Pebbles in the River (previously known as Angling for Diamonds) is a top down triangle shawl that I knit with yarns I hand-dyed. I know I wanted to design a top down triangle shawl, but I struggled with the design. I started playing with spaced yos and decreases to create bias, but nothing worked. Then I started with angled lines emanating from the center, but this left the edges without much design. The angled lines made a nice frame for a diamond pattern, so I designed a pattern to fit. When designing the diamond I wanted it to have a little bit of movement, so I put two cable twists in the middle of the diamond. Now I had the basic design done, but there still seemed like there was too much room between the angled lines, so I threw in a few Estonia lace features. Now I was happy and ready to move into knitting up the sample, but what to use?
I decided to knit the sample in a yarn that I dyed using all natural materials. I started in the store in the produce aisle looking at all the fruits and veggies, saying would this make a good dye? I decided to use beets, red cabbage and red grapes. I cut up the beets, cabbage & grapes and boiled each in separate pots for a few hours until it seemed I leeched as much color as possible from the produce. Meanwhile I soaked the yarn in a water and vinegar mixture. Once I started the beets boiling and looked in the sink at the left over stem and leaves, I thought no sense wasting these, let’s see what color this produces so another pot went on the stove to see what dye I would get.
Ok now for the fun, all is ready for dyeing, I used a glass bowl either side of a pot on the stove that held the dye. Needless to say I monitored the dyeing process very carefully, to make sure none of the yarn dripped on the stove or caught fire (I was using a gas stove). The leaf/stem mixture looked reddish brown, I thought that was a good place to start. In the end it turned out to be a mushroom color, not what I expected but I was pleased with the result. The next was a green, this I confess didn’t come all from a natural element, I used the stem/leaf mixture and added green food coloring and one drop of black food coloring. Now time for the beets, I dyed the remaining yarn with the beet mixture. The yarn picked the dye in different ways … some of the yarn was very purple other sections were maroon. Again very pleased with result.
Once I finished the shawl body I had to figure a way to enhance the edges, I decided to use knitted on lace. The lace pattern I designed tied together the angle lines and diamonds from the body. In completing the body of the shawl I used every last yard of yarn of the first hand-dyed skein, so I had to come up with something for the border. The second skein was dyed using red cabbage. I put the whole skein of yarn in the dye bath and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Like the beet dye, the red cabbage dye yielded gradients of different colors that ranged from a champagne pinky brown to a sable brown.
Here is the final product – now to write it all up …[soliloquy id=”688″]