Well, my blocking of the cashmere scarf for my friend was a success. I have asked her for a photo of it in action, but I have not yet received it. I can only imagine that she is getting good use from it, given how cold it has been here. I did get a nice thank you voice mail from her and that is always nice. I sent her washing instructions but now I feel like I should offer to wash the scarf for her. She could always get it dry cleaned, but those chemicals are pretty yucky and I really would not trust the cleaner to not mess it up somehow. That does it, I will offer to wash it for her at the end of each season she wears it. It makes a little extra work for me, but I would hate her not to wear the scarf or have it get ruined somehow. Am I being overly paranoid? Do you guys do this too? It gives me a good reason to get together with my friend more often.
There are as many ways to use unicorn products as there are handmade projects. In this post, I will show how I soaked and blocked some hand-dyed handspun from this year’s Spinzilla spinning. This fiber was in my stash for a LONG time. It was 2-4 oz Blue Faced Leicester braids in pinky brown with some orange, a color theme that always grabs me. I think it came from Cloverhill Yarn Shop in Maryland. I finally put it to use during Spinzilla Week. I spun each braid into a roughly sport weight singles and then plied them together.
I love spinning and I usually like my yarn, if I like spinning the fiber. If I don’t enjoy the process of spinning, I just stop, and will use the fiber for something else, like thrumming or dryer balls if it is feltable, or for weft for garden looms for my backyard birds. Life is too short not to be enjoying what you are doing, especially a leisure activity like spinning.
Where I sometimes run into trouble is I get all these cute skeins of weird irregular yarn in a different weights (usually bulky) and not a lot of yardage. In the case with this BFL fiber, there was so much going on already with color and texture, that it was tough to find an appropriate project.
Usually I find that keeping the stitching simple is the key.
My yardage was about 202 yards of the 2-ply in 8 ounces. I just was given this nice Eszee tool from Mary at Camaj Fiber Arts and using the wpi (wraps per inch) gauge I got 8 wraps, so depending on who you are talking to, that gives me an aran to bulky weight yarn.
Do you ever use the advanced search on Ravelry? I highly recommend it. I knew with only 200 or so yards I was going for an accessory. I already have handspun mitts and at least one hat–last year was the year of Thorpes–so I went for a knitted cowl. It might be fun to crochet with handspun too but I know it uses up more yarn and I already was on a yardage budget. And with handspun, it’s not like you can just get more. I suppose I could have spun something else up to go with it, but it was the 12 Days of Casting On so I just wanted to get on with it.
Even with all of the sorting criteria that I put in, I still got 39 pages of results. I could further refine by taking out the kids stuff. But, I usually find no need to go beyond the first page of results, unless I am really trying to procrastinate something.
Anyway, this was a fun and fast knit, and I am happy with the results.
What I was going for here with soaking and blocking with Unicorn Fibre Wash products was to get the piece a little flatter and more uniform looking and to even out my stitches a bit. I was also not sure how much dye might bleed out since I had not gotten this cowl wet yet. This would be more of a concern if this were a gift for someone and they were wearing it with their nice white coat and went out and got rained on and the dye would bleed. Yikes, more knitting anxiety!
So, into the bath it goes. I decide to give this cowl both Fibre Wash and Rinse, with plain water soaks in between. My large bowl has been long liberated from its potato salad, but I want to see the dye, so I opted for a clear bowl for dye visibility.
I pushed the cowl into the water, and the suds are not excessive, as you can see. 15 minutes or so later–I am cooking beans at the same time, and they are taking forever to cook, so I am checking them every 15 minutes.
It is a good reminder to set the timer every so often while I cook, because otherwise I forget and sometimes burn stuff.
So, the water is in fact a little pinky brown. I next do a plain hot water rinse. I pushed the cowl about a bit with my wooden spoon, but was careful not to agitate it, as I did not make a note of whether or not this BFL is superwash, and I don’t mind my yarn blooming, but I did not want to felt this piece unintentionally.
Still there were some light suds to get out, and even after my first plain water soak, I saw some dye. So I was glad I decided to do this multi-step process. Next is a squirt or so of fibre rinse into another change of hot water, and 15 or 20 minutes of bean cooking time. I wondered how old these beans were. They really were taking forever.
I was also making sleek from this recipe, hence the onions that made their way into some of the shots.
Then another plain hot water rinse and maybe one more, just to show you the color of the water.
I admit that I do not know anything about dyeing. so this might be normal but I think it is better coming out in the water than on someones white shirt or sweater. eek.
I did the same thing with this teal and brown handspun simple scarf. Here are the before shots of both pieces…
And here they both are a little later, after.
Have you had good results with Unicorn Fibre Wash and Fibre Rinse? Don’t forget about our blog post and video contest. We are accepting submissions until March 6, and we hope to get several more entries.