Doodling and Dyeing

I finally finished my Doodler shawl this week! This was the Westknits 2015 Mystery Knit along (MKAL) that started in November last year. I’d been really looking forward to finally knitting one of Stephen West’s magnificent shawl designs, and it turned out all I needed was his fabulously camp promo video to get me casting on :)


This was a fun and inventive shawl to knit and easier than it maybe looks. Each week MKAL participants were sent the next section of the pattern without knowing what was coming next or what the finished result would be! On the one hand, this is of course a bit of a gamble, but I think it can be pretty fun if you already like the designer’s patterns and aesthetic. I really enjoyed the playful approach, though it took me twice as long to knit because I kept catching myself slipping into a little reverie admiring the pretty colours. I used stash yarn for this project and originally intended to use a dark red insted of lilac, but found out I didn’t have enough yardage, so I had to rummage around to find an alternative that would work with the other colours. I’m so glad I did that, though! I have a bit of a thing for contrasting colours, and so I love how the lilac picks out the pink and green flecks of the speckle yarn. Ok please excuse me while I do a bit more shawl gazing here…


I think it was this playful approach to knitting that got me spreading out the plastic sheeting on the kitchen floor with the jam jars and dye pots, and having a Jackson Pollock moment of intuitive dye-chucking abandon. I had an idea of what I wanted (stronger, crazier colours than I got), and I got something different but sumptuous and beautiful nonetheless. I layered the dye starting with the lightest, both skeins using the same colours but in different combinations, so I got dusky pinks in one and dreamy blues in the other. I learnt something about how the dyes work together but best of all, it was LOTS of fun :)


I cast on a new project this week as I wanted to see some of my earlier hand dyed sock yarn in action to check that all was well. I started some vanilla socks using some yarn I dyed last year inspired by the colour of autumn leaves. Right now, this is knitting up pretty nicely in a spiraley kind of way with the colour changes, but this is my third attempt! I dyed this with fairly short repeats, so what happened when I merrily started knitting on my usual 56sts was, I ended up all the red on one side and all the yellow on the other…not ideal. I looked up what to do about it and read that a slight change in gauge or stitch count can make a huge difference. In the end I ripped it out and cast on again with 60 sts, which I still find a comfortable size sock, and magical stripes started to appear! So I look forward to being able to show you two crazy spirally socks soon :)

As always, I hope your projects are treating you well and…

Happy Knitting! :)

Rosie x




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