Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Oil Well Flats Hitchhiker

Hitchhiker #4 with Beads

I think this is the 4th Hitchhiker I've made; this time I added beads.

This yarn is very special!  This yarn was hand dyed by Andromeda Sock Yarn especially for my local knit shop "Yarned & Dangerous".  This yarn has a pretty cool story too.

I was at my local yarn shop and the owner, Ann, was excited to tell me that the Indie Dyer from Andromeda Sock Yarn was willing to hand dye yarn especially for the shop. Ann asked if I had any suggestions and I did. I said that I thought it would be cool to have yarn with colors that reflect the geography of our local area... the places where I love to walk... the places that make our county (Fremont County) so unique and special.  I suggested places such as Skyline Drive, Tunnel Drive, and Oil Well Flats.  I even sent some photos from my recent hikes in the areas to Ann and I think she might have sent them to the yarn dyer.

A few weeks later, Ann announced that the yarn was in and I raced to the shop and snagged two hanks.  This yarn is called "Oil Well Flats", which is a place north of Canon City, Colorado.  It's a great place to hike and mountain bike.

Here are some photos of the Oil Well Flats area from a hike a few months back. I think the colors in the yarn reflect the colors in the Oil Well Flats area very well.  What do you think?

Friday, June 8, 2018

Norah's Vintage Afghan: Block #16 is Complete

Norah's Vintage Afghan: Block #16

I have not done any work on my Norah's Vintage Afghan Project in several months.  I had started block #12 (maybe?) several months ago and, when I pulled it out to work on it this past week, I then realized I was using the incorrect color. So I skipped ahead to Block #16 which called for the Black Currant color.  It is difficult to photograph the squares done in such dark colors, so here are just a few photos to give you an idea what this block looks like. The chart looks so complicated but this block was actually pretty easy.  There are just for different cable stitches and all are worked over just four stitches.  The instructions also call for a bobble. I think the bobble instructions are incorrect.  The instructions basically indicate you should "knit into the front and the back of the next stitch two times" which should result in FIVE stitches in the original stitch.  That just doesn't add up.  For my bobbles, I knit into the front and the back two times and then knit into the front of the stitch one more time to yield FIVE stitches.  I really like how the bobbles are knit up in this pattern. You do not have to turn your work repeatedly when you make your bobbles.

It was so fun to whip up this block. I think I'll start another.

Chart for Block #16 Norah's Vintage Afghan.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018



I bought this unusually dyed yarn in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, last July when I was visiting my sister.  The yarn shop, called "Knit-n-Crochet," was so nice, bright, and cheerful, and the people were so friendly.  The shop owner (or an employee?) was knitting a project called "My Lucky Number" using this yarn and I liked the looks of the project.  The yarn is Alexandra's Crafts "Dark Side of the Moon" (Twilight colorway) and it is hand dyed in Silverton, Oregon.

After purchasing the yarn, I wasn't so sure I wanted to make the "My Lucky Number" project after all. So the yarn just sort of sat awaiting a purpose.  When I was at the Interweave Yarnfest just a few months ago, a lady walked past me and she was wearing an asymmetrical triangular-shaped garter stitch wrap around her neck. I loved the look of her wrap and thought it might be a good pattern for my Twilight yarn.  Thankfully, the lady remembered and told me the pattern name: Pembroke.  Turns out, it's a free pattern on Ravelry. Score!  In a lot of ways, this pattern reminds me of the Hitchhiker pattern except it has no "teeth: on the edge of the project.  I think this pattern and this yarn are a great pairing.  I love how it shows off the little rainbow bits of yarn.  It also turns out that this fingering weight yarn would have not been the best choice for socks since this yarn only contains Merino wool and Tussah (silk).  There is no nylon in this yarn.

Here is a photo of the wrap on my blocking mats.  It think the project grew considerably when I blocked it. I soaked it first in tepid water and a few drops of Eucalan and then just layed it out to block (I did not bother with any pins in blocking).  Since the project is in garter stitch, it tends to want to lay flat so blocking was a piece of cake.

Here is a photo of the yarn label (above). Below you can see what the yarn looked like on the hank. When I unwrapped the hank, a second rainbow dyed portion was revealed.  Love it!

We are having a very hot June here in Colorado. It's expected to be in the 90's for the next two weeks.  It will be quite some time before I can wear this pretty wrap, but I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

A Little Sewing: Burrito Pillow Cases


I've not been finding a lot of time to knit lately but I've gotten some sewing projects done.  I've heard about Burrito Pillow Cases for years; my mom has made them in the past. I finally got around to trying out this super ingenious project and I love it.

The photo above shows how the fabrics are rolled together while sewing.  See the tutorial links below for more information.

If you've never heard of Burrito Pillow Cases before, let me explain. These are pillow cases you can sew for bed pillows.  You use three fabrics; one fabric is the main or primary fabric of the pillow case, the second fabric is for a little bit of accent, and the third fabric is for the cuff portion of the pillow case where you insert a bed pillow.  What is so great about the project is that you roll the fabrics in special way (before stitching) so that all of the fabric raw edges are enclosed and will not unravel.  Here is a great video to watch that explains the project from start to finish.  This is the pattern and instructions I followed for my first pillow case.

Link for video tutorial #1:

There are gobs of other videos and written tutorials on the Internet for how to make pillow cases using this same process. The tutorial above will work for many fabrics you might want to use; however, some fabrics are "one way" or "directional" and this tutorial might not work.  For example, if you have a fabric with words or images that read best from one selvage edge to the other selvage edge, then the words or images might be sideways when you place your pillow on your bed. That was the case with my second pillow case. This fabric contains images and words from the "Marauder's Map" from Harry Potter.  This second link will give you some ideas for how to make a Burrito Pillow Case if you are using a directional fabric. Frankly, I just sort of winged it on my pillow case #2 since I understood the process and how things were supposed to go together.  But I wanted to include the second link in case some might find it useful.

Link for video tutorial #2 (for one way or directional fabrics):

Sylvia's pillow cases using Harry Potter "Marauder's Map" fabric is shown above.  It was fun letting this Harry Potter fan select fabrics for her pillow case!  She selected the paw print fabric since the colors looked so good with the Marauder's Map fabric.  The accent fabric is kind of subtle but it's super pretty in person.  It is solid black fabric with a metallic copper squiggle design.  I am currently re-reading all of the Harry Potter books. It occurred to me that the paw prints in the fabric Sylvia selected are cat paw prints.  The Harry Potter books feature a character named Argus Filch. He is a caretaker at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Argus Filch has a cat named Mrs. Norris who is always alerting Argus Filch when students at Hogwarts are misbehaving at school.  I told Sylvia that the paw print was not only a good choice because it looks so nice, but it was also a good choice because we can call the paw prints Mrs. Norris' paw prints.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

WIP Madness

WIP (Works in Progress) Madness!!!

In a recent post I mentioned that I have been knitting like mad lately, but did not have much to show for it in the way of completed projects. I have been casting on too many new projects.  Somehow it makes me feel a bit better about all the yarn in my stash if I know all the yarn has a purpose or is intended for a particular project.

I decided to type up a quick post just to show you a FEW of the projects I have on the needles. Above you can see a Hitchhiker.  This is maybe Hitchhiker #5 for me; I like the pattern a LOT. This pattern is not free but is available on Ravelry.  I'll tell you more details about this project and the yarn I am using (it's VERY SPECIAL!) when I finish up this project but, as you can see, this Hitchhiker is also pretty special since I am adding beads to the points.

Up next is my Pembroke.  This pattern and this yarn are a match made in Heaven.  I intended to make this yarn into an entirely different pattern but had second thoughts.  A few weeks ago I saw a woman wearing a really nice knitted item around her neck and she told me the pattern name is "Pembroke".  I am so glad to have learned about this pattern. It's a lot like knitting a Hitchhiker but there are no points. Some folks might rail against a pattern like this; it is rather boring. But I love t knit this when I am drinking coffee in the morning and listening to the news and I'll also knit a few rows when I am winding down in the evening.  Easy and relaxing knitting. Nothing wrong with that!

Finally, some socks!  A sock knitter like me always has a pair (or two or three) of socks on various sets of needles.  This is another free pattern on Ravelry and it's called Katniss.  There is a braided cable on the front of the sock and also on the back of the sock.  I need to start the heels on these socks soon.

So there you have it... these are just SOME of my current WIP's.  Happy Knitting to you!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Socks Made with Hand Dyed Yarn

Socks Made with Hand Dyed Yarn

Ta dah!  I finished something.  I really have been knitting a lot lately but the problem is that I am knitting so many things that I am not finishing many things.

In my last post (see HERE), I showed how I had dyed some yarn at home using Kool Aid and Easter egg dye.  I knit up the yarn into socks and here they are.

I used 2.50 mm needles for these socks and the pattern is called "Jeck"; it is a FREE pattern on Raverly.  The pattern is not very noticeable knit up in my colorful yarn but I am sure I will use this pattern again. I enjoyed knitting it.  It's just a two row repeat so it's not too fussy and it's easy to memorize.

Find the Jeck pattern on Ravelry (click HERE)

As you can see below, Sandy "The Yarn Connoisseur", enjoyed helping me while I was knitting these socks.

She's happiest when she can lay on me but she doesn't like to be poked with the double pointed needles.  It's rough being a dog sometimes.  Sandy does prefer knitting with circular needles as opposed to dpns.

Above: the undyed yarn.
Below: the dyed yarn.
It's fun to see how these socks developed!

Happy Knitting.  I am hoping to have some other finished objects to share sometime soon, but no promises.  I should have a "work in progress" post perhaps.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Hand Dyed Yarn

Hand Dyed Yarn

One of the last times I visited my Mom and Dad in Oregon, my mom gave me some yarn suitable for dyeing at home.  She had purchased a kit from Knit Picks and the kit included 100 grams of fingering weight yarn, 100 grams of DK weight yarn, and 100 grams of worsted weight yarn.  My mom has had a variety of knitting machines over the years; we knit the fingering and DK weight yarn into sock blanks using one of her knitting machines during my visit.  When we knit up the fingering weight yarn, the yarn was doubled up (knit two strands at one time).  When we knit up the DK weight yarn, we just used a single strand of yarn.

On Easter Sunday I watched a number of videos on YouTube related to dyeing yarn at home with Kool Aid drink mix, Easter egg dye, and food coloring.  After watching a number of videos, I finally rolled up my sleeves and dyed my fingering weight sock blank.

I soaked my sock blank in about 4 cups of water and 6 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.  The sock blank really was soaking up a lot of water so I added in more water and another splash of vinegar.

I protected the counter with some old bath towels and then I spread out some Glad Press n' Seal plastic wrap. Regular plastic wrap also works but I just used what I had on hand.  I wrung most of the vinegar water out of the yarn and spread the blank over the plastic wrap. I reserved the vinegar water and continued to use it as I decorated the sock blank.

I sprinkled the Kool Aid directly out of the packet onto the sock blank in stripes.  I crushed up some of the Easter dye pellets and sprinkled them on the blank too.  I was having a hard time breaking up the pellets so I ended up setting some of the pellets directly on the wet blank.  I used a spoon and dribbled some of the vinegar water directly onto the pellets to encourage them to dissolve and melt into the blank. I moved the pellet around the sock blank to add more color here and there.  Finally, I took a foam paint brush and dipped it into the reserved vinegar water and used the brush to both moisten the Kool Aid and move/spread the dye around.

I wrapped the wet sock blank up in the plastic wrap, folding in the sides and the ends and then I rolled both ends toward the center. I put it on a dinner plate and then heat it in the microwave.  Specifically, I heated it on HIGH power for 2 minutes, waited a few minutes, and then heated it for 2 more minutes, and then it sit while we went for a walk. For good measure, I heated it for 2 more minutes when we got home.  I was not scientific about this at all.

After the yarn cooled, I washed and rinsed the yarn a few times until the water ran clear.  The videos recommended using tepid water with liquid dish soap for the washing.

After the yarn dried, I could not wait to start knitting a pair of socks from my home-dyed sock blank.  Above I mentioned that the fingering weight sock blank was knit with the yarn held double. As I am unraveling the sock blank and knitting this pair of socks, the yarn is producing two identical socks.  Pretty cool, huh?

As you can see, Sandy has been helping me immensely with this pair of socks.  She's such a good helper.

I am using my new Karbonz needles (2.50 mm) size and the pattern is "Jeck" (a free pattern on Ravelry).  I am adding a Strong Heel in place of the heel recommended in the pattern. I cast on 60 stitches for my socks.

If you go to YouTube to watch some videos related to dyeing yarn at home, I can highly recommend videos by ChemKnits.  I just kept searching for relevant videos by adding in phrases such as "how to dye yarn with Easter egg dye" and "how to dye a sock blank with Kool Aid".  This was a lot of fun! I sure learned a lot and am happy with the results I got. I am sure I will do this again. I don't intend for what I wrote above to be a tutorial in any way. Like I said, check out a variety of videos out there.  But please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section if you want more information about my experiences.