Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Marky's Socks Done!

I finished up the socks for my niece Marky!  (Picture will come eventually – be patient.)


Also, I’ve been working on a new project which I hope will be unveiled soon!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Color Teaser

So, what did I do last night?

Mixed colors

Dyed yarn

Washed up

Watched TV

I mixed up a very deep blue and a deep red so that I could make a "patriotic" colorway (by request), then mixed up some other fun colors to play around a little more. Below are the preliminary results (meaning I snapped only a few quick pictures this morning because I was running late for work!).

Love those blues!


There was a request for red, white, and blue sock yarn. Thus, my Patriots. They're red on one end, white in the middle, and blue on the other end. The red faded to a kind of dark orange as it ran a bit, but I like it.

In a Mood

Autumn colors

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kimono Scarf

This is what I've been doing to amuse myself lately. It's a scarf in a pattern adapted from Folk Shawls. It's the pattern for the Kimono shawl, an easy 10+1 repeat pattern with garter edges.

I'm knitting it on US 7 needles with a nice Peruvian merino by a company called Mirasol. The yarn is called Hacho and the colorway is #306. It has a nice, tight twist. One 50g ball yielded 12" in length (including the border), so I anticipate having a scarf that is 60" long when I'm done as I have only 5 balls of this wonderful wool. I'm not sure how wide it will be when I block it out, but I think it will be near to 12".

Friday, August 8, 2008

And a bag to put it in . . .

My sister Shari was kind enough to send to me a gift card to String of Purls for my birthday. I used it to purchase this magnificent bag which holds all of the projects posted today, plus some knitting books, pens, etc. the bag is some sort of plastic fabric, so it is good for the beach. I like it because it zips up on top and will keep all of my projects protected from the more unsavory elements of nature.
I embellished it with a cool tag from Village Stationery. I feel trés chic, let me tell you!

Dye Class Delinquents

These are some dk weight skeins leftover from dye class. The center one is dyed in Gaywool Bluegum and the outer two (dubbed Emerald Sky) are in blue and yellow (one is Gaywool Bluegum and Honeycomb, the other is leftover Culinary Colors blue and yellow).

Wisteria Lane and RiverWash Skeins

Left are the Wisteria Lane skeins and right are the RiverWash skeins. Both are superwash wool in fat fingering weight, 4 oz per skein and sold at String of Purls.

Rescue Pullover in Progress

This isn't perhaps the best photo because it shows the yarn as brighter than it really is. This is the failed Mardi Gras skeins overdyed in Indigo and the start of an aran-style pullover.

Monet Scarf

This silk scarf was dyed in the splatter method with a variety of colors. I like to call it the Monet scarf because it looks like an impressionist painting.

Mardi Gras Scarf

This is a silk scarf dyed with the Mardi Gras colors.

Manos del Uruguay Scarf

This is done with two skeins of the silk and wool blend of Manos del Uruguay yarn, one in a solid blue-grey and the other in a variegated that included the same blue-grey color. On a US 7 needle, I cast on an uneven number of stitches and knit back and forth as follows:
Row 1 (solid color): *K1, Sl 1 with yarn in front* across, end K1. Turn work.
Row 2 (solid color): Purl all sts. Turn work.
Row 3 (variegated color): *K1, Sl 1 with yarn in front* across, end K1. Turn work.
Row 4 (variegated color): Knit all sts. Turn work.
The left image shows the side with Rows 1 and 3, the right image shows the side with Rows 2 and 4. Frankly, I like the right image best!

Kaffe Fassett Crocheted

I was given a gift of a bunch of Rowan dk weight yarn from a Kaffee Fassett (sp?) cardigan kit. There was no way to knit the cardigan with the directions in it (several balls of yarn were missing), but I knew I'd have fun crocheting it in a basketweave pattern. Here it is in progress. it will make a nice stole (about 18" wide). This is the item my mom did some crocheting on when she found herself unexpectedly at our house one night because her power was out.

Ab-Fab In Progress

Above: Detail. Below: A look at the whole thing in progress. There are, I think, 10 different yarns, each a different color, and about five different textures. Three of the yarns are mohair, two are a kind of shiny thick-and-thin boucclé, one is a flat knit ribbon, one is a fluffy cotton-ish chenille, and one is a regular yarn in bulky weight. It's knit on US 11 needles in a feather-and-fan pattern. The kit comes in a great variety of color sets and the instructions include six different ways to knit or crochet it into a throw (or afghan, or lap blanket -- whatever you want to call it).

Sunday, August 3, 2008

New Year's List Updated

Projects on the New Year's List:
  • Socks for Marky (one done, 2nd sock at gusset)
  • Socks for Deb (#1 near heel turn)
  • Socks from Austermann Step yarn — Frogged and rewound
  • Hoofle-Foofle Socks *Done • 1 Feb 2008*
  • Cardigan *Done • 10 May 08*
  • 8-3-5 Pullover for Marky (back done; front started)
  • Scarf from bulky weight Silk Road *Done • 5 Jan 08*
  • Scarf from 2 strands of Manos del Uraguay *Done • 10 Jan 08*
  • Socks for Alice *Done • 5 Jan 08*
  • Shrug for Mary (back panel done; working out pattern for sleeves)
  • Baby Blanket for Jorge y Liliana — Frogged and rewound
  • Socks for Joan (one sock done, the 2nd sock at the gusset)
  • Swag Socks sample for String of Purls *2 samples done*
  • Marjaana/Hermione pullover for myself — Frogged and rewound
  • Scarf (non-wool) for I-Pie (about halfway along)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Christmas Stockings from Suzi

A wonderful knitter, Suzi B. from Denison, Iowa, sent photos of two Christmas stockings she knit:

On the left is a Christmas stocking I'd designed a couple of years ago. It's knit with Lamb's Pride bulky. On the right is the Purlie Fat Sock yarn, Sari colorway, knit in the Raindrop pattern (free with purchase of the yarn).

Well, this does my soul good. I'd gotten an email yesterday from knitty.com that two sock patterns I'd sent in were rejected. Nice to see that someone gets enjoyment from my patterns!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The "Rescue" Pullover

I'm working on a pullover now from the worsted weight Mardi-Gras-Overdyed-Indigo yarn. After 16 rounds of 2 x 2 ribbing, I've settled on a pattern of moss stitch and diamonds and even a couple of cables. The trouble was that I didn't plan it particularly well so the ribbing doesn't necessarily match up with my cables and such, but I've decided that it's not a big deal. I'm not knitting this for submission to a publication.

This a pullover for my brother-in-law Ron who has been working on cleaning up a Toyota knitting machine I'd purchased last fall from a widower. I don't know how long it had been since his wife had used it, but it was kind of crusty in places. So, Ron is patiently cleaning it. Thus, I am patiently (really) knitting a pullover for him. The stitch gauge is 5 st/1" in stockinette on US 7 needles. I cast on 256 (I'm knitting it in the round) and worked the above-mentioned ribbing. It has a center diamond (in purl stitch on a field of knit stitch). In fact, it goes (from left to right): K 17, Diamond (over 14 sts), K2, 5-stitch moss, K2, P2, C6B, P2, K2, 5-stitch moss, K2, center Diamond, K2, 5-stitch moss, K2, P2, C6F, Ps, K2, 5-stitch moss, K2, Diamond, K17. And then it repeats on the other side, and it's a 12-row pattern. I'm not sure whether I'm going to work it as a drop shoulder or a set-in sleeve. I'll think about it.

The first few rounds are a little difficult. I increased 4 sts on each side in the set-up round after the ribbing in order to account for the cables pulling things in on rounds 3 and 9. I have a zillion markers in it all to give me a cue when things start, but I expect I'll be able to pull them out once the overall pattern becomes clearer. Right now it looks like a dark mess of ribbing with bright markers in it.

If you want the stitch pattern, I have it set up in an Excel spreadsheet and I will be glad to email it to you if you send me a note requesting it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Rescuing the Mistakes and other news

OK, the yarn I dyed that I mentioned in the last post?  Problems, problems, problems!

The eight skeins of Mardi Gras were all wrong.  I didn’t have any more plum, so I mixed up what I’d hoped would be right.  Wrong!  It came out kind of reddish brown.  And then the green ran into the yellow on about 3 skeins.  And then it turned out that what the gal wanted was the brighter colors (not the subtle ones I’d come up with first.)  So, I overdyed all of the Mardi Gras skeins with Gaywool indigo in a kettle on the store.  It took about 2 hours.  They’re good.  The yellow parts came out dark green, the reddish brown parts came out a deep violet with reddish parts, and the rest is a lovely dark blue.  There are a couple of odd spots where the dye didn’t take, but it’s all salvageable and I’ll be knitting a pullover from it.

The 2 skeins of sock wool and the 4 skeins of cotton/silk yarn dyed in blue would never rinse clear.  I tried soaking them in Dharma Trading’s new substitute for Synthrapol (less expensive and better for the environment), but that didn’t work.  Then I soaked them anew in a vinegar bath for about 15 – 20 minutes (completely submerged this time, too) and that did the trick.  No more running blue water.  It just needed a much longer bath and better soaking than I’d done the first time.

I finished up the “secret socks” and submitted the pattern to Knitty yesterday.  In the meantime, I’ve been slogging away at the socks for my SIL Joan.

I’ve also been having major “start-itis” problems.”  I’d been given a bag of some leftover balls of Rowan wool which I’d started knitting into a feather-and-fan pattern.  I screwed up the pattern on about the 12th row.  And I’d already knit like 5 colors!  So, I pulled it all out and started crocheting it into a basket weave pattern that is so far going well (and easier to fix if you make a mistake in the pattern).  Then I started crocheting a doily from a silk lace-weight yarn (“Black Walnut” by Claudia Handpaints), but I screwed up that right at the start and needed to rip it all out.  Luckily, I hadn’t gotten too far on it.  Last night I tried casing on a simple top-down pullover, but I pulled it all out after 6 rows because I didn’t like the yarn I was using for that size of a needle.  So, I gave up and started sorting out all of my needles (again).  Oh, and that doesn’t count trying to make a scarf in the pattern of a Japanese tea shawl (found in Folk Shawls).  I got the garter rows all done then learned on the first row of the pattern stitch that I’d cast on about 3 stitches too many.  Yuck.

The dyeing mojo seems to be working.  I’ll concentrate on that and keep knitting my SIL’s socks until the creative knitting mojo comes back.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fuschia Knees

At present I have several skeins of yarn "cooking" upstairs.

1. Linie "Bingo" cotton yarn dyed in a light marigold color.
2. Four 50g skeins of a cotton/silk fingering weight yarn being dyed a dark blue.
3. Two 4 oz skeins of Purlie fat fingering weight yarn being dyed the aforementioned dark blue.
4. Eight 4 oz skeins of Louet Gems worsted being dyed in the Mardi Gras colorway.

I managed the spill some of the violet color from the Mardi Gras dye session and it went down the plastic sheeting against which my knee came to rest not seconds later. At first it was a spectacular purple splatter, but cleaning it up with Reduran caused it to subside to a kind of pink/red color.

Still Slogging Along on Projects

Projects on the New Year's List:
  • Socks for Marky (need to do over)
  • Socks for Deb (#1 near heel turn)
  • Socks from Austermann Step yarn — Frogged and rewound
  • Hoofle-Foofle Socks *Done • 1 Feb 2008*
  • Cardigan *Done • 10 May 08*
  • 8-3-5 Pullover for Marky (back done; front started)
  • Scarf from bulky weight Silk Road *Done • 5 Jan 08*
  • Scarf from 2 strands of Manos del Uraguay *Done • 10 Jan 08*
  • Socks for Alice *Done • 5 Jan 08*
  • Shrug for Mary (back panel done; working out pattern for sleeves)
  • Baby Blanket for Jorge y Liliana (started)
  • Socks for Joan (started)
  • Swag Socks sample for String of Purls *2 samples done*
  • Marjaana/Hermione pullover for myself — Frogged and rewound
  • Scarf (non-wool) for I-Pie (started)

Monday, May 12, 2008

FO!! FO!! FO!!

I can cross off another item from my New Year’s Knitting Resolution list:  The dark blue-green cardigan is finished.  Well, I just found 2 more ends I have to weave in (about 5 minutes of work) and I won’t do the buttons (M will do them since it is to be her cardigan), but it’s effectively done.

The pattern is from Knitting Pure and Simple, Neck Down Cardigan for Women #9725.  I knit it with Debbie Bliss Merino Aran in a colorway called “Petrol” (why it’s called that I’ll never know), and it’s a superwash.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get gauge (what was I thinking by using Aran weight when it called for heavy worsted???), so it was smaller than I thought it would be, thus it is going to M.

Now I move on to a zillion other projects on the needles.

*sigh* I have more ideas than I have hands to knit them.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

A very good knitterly friend called me last weekend with a problem. The problem was that she'd knit the whole back panel of a nifty pullover with very cool yarn (a silk/wool blend) that she'd gotten for herself as a kind of reward (in fact, the whole project was a kind of reward for herself) and found her gauge was off and the darned thing was too small.

Yep, she'd knit and knit and knit and discovered the problem rather far down the road. You can swatch all you like and still have a problem like this because swatches are only a small piece of the whole and therefore really won't show you the whole picture, such as when you were knitting during a thunderstorm or while watching a suspense/thriller or thinking about a nagging project at the office -- whatever it was that caused you to knit a tad tighter than you'd done your swatch and therefore cause the whole thing to be a very expensive dishcloth.

But, all was not lost.

First of all, she had more yarn, so she could just start knitting over and use the already-knit portion as a way of checking that she wasn't making the darned thing too small again.

Second, she could frog the offending portion, reskein the yarn, and then wash it and hang it to dry so as to get the knit kinks out of it. (It helps to have a ball-winder for frogging major projects.)

Third -- and this is the most important -- she was certain to get Bad-Knitting-Day-Makeup-Sex.

You see, she's in a new and wonderful relationship with a guy who doesn't know beans about knitting but he loves her to pieces, so if he came home to find her upset about a project she had to frog you just know he was going to say, "Oh, honey, let me kiss it and make it better." And we all know that in new relationships you go from "kiss it" to wild screaming sex in less than 5 seconds.

Those of us who have been in relationships for a while (and for most of us that means we've been married more than, say, 2 years) know that we're never going to get Bad-Knitting-Day-Makeup-Sex without (A) asking for it specifically, and/or (B) promising a few favors in return. It's not that our significant others don't love us; it's that they have figured out that we really know that a bad day of knitting is still better than our best day at the office. Give us some chocolate and/or a decent bottle of wine, and we'll get over the bad knitting day all by ourselves. In the meantime, they will tackle something that will ensure they get I'm-So-Glad-I-Married-You-Sex -- you know, taking out the garbage without being asked, or changing lightbulbs, or just making our favorite coffee and steamed milk (to compensate for the near-hangover from drinking all that wine while we frogged).

"This Old Spouse" pretty much knows when to jump into bed right away (and it happens less and less frequently) and when to hold out for, say, a wild tumble in the laundry room while the washer is on the spin cycle.

But I think there are times when we need to go back to those heady days when we were first in love and anything was an occasion for sex: a bad day, a good day, putting the groceries away, getting out the shower, once for every letter delivered by the postman . . . you get the idea.

Bad-Knitting-Day-Makeup-Sex is definitely the place to start.

Monday, March 17, 2008

And still to come . . .

Sorry, no photos to post. I've been so busy that I've had no time for myself. Yesterday I dyed the last of the yarn for String of Purls. Now I'm finishing up getting ready for the yarn dyeing class at the end of April.

The latest color of sock yarn is Appassionato, a lovely blend of violet, blue, and a touch of fuchsia. The colors are strong (i.e., passionate) and this is Holy Week (i.e., Passion Week) and yarn dyeing as well as socks are my passion, so it's appropriate. I dyed 7 skeins of it because I'm working on a new pattern (yes, Mandella, I'll start knitting as soon as the skein is dry) that will eventually be sent to knitty.

Lordy, this is a lot of work, but I do love it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mardi Gras Sock

This sock is actually finished now, but here's a photo of it in progress. It's the Mardi Gras colorway. I didn't know it would make stripes!
The stitch pattern is simple. I call it Raindrops because it looks like raindrops against a window. I'll publish it as soon as I have it worked out to where I like it.


I'm so proud of these! They came out exactly as I had hoped!

Lilies in Australia?

I was trying out Gaywool dyes, which are from Australia and have color names that I would never associate with the colors that come out. They call this one Lily. It's a dark blue-green, something I wouldn't associate with lilies. Oh, well.

This skein (Louet Gems, worsted weight) was dyed in a kettle on the stove and it was as easy as the instructions stated. However, nothing in the instructions quite prepares a person for how fetid is the scent of boiled wool. Sheesh! It stinks when it boils and it stinks despite a couple of washings in shampoo. The same thing happened with microwave dyeing. I mean, it's a great method (and the microwave dyeing gives a more mottled effect with the colors), but the smell is horrid, even when you have a stuffy nose!

Plum One-Offs

I was trying for a deep, rich violet. I ended up at first with purple, magenta, and blue. So, I overdyed with navy blue and came up with this, which I think is a nice save. Back to the drawing board on the deep, rich violet.

When Orange Goes Bad

On the far left is my best possible reproduction of how awful these skeins of yarn were on their first attempt. I don't know what it is about orange, but it always seems to engage me in a war of wills. If it isn't spilling everywhere (I have the spots on my jeans to prove it), it is staying at an intense level that is unjustifiable. What might have been a lovely set of skeins had a neon-orange glow about where that patch of orange is that I Photoshopped in (sorry, but I couldn't bring myself to photograph them when they were in that state). Today, despite a sinus infection, I tackled them again. I tried a rose color first (no good -- not strong enough), some ecru (still not strong enough), then dowsed the whole thing in purple which yielded a lovely dark reddish brown. Sorry, but I don't think the colors are coming through just right -- at least on my monitor the colors are far too intense on the righthand photo above to do it full justice -- but trust me when I say that (1) it's loads better, and (2) you have to see it, and (3) I'll never be able to repeat this colorway again because of how much it's overdyed!

I was trying to capture this effect:

Lovely, isn't it? It's a cotton scarf dyed with ecru, orange, rose, and plum -- all muted and mushed together. I think the orange didn't like being so sublimated on this piece so it took revenge on me when it came to the wool.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Still Hip Deep

The last few weeks have been so outrageously busy! I dyed yarn last weekend, both the six skeins of Mardi Gras and the six skeins of Robyn's Egg (photos coming, I swear!), plus a few odd things I was trying with color. I think the dye gods are messing with my head. For some reason I could not achieve the same subtleties of color as I did previously. The Mardi Gras is darker than I intended. It's still beautiful, but it's not what I'd hoped for (need to back off on the intensity of the green and the lavender). The Robyn's Egg had a green that was much too strong for the light blue (on my trial run the pale green merged into the pale blue rather magically), but it served to balance the darkness of the yellow so it worked out.


Yesterday I dyed six skeins of Thunderstorm and the results are magnificent! I got the balance of greys and blues just right. They are hanging to dry in the bathroom. (I've got to figure out a way to rig a drying rod outdoors for the future.) Also hanging to dry are
  • a 3 oz skein of sock yarn that had been bright berry colors that, when I started knitting with it, I just couldn't stand the cloying colors, so I overdyed it with navy blue.
  • an odd skein of DK weight showing a variety of new colors (charcoal grey, baby pink, ecru). The charcoal grey tends to go kind of greenish.
  • a 4 oz skein of Louet Gems sport weight now in honeycomb/cranberry done with Gaywool dye in the microwave -- not bad.
  • an 8 oz skein of Louet Gems worsted weight now in "lily" (the Aussies have an interesting sense of color names -- this one is actually a deep blue-green) done with Gaywool dye on the stove.

My DH was complaining about the state of the kitchen from all of my dyeing activities last night. This is the first time he has complained, and I put it down to his having a cold and feeling miserable. I did point out to him that I had needed to tidy up the kitchen from all of the dirty dishes, pots and pans (cleaning the kitchen is his job) before I could even begin my work. Besides, I tidy up after my work (meaning he does not tidy up after cooking).

In other news, the shower curtain rod in my bathroom is showing signs of rust. Yes, through the chrome coating. Yuck. I definitely need to find a different method of hanging the wool to dry.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hip Deep in Yarn and Loving It

My order of yarn from Spritely Goods finally arrived today (a pox on UPS for rescheduling the delivery -- it was supposed to have been here last Friday) and I've been reeling off 4 oz bundles. Oh, it's amazing, though, to hold these great bundles of wool! They are so soft and fresh that I want to use them as a pillow!

Although I lost out on my production time this past weekend, I was still able to make some progress on color experiments. I've achieved a very nice pale blue and light green, and I found a purple/gold/fuschia combination for autumn that absolutely melts my heart. I'm concentrating on light and bright colors for spring and summer right now. Autumn colors will come later.

I also started knitting with my skein of "Mardi Gras" and it's coming out striped! I'm so excited! It's better than I expected! Yiippppeee!!!!!

I'll try to post photos later this week. My camera has been loaned to the stationery shop for some things we needed done there. I just got it back today.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Clan Ross

These aren't exactly the Clan Ross colors. Those would be only red with blue and green stripes. This one has a brighter red and a deeper blue, plus some brown. But when it was all dyed I looked at it and immediately saw my mother-in-law's clan colors in it, so I named it for her.

Mardi Gras

I'm so proud of this mix. I think it's the best of the lot. I really got a great range of colors.


An odd skein (75% wool, 25% nylon) dyed from the leftovers of making color swatches, this one is knitting up in a fun array of colors.

Fire Lake

I like the rainbow hues of this one. On the far left is a brown and on the far right is a deep blue/purple.


Full skein at the top of the image, and a nice detail of the red-into-yellow transition below. I'm not as crazy about this colorway, but several people have said it's their favorite of the bunch.

It's Worth the Purple Fingers

Here is yarn I dyed this past week, finishing drying at my office on Thursday a.m., thus saving me a trip home between work and sit-and-knit at my LYS.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Purple, Green, Blue, Fuschia Fingers!

Oh, my stars! Oh, my colors! I dyed two skeins last night; one was really good and the other was so-so. Acting on an idea, I dyed three skeins tonight and I think I came up with some amazing color combinations! I'm getting really good at blending colors, and my whole process is getting cleaner as I go.

With my earlier dye sessions I came up with about 48 color swatches with pre-determined mixtures. When I'm blending one color to another on the skein, I come up with some really awe-inspiring combinations: pale yellow greens, pale oranges . . . Oh, I can hardly wait for morning when I rinse them out!

Yes, that's what's been happening for two nights running: I come home, have a little supper, set up the table for a dye session, clean up after setting the yarn aside to "cook," then wait until morning to rinse, neutralize, and wash.

I must be crazy. But I'm happy crazy.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Purple Fingers

I've been dyeing swatches of yarn to see what I can come up with. It's a challenge at times. You'd think that mixing red and yellow in a 1:1 ratio would produce orange, but it doesn't. I'm trying a 2:1 (yellow:red) ratio. Red is powerful, and overpowering.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Projects Update

Projects on the New Year's List:
  • Socks for Marky (need to do over)
  • Socks for Deb (#1 near heel turn)
  • Socks from Austermann Step yarn (#1 near the toe)
  • Hoofle-Foofle Socks *Done • 1 Feb 2008*
  • Cardigan (finish sleeves and button band)
  • 8-3-5 Pullover for Marky (back done; front started)
  • Scarf from bulky weight Silk Road *Done • 5 Jan 08*
  • Scarf from 2 strands of Manos del Uraguay *Done • 10 Jan 08*
  • Socks for Alice *Done • 5 Jan 08*
  • Shrug for Mary (started back panel)
  • Baby Blanket for Jorge y Liliana

These are the projects already waiting for me to start on:

  • Socks for Joan
  • Swag Socks sample for String of Purls
  • Marjaana/Hermione pullover for myself
  • Scarf (non-wool) for I-Pie

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Socks from My Yarn

This lady is saving my life, to say nothing of my sanity. She is knitting socks from my yarn on a 1903 LeGare circular sock knitting machine. If I had a spare $2,000 sitting around I'd probably get one for myself. Oh, the wonderful socks I would churn out and out and out!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My stash ain't so bad .... I think

OK, I saw this link to the World's Largest Stash and felt I needed to share it.

I feel better now. I have a lot of my stash in a storage unit, but it's still not as much as that lady has.

I started in a bit on a new sock design but got nowhere. It was an ambitious set of two cables plus a center lace panel. It sucked.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Knitter's Heaven

I purchased a very cool skein winder from eBay. It arrived yesterday. I put it together last night and transferred two skeins to it (I wanted longer skeins for dyeing). I like this thing so much that I'm considering getting rid of my umbrella swift.
This is a piece of simple yet ingenious craftsmanship. It folds up easily (just undo the center screw and pull out the pegs) and it turns like greased lightnin'.
I also purchased a pound of blue-faced Leicester sock yarn. It came on a cone. I'm sorely tempted to knit it into a lovely shawl, then dye it, but I remind myself that I got this to dye and attempt to resell (or knit for myself). We'll see. . .

Monday, January 14, 2008


I didn't frog the Manos hat. I finished knitting it last night. It and the scarf are in a bag with a nice note for my regular doctor who has taken good care of me and my DH for a few years now.

Also, I started work on a blue scarf for a Harry Potter friend. It's all acrylic yarn since she's allergic to wool and other animal fibers. I shouldn't have started something new, but it hoped to get it done before winter finishes flying through the midwest.

I have about 12 more rows before I start the toe decreases on the HoofleFoofle socks.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

More Done, and Dyeing Prep

I finished the Manos del Uruguay scarf on Thursday night, and I've been making progress on both the red socks for my SIL Deb and the HoofleFoofle socks. I started a hat from the leftover Manos, but I'm going to frog it and save it for a felting project or something. I do not need another project staring at me, especially with all that is glaring at me from the UFO stash.

I'm going to work on the HoofleFoofle socks until they're done, then start on Deb's socks. After that, I'm going to tackle that cardigan and finally get out from under it.

Oh, and I keep finding UFOs as I dig around into stuff. Yuck.

I've gotten a few more things for my great dyeing adventure. One is a set of measuring spoons and measuring cups that will be ONLY for dyeing. I also got another plastic tray and handily holds these items. I'm going to try out several new yarns for dyeing. I've been using the Henry's Attic Kona DK superwash, but I'm also going to dry Sidhe Sock, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Thin (just a tiny bit thinner than regular Super Sock), and blue-faced Leicester. And I got myself a large wool winder from off of e-Bay so I can have skeins up to 72" in circumference.

Lorna (my co-conspirator) and I are going to get together and try out some color mixing with some yarn swatches to see what we come up with, and then I'm going to dye yarn until my fingers are purple.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Two Items Done!

I finished Alice's socks as well as chunky-weight scarf. I'll post photos soon enough.

Here's the problem: I keep finding more things I've started but not finished. I keep adding to my list (below) and it's kind of driving me crazy.

Oh well. All knitting is good knitting, right? Well, even my worst day at knitting is better than my best day at the office!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Zig Zag Lace hell

Here's a pattern for something my friend M and I are calling "Zig Zag Lace" —

It's a multiple of 6 +1 that the talented M has been using this pattern for socks. I think it should be done only with the section in the Pattern Repeat box. Or, perhaps it needs to be offset by one stitch? Or . . . ???

I'll work with it and then see what I come up with. Anyway, it should make a lacy zig-zag.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

This year . . .

I will finished one project before starting another.

But first I have to finish the projects I already have on needles:
  • Socks for Marky (need to start #2)
  • Socks for Deb (#1 near heel turn)
  • Socks from Austermann Step yarn (#1 near the toe)
  • Hoofle-Foofle Socks (#1 done; #2 started)
  • Cardigan (finish sleeves and button band)
  • 8-3-5 Pullover for Marky (back done; front started)
  • Scarf from bulky weight Silk Road *Done • 5 Jan 08*
  • Scarf from 2 strands of Manos del Uraguay *Done • 10 Jan 08*
  • Socks for Alice *Done • 5 Jan 08*
  • Shrug for Mary (started back panel)
  • Baby Blanket for Jorge y Liliana

These are the projects already waiting for me to start on:

  • Socks for Joan
  • Swag Socks sample for String of Purls
  • Marjaana/Hermione pullover for myself
  • Scarf (non-wool) for I-Pie

Hmmm....lots of socks again this year!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dyeing for Color

I was so hooked on dyeing yarn from the class at String of Purls that I ordered in some dye, supplies, and undyed yarn to try it on my own at home. I got 16 oz of DK/sport weight washable wool, seven colors of fiber-reactive dye (Navy Blue, Cerulean Blue, Better Blue-green, Marigold, Red Wine, Havanna Brown, and Plum), and I had some fun this past Friday evening. The results were varied, but I can live with it. I had more success than failure, and the failure was instructive.

From left: The "problem" skein, rainbow socks, macaw, and tie-dye blues. See below for more detail on each.

Grrrr! Problems!

My first skein dyed was a mess! I'd done my figure-eight ties faithfully, then I clipped the tails of those ties because I didn't want to chance that they would drip dye into areas where I didn't want dye.
WRONG! Soaking in the soda ash caused the wool to swell up and therefore my little square knots came undone and all of my ties fell out except for the place where the beginning and end of the skein were tied together.
So, after pressing out the excess moisture, I had to do some quick ties (with regular wool that hadn't been "fixed" in the soda ash -- you can see how those ties didn't take the dye). Unfortunately, this had the effect of causing places in the wool skein to dry out. Dry wool = little or no dye filling in. Thus, I had big white spots.
Another problem was spotting (red wine into the marigold). NOT what I'd intended. I think that was sloppiness in applying the dye rather than an errant drip when it was wrapped up.
The overall problem was color. I admit I was experimenting here, but it was awful in my opinion. It's Havanna brown, red wine, marigold, "better" blue-green, and plum — yuck! too much of the same color value, and none of it really harmonious.

The Macaw

Success!!! I started with marigold at one end, then went to cerulean blue, the "better" blue-green, and finally navy blue. The colors in real life are even better than they appear on the screen. The blue-green melts into the navy blue.

The swatch (here and in succeeding posts) are done on US 3.0 needles over 28 sts. (I would cast on 56 sts for socks with this weight.) I think the overall effect on doing socks would be a kind of golden stripe among the blues and greens.

Tie-Dye Blues

This was a mistake that turned out well in the end, I think. I used the "better" blue-green, cerulean blue, and navy blue on this skein. In some areas the bare wool had dried out somewhat (another skein that had to be re-tied after soaking in the soda ash solution), so there are light-dye places and a few white spots, but it has a nice effect overall.

Rainbow Socks

This was an experiment in dyeing two skeins at the same time in order to achieve the same (or very similar) effects on both. These are 2 oz. skeins (each will make a sock) and I chose the safe route of rainbow colors, starting with plum on the left, then cerulean blue, marigold (which mixes with the cerulean blue to make a nice grass green), red wine, and Havanna brown. In retrospect, I need more shade contrast (more darker and lighter tints) to give it more depth, but it's not bad.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Yarn I Dyed

On Sunday, November 18, String of Purls held a class on dyeing yarn that was led by Jay Rich. I had a great time experimenting with color and with learning the process. In fact, I had such a good time that I've ordered 16 oz of undyed yarn and some dyes to start playing on my own!

Mohair and Silk Trial

I wound both of these bits, then put them together in a small bowl and dyed them with a marigold color of dye. After they had soaked up that color, I sprinkled on a plum color. As you can see, they took the dye differently. Even discounting the airiness of the mohair, if you look at the core thread, the colors aren't as intense as they are with the silk.

The Blues Yarn

Here is a skein I dyed in all shades of blue (except for one part where I thought I was using a dark purple and it turned out to be brown). It turned out nicely. Below is a pair of socks I'm knitting from this color for my niece Marky. It's just 40 sts around (she's 8 years old).

Fire and Ice

On US 2.0 needles, I cast on 56 sts and knit socks (7 sts to the inch). It comes out in stripes of blue/purple and red/orange and it looks cool!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

FotM Socks Done!

I finished the Fire on the Mountain socks (finally!) on Saturday evening. While I was in the hospital I finished up the Chapman Springs mittens.

Here's a photo of my knitting on the mittens while in pre-op!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Alice's Blackberry Socks

Alice from choir asked me to knit a pair of socks for her. As she has been essential to my being able to participate in choir (she has a strong voice and helps me to hear my part -- it's been a looooooong time since I've sung Alto!), I agreed immediately. I'm doing the same pattern as the Prodigal Socks (K2, P2 for 3 rounds, then K all for 3 rounds). I'm nearly done with the first sock. It's Fleece Artist merino in the colorway called Blackberry. I'm working them on US 1.0 needles.

The Prodigal Socks

These are the socks I knit for the pastor of my church. They are done in the "Dishrag" pattern (a waffle stitch) using Cherry Tree Hill merino sock yarn in the Java colorway. I worked them on US 2.0 needles. I call them the Prodigal Socks because they once were lost (when I'd had one sock completed and the other one about halfway down from the top), but then were found so that I could finish them.