Well, this has been a bit of an irregular blog - I do apologise for not keeping it more up to date. What's been going on with my 'renewed' set? Well, the hat is finished!
When I had got the hat lower edging done, I realised that it still looked a bit unfinished - so I folded the seam together where the band meets the main hat pieces and did the same blanket stitch edging along the other band edge. This was then finished in knot stitch to match the other edge. Adding a mirror edge balanced the band nicely and didn't affect the stretch.
The tassel was made by winding some of the thick and thin yarn around a card, tying off very tightly and knotting. The attachment is several strands of the plain yarn I used for the chain stitch row on the mittens (and on the edge of the waistcoat...more on this later in the week), sewn backwards and forwards and strengthened by blanket stitch into an outsize tailor's tack. This makes a tidy, strong attachment.
The finished hat is fun & a bit quirky - a bit much for me to wear myself, but I think it will look great on my gorgeous daughter Laura. It's a kind of combination between a Victorian nightcap and a headband! I left these photos a bit washed out so you could see the detail better.
Onwards to the finishing line!
Now, while I was working on the smaller items, I became aware that I was NOT going to have the 25% new fibre added if I didn't do something fancy with the waistcoat. Initially I was just going to finish it with a simple rib band around the sleeves and fron/neck opening, but as I worked I decided that the front band could well extend into a shawl collar added with short rows before the cast-off. So I have chain-stitched the edge for my starting stitches and will begin by picking up enough stitches to go right around the front/neck edges, rib a band including buttonholes and then work the collar before casting off. I aim to get all this done before the weekend, so it will be a bit of a pinch. Perhaps I shouldn't have taken that time off for a holiday in the middle of the project?
By now you'll have heard about the Spring Challenge (I hope!) and if you've decided to have a go, which I really hope you will, you'll be wondering what to do - if you haven't already got something suitable to re-purpose.
Because I wouldn't ask you to do anything I wouldn't do myself, I'll be doing an upcycling project during the Spring Challenge.
I started with an old alpaca jersey my daughter found at the Sally's. It was a hideous mangled object, oatmeal in colour and repulsively distorted and felted from being machine washed. It had a lace pattern around the bottom, no ribbing except on the neckband and apart from that was a very simple set-in-sleeve shape.
So first up, I decided to dismantle it into the future components of a waistcoat, hat and mitts. This would make it easier to dye evenly, I hoped.
I decided that since I had some nice thick-and-thin yarn in Nightfall, I would dye the jersey navy.
I filled up my large dyepot, added dye, detergent and white vinegar and popped in the pre-wetted pieces. Unfortunately the post wasn't big enough! I was left with several pieces undyed, the big issue here being that it might be near-impossible to match the shade between pieces. Luckily I was going for full saturation so that made it possible to get a colour match eventually by simply adding more and more dye liquid to the pot in small increments. I hate over-saturating the dyepot because it means that I then have to dispose of dyestuff - usually the wool absorbs all the dye, leaving only mildly acidic water to dispose of.
The biggest bonus of the dye treatment was that it further felted the fabric into a dense, luxurious silky knit with a lovely surface sheen.
So that was day one - at the end I had several pieces of beautiful,densely felted navy alpaca knit fabric.
Kate is a semi-retired photographer and craft dyer who lives in Southland, New Zealand.