Tuesday 8 July 2014

Hand Dyed Yarn All Knit Up

Almost six months ago I dyed some yarn. It was a 4-ply/fingering weight yarn made from 2 plies of Blue Faced Leicester. It was the first yarn I had ever dyed and I didn't know what to do with it. Then I discovered a really great pattern by Susan Ashcroft, That Nice Stitch. It's a free pattern on Ravelry and it's for a cowl. The textured stitch pattern, used in the cowl, is the same as is used in Susan's g'day boomerang shawl pattern, which isn't  free.  I saw the pattern and realised it would be a perfect way of using up my first endeavour in dyeing!

That Nice Stitch 03

The stitch is interesting enough to make you think occasionally but not too difficult, which means it's perfect TV or podcast knitting.

That Nice Stitch 02

As you can see, the cowl is knit on a bias, after using a provisional cast on. Once you reach the end of your yarn, or reach your desired length, you graft the two sets of live stitches together.  I used up all 350m of the yarn I had.

I used, as always, the Wise Hilda Condensed instructions for grafting. I can never remember how to start a Kitchener! You'd think after doing them quite regularly for several years it would be embedded in the brain by now, but apparently not.

I chose to make the cowl a little wider than the pattern recommended, by casting on 60 stitches. I really liked the size of the Foolproof Cowl I knit and decided that I would try and make this cowl a similar size.

That Nice Stitch 01

My estimating stitch counts paid off and the cowl loops twice round my neck nicely without being too close to my throat. If left as a single loop it covers a lot of my upper torso, which I find nice and warming when it's slightly cool, but not cold enough to add a full shawl or cardigan.

I really couldn't be happier with the combination of pattern and yarn. I'm quite proud of myself for dyeing the yarn in the first place, but it has worked out brilliantly in this knitted form.  After knitting this fun cowl, I can imagine myself knitting the shawl version, maybe in some handspun yarn, or another hand dyed skein.

Now I've used my last skein of hand dyed yarn, surely that means I'm allowed to dye up some more, right?


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