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 photographer, writer, web author and craft dyer who lives in North Canterbury, New Zealand.