Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Another Alewife

Here's the latest in my ongoing love affair with herringbone patterns, the Alewives Hat.

A companion design to the Alewives Cowl, the slightly slouchy hat features a wide swath of herringbone texture amid panels of garter ridges. The pattern is easy enough for advanced beginners, but the texture stitches keep it fun for knitters of all skill levels.

The Alewives Hat pattern is available individually, or as part of an ebook collection containing both the Alewives Hat and Cowl. You can find the patterns in the Blue Bee Studio Ravelry store.

A bit about the yarn

Friends who have seen the Alewives cowl and hat in person always remark on the incredibly deep and rich color. The sample is worked in Swans Island Natural Colors Merino Worsted, in Bittersweet.

When I asked how they produce these glorious colors, Swans Island's head dyer Jackie Ottino Graf sent me a lot of great information. To read her full description of the dye process, check out this thread in the Swans Island Ravelry group, but here it is, in brief:

All Swans Island yarns are dyed in the skein, using traditional natural dying methods. After scouring with a mild unscented detergent, the yarn is soaked in a mordant bath overnight. The mordant, a mixture of alum and cream of tarter, creates a bond between the dye and the fiber. The fiber is then placed in the dyebath and can remain there for anywhere from a few hours, to overnight – depending on the color and shade that's desired. Swans Island uses a variety of natural dyestuffs including indigo, cochineal, madder, logwood, and weld. Some colors are dyed one shade and then overdyed with another.

The result is luminous layered color that is full of life. Pretty sure I'll be working with this beautiful stuff again sometime soon...

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