From Wool To Sweater

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Last winter was very very cold. My poor dog was pretty cold on her walks so I decided that next winter she needed a sweater. I didn’t want too nice of yarn since it is for Angel to go outside in so I found some easy to spin, unwashed wool at Mind’s Eye in Boston, MA. I got 12 oz in total and it smelled like lanolin. I spun it on my new Baynes spinning wheel.

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White is obviously not the best color for something that will get dirty so I decided to try my hand dyeing! The first step was to soak the yarn in acidic water so I mixed some acetic acid in water and soaked the yarn overnight.

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The magic combination when using acid dyes is acid+dye+heat. The next step for dyeing was to heat the yarn in the acid mixture. I got a pot just for this since you should not use your food pots for dyeing.

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The dye comes in a powder form. I mixed it with some boiling water to pre mix it in an old pasta jar. I decided on orange because it was my first dyeing and if I messed it up I didn’t want to do it with one of my favorite colors. Also my brown dog looks really good in orange. Her collar at home is orange and as my Mom said after I showed her the sweater “Now we can walk Angel during the day in hunting season!”

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When the yarn was finally warm enough I added the dye to the pot! I carefully mixed it so that the dye got on all of the yarn without felting yarn. Wool felts easily when heated so it is important not to agitate it.

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The next step was the hardest; I had to wait for the dye to take making sure the water didn’t boil. It took forever and I was so excited for it to come out.

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They way you tell when the dyeing is done is that the dyeing water is clear or almost clear. You have to let the yarn and water cool on their own which with such a large amount can take a while and while it is cooling it can absorb the last bit of dye so I impatiently turned off the heat when it was mostly clear.

After the yarn cooled which took FOREVER I had to rinse it off but without agitating the wool again. After it was rinsed I had to let it dry. It took a while to dry. I had the three skeins I had dyed hanging around my room on door knobs.

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The next step of course was the fun part, knit with it! It wasn’t the most consistent single since it was one of the first things I spun on my wheel. I also never took the time to wash the lanolin off, which some people will say disrupts the dyeing, so it gave the yarn a kind of waxy feel to it. I wanted to try and keep the lanolin though since it is suppose to water proof the yarn a bit and since this was outside wear for a dog I liked that idea. I started knitting it on my camping trip with my family so Angel saw me working on it although she had no idea what was coming!

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I got the pattern off of ravelry here.

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I estimated the wool amount pretty well. I used almost all of it and thank god didn’t run out!

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And here is Angel wearing her new sweater!!!