September 2010
 
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A Voice from the Wilderness
By Linda Tacke

                                       My sox runners 
 

 

I must admit I had something totally different in mind when I wove.
 


However, when I took the piece (4.50 m x 29 cm) off the loom I realised that it didn't have the drape I needed to make what I wanted and that sock yarn is actually rather scratchy which doesn't seem to matter when you use it for socks. Only then did it occur to me that it actually matched some of my crockery quite well and made for very nice table runners. What is very nice about sock yarn is that it can be washed in the washing machine which is quite useful for table runners.

The Dyeing

 

 
 I must admit that I didn’t do all that much planning and I keep only very basic records of what I am doing. I like the 'SURPRISE FACTOR' to be quite honest.
 
For the single coloured wool I used zip lock bags which I then put into a big pot of water to simmer (it is not sunny and warm enough for long enough this time of year to use the sun stove). However, I didn't use just one yellow (or blue or green...) but two or three different ones in each bag.

 
As I was dyeing superwash merino I had the advantage of being able to move the wool as much as I wanted. I poured some of one (say blue) dye into the bag then put the wool in and squashed the bag a bit, then the next dye - squashing and squeezing, and then the third. This way I didn’t get one uniform colour - which I didn’t want - but quite a variation of different blues mingling and mixing.

 
 
I was a bit more careful with the skeins of normal (not super wash) merino but as it was already spun it did take a bit of moving without felting being a problem (it actually didn't seem to felt or full at all - perhaps it was my lucky day.
 

 


As for the space dyeing or painting, I spread a long piece of cling foil onto the table and laid the soaked top onto it in a serpentine shape. Then poured a bit of each dye into a small

plastic bowl and with a sponge dabbed and pressed the dye into the wool one colour at a time. In some places it didn't penetrate enough so I turned the top over and repeated the process on the other side. Then I folded the long sides of the cling foil over and as tightly as possible rolled the whole thing into a big fat coil. This I placed into a zip lock bag with a bit of water and also simmered it in a pot of water.

The nice thing about dyeing the super wash merino was that it took the dye very well. I didn't have to rinse much - all the dye was taken up and the colours came out bright, as I wanted them. And not having to worry about felting is a huge advantage; I get very impatient when I have to wait for everything to cool before I can rinse.

 
Linda Tacke , a weaver, spinner and knitter shares her creations, thoughts and experiences.