Thursday, December 21, 2006

More Color: knitting with one's short handspuns

This is what you get when you knit a big project with your handspuns, which are often under 100 yards.I didn't want to be limited to hats and mitts, so I attempted to knit a sweater with a dozen small skeins, inspired by this photo below.
The knitted up fabric looked great. However, because I used US size 8 needles, the result was too stiff to be comfy as a sweater. In fact, it was more suitable for a placemat. The project is now frogged and I've swatched with a US size 11 and it's now just fine!

The dozen or so yarns linked together to create a huge hank.

The yarns up close.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

And may all your Christmases be bright! Part Deux

In response to the request from the francophone Tricofolk forum, I have made a step-by-step visual aid of blending carded wool with a diz.

Before starting, weigh the fibers. I've chosen four colors of equal weight. (Avant de commencer, pesez les fibres. J'ai choisi quatre couleurs de poids égal.)

Layer the fibers one color after the other. (Posez les fibres une couleur après l'autre.)

Pull a little section of the batt. (Tirez une petite section de la nappe.)

Pass the tip of the fiber through a diz and start pulling. (Faites passer le bout de la nappe à travers le diz et commencez à tirer.)

Tug the roving gently just a little bit to straighten the fibers. (Tirez la meche doucement juste un petit peu pour redresser les fibres.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

And may all your Christmases be bright!

Le Monde des Teintures naturelles by Dominique Cardon
Traditional techniques from time immemorial to contemporary. Over 500 photos in over 500 pages covering some 300 plants and about 30 animals. A francophone dyer's bible. Large book format, too.

Couleurs: Pigments et Teintures dans les Mains des Peuples by Anne Varichon
This book tells the history of colors and their application, the customs of peoples and the role that color played in rituals and ceremonies. It also traces the steps taken by men and women in their search for their color of preference. The English equivalent of this book would be Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay, a thick 464-page book (below).

Plantes colorantes Teintures végétales : Le nuancier de couleurs by Michel Garcia
Hot off the press, having been released just last October. A practical guide to plant dyes on how to identify the sources. Also provided are the step-by-step procedures. Michel Garcia has other books on plant dyes, De la Garance au Pastel: Le Jardin des Teinturiers and Couleurs végétales, but not exhaustive as this last one.

Natural Dyes by Gwen Fereday
These books above and below are my favorite dye books in English. There are many, many natural dye books in English, but these two provide, not just the necessary information, but also the color results in various fibers.
Indigo Madder & Marigold: A Portfolio of Colors from Natural Dyes
by Trudy Van Stralen

A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire by Amy Butler Greenfield
In brief, the socio-economic history of those little bugs known as cochineal. Reads like a travelogue into time embellished with political intrigue. If you like Stendahl, you might enjoy this. Some may say that The Root of Wild Madder: Chasing the History, Mystery, and Lore of the Persian Carpet by Brian Murphy is a companion piece to A Perfect Red, but as a spinner who dyes, I tend to think The Root... is more on the culture of the carpet than the color of madder.

Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World by Simon Garfield
Mauve is about the synthetic birth of a color as created by a teenage chemistry student in the 1800s. If you are a sucker for all the lovely shades hovering between cyan and magenta, you wouldn't want to miss this book.

Bleus et Ocres de Guinée by Anne-Chantal Gravellini
The age-old method of dyeing fabrics with indigo and ocre. With tons of photos of Guinean dyers in action, melding ancient tradition with new trends.