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The Natural Dye Studio

This pretty lace scarf shows off color graduations achievable through hand spinning.

A small project that beginning spinners and lace knitters can use to 1) practice spinning fine; 2) enjoy the gradual color changes that can be achieved when spinning hand-dyed roving; 3) knit lace; 4) use small amounts of luxury fiber.

Wanting to keep the lovely individual colors in hand-dyed merino (60%) silk (40%), I pre-drafted thick pieces of roving, spun it fine, then Navajo-plied. This organic-looking stitch pattern highlights the glorious colors and forgives somewhat irregular spinning. Like wearing a box watercolors around your neck, this will brighten your outfit and your day!

The lace pattern is from "Knitting lace: a workshop with patterns and projects" by Susanna E Lewis, Taunton Press 1982. This is the zigzag portion of Pattern 52 on page 60.

Every row is patterned, so a little concentration may be required at the start, but the pattern is easily memorized.

photos: Lee-Fay Low



Width: 4.5 inches
Length: 60 inches


1 oz (28 gms) 60% merino, 40% silk, dyed by First Edition, 'autumn' colourway spun into approx. 360 yards (300 m) fingering weight yarn, 18 wraps per inch. The color changes every 5.5-11 yards (5-10 m).

1 set US 7/4.5mm straight needles

28 sts / 32 rows = 4 inches in pattern after blocking

[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here]

PSP (Purl, Slip, Pass stitch over): P1, slip this stitch back to left needle, pass second stitch on left needle over first stitch.

Lace Pattern (Worked over a multiple of 4 sts + 3):
Row 1 [RS]: K2tog, yo, [ssk, k2, yo] to last st, k1.
Row 2 [WS]: P1, [yo, p2, PSP] to last 2 sts, yo, p2tog.
Rows 3-4: Work as for Rows 1-2.
Row 5 [RS]: K1, yo, [k2, k2tog, yo] to last 2 sts, ssk.
Row 6 [WS]: PSP, [yo, p2tog, p2] to last st, yo, p1.
Rows 7-8: Work as for Rows 5-6.
Repeat Rows 1-8 for Lace Pattern.

aCO 31 sts.
Work in Lace Pattern until work is desired length, ending with Row 4 or Row 8 of pattern.

BO Row: K2, [sl both sts from right needle to left needle, k2tog tbl, k1] until no sts remain on left needle, sl both sts from right needle to left needle, k2tog tbl.
Break yarn, draw through last st and pull tight.

Weave in ends. Block impatiently and wear with pride.
Lee-Fay knits in Australia, a country where more sheep live than humans. She spends an unnecessary amount of time thinking about food and fiber, and has been learning how to spin and read at the same time.