Tuesday 21 January 2014

More Big Knitting - Textured Cushion

Dyed textured cushion

Having got the bug using large needles I decided to press on but with something a little easier and more conventional than my #Wovember Big Knit Pumpkin Pouffe project (http://hippystitch.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/wovember-project-finished-for-christmas.html). So, I got out my 25mm straight needles and selected a ball of green Boodles Textile Yarn.  This is a chunky, oversized yarn that looks like it's been made out of T shirts.  It is, in fact, made from offcuts from the textile manufacturing process, may have colour & thickness variations and has plently of knots.  To knit up with it, I chose a cone of super chunky wool that I bought at the Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate in November. This is in a natural cream but will be dyed a shade of green which I hope with the Boodles yarn will produce a variegated green result.

The needles are about 38cm (15 inches) long and 25mm (1 inch) in diameter. Here they are ...

25mm Knitting Needles

and here's the yarn (already partly used up) ...


My project was to knit a cushion approx. 40cm square (16 inches)  with an alternating pattern of garter and stocking stitch blocks.  Here it is in progress (this has used up all of one ball of Boodles)...

Big kniting in progress

And here it is finished but not sewn up ....

Finished Big Knitting

It measured approx. 40cm by 100cm (16 inches by 39 inches).  You can see how much yarn was left from my 2 balls of Boodles and my cone of wool.

Here it is stitched up ...

Finished cushion before dyeing

Now on with the dyeing.  This has been another saga.   First I tried using Dylon Olive Green hand dye, having washed the cushion.  I did this in a bucket using two packets of dye.  The bucket frankly could have done to be bigger - alot of slopping of dye went on.  The result was very disappointing.  These dyes state that they give lighter colours on wool but all I got was an extremely pale green.  I think this may have been because there was some dressing on the wool yarn and that really the cushion needed soaking overnight to remove it.    Next, I went for some acid dyes and mixed a sort of dull lime green using Art Van Go and Colourcraft acid dyes.  Acid dyes require heat so you do this in a large pan (e.g. a jam pan) on the stove top.  This was more successful although the application of heat, stirring and washing has resulted in some felting of the yarn (which was what I was trying to avoid by using the Dylon dye).   

Wool yarn - from white to pale green to dull lime
The dyes had less effect on the Boodles yarn

I've not yet decided whether it lives up to my expectations.  It didn't take long to knit up -  a couple of evenings (not full time).  I took inspiration from Becca Smith's book "Big Stitch Knitting" for tension, yarns and patterns and then adapted it all to my project.  The dyeing and trying to get the cushion dry (it was/is very heavy!) was a more involved process.  Acid dyes are much more effective to get true colours though.  

Note to self: don't forget the value of preparing samples first to check out likely results.  At least the final colour was more or less what I was aiming for!

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