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.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Socks: Let the Color Be Your Guide

Let the Color Be Your Guide Socks

I had a little inspiration when I was knitting up these matchy-matchy socks. But first, let me tell you about the yarn. The is Plymouth Yarn "Diversity".  I've used this yarn for socks a lot in the past. The colorway is "Multi Purple Green" (013).  Ordinarily I've had really good luck with this yarn but, this time around, there was a knot in one ball of yarn.   As a result, the stripe pattern got disturbed.  At the cuff of the sock, you can see green/pink/green/pink but down by the foot there is just one green and one pink stripe. Oh well.  I made it work.

I am calling these socks "Let the Color Be Your Guide" because I altered the texture or stitch pattern in the cuff portion whenever the color changed.  Some stripes are all knit (stockinette), some stripes are worked in k2,p2 ribbing, and the white portion of the cuff is worked in waffle stitch.

Waffle Stitch (works over a multiple of 4 stitches):

Rounds 1 and 2:  knit all stitches
Rounds 3 and 4:  *k2,p2* repeat to end of round
Repeat rounds 1 thru 4 until desired.

For these socks, I used a Fish Lips Kiss (FLK) heel; I really love this heel.  With the Diversity yarn, I always use 2.75 mm needles and cast on 52 stitches. It fits my foot perfectly.

So this is the latest project hot off my needles. I am working on a shawl/wrap called "Brickless".  I do a few rows in the morning and a few rows in the evening. I'd like to finish it soon.  I will probably cast on another pair of socks since it's nice to always have an easy pair of socks on the needles.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Cozy Winter

Cozy Winter

Here's a little snapshot of a project on my needles. I saw this pattern a few weeks back and just fell in love with it.  It's called "Cozy Winter".  Above you can see the beginning of the project. I am using Berroco "Weekend" yarn that I have had for years. I call it an oatmeal color.  Below, you can see a snapshot from my phone of the design I am making.  I just love it!

Sadly, I found a mistake in the braided cable a few days ago so I had to rip out a bunch of my work, but I will keep plugging along...

Friday, March 16, 2018

Tube Socks

Tube Socks

I've knit many, many pairs of socks but never thought to make a pair of tube socks!  This is a pattern called "After Bertha" and the pattern is from a book called "Socks, Socks, Socks".  After knitting and wearing this pair of socks, I am certain there will be more tube socks in my future.

These socks are basically a knit 3, purl 3 rib. You work knit 3, purl 3 ribbing for about three inches.  Then you start to move the position of the ribbing.  You start the next round with purl 1 and then you resume working the knit 3, purl 3 ribbing.  You work 4 rounds with the ribbing in this new position and then, after 4 rounds, you move the ribbing over one more stitch.  That is, the next round will start with purl 2, and then knit 3, purl 3 around. This creates a diagonal spiral around the sock.  To keep it simple, every 4 rounds, I adjusted all of my needles one stitch all the way around so the entire sock was still knit 3, purl 3 ribbing. I hope that makes sense.

For the toe, you pretty much do gradual decreases like you would in a hat so to that the toe is round and NOT flat.  That way, when you put these socks on, there is no right way to wear them and there is no wrong way to wear them. They are a ribbed tube with a round toe.

These are great fitting socks because of their ribbed nature.  There is no tricky heel to work.  I think these would be a great first pair of socks for those unfamiliar to sock knitting.  Also, these socks would be a great gift for just about anyone especially if you aren't quite sure what shoe size the recipient may wear.  You may just have to alter the number of stiches cast on and the size of needles.

For my socks, I used 2.25 mm needles and I cast on 66 stitches. The pattern calls for 2.75 mm needles.  For the pattern to work, you just need to cast on a multiple of 6 (ie. 54, 60, 66, 72).  The yarn I used is pretty fun, right.  This is Frabjous Fibers "Mary Ann" and the colorway is called "Pink Before You Act".  It's interesting how the yarn pooled differently in the two socks.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Bamboozle Cowl

bamboozle cowl

This is "Bamboozle" yarn by King Cole Yarns.  It's a super bulky yarn and it's just so pretty.  There are not a lot of patterns on Ravelry or elsewhere which give one guidance as to WHAT to make once you select some Bamboozle.  It's just one of those yarns that when you see it at your local yarn shop, the yarn just has to come home with you. It's THAT special and that pretty.

So I made up my own design which I think shows off the yarn quite nicely. 

The pattern is available HERE on Etsy.

The pattern is available HERE on Ravelry. Use coupon code "marchmadness" between now and March 17, 2018, and the pattern is $1.00 off on Ravelry.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Some Hats

Top This Puppy Hat

I've been knitting up a storm lately. I've been making so many things that I am not finishing things very quickly, but I do have a few finished items I've not yet posted about.  This is a hat to fit a child.  It's a kit called "Top This" by DMC.  Instead of a pom pom, each ball of yarn comes with a little stuffed item to add to the top of the hat.  Puppy, kitty, lion, elephant, flower, unicorn, soccer ball... so many choices.  This is a puppy of course.

Kodiak Kisses

Here's another hat.  This is one hat but there are different designs on each side of the hat. The pattern is adorable, isn't it? It's called "Kodiak Kisses" and the pattern can be found HERE.  Sadly my hat doesn't fit due to some problems with my fair isle technique.  Gauge might have also been an issue for me.  I do have more of both the blue and cream colored yarn. My next attempt at this project will be to cast on about 50 percent more stitches and make a cowl using the cute charts for kissing Mama and Baby Bear and trees!  The yarn is Cascade Pacific and is really soft; it's a wool/acrylic blend.

I think I am done with hats for now. I am working on an amazing project called "Cozy Winter" and it was going really well... or so I thought!  I brought to show the gals at my local knit shop yesterday and, as I was holding it up, I noticed a mistake in the braided cable.  I considered leaving the mistake in there, but I just had to rip it back.  So I ripped out 100 rows (maybe less) to fix the offending cable, and I am back on track.  I'll show you this project soon.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Dandelion Cowl

dandelion cowl

What a fun little project.  This is a pattern called "Dandelion Cowl".  The pattern link can be found by clicking HERE.  The yarn I used is from Western Sky Knits and it is a DK weight yarn called "Magnolia".  The colorway is called "Winter Wheat" which makes me like the yarn even more because I am a sucker for a yarn with a great and descriptive name. The fiber content is merino wool, nylon, and cashmere.  OooooOOHHHHHhhhh, cashmere!  I bought this yarn at the Interweave Yarnfest in Loveland, Colorado, and it was my intention to make a project called "Dogwood Leaf Cowl".  It is a lovely pattern but I just changed my mind.

This pattern is written for knitting flat and then sewing a seam at the end. I suppose the benefit of knitting the project flat is that you can block it really nicely before sewing the seam.  But... I prefer to knit things in the round.  It was easy enough to convert the pattern for knitting in the round.  In the pattern instructions, you will find both written instructions and a chart. The chart is a 15 stitch repeat.  The top and bottom borders are five rows each in garter stitch. So here's a quick breakdown of what I did in case you'd like to make this project in the round.

I used US Size 9 circular knitting needles (16 inch).
Cast on 135 stitches (or another multiple of 15... ie. 120 or 150 or 165).  I used a long tail cast on. Join to knit in the round being careful not to twist the stitches.

Rounds 1, 3, and 5: purl
Rounds 2 and 4: knit

Work the 15 stitch repeat in the chart from the bottom of the chart to the top of the chart.  Always read the chart from the right to the left, ignoring the stitches outside the chart's red box.  Since I cast on 135 stitches, I repeated the 15 stitch repeat 9 times around (9 x 15 = 135).  I repeated the entire chart four times.  You can do more or fewer repeats as you desire.

For the final border...
Rounds 1, 3, and 5: purl
Rounds 2 and 4: knit.
Bind off loosely.

Weave in loose ends and block as desired.

I am enjoying making a few "one skein wonders".  I do have some larger projects calling my name, but for now, I am loving the sense of accomplishment I get from finishing up this and that.  I am working on some tube socks and some projects using project kits called "Top This".  Too much yarn and too little time!