Friday, February 1, 2008

Hairpin Poncho, Fingerless Gloves, Kool-Aid Wool and Harvested Cotton

Yep, I'm back again already... I finished the hairpin lace poncho for my friend's daughter, who is turning 2 this month:

I'm still amazed at how fast hairpin lace works up. Just one strip would come together within an hour or less... I made 4-2 1/2" strips, and 4-3" strips using Yarn Bee's Paradox in Pansy and a size H crochet hook. Each strip consists of 176 loops, making them 22" in length. I used some guidelines a fellow member of my Yahoo! hairpin lace group posted for making ponchos, choosing one that would fit a child size 2-4.

I then made two panels consisting of two 3" strips in the middle, and a 2 1/2" strip on the outer edges, using a single crochet to join the loops, which made the panels 11" wide. I then used some Patons Cha Cha in Vegas that I had leftover from my daughter's hairpin scarf to edge the panels and join them to each other.

I also forgot to show off my fingerless gloves that I knit from yarn I spun out of some really fun colored wool I picked up at Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins - I love the way the yarn just sort of naturally made its own stripes:

I got the pattern from the Knit & Plenty blog. I'm also making a pair for my husband:
I'm using the plain Corriedale I spun a while back for his. I decided to try dyeing the first glove with some coffee, and I really like how it turned out, as does hubby. It also smelled interesting for a while, like a sheep that had too much espresso :-D The smell has calmed down some since.

I tried my hand at dyeing again when I picked up some plain Blue-faced Leicester from Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins over Christmas. I decided to use Kool-Aid, which I've heard is supposed to be really good. Here are my results: The blue-green is from some sort of blue raspberry, the bright red is cherry, the darker red is black cherry, and the pale pink is pink lemonade. I've already started spinning it a little and it's turning out nice... I also like how soft the Blue-faced Leicester feels.

My daughter is continuing to enjoy handspinning. I sent her a pound of Columbia/Dorset blend from Paradise Fibers as an early Christmas gift and then emailed her grandmother several links on dyeing fibers with natural ingredients in case she wanted to give that a try. Sure enough she did - she used food dye to make every color of the rainbow. Awesome! I'm hoping I'll get to see what she's done when I visit her this spring... I'm really excited that she's continued to show so much interest in spinning and crochet.

Finally... last spring and summer I decided that even though I don't live in the cotton belt, I'd try planting some Pima seeds and see where that would go. I was pleasantly surprised with a small field of cotton plants, even in my lousy soil:

I was also surprised to find out just how beautiful cotton blossoms are. The pink and yellow colors are delicate and yet stunning, it's almost like a rose:

Sadly, the frosts came and killed off my plants before the bolls could really mature - I think if they'd had another 2-4 weeks I could have had better success. But I was still able to gather a few and get some fibers out of them - the seeds from them are no good but I can still spin what I got:

I'm thinking if I try again this year, I'll get the actual seed package from Cotton's Journey rather than just plucking them from a bag of bolls like I did last time. That way I'd have many more seeds and would increase my chances for more plants. I would also want to find some way to create a makeshift greenhouse sometime in March or April that could protect the soil and the plants from frost until things start warming up mid-May, and/or plant them indoors a couple weeks early and then transplant them outside. I'll have to do some more homework on this to find ways to optimize my chances for a better crop.

Of course anyone who has any suggestions is also welcome to comment. I'd love to hear if any of you could help this Colorado gal out with her cotton.

1 comment:

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