from being smooth and silky straight to somewhat kinky. I think it’ll spin up well. I can tell which is which by feel, but not in the photo.
dye weekend results (2)

The photo doesn’t do this color justice… It’s a fabulous grey/green/sagey color. It’s handspun romney that a friend picked up for me. Dyed first in tansy, giving a really “meh” pale yellow, so we added some iron, which saddened the color and made it kinda greyish green, and then we added what was left of the goldenrod to the pot, which deepened the grey-green.
dye weekend results (19)

There’s also some pink/purple romney roving (it’s in the top photo). I was stepping outside of my usual color scheme with that one. I think it may go to somebody who will love it more than I will.

garden pics!

Pappus of some seed…
garden (4)

You can see I was screwing around with the macro on my little point and shoot,
garden (10)

Seems like everywhere the damned Japanese beetles are mating…
rocky knoll yard (13)
What was interesting, though, is that many of them would assume some weird posture when I got too close… legs out and up at an angle, and both the male and female would do it, as would the ones near them.

The morning glories are doing well, as are the sungolds behind them,
morning glory july (1) morning glory july (4)

And DH was away for a week, and I didn’t pay any attention to the cucumbers… oops,
garden (33)
We’ve managed to squirrel away most of these in neighbors’ and coworkers’ cars…

cakes and fractals

January 29th, 2012 by knitnzu

This is what my weekend’s been about, cakes and fractals.


Yesterday I took all the yarn I dyed with mushrooms and made “cakes”!
cakes 013

It’s easier to see how the colors might play together this way, rather than when the yarn was all in skeins.
more dyeing 2

This is for a DH birthday sweater… his birthday was over a week ago, though. But this sweater has taken a LOT more work… finding the mushrooms, drying them, getting the wool (at Rhinebeck! over a year ago!), dyeing the wool, and getting it ready to knit. Now to figure out how to make the sweater… It’ll be a basic pullover, he wants stripes.

I played around with a swatch, more for gauge than color (two of these are too close to be together throughout the sweater, but I used the crummy little hanks)… I’m thinking some combination of stockinette, garter, and linen stitches.


Yesterday I also headed out to Pogo’s aka Friends Folly Farm to pick up some yarn to ship off to Scotland. I’m sending her yarn. She’s sending me a couple of bras.

pogos (2) pogos (1)

I went with a few friends, one wearing a hexagon sweater she just winged using remnants from Pogo’s bargain bin (she’s in the background). The sweater in the foreground was also just winged. I have talented friends…

Anyhow, there was little excitement to be had in the bargain bin this weekend (which I wanted for me). The friend in Scotland is getting some of the friendz blendz.

But look at the icy beauty that was still about when we walked out of the yurt!
pogos (5)
Crazy pretty tinkling sound as it fell from the trees and hit the hard icy snow. Except for reminding people of the Ice Storm of 1998, it was beautiful.


Lazy Katy! This is a shawl that has some fractal pattern…
lazykate (1)

I had a lot of issues with the lace. I’ve made much more complicated lace (see that maplewing shawl), but for some reason, this one kicked my butt. I decided to just go with it. It’s going to be scrumpled and scrunched around my neck anyhow. Also, I was going with the notion that if you repeatedly did something, even if it was an “error”, you can just consider it a design feature. This shawl has a lot of design features in the lace….

Here it is before blocking it out,

And the color is probably best here,
lazykate (5)

It’s from some gorgeous yarn, madeline tosh sock (lichen color), that I got in Brunswick ages ago, at Purl Diva. (ooooh, Ellen’s got a new website, it looks great!)

Way more details over on my Ravelry Project Page for this.

more mushroom dyeing madness

October 28th, 2011 by knitnzu

Dyeing with mushrooms has consumed my past couple of weekends. Here’s what I have so far…
more dyeing 2

greens and khakis

The coolest is this, these greens from Polyozellus multiplex,

The books generally recommend a 1:1 ratio of dry mushroom to wool, and since I had just half an ounce of the Polyozellus, I used half an ounce of wool. No mordant. Yowza the color! The yarn tyeing the skein is mordanted, and it is even darker. So I kept using the dyebath (still with the mushrooms), and even increasing the amount of wool, until the fifth time through, when I had 1.5 ounces of wool… First time is on the right, 5th on the left. The dyebath was pretty exhausted by then, eh?
polyozellus no. 5 polyozella 2011 Sept 29 UMA 134

Fungi photo from DH, who says this species isn’t common and appears rarely. Hopefully we’ll find it again!

Here’s another where I used the dyebath a second time, Paxillus atrotomentosus. The color from the first bath is more true in the photo on the right. It’s a vaguely purpley gray. Second time? Khaki green.
pax atrotomentosus 1 and 2 pax atrotomentosus no. 1

Here’s some more khaki greens/greenish tans/mushroom colors!
khaki greens

The yarn was pre-mordanted with alum unless noted, and 1:1 ratio of dry mushroom to wool. Most of the fungi pics are from DH.

  • The two Paxillus atrotomentus on the left
    Paxillus atrotemtosus 8
  • Cortinarius whiteii aka C. limonius (iron in the dyebath at the end)… it’s very pale, and there isn’t much of it
    cort whiteii Aziscohos Mtn (22)
  • Paxillus involutus
    Paxillus involutus (1)
  • Hydnellum of some species that DH and I are trying to settle on (alum with the dyebath)
    Hydnellum Jimmy Pond 10-8-10 276
  • Ischnoderma resinosa (4 quarts chopped fresh to 4 ounces wool). This is a better color in real life.
    ischnoderma resinosa

DH thinks it’s Hydnellum aurantiacum, but based on the dye results, I wonder if it’s Hydnellum spongiosipes.


You may know I love the gold from Phaeolus… Here’s more,
phaeolus 1 and 2 (2 is overdye)
The lower skein is pre-mordanted with alum, the yarn above it is overdyed…actually some of it is the same yarn I overdyed with the Cortinarius semisanguineus.

reds and salmons

reds to salmon
Mostly you saw this before

  • The far left (very pale tan) is from Omphalotus, we think O. olearius…
    Omphalotus olearius
  • Next is a bit from Cortinarius armillatus
    Cortinarius armillatus
  • Next is a bit of overdyed yarn, with Cortinarius semisanguineus
  • two skeins of the second time with the C. semisanguineus (unmordanted on the left, mordanted on the right)
  • the far right is the first bath.

next up

I have 4 ounces or so of wool in a dyebath with the lobster mushrooms… So far it’s pretty disappointing. I learned that raising the pH does good things… but not so much.

I also learned that raising the pH for any of the polypores can be a good thing. I hear mixed things about doing so for Phaeolus.

I haven’t had good luck with the iron afterbaths. I remove the wool from the dyebath, dissolve up the appropriate amount of iron, put in the dyebath, mix it all up, put the wool back, and simmer another half hour or more. If anybody has hints or suggestions, I’m all ears.

Anyhow, I have 4 ounces undyed wool left, and I plan to overdye at least half of the skeins from the Omphalotus (it’s too pale) and the second time through with the Cortinarius semisanguineus. This wool is for a sweater for DH… so I’d be happier with a few darker colors tossed in.

I’m thinking Ischnoderma with a higher pH (supposed to get a blackish brown with an iron afterbath). We also have a lot of Chaga (Inonutus obliquus) around. It is supposed to give a light golden brown, and a grayish brown with iron. So I’ll probably do some of that too.

dyeing with the half blood cort!

October 19th, 2011 by knitnzu

But first, a photo of my pal Sid and me…
sid (2)

And the house we saw for sale,
house for sale (2)
Must be a fixer upper… the tarp says “Catholic schools make a world of difference”, and yes, there is a concrete filled wheel hub weighing it down… Welcome to Maine!

Someplace I must’ve posted pics of these Cortinarius semisanguineus drying… but I can’t find the post, so here they are
cortsemisang 015 cortsemisang 006

They are known to be good dye mushrooms, and I’d say they are! This is after a few minutes in the pot,
cort begin dyeing in pot

They mushroom:wool ratio for this species is 3:5. I had 6 ounces of dried corts, so dyed 10 ounces of wool… 8 of Bartlett and 2 of some miscellaneous wool. Because it did so well, I thought I might get something out of a second run through the dye bath. Here’s everything, initial batch and second batch, including overdye of a few odd bits of this and that.
cort dyeing 005

Top row, 2 on left are Bartlett, 2 on the right are whatever… Bottom row, far left is mordanted, second in is not, bit on the far right is not overdyed. The two next to it are the same, just overdyed.

It’s hard to capture the color… the second bath produced a melony color. It is more meloney in the alum mordanted skein, and a little more yellowish in the unmordanted skein.

Leftovers… the dye water is pretty clear,
cort dyeing leftovers

Way more details than most people want to know…

I pre-mordanted a bunch of Bartlett. The guidelines for mordanting with alum are really vague… between 1.5-5 tsp per 4 oz. dry wool, with 2 tsp cream of tartar (no matter how much alum). That’s a pretty big range! Since I mordanted 20 oz. of wool, I used 7 Tbs of alum and 3+ Tbs CoT. Too much alum can make the yarn feel “gummy”. Bartlett is by no means luxury wool, and this stuff is lanoliny, so I’m not sure if the hand of the dyed wool is because of the lanolin or because of the alum.

6 ounces dried corts, 10 ounces wool (pre-wetted) through the first dyebath. Simmered about 2 hours, cooled in the pot, rinsed and rinsed and rinsed. I pre-wetted more wool for the second run through, but one skein was mordanted and the other not. The undyed wool was supposed to be all one dyelot (or lack of dyelot as it was the natural cream), but a few of the skeins were greyer, while the rest were creamier. I also put about 10 oz wool through the second dyebath… pre-wetted the wool, put it in the cool dyepot, let it sit for a day until I got home from work and heated it… let it simmer about an hour and cool overnight in the pot.