....or "You're not kiddin'. That's really not vanilla."
.... or Man, That's Red.
....or "I might love it now even more than I loved it before."
Introducing Red Phoenix, (or David calls it Plain Crimson), or The Sweater Formerly Known As Plain Vanilla
With gale-force winds, rain, and wicked cold temps, we cut the photo shoot short, so I realized too late that we did not get good photos of the entire sweater. But I think you get the idea. Suffice it to say I love it and I'm calling it a WINNER.
The color is a nice glass of merlot held up to candlelight. I was holding a bunch of cayenne peppers in the photo so you could compare and contrast the color of the sweater with the peppers, which could possibly help you to envision it.
And this sweater? This yarn? Subjected to all that soaking and near-boiling and almost-scrubbing and stain removers and water pouring over it, and multiple bouts of dyeing and almost-boiling and rinsing and drying and spinning (but not agitating) in the washer and rerinsing and rewashing? And having been worn almost every day from November through April for two years now? Held up like a champ. Did not felt one tiny bit, and it's lovely, lovely, lovely with almost no pilling; soft like cotton against the skin; it took on a sheen that I didn't notice it had when it was white; and it's hefty and warm. It's like a big wool (that feels like cotton) sweatshirt.
Have I used enough superlatives to let you know how much I am still in love with this sweater? Maybe more than before. It's like a brand new finished object. I will forever miss my Plain Vanilla, and I may make another white sweater. But this red -- oh, how happy it makes me.
The choice of red was a last-minute whimsy type of choice. I'm sure that doesn't surprise those of you who know me, not one whit. It was truly eenie-meenie-miney-moe.
It took a few tries to get it right. I used Jacquard acid dyes that I bought at Rhinebeck last weekend. I only said "Rhinebeck" one more time to piss off Marcia. Because she said if I say it ONE MORE TIME her eyes will bleed. And she will come over here and knock my block off. But I think I can take her.
Back to the dyes: I bought a variety of colors. Here is a photo of the result of the first try, using one entire packet of Vermillion. I loved, loved, LOVED that color. It came out a warm rose color. When it was finished, I chuckled and chuckled, because the words that Claudia spoke to me on Friday evening were ringing in my ear. She said, "Aren't you the one who has great success with your seat-of-the-pants dyeing? So go for it." Sitting on the sweater as you can see, a perfect match, is the yarn I bought from Mel and David's booth. I was psyched. But can you see those spots on the front where the dye didn't take? Those were obviously the spots that had been treated with stain removers all those times before. Ugh. I loved the color, but I had no more Vermillion. I ordered some more.
But as you may have gleaned, Patience is not my middle name. I looked at the other packets I had on hand. I tried to imagine what they might look like over the Vermillion. I settled on Scarlet, and I threw in a very unscientific, unmeasured amount of Aztec Gold. Yeah, baby! I LOVED that color. But I still had a whitish spot in the front. Luckily I had another jar of Scarlet. I went another round. And now we're done. I could try yet another time, but honestly I'm sick of messing with it and I'm satisfied. The mottling that is there is barely noticeable, and I think it adds character, as well.
This is a sweater I wear mostly at home, and when I want to wear it out of the house, I will wear a scarf like the photo above, and no one will be the wiser. Well, except all of you who are reading this now.
For newer readers, here is what it looked like before, my favorite sweater, and my very first sweater, the one I named Plain Vanilla. Plain Vanilla was the victim of a horrible staining incident which rendered it unwearable until I took a leap of faith and dyed it red.
It is Knitting Pure & Simple's neck-down pullover, size small, knitted from a small run of 100% Rambouillet yarn from the fleeces of the sheep that often win First Prize at Rhinebeck and Maryland, purchased on eBay from Roclans Farm. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have it for sale much anymore. The sweater is truly very special to me (and David, it turns out -- who knew?). I'm going to check my inventory -- I bought a lot more of this yarn at the time -- and see if there is enough for another sweater -- I may even dye the yarn ahead of time.
For the Warm Hands knitalong, I've finished the first Green Mountain Mohair mitten. I'll have one warm hand, anyway. And none too soon, it seems. It's been pretty blustery and cold out there.
What took me so long to knit with this yarn? I have a sweater's worth of the same gold color (called "Spice") that is in this mitten, and now I absolutely can't wait to knit it. I'm currently having an internal debate about the 2nd mitten: Will it match or will it be very much a fraternal twin? Stay tuned, but I can't get to it right now. I've got a Federal (capital) homicide appeal transcript that is due Tuesday and lots of depositions Monday and Tuesday. Just my usual work hot water situation.