We have become very bad bloggers. We are maybe pretty good podcasters*, but our blogging has really dried up. I feel bad for the folks who read blogs but don’t do the podcast thing, and I also like to have a bit of writing, not just audio of our lives. Still, to try to catch up at this point would make for an interminable post. Instead, I’m going to pick one thing at a time and post about it, and maybe much of what has happened in recent weeks will get recorded, and maybe it won’t. I doubt anyone will miss the “gee, it’s hard to believe it isn’t spring yet in Minnesota posts”, so I’ll skip right past those and get into summertime cherry blossoms.
Yes, we went straight from winter snow one week to temps in the 90’s the next, and it sure prompted my North Star cherry to bloom quickly. I had some blooms of my own to hang on it – my Umeshu stole, my version of the Hanami stole by Melanie Gibbons. The stole represents cherry blossoms falling from one end of the stole to the other – the geometric lace reminds me of garden fencing. I used Knit Pick’s hand dyed Shimmer lace weight yarn (70:30 alpaca:silk) on size 3.25 mm needles. The yarn was a tonal of plum colors, hence the name “Umeshu” which means plum in Japanese.
Though the color was pleasing, I found the tonal was really more of a stripey and was disappointed at how the lace pattern was obscured. It really bugged me, so I decided I had nothing to lose by tossing it in the dye pot.
I used Cushing’s Perfection Acid Dyes in burgundy and white vinegar as a mordant. The dye exhausted pretty thoroughly, but boy did I have to rinse and rinse to clear the alpaca/silk of the dye. After the first few rinses resulted in continued bleeding, I retreated and reheated with vinegar solution and rinsed and rinsed again, using some woolwash to help free up loose dye. Finally, about 9 rounds later, I was reasonably satisfied that the dye wouldn’t immediately transfer onto my skin when I wore the stole.
No doubt, it was worth the trouble. If you look very closely, you can see the ghost of the stripes, which just makes it more interesting and rich.
The beaded cast on reminds me of dew drops.
I modified the pattern by making it one multiple wider than called for and adding some length. And instead of going to the perfect lace grid on the ends, I repeated the more organic random grid several more times and am very happy I did so. Finally, I made the ruffle more ruffly by doing a triple increase in each stitch and then finishing with some garter stitch (which is wider than stockinette) before binding off. You can see the details in my notes on my Ravelry page.
It felt so good to get this piece which I started back in 2009 off the needles that I may have to go UFO diving again soon. Hey, at least it didn’t take me 4 years to write about it!
*and even the podcasting has gotten slowed up in the rush of spring, but a new episode should be up soon!