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Blue Lake Knitting – Spinning + Dyeing My Polwarth Yarn = Ultimate Fiber Fun

No big intro, no excuses, no what ifs, I’ll get right to the point.

I got a pound of Polwarth roving for Christmas, but what with already scheduled things, baby knitting, etc.  I hadn’t even touched it until this week.

Tuesday, I spun up the first single in about 2 hours, and fell in love with this wonderful fiber.  Polwarth sheep is a breed that was begun by “breeding Merino rams to Merino/Lincoln ewes, until the cross bred true to itself.”

The resulting fiber is in my opinion just as soft as merino (21-26 microns), but with a slightly longer staple length (3-7 inches), and spins up like a dream.  Polwarth also has a nice crimp.  I also noted that once the fiber got wet, that it puffed up, one of my favorite things for a yarn to do.  This adds to the soft, cushy feel that I like. 

As soon as I showed a pic to a friend, she asked “What color is it going to be?”… Of course, I had not thought that far ahead, so asked for her opinion… Salmon.  I’ve used Salmon in combination with other colors, but never by itself.  So here is what I did today

2.2 oz. of already spun Polwarth

Soaked yarn (loosely tied) for 60+ minutes in hot water + a dab of detergent + a dab of vinegar – meant to soak for 30 minutes, but life got in my way… LOL

Heat 3 qts water and a glug of vinegar on stove to 180º+, but not boiling.

Heat Crock Pot with a little water on High setting


Dye powder – ¼ teaspoon added before adding hot water.

Stir pot well with wooden craft stick. 

Lay skein of yarn into dye pot, and poke into water using craft stick.   

Check pot after 30 minutes…. Water nearly clear.  Turned off dye pot, and will wait until it cools to work with the yarn.

After one hour, water has cooled enough to put my hands into the water.  I squeeze out the excess water, and rinse in hot tap water.  Another squeeze, then wash in Kookaburra Wool wash. No bleeding in my rinse water.

I rolled my skein in big heavy bath towel for about 30 minutes, and hung it outside to dry.

My final result is this lovely skein of Salmon kettle dyed Polwarth.

124 yards, 2.2 ounces of Sport Weight, WPI = 14.

Now all I have to do is to spin the other 14 ounces.  Tee hee.

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Comment by wendy on March 29, 2012 at 9:48pm

Nice blog!  I love the results. It has such nice texture, and looks really squishable. This color reminds me of when I dyed my first attempt at drop spindles, only I used Kool-aid, pink lemonade.  I recently got the Salmon dye, so it's nice to see what I can expect.  Good job!

Cute pics of the boys :o)

Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on March 29, 2012 at 8:58pm


Comment by cherylbwaters on March 29, 2012 at 8:43pm

No, I don't think it looks like it feels like salmon. Seriously!

Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on March 29, 2012 at 8:40pm

You ought to feel it... doesn't feel anything like salmon... seriously!

Comment by cherylbwaters on March 29, 2012 at 8:31pm

You think? I think it looks yummy!

Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on March 29, 2012 at 8:28pm

Thanks Cheryl, I think!  LOL

Comment by cherylbwaters on March 29, 2012 at 8:16pm

Oh, it looks as good as fresh salmon.

Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on March 29, 2012 at 7:43pm

Thanks Becky, I'm loving the color too...

Christina, Yes, my crock pot has two settings (low and high), and I heat the quart of on high, but when I add the nearly boiling water, I turn it to low.  I do it this way because I'm inpatient.  It would take forever to get the crockpot hot enough without the added very hot water.

Peggy, not quite a pro yet, but I'm working on it. I've been remiss with the baby pics. 

Comment by Peggy Stuart on March 29, 2012 at 7:33pm
Great play-by-play! Fantastic results! You're a pro! Love the gratuitous baby pics too!
Comment by christina | AlohaBlu on March 29, 2012 at 7:17pm

Thanks so much Susan for the great photos! I never thought to heat the water on the stove first, then add the hot water. Does your crock pot have multiple settings? If so, which do you keep it on? So glad you took pictures of how you crock pot dyed - i just love learning new things!

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