Random thoughts of a fiber enthusiast - mostly fiber related, sometimes coherent

Month: August 2013

Red Handed!

red handedI spent a fun day digging and preparing a madder dye vat that left me red handed. Yeah, I didn’t think about gloves.

We decided to be very methodical about this, instead of my usual slash dash way, in order to achieve a good clear red.

I put 454 grams (1 pound) of wool/silk yarn to soak in 70 grams of aluminum sulfate and 28 grams of grocery store cream of tartar. (I didn’t have any potassium bitartarte on hand so I had to make do with what I could.)

We set about to peel the roots before chopping it up for the dye bath. The bucket you see below is our wash bucket with root scrapings. I took the bucket home to play with it and see what colors I can get out of it. Dregs, if you will.

Stay tuned!

madder bath

P.S. We found that fresh madder roots are easy to peel. You peel it as you would peel ginger with a spoon. You end with just the skin taken off with little to no waste. That is, if you don’t count the skin, which has a lot of dye material too. Word is that the skin contains more of the yellows and browns, which I didn’t want.

Anatomically Correct

A while back, I was talking socks with my friend, Vanessa. We compared the different ways of doing the toes. She always made her socks anatomically correct — as in, there is a distinct right sock and a left sock, based on how the toe is shaped. Why? Her kids refused to wear generic symmetrical toed socks when growing up because their feet were not shaped symmetrically.

With that information, I decided to make a pair of asymmetrical socks to see how I like them.

Asymmetrical Toes

Asymmetrical Toes

This is the first time I’ve worked with Zauberball. I’m still on the fence on this yarn.

It is a lightly twisted single yarn. This is not a great yarn if you are playing around with a new pattern that is made up as you go because it just didn’t take to ripping out repeatedly well.

The color changes are loooong and slow. But I found a couple of spots where the changes were abrupt without a break in the yarn. No knots, but just a crisp change in colors. You can see the line of color change on the bottom sock where it went from a pink-red to purple. There was a similar change in the purple itself on the top sock but because it was a light purple to a dark purple, it didn’t show up on camera as clearly.


Yes, the socks really are that bright.


My last gripe is that the length of the color repeats are not consistent. As you can see from the photo above, the purple of the top sock was much much longer than the bottom sock. So, instead of returning to bright orange, the cuff ended at red-orange.

As an aside, there appears to be another full sock remaining. By that, I mean that there is a full color repeat form orange to orange left in the ball. Yes, I rewound the ball to check the color repeat.

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