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Blue Lake Knitting – Spinning + Dyeing My Polwarth Yarn = Ultimate Fiber Fun

No big intro, no excuses, no what ifs, I’ll get right to the point.

I got a pound of Polwarth roving for Christmas, but what with already scheduled things, baby knitting, etc.  I hadn’t even touched it until this week.

Tuesday, I spun up the first single in about 2 hours, and fell in love with this wonderful fiber.  Polwarth sheep is a breed that was begun by “breeding Merino rams to Merino/Lincoln ewes, until the cross bred true to itself.”

The resulting fiber is in my opinion just as soft as merino (21-26 microns), but with a slightly longer staple length (3-7 inches), and spins up like a dream.  Polwarth also has a nice crimp.  I also noted that once the fiber got wet, that it puffed up, one of my favorite things for a yarn to do.  This adds to the soft, cushy feel that I like. 

As soon as I showed a pic to a friend, she asked “What color is it going to be?”… Of course, I had not thought that far ahead, so asked for her opinion… Salmon.  I’ve used Salmon in combination with other colors, but never by itself.  So here is what I did today

2.2 oz. of already spun Polwarth

Soaked yarn (loosely tied) for 60+ minutes in hot water + a dab of detergent + a dab of vinegar – meant to soak for 30 minutes, but life got in my way… LOL

Heat 3 qts water and a glug of vinegar on stove to 180º+, but not boiling.

Heat Crock Pot with a little water on High setting


Dye powder – ¼ teaspoon added before adding hot water.

Stir pot well with wooden craft stick. 

Lay skein of yarn into dye pot, and poke into water using craft stick.   

Check pot after 30 minutes…. Water nearly clear.  Turned off dye pot, and will wait until it cools to work with the yarn.

After one hour, water has cooled enough to put my hands into the water.  I squeeze out the excess water, and rinse in hot tap water.  Another squeeze, then wash in Kookaburra Wool wash. No bleeding in my rinse water.

I rolled my skein in big heavy bath towel for about 30 minutes, and hung it outside to dry.

My final result is this lovely skein of Salmon kettle dyed Polwarth.

124 yards, 2.2 ounces of Sport Weight, WPI = 14.

Now all I have to do is to spin the other 14 ounces.  Tee hee.

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Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on April 2, 2012 at 10:23am

Thanks, Jo. I used the Jacquard Acid Dyes in Salmon.  I have some new ideas for natural dyes, but need to collect the plant material first.  And yes, they are growing like weeds.

Comment by KnitWhich? on April 2, 2012 at 10:10am

Susan, This is a great blog!  Thanks for the blow by blow.  What dye did you use?  Company?  Color?  I can't wait to try some more dyeing myself.

The boys are getting bigger every day.


Comment by Beverly Roberts on March 31, 2012 at 9:02am

Spitting watermelon seeds...Yes...LOL.  My brother and I had many a contest doing that...oh, now I am missing my brother :))

Comment by Bren on March 30, 2012 at 3:54pm

Looks great Susan!!

Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on March 30, 2012 at 8:50am

Thanks Bev, I thought the instructions might help someone else.  I like to keep things simple. 

And yes, Sam's choice of of food is better, of course, he has a lot more practice. 

Comment by Beverly Roberts on March 30, 2012 at 8:41am

Great instructions for crockpot dyeing Susan!  When/if I ever get around to using my new crockpot I know that I can come back here and use thise :)))  The boys are adorable!  Will looks like he is trying to eat his clothing! I think sam's choice of food is much better...LOL.

Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on March 30, 2012 at 6:58am

Dawn, I found my "used" crockpot at a local thrift store for $3... best bargain I ever got.  I love the tonal yarn I get with kettle dyeing... my fav method so far.

And yes, sticking your face into a cupcake covered in icing would be a wonderful pleasure.

Comment by Dawn Railsback on March 30, 2012 at 6:48am

I got the DH to agree to buy a new crockpot so the old one is now mine.  And now I know how to kettle dye with it.  Yay!

Love the pics of the boys!  Nothing like sticking your face in a bunch of frosting.  ;0)  Wish I could still get away with it sometimes.

Comment by Susan the Blue Lake Knitter on March 30, 2012 at 6:06am

Wendy, Thanks!  I put it together as I as dyeing, do document exactly what I did... I may want more of this same color.

Heather, Don't you just love inspiration!  LOL


Comment by cherubhmm on March 29, 2012 at 11:16pm
Beautiful color! You've inspired me to have a go at dyeing!

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