Posted by: Leslie | February 22, 2009

Striped baby footwear for Botswana

A while back I found out about a drive for handmade items to be sent to Botswana with a doctor who founded an HIV/AIDS clinic there. The Botswana Project is in its third round of donations, having already sent dozens of items of clothing, blankets, and toys to some very appreciative families affected by HIV/AIDS. I was recently given some hand-dyed superwash Merino spinning fibre from Spunky Electic (in the “Dandy Lion” colourway), and figured it would be put to good use as baby footwear:

My favourite thing about hand-painted top is the ability to make a self-striping yarn out of it, which is obviously what I did here! I stripped the top lengthwise, spun with a short draw, and chain-plied the resulting single to maintain the colour changes. I was able to mail the booties and socks from NY state this week so they should arrive at their destination in PA well before the deadline of March 13.

Superwash wool is an interesting thing and while this fibre spun like wool, the resulting yarn was almost like cotton to knit with. The superwash process is designed to prevent wool from felting by inhibiting the scales on the wool fibre (which are what enable the fibres to grab and lock together during felting) in some way. Either the fibres are coated with a polymer that covers the scales, or they are bathed in an acid solution that breaks the scales down. It’s not a surprise that this sometimes makes wool feel like a scale-less fibre, such as cotton. I have worked with superwash wool, though, that still feels totally woolly. It makes me wonder if the superwash process used makes a difference. Somewhere I have an old Spin-Off article from the 1980s on superwash methods, I’ll dig that up and post if I find any relevant info.

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Responses

  1. I’d love to know more about the superwash methods! Thanks in advance for posting the info if you find it.
    Those booties and socks are supremely cute! They’ll certainly cheer up the lucky kids who’ll receive them.


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