Friday, 4 May 2007

And the big reveal... my hand dyed surprise!

Two little twinnies, currently known as Twin A and Twin B, will be going home from the hospital wearing..... these!

And here's a closer look:

Two newborn hats and bootie sets made from Patons Dreamtime Baby wool hand dyed with aeroplane jelly - my first ever hand dyes. The twins mum, Kellie, liked them so much that she packed them straight into the hospital bag as a part of the twins' going home outfits, so as you can probably tell, I am thrilled! Her older daughters loved them too and were trying to dress their "babies" with them. I did have a slight panic attack as Austy and I posted them on Saturday and I thought they'd be there by Wednesday at the latest, but perhaps the QLD posties are a little slower than they are here. They only arrived today. But phew, they got there safe and sound.

DH reminded me yesterday that Austy has no winter hat this year yet I have been making them for other babies - oops! Childcare put a note in the newsletter that if they don't have a warm hat at childcare by the end of April they will not be allowed outside to play. Woops - it's already May! Soooo... I had to drop everything (my second pair of longies that will hopefully be more leakproof this time - never again will I use superwash for nappy covers!) and last night got to dyeing again. Her'es what I came up with:

I am calling it the mudpond hat as it reminds me of muddy ponds and little boys collecting tadpoles in icecream buckets wearing gumboots covered in mud. It is a mixture of the richest chocolate brown I have ever seen (was so hard to get the brown just right as it looks so different in water form than it looks on the wool - was almost a gross kahki in the pot which had me worried), with bright green shades and turquoise blues. Very boyish and is knitting up beautifully. Surprisingly it's a Spotlight Basics wool (I am a bit of a yarn snob and haven't liked many of the yarns at Spotlight until now). This wool is called Dashing - a 100% wool and I am guessing it's superwash because it is so silky soft and also machine washable. No good for soakers, but PERFECT for a soft snuggly winter hat. I am making it up as I go along as I couldn't find the right pattern for a 10ply (go figure - I am mostly trying to find 8ply patterns and all I can find is 10ply and 12ply ones from the US or UK). I am thinking I might use a slip stitch pattern to show off the colours and when I'm finished, the pattern will be made available here.

And for those who want to see how the longies are coming along, I have a close-up of the colourway - it's the wool I dyed at Easter - a WA merino that is minimally processed sourced from Angelblossom.

I am thinking about embellishing them with a purple octopus on the bum for an undersea theme. There are more blues in the mix than purple, so the octopus should stand out. I will probably have to design my own though which could be a challenge... we'll see!

On the sewing desk at the moment is a pale blue toddler tracksuit with a pocket on the front. The top is finished, but the pants still need stitching - hopefully I'll have them finished soon though so I can post them here.

I also joined another exchange - the International Tote Exchange IV. I have never made a bag before let alone felted anything (okay, okay, EXCEPT for the soaker that accidentally landed in the washing machine... I mean I haven't INTENTIONALLY felted!). This will be interesting and yet another new challenge. Can't wait!


Mama Llama said...

Your home-dyed yarn is gorgeous! Do you kettle dye, or paint your yarn? I've been trying kettle dying, but everything is coming out muddy.

Austy's Mum said...

I dip it.
I tried painting it but it seems to splash everywhere and go where I don't want it to. So I dip the wool in the dye solution, and always make the dye up with boiling water (straight from the kettle). I leave it in the dye for about two mins before dipping the next section. When it's all coloured, I pick up the whole skein, pop it in a glass casserole dish, cover it with clingwrap and zap it for 4 mins on high. Then lift the clingwrap and leave it to cool. That seems to trap the colour in perfectly as I never seem to loose any colour when I rinse it out.

Michelle said...

I love the colors. So you used Aeroplane Jelly? Did you use a sugar free version or the sugar version.
Michelle in Perth
(I've used Kool-Aid in the US, which is just color and no sugar)

Mama Llama said...

I haven't tried the dip method. What do you do with the sections of yarn not in the dyebath? How do you keep them under control?

Mama Llama said...

I also meant to ask you how you got the brown in the yarn you're making your boy's hat from? It is such a good shade of chocolate brown.

Austy's Mum said...

Only the baby hats and booties are aeroplane jelly - in port wine (with a few drops of blue food colour), blueberry and strawberry for the girl's version and blueberry, lime and a mixture of the two for the boy's version. We don't have a sugar free version as far as I know.

The other yarns for Austy's things are food colour dyed. For these I soaked in vinegar for an hour. For the brown I mixed 20mL blue, 20mL yellow and 20mL rose but then just added heaps more red and yellow (not measured) until I got the colour right. Ignore what you see in the tub as it's how it looks on the wool that counts - I had a tester piece that I kept dipping a fresh bit in with until I was happy. I think this brown is red intense - ie. more red than the other colours so perhaps I should have started with red...

As for keeping the other sections under control - I have three tubs (old icecream buckets) and have three sections being dipped simultaneously. I leave a bit between colours as it will soak up the length of the yarn and blend with the next colour a little. I will try to take a photo next time.

Mama Llama said...

I think your aeroplane jelly is our Jell-o, right? We have sugar-free, but it still has an artificial sweetener in it. Have you tried kool-aid? I've never used it for wool, just playsilks, and I could never get the color to set completely, so they always bled and the colors faded. I could never figure out what I did wrong, so I switched over to acid dyes.

Austy's Mum said...

I'd say it would be - jelly here is definitely not something you spread on a sandwich! LOL.

I haven't tried koolaide because it was too expensive to ship in from the US when I had jelly crystals sitting there on my supermarket shelf for 76c a packet. I figured if I was going to buy something I couldn't get at the supermnarket, I'd buy proper wool dyes and bought some gaywool acid dyes instead of koolaid, but all my recent projects are jelly/foodcolour dyed.

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