I spent three hours today dyeing the blanks for the dark panels – mixing up dyestocks, then mixing seventeen colors from dyestocks, and then carefully painting each blank with a graduated mixture of the seventeen colors. I set the colors in the microwave, let it cool completely, and then rinsed out in cool water. I set them aside to dry, and turned my attention to the lighter panels, which I had dyed the same laborious way yesterday. I started winding the first panel’s worth onto pirns, and noticed….
…there was more brown than there should have been. A LOT more.
In fact, there was a lot more yarn than there should have been…had I made a mistake in my calculations?
I kept winding. I’ve done six of these panels so far, so I know that the weft for one panel fills exactly 4 pirns. On the third pirn I knew I was in trouble, and I finally gave up winding halfway through the fifth pirn, with several yards of blank left to go. I’d clearly made some sort of error, rendering the four blanks I had spent the past week making, well, useless.
I said some bad words, then some more bad words. Then I got up, went over to my carefully hoarded stash of chocolates, and ate a chocolate-covered jasmine caramel. (This, you understand, is why I’m a good project manager: quick, decisive action in the face of disaster.) Thus fortified, I proceeded to figure out what had happened.
It turned out to be a problem with my notes. I had somehow managed to write down “114 needles” when I really meant “70 needles”. So my knitted blanks had come out almost 50% too wide! Fortunately I had kept good enough notes that, by going through my “scratch paper”, I was able to reconstruct the right numbers. I then knitted and wove up a test sample, to test my calculations. Thankfully, it worked, so all that remains is to re-knit and re-dye the four blanks. That will take about a week, which is a pretty serious setback considering I have only eight weeks left before the Convergence Fashion Show entry deadline. On the other hand, it could have been a lot worse: if I hadn’t recovered the correct number from my notes, I’d have had to start again from square one, calculating and sampling to figure out the right settings.
Anyway, I’m now back to the knitting machine, and will spend the next few days knitting new blanks. (Fortunately, I started out with 2 kg of wool yarn, so I should have enough.) I have four days off at Christmas, so I’ll dye the blanks then. With luck, I’ll be able to catch up enough to start sewing in the New Year.