Have you ever seen a knitting pattern and instantly knew you HAD to make it? It’s happened to me more than once.
My latest must do pattern was Fax Paws by Zandy Peters. What’s more I knew right away that I wanted to make it using handspun yarn.
And what’s better than handspun yarn? Hand dyed yarn of course!
And what’s better than handspun, hand dyed yarn? Handspun that was dyed using all natural dyes.
So in case you haven’t figured it out – that’s just what I did.
If you follow my blog on a regular basis, then you’ve seen the posts about the dye days.
1st there was the Goldenrod and Goldenrod with Iron. Dyeing Fiber the Natural Way.
That was followed by Natural Logwood Dye on Wool.
I did some Cochineal after that, but it was too vivid to use on this project. I mean REALLY!
But then came the Madder Root. This was a perfect color to add to my project.
Next up was Black Walnut. Always a favorite.
And finally, something I hadn’t tried before – Chestnuts! This was a pleasant surprise to say the least!
Now that I had all of my roving dyed, I needed to concentrate on getting the yarn spun. Knowing that it was all for one project, put some added pressure on to ensure that all of my yarn was the same size (more or less). I checked my singles regularly to be certain I did not stray too far from the desired thickness. My 2 ply needed to be a fingering weight to work well with the pattern.
Finally, after many hours sitting at my Kromski Spinning Wheel, I had achieved my goal and I was ready to begin working on the knitting pattern.
I drew out my plan on the included worksheet, did my gauge swatch, and cast on…
Oh, my… This is not a pattern for the faint at heart! I repeated the sequence in my head with such intense concentration that I began to hear it in my sleep! Knit one, yarn over, knit again in the same stitch, slip back 2, knit one, yarn over, knit again in the the same stitch, slip back 2… over and over… Then there are the knit 5 together, slip back 2, knit 3 together, slip back 2, knit 3 together… etc… wheew.
After reading some of the comments on Ravelry, I opted to use stitch markers to help me keep track of things. They had to be moved one or two stitches on most rows, but they still helped tremendously.
The most difficult part was on rows 4 and 5, simply because the it got so tight on the needles. It was physically hard to knit . I literally wore the edge of my needle off making this!
Yet, it truly was worth it. The pattern, although difficult, was very well written.
It took many hours of hard knitting – not the relaxing kind of knitting either. However, the end result is stunning. I’m anxious for cooler weather so I can wear it!
And as a final note – I won 1st Place at the Georgia National Fair AND the Sponsor Award for Natural Dye!!!