30 September 2013

Snowflake Monday

Ice Wash Snowflake Cowl

I recently made my first indigo vat. I've been apprehensive because the initial steps of the process were, well, um, unsavory. When I first learned about indigo way back in about seventh grade, I wondered who the heck peed on his mom's weaving, enabling her to discover this ancient dye process.

When my adopted son was about 8 years old, and perhaps all the way until, well, perhaps even now, I realized boys will be boys. It's not always fun, it's not always squeaky clean, and if there's a way they can play with their pee, boy, do they. Little snots! Have you ever witnessed a boy (or a man) drawing in the snow with pee??? I am tempted to believe they love this more than football and golf!

In the long run, I couldn't coax myself to process raw indigo materials with one of the required ingredients... um, urine. So I bought pre-reduced indigo crystals. Someone else did all the dirty work. I added water and a couple more chemicals, and I now am absolutely addicted to indigo dyeing, even though it smells like pee while I'm mixing and dyeing. The vat is outside in the open air, and I so far have not forgotten to wear my protective mask while working with indigo. When I'm done dyeing with indigo, the cotton yarn goes into the washer with the jeans and industrial strength detergent, then a quick trip through the dryer with lovely scented softener. The indigo yarn ends up beautiful, soft and fresh-smelling.

I've been having so much fun all summer long dyeing my own thread and yarn, I may never buy commercially colored yarn or thread again! Onion skins, hibiscus and alkanet have been my favorite dyes to work with, but now indigo may have claimed the top spot. I absolutely LOVE my first batch of indigo yarn!!!

My First Indigo Yarn!

Indigo was the most significant natural dye by the end of the 19th century, but it has been around for thousands of years. In 1969, denim was described as one of the world's oldest fabrics but eternally young. Once a symbol of the working class, denim has become one of the most enduring fashion trends.

Blue is my favorite color, and I've long wondered if I could duplicate the ice wash jeans appearance popular during my younger years on yarn and thread without literally beating up the fiber. On my first indigo dyeing attempt, I got exactly the look I have dreamt about for so long.

Because ice wash is a perfect name for a snowflake, I decided to make a quick and easy hexagon motif with the first hanks of worsted weight cotton yarn I dyed by hand in my indigo vat. (And I am not having any trouble so far remembering to wear my gloves while I work with the indigo.) I might design a more intricate hexagon for worsted weight once I have enough matching hanks to complete a larger project. Right now, I don't think I'll ever get bored with this yarn.

I came up with a snowflakier variation (with picots) for this same motif and worked up join-as-you-go instructions. I joined motifs and made fun projects including today's Ice Wash Snowflake Cowl. I also created a more traditional thread snowflake adaptation.

Autumn and Emma of the Sisters of the Snowflake group on Yahoo had asked if I might consider designing a snowflake specifically for the group. The thread adaptation of this pattern, the Sister Snowflake, will be featured in the Yahoo group, which is free to join and features weekly snowflake crochet-a-longs, project photos and chatter.

You may do whatever you'd like with motifs you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Ice Wash Snowflake Cowl in Progress

Finished Size: 3.5 inches from point to point for the plain variation; 5 inches from point to point for picot variation
Materials: Approximately 150 yards of worsted weight cotton yarn for the cowl; approximately 8 yards of worsted weight cotton yarn for just one motif; size H crochet hook

Ice Wash Snowflake Cowl Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in ring, * ch 1, 2 dc in ring; repeat from * 4 times; 1 hdc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form final ch 1 sp of Round. Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough to allow stitches inside it to lay flat.

Round 2: 1 sc over hdc just made, ch 3, * 1 sc in next ch 1 sp, ch 3; repeat from * 4 times; sl st in starting sc.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 3: Sl st into next ch 3 sp, ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 4 dc in same ch 3 sp, * ch 1, 5 dc in next ch 3 sp; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 1, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.
NOTE: To join a second row of motifs, work the join 3 times instead of 2 and work only 3 total unjoined points. When joining to 2 points previously joined, make sure to catch at least 2 strands in the join.

To join more than one motif, follow the instructions below for Round 3 on additional motifs after the first one is complete.

Round 3, Joining Round: Sl st into next ch 3 sp, ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 4 dc in same ch 3 sp, * ch 1, 5 dc in next ch 3 sp; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 1; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

Ice Wash Snowflake Motifs with Picots

For the picot version of the motif, following the instructions below for Round 3.

Round 3: Sl st into next ch 3 sp, ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 4 dc in same ch 3 sp, * ch 4, sl st in 3rd ch from hook (picot made), ch 1, 5 dc in next ch 3 sp; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 1, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

To join more than one motif, follow the instructions below for Round 3 on additional motifs after the first one is complete.

Round 3, Joining Round: Sl st into next ch 3 sp, ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 4 dc in same ch 3 sp, * ch 2, 1 sc in picot of 1st snowflake, ch 1, sl st in 2nd ch (immediately before sc) (picot join made), ch 1, 5 dc in next ch 3 sp; repeat from * around 1 time to join next picot on 1st snowflake; ** ch 4, sl st in 3rd ch from hook, ch 1, 5 dc in next ch 3 sp; repeat from ** around 2 times; ch 4, sl st in 3rd ch from hook, ch 1; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.
NOTE: To join a second row of motifs, work the picot join 3 times instead of 2 and work only 3 total picot points that are not joined. When joining to 2 picots previously joined, make sure to catch at least 2 strands in the join.

Unblocked Ice Wash Snowflake Motifs

Blocked Ice Wash Snowflake Motifs

Finish: For the cowl, I made 18 motifs and joined them in two rows. Cowl also could be made with 3 rows of motifs by making 27 motifs and may be made as wide as desired by making more than 9 motifs for each row of motifs. This project does not require blocking and pinning, but looks much lacier if blocked and pinned.

After making and joining 2, 3 or desired number of rows of 16, 24 or desired number joined motifs, join in a circle by joining 17th (or 25th) motif to one end of row and then the opposite end as shown below. 18th (or 26th and 27th) motif is then joined on 5 points, with only one point free-standing.

Ice Wash Snowflake Cowl Motif Joining

Ice Wash Snowflake Rock

Ice Wash Denim

9 comments:

  1. Flower really shows the size indeed, another great creation at your feed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Pat, and I must say, I'm absolutely stunned you didn't seize the opportunity to make wisecracks about the topic... :)

      Delete
  2. I need to take the time to read all your information on dyeing yarn because you have really some nice results. You said you would like to see my first attempt at dyeing so just visit my blog. http://brendasbric-a-brac.blogspot.com/ I made an angel with the dyed thread but a snowflake will be my next adventure. It was fun, I leaned a lot from it. One of the things is take the time to read about others successes and failures. Learn from their wisdom! But it was a fun adventure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've read a lot, too, Brenda, but I still make a ton of mistakes, but that's sort of the fun of it, too. It's like Forest Gump opening a box of chocolates at Christmas... I never know what I'm going to get, and that makes it a little more adventurous, I think!

      Delete
    2. PS: I just looked at your angel, and oh, my goodness, that turned out awesome! That was a great use for your first hand-dyed thread!

      Delete
  3. That was interesting, I never knew urine was part of indigo dye! Have noticed the male obsession with said-substance though - maybe you can get your boys involved for your next batch? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shhhhhhhh, Niamh!!! Don't give them any ideas!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Delete
  4. Check my blog. MDH has gone to a funeral so I used that time to take pictures and post them. Love the indigo dye. Instructables has a Dye contest going on right now. You really should enter. Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, you nailed it! What a perfect ice wash look. Great cowl too!

    Also love the pinky-mauvey-lavendery version - so pretty and delicate.

    Interesting about the indigo process ... given that so many guys seem to enjoy letting loose outdoors (what Peter Mayle calls "le pipi rustique") it's not surprising that somewhere in history this process was discovered. I'll bet the woman involved was pretty miffed at first - until she noticed the gorgeous colours that resulted. :)

    ReplyDelete


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

All spam is promptly and cheerfully deleted without ever appearing in print.

I apologize for turning off anonymous posting for a while. Too much garbage coming through; hope to get anonymous comments turned back on after a short break. If you don't have a Google account and need to contact me, please use the email address in the sidebar. Thank you!

Related Posts with Thumbnails