Serious Warm, Serious Remodel

Wanting to capture this project on the blog, I’m converting a bunch of small FB posts to one simplified blog entry.

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I love the garment on the right*, pictured above. In the cold evenings at a recent event, I decided that a version of it in seriously warm cloth would have enhanced my life. The garment on the left is seriously warm cloth (heavy wool coating with a strong nap) but I hated it. It was ill conceived and I didn’t wear it. So I chopped up the garment on the left  into rough pattern pieces and split it into two halves, meaning to dyeing each pile a different colour.  Two colours because:
1. The gear I have won’t allow me to dye the whole thing in one go, and if I don’t, the two halves won’t match.
2. Particoloured is a perfectly authentic option
3. If I can’t have stripes or some other interesting cloth, bright particolour is about as fun as it gets.

If the whole transformation were not to work, at least the huge pale coat will still be out of the wardrobe. If it does work, I’ll have the toasty warm particoloured gown that I want without having to buy the fabric.

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I really love dyeing stuff. It’s so transformative. The seriously warm fabric took up dye really easily too, so even though I did two dye baths for each half, I still got it all done in a little over 3 hours. The simple red and green I started with came out too bright and candy like. So I softened them with additions of yellow and black.

The first try was using 2 bottles red, 1.5 bottles green, both Queen brand food dye (all I had). I wasn’t surprised that these came out too stark for what I wanted.

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To soften these I added half a bottle of yellow and a small slosh of black to the red. The last of my McCormick blue and two sloshes of black to the green. Much better.

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I’m fairly pleased with these colours. The green is less even than the red, due to rapid uptake of the red parts of the black dye. My choice of colours was influenced by what I thought I could achieve with these dyes in large volumes, plus what I want to wear and what might be plausibly medieval.

Then I had to cut out the proper pattern pieces. Sadly I didn’t manage to be as clever as I would have liked. Cutting a particoloured garment from fabric with a very definite right side has pitfalls. I anticipated some correctly, so the fronts and backs make a proper set. However, I switcheroonied the side panels front to back and the sleeves left to right. Wrong side out was completely unacceptable. Random colour placement was not welcome either.

I managed to fix my idiocy by swapping the back and front pieces. This was made possible because I had enough offcuts to recut new upper back pieces to give the needed width and higher neckline. Just a few extra seams needed.

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Here is the new gown all assembled. Not finished. Lots of hand sewing still needed. Ideally, I’ll get rid of the overlocking and whip all the seams down. Eventually. I dared not forgo overlocking against all the handling needed for the dyeing. I thought I’d be able to lose it in the cutting out, but fitting the pieces into available fabric was tighter than I’d thought it would be.

Bit of a transformation eh? Once I decided it had to go, that pale coat was just raw material. I have a silly fancy that the finished shape of the serious warm is rather Dr Seuss.

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and here it is on so you can see the fit. My take on these gowns is that they need to fit well in the upper body and arms to capture both the proper look and maximum elegance. Not full 14thC presentation, the stretch skivvy is fully anachronistic.

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*an early 14th C overgown based on several from the Taymouth Hours.

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Custom yarn from scrap

I decided to let my next sock recipient nominate her preferred colours. “Reds and Blues” she said. The sock wool stash had no red, but there was a variagated pink/orange. I had dark navy and some pale blues, but no nice bright blues.

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Woo hoo, an excuse to do some dyeing! the pinks are now red, which my camera is refusing to capture properly. The blues are now deeper, brighter and much more fun. I plan to use the navy for the toes, and maybe cuffs? I’ll use the newly dyed yarn in broad stripes with spiral joins I think. I reckon I’ll enjoy knitting these.

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Paua Inspired Cardi

I have lots of cardigans but I’ve been wanting a light weight loosely fitting one. Most of my existing ones fit on the firm side. So I took some white pure wool rib knit fabric that I had bought very cheaply, and cut an embiggened and flared version of my Tshirt pattern. I did a few rounds of pin fitting and chopping bits off before I was happy with the shape and ran it up on the overlocker. It was still too large, but then I remembered that the rib was likely to tighten when washed. So stopping at that point felt wise.

I put it to soak in some warm vinegared water for a bit, and yes, it did tighten up. Then I had fun with a dye pot, trying for an elegant gradient effect of some sort using green/blue/red dyes. I wish I’d taken a shot of the before version laid out on the table, but I’d been too keen to get to the dyeing. Here is the result from the dyeing but before finishing, next to the leftover starting fabric. I love it!

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The buttons look like they were made for it. Instead they were a serendipitous stash gift from a friend.

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The label shot. I did a subtle prick stitch by hand around the neckline to keep the seam from rolling. The same trick was used at the bottoms of the arm and side seams to neaten the hem edge. Oh, the hems are done with just a zigsag stitch on a regular sewing machine, but with silk thread so it would take the dye along with the wool.

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Here it is on, pre dye (see, it’s too big at this stage):

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and finished:

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The sleeves are too long but if I shorten them now, I’ll lose the full effect of the dye job. Other than that I’m really pleased with it.

 

Ally sock

Remember that yarn I was enthusing about, oh  12 days ago ? Well half of it is now a sock. As I thought, it’s lovely to knit. A little strange to me because it’s a single, as in not plied. The colour gradient is fabulous. I enjoy long colour changes like this, I tend to want to keep knitting to find out what happens.

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I like the simple lozenge lace pattern. I’m getting better at identifying good lace choices for easy memorisation. The base sock is Wendy Johnson’s toe-up slip stitch heel pattern, which is my current favourite. I’m pleased I figured out a way to put the heel in as a contrast. Aside from saving the coloured yarn for the leg, it lets the colour gradient continue unbroken. I dislike the pattern change that happens with variagated yarn at the heel due to the shorter rows. I think I’ll be doing this contrast heel more often.

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To avoid boredom and maximise knitting enjoyment, I will do my usual trick of starting a different pair and come back to this yarn after sock one of that pair.

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Labour intensive but satisfying

Yesterday I combined the luxury of time with a recent quality stash gift to set up a new project. A few weeks ago I was the delighted recipient of a big bag of sock wool leftovers. Two of them looked like Schoppel Wolle Zauberball. Now I love knitting their crazy zauberball wool, so I am keen to have a go at knitting this. Between them there was about enough for a pair of socks but the colours didn’t quite go. The darker ball was even more purple than this, my camera doesn’t deal well with blue tones.

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This post is picture heavy and long so I’m experimenting with a cut. Hopefully clicking “more” below will deliver the rest of the post? Argh no! it’s eaten the rest! Now reconstructed, L plates still on here.

So I skeined off the dark wool
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and put it through a yellow dyebath

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I left it a bit long, but I think the new colours still work better with the bright yarn. I’ve rewound both colourways into half weight balls to help decide when to stop the first sock. The bright turns out to deliver a rainbow per half! I did have to do a second rewind of one half to get the colours running the same way.
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Here is the tiny collection of project materials for one sock

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Which rolls up to about the volume of a glasses case. I knit so many socks because they make wonderful portable projects, which I need to keep me happy and sane in trains, planes and waiting situation various.
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Fun with black dye

I’ve had some black food dye for ages but hadn’t tried using it yet. Today I had a sudden enthusiasm to do so. The black dye is made up of three different colours, and I’d heard the black dyes have a tendency to split, so I was unlikely to get an even effect.

I first overdyed these merino leggings from plain cream. I just wanted them darker so I felt less like I was wearing clown pants.

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I’m pretty happy with these. I did deliberately twist the legs of the orange pair to get a bit of striping. The dye variation on the blue/green pair is quite random, I just shoved those in the pot foot end first.

Then I overdyed the cream skirt I made last winter, because I wasn’t wearing it, and for fun. This so didn’t come out the way I thought! I wanted black at the top, grading to whatever at the hem. Well, I at least managed some whatever 🙂

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It is interesting but I’m not sure yet whether I like it. I tried to get a blacker colour at the waist with extra dye, but it just went a slightly darker purple. I quite like the mottly green at the hem though.

Because I’d added more dye that wasn’t working for the skirt, I had some to use up. The red tones are taken up first, then green is left. So I had a pot of mostly green dye. I popped in four balls of a wool yarn I’d liked when I purchased it, but now think is a bit dull. Original colour shown bottom right. I love how these have come out. You can tell what order I put them in the pot eh? Yes I should have skeined them first but oh well, I didn’t. Each ball will have a casual gradient of overdye. I’ll let them dry a bit before skeining them so they can finish drying. Later. And no I don’t yet know what I’ll make with this.

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