Episode 2- Will Winter Ever Come? & More Mordants



Welcome to Episode #2 of the Ancient Threads Podcast.  

Well, I finally finished the top of the Kilravock socks.

I also finished a hat for myself. The Claudia hat from http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Highlyn/claudia MJ Kim.


This gave me a little trouble until my friend Lorrie helped me out.

I’m continuing to work on my vanilla socks and I have cast on the Color Affection shawl from Veera Valamacki. I’m making this out of stash yarns, Madeline Tosh merino light in Neon Peach, a very bright orange with pink highlights.  

I’m also making this with a robins egg blue fingering from Mrs Crosby Hat Box in Spangled Cotinga, and a dark sapphire blue fingering weight in malabrigo sock, Cote D. Azure.

I’m looking at knitting a sweater for myself out of some light grey Shetland that I overdyed while on a dyeing retreat last Fall. This is a black and black cherry color and I only dyed 7 skeins of the yarn, so I have just over a 1100 yards in the dyed yarn, but I also have several thousand yards of the yarn in the original grey.


This yarn is a not a smooth yarn, but is rather neppy and a bit of a mess, very slubby. I made a cable knit sweater out it originally (the Portland) and I’m not thrilled with it as the cables just don’t show like they should. It was not a good choice of yarn at the time. With the yarn being so neppy, I really can’t sell it. The processor warned it may have issues and we had her go ahead anyway- what else could we have done with this?

I’m thinking of the Converge Pullover, http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/converge-pullover, and making the sleeves out of the grey

The acer http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/acer

Or the Baseball jersey, http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baseball-jersey-4

I’m leaning towards baseball as it was designed to have different colored sleeves.

I would go for stripes, but I just don’t do stripes, but there is Carabe http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/carabe

Or go totally outside the box for me and make boreal from Kate Davies http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/boreal-2

New Years Goals- knit a sweater. Other than that, I need to get some spinning done so I can make some naalbound projects for my Viking sponsors. Naalbinding

Another resource for naalbinding information, http://www.scarlette.net/sigridkitty/

The Dyeing Corner-

So, this week I wanted to talk about other types of mordants and assists their uses in natural dyeing. Today I talk about Copper, chrome and tin. Safety Note- always use separate pots and utensils for dyeing and be careful not to breathe in the fumes from dyeing, only dye in a well ventilated area and wear gloves.

Tin- Tin can give you clean and bright colors that are color fast. Tim can be hard to work with though as overuse can make the yarn hard and brittle. To mordant with Tin, add the wool to a cold water bath with 4 percent tin and 2 percent oxalic acid, then slowly raise the temperature to boiling and keep it boiling for an hour. If we are going my 800 gram example, that is 32 grams of tin and 16 grams of oxalis acid, or about 2 1/8 tablespoons of tin and 1 tablespoon of oxalis acid. Once the hour is up, remove the fiber, let it cool and then you can dye as you wish. You can reuse the mordant bath by adding back in ¾ of what you originally used.

Copper- Copper isn’t typically used as a mordanting agent, but it can be done. You can take about 2 cups of pennies and soak them in 3 cups of vinegar and let that sit for several weeks in a gallon water. I would then strain this through cheesecloth or a papertowel just in case the pennies had anything on them. Safety Note: The fumes are toxic, so it is suggested you do this next step in a well ventilated area! Take the copper “tea”, a tablesppon of citric acid and heat it on the stove and bring to a boil for 30 minutes, add your fiber, let simmer 10-15 minutes, drain (not down the drain) but into another safe pot or bucket for safe disposal.

Plants like azaleas and rhodendrons will love it. Let your fiber cool and then rinse it with vinegar. Your yarn may have a seafoam blue green cast. Then dye using your natural dyes - you can add a teaspoon of salt if you like, early dyers used this trick.

Or you can use those copper pot scrubbers form the market. Take 3 copper no soap scrubber s and simmer on the stove with 2-3 teaspoons ammonia and water (in a separate dyeing pot, not one that will be used for food). Simmer the scrubbers with the vinegar for a couple of hours , and remove from heat and let it sit for several days. Then add that tea to your dye pot along with citric acid and dye the same as above.

You can also just purchase copper crystals to use at 3% of your finished weight of goods. If we use my example of 800 grams of fiber or yarn (8 100 gram skeins), I would need just over 1.6 tablespoons of crystals, and then I would again add about a tablespoon of citric acid.

Chrome- Safety warning- chrome is known carcinogen and is not safe to handle. Chrome can add golden colors to your dyeing and does not affect the hand of the yarn, it leaves the yarn softI will only use chrome outside. Chrome allow you to get real blacks.

To use chrome, add chrome at a 2-4 % ratio, so again in the 800 gram example that is 1-2 tablespoons of chrome, and let it boil, add your fiber and let it boil for about an hour. Remove from mordant bath and let drain, and immediate dye immediately. The wool at this time should not be exposed to light as it will cause uneven dyeing. Special note, you cannot dump chrome mordant water down the drain, and you should not dump it in your back yard either, as it will remain in the soil. You should contact your state environmental authority on how to dispose properly in your area.

Cooking and Baking-

For our solstice Celebration I made:

Martha Stewart’s Cookie Press Cookies. These were ok, not great but ok. http://www.marthastewart.com/318844/cookie-press-cookies.

Lemon crinkle cookies from Laurens Latest, http://www.laurenslatest.com/lemon-crinkle-cookies/, these tasted really good, but they spread out too much, so if I make these again, I’ll ignore her advice on how to measure out the flour. I think adding in some white chocolate chips would make these even better.

Books I’ve read-

Recently finished

The Cukoo’s Calling by Robert Gailbraith, This book was quite good

I’m now listening to The Silkworm, the second in the series and I like this one too-

I also finished reading Front Runner by Felix Francis, this was also pretty good.

And, I just finished A Dangerous Place, a Masie Dobbs mystery by Jacqueline Winspear. I don’t want to give out any spoliers here, so if you want to read the description, you can do so on goodreads yourself. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22693178-a-dangerous-place?from_search=true&search_version=service

It was quite good, but I missed the cast of supporting characters Masie usually has with her when working a case.

I also finished Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidant by Susan Elia MacNeal.

I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, worth the read. I like this series, not as much as some other ones, but enough to keep reading it.

Next on the list is A Pattern of Lies, by Charles Todd, a Bess Crawford novel.

Ups and Downs

Ups- it is Christmas week and so I will have multiple days off and will have lots of knitting and crafting time. My success in the 2015 reading challenge- according to goodreads, I read 33 books this year, and I know there are some books that I didn’t log, some because they just weren’t worth talking about and others I forgot about. My goal was 26 books and I am 8 books ahead of schedule. Also, Downton Abbey is returning for their last season On Sunday the 6thof January.

Downs- the weather! The weather in the NE US has been warm and wet, so we have not had any snow, and the temperature on Xmas eve is supposed be close to 70

I also found out recently that the Shetland murder series of books was made into a tv show that was on PBS last spring, and I totally missed them! So, I have been trying to find the DVD locally.

My GoodReads list of books for 2015-https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2015/5606513

Mr. Darcy’s Diary- Amanda Grange

Wings of Fire- Charles Todd

The Maharani’s Pearls- Charles Todd

An Unwilling Accomplice- Charles Todd

A Fearsome Doubt-0 Charles Todd

Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century- Peter Graham

The Cater Street Hangman- Anne Perry

His Majesty’s Hope- Susan Elia MacNeal

A Test of Wills- Charles Todd

A Fine Summer’s Day= Charles Todd

The Prime Ministers Secret Agent- Susan Elia MacNeal

The Black Ice- Michael Connelly

The Search for Anne Perry- Joanne Drayton

The Great Escape- Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Call Me Irresistible- Susan Elizabeth Phillips

His Good Opinion- A Mr. Darcy Novel- Nancy Kelley

Royal Wedding- Meg Cabot

One Dance with a Duke- Tessa Dare

The Girl on the Train- Paula Hawkins

Death of a Liar- MC Beaton

City of Bones- Michael Connelly

Murder in Retribution- Anne Cleeland

The Burning Room- Michael Connelly

Concrete Blond- Michael Connelly

Paw and Order- Spencer Quinn

Lost Light- Michael Connelly

The Boy in the Suitcase- Lene Kaaberbol & Agnete Friis

Murder to Go- Chloe Kendrick

A Bargain for a Bride- Amelia Rose

The Once and Future Duchess- Sophia Nash

The Cuckoo’s Calling- Robert Galbraith

Front Runner- Felix Francis

A Dangerous Place- Jacqueline Winspear

Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante- Susan Elia MacNeal

Malice at the Palace- Rhys Bowen