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I wanted to try dyeing my fleece. We had a bumper crop of blackberries in the hedgerow opposite our house and I had read that you can dye wool with blackberry juice. Well it didn't work, so I decided to try food colouring instead. The colours are limited to Yellow, Blue, Red, Pink and Black and they don't give such strong colours as maybe craft dyes.

I left some bits of white fleece soaking in white vinegar and warm water. I then randomly blobbed drops of red cochineal and didn't actually mix it in. I then microwaved on full for 8 minutes, rinsed in cold water, then dried outside.This resulted in a bag of lovely mottled pink fleece.

I did another batch with blobs of yellow and ended up with a sort of variagated gold colour, almost identical to the natural colour of the Romsey fleece I already had. Must try Turmeric next time for a brighter yellow..

My next attempts using the same method, were green, red, blue and just a hint of black for a soft purple heather colour, Then with same colours but different strengths got a soft greeny heather mix. I also did some blue and yellow for bright green, and some red with a smidgin of blue to get a nice variagated plum colour.

I did have a disappointing batch, where I had got a really lovely rainbow of colours, and stupidly thought I would add some brown fleece in it. Disaster, as when plyed up it came out plum and dark grey with just tiny hints of muted colour. You can't win them all, but I later decided it wasn't so bad after all when seen in good daylight.

This was a later batch using just the blue colouring.

Note that I spun all the fleece I dyed without carding it to maintain the random effect. I will later show you the end result of each of the experiments when knitted up. My favourites being the heather shades.

I have had a busy few days. I finished the black socks using the magic-Loop method. I would like to have another go using KnitPicks circular needles as the stitches continually caught on the join between needle and tubing. Also, if I ever decide to knit in black again, I hope some kind soul will creep round when I'm not looking, and rip all the stitches off the needles and hide the wool, as I had terrible trouble trying to see the stitches, so much so that I really thought my eyesight was failing at times. However, the socks turned out to be one of the best pairs I have knitted so far.

I also finished the hat for Eddie's little Granddaughter. I had previously knitted a blue speckled one for her sister Lola and she said she wanted one like 'Yola' but in pink.

Yesterday the internet was down all day and we had to take my son to hospital for a routine procedure, so I channelled all my frustration and nervousness into finishing a ruffled scarf in thin variagated mohair. I made the pattern up as I went along and really liked the finished result.I thought it looked good jazzing up my plain round necked top. On 80 cm circular needle with variagated wool CO 180 stitches and knit 2 rows, Next row, Increase in every stitch and then Knit 2 rows. Increase in every stitch again, then knit 2 rows, Next eyelet row K1, YO, Knit 2 tog, k1 to end. Knit 4 rows. Do the eyelet row again and then knit 4 rows. Change to plain dark colour and knit 2 rows, then cast off. Should be about 48" long. Using bodkin or needle threaded with edging colour wool, thread in and out through the eyelets and darn wool in neatly at each end. Voila!!!!

This pose I inadvertantly adopted reminds me of the religious Sacred Heart painting we had on the landing at home!!

Well having finished all my projects I suddenly feel at a bit of a loose end, so must go and browse some patterns and my wool shelf.

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Comment by Knit4Many on October 4, 2009 at 5:30pm
Barbara: I don't know about fleece but I found that Wilton's icing dyes gave me more darker colors and come in a range of colors. With little man the KP dyes are not practical for my household. Maybe when gets a little older. What a fun looking scarf.
Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on October 1, 2009 at 12:24pm
Thanks so much for the dyeing information. I have a huge amount of fleece, and I really want to dye it and see what the results will be. This is very good information. and I think all of the fleeces are beautiful! and the plum and brown also look quite nice. I do so enjoy your posts! --Susan
Comment by Bonnie on October 1, 2009 at 8:48am
this turned out beautifully.

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