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Spinning, dyeing, and knitting Jane’s Ubiquitous Shawl

April 24, 2012

The generosity of my fiber friends never ceases to amaze me. I’m often blessed with gifts of fleece or yarn as well as self-incriminating stories of knitting disasters (you know, like having to pull out yards of laceweight yarn when you discover that you should have started the shaping 5 inches back, because you failed to read ahead to that place in the instructions that says, “and at the same time, . . .”) This post is a story about both very generous gifts and my own salvaged disasters.

First, the fleece. I recently was the beneficiary of two very large, stuffed-full bags of fleece from a friend who decided she didn’t have time in her life right now for spinning. A beautiful white (mystery fiber) roving spoke to me, but even though it was a joy to spin, I got bored with the white and decided it would be even more fun if I dyed it a very pale shell pink. The dye mixture “slipped,” however, and I ended up with bubble gum-colored fleece. A lot of it!

Next, the yarn. I went ahead and spun up that bubble gum, and then my creative friend and master dyer Gail Callahan urged me to (cautiously) overdye the yarn to tame it down. This experiment went pretty well, because I tried hard to take Gail’s advice and add just a little color at a time. I wasn’t very scientific about it, but after a dash of blue and a touch of mahogany, I got a sort of coral I was quite happy with.

Finally, the design. I’m a pushover for audio books as knitting partners, and if you agree, the place to turn is Heather Ordover’s CraftLit: A Podcast for Crafters Who Love Books. Heather is also the creator of What Would Madame Defarge Have Knit?, a collection of designs from other avid reading/knitting designers,  who have imagined what “might” have been knit by or for an assortment of literary characters, from Frankenstein to Rip Van Winkle. Heather sent me the e-book as a gift , and I used my handspun coral yarn to knit Jane’s (that’s Jane Eyre’s) Ubiquitous Shawl, designed by Erica Hernandez, and shown here. Thanks, Heather, for your inspiration and Erica, for your lovely design!

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