Monday, 27 August 2007

Perfect pots for dyeing...........

Earlier this week I had another attempt at dyeing some more yarn the Kool aid way........ the above are the attempts drying on the washing line.

The first set of three are DK wool (50grm skeins) using a variety of grape, orange, tropical punch and strawberry. The second picture is a 100grm skein of Hipknits Laceweight cashmere getting its second dipping in Kool Aid as the first attempt still had some of the Butter Yellow showing where one of the ties was too tight. If you look closely enough you can see the lighter line where the original tie was.

Anyway next step is to have a go at dyeing self stripping sock yarn but this requires long skeins and different colours, so today I went out on a little shopping expedition for some tools.

And I found...........

........this isn't it great? Well it not too great from the outside it just looks like another one of those freezer boxes but on the inside it is perfect. (Well for what I need any way.)

It is an Everin - Nano Silver 5.2l box with click down, sealing thingies. It is also both dishwasher and microwave safe, great if you have a dishwasher. The microwave safe thing is important though for the dyeing process.

And then on the inside it looks like this.........

....with four separate compartments which lift out so you can clean them individually. This must have been made for dyeing self stripping yarn. I can put part of my skein in each of the little pots and microwave away. I am so excited all I need to do now is actually wind the very long skein that is needed.

And guess what? It gets even better.....................

.........I can keep all my little dyeing bits and pieces inside it to keep everything neat and tidy. I am obsessed with organising and having homes and places for things. Look just perfect for those little sponge brushes (also a bargain purchase today), and those lovely sachets of Kool aid in their colour groups. Just perfect!

Sunday, 26 August 2007

I spent the evening on Ravelry............

Ok so I have to confess to not doing much (actually any) knitting at all yesterday as I decided to use the time to update my blog and spend a little (turned out to be a lot) time looking at Ravelry and finally having a go at uploading pictures and adding some completed projects. This meant the learning of many new skills, including the opening of a flickr account (yep behind the times on that one) and uploading pictures to it. I am sure there must be a quicker and easier way but I haven't found it yet. I now need to know how to link the flickr account to the blog which I know other friends have done. One step at a time.
I have managed to load up four of my projects and join three communities yesterday. I have joined the Storytellers, Namaste and London knitters. I haven't added any stash yet but I need to find a spare half day at least just to photograph and locate it all. Then it needs to be sorted into allocated projects where patterns, designs and sizes are already allocated and then into potential projects where I have a rough idea and then here is the yarn and I haven't got a clue but it looked too lovely to leave on the shelf so I bought it.
So what else does Raverly have to offer? I have already used the opportunity to search out and locate a number of patterns that I would love to knit and you are able to add those to your project queue. I haven't yet started my needle inventory, again another day is needed to locate them all so that I can start to make a catalogue.
I also want to find a Harrypotter group to join. There are also swap groups, the list goes on......
I did find it quite frustrating today trying to log on though it was taking 10 mins to load up the front page and another 10-15 to load up once logged in and sometimes crashing out all together but I am sure that this will iron out once they go to their big server. I am still part of the Beta test community at the moment. Overall though a huge thumbs up.

Looking forward to spending more time updating my notebook and getting all those projects loaded up.
Here is one of the things I am currently working on from knitters Bible:

I am using the basic pattern but have reduced it down to 3 colours.. ......

This involved a little maths challenge not unlike suduko to arrange the colours so that no two squares that were touching had the same colour and that each colour appeared in everyrow of almost. It is also a chance to try out some different stitches over a small sample

Here are some of the individual samples:

More samples to follow later in the week.............

Saturday, 25 August 2007

The Alice Project...........

Ok where to start. Back in the winter when the evenings were dark and came all too soon and I found I had a bit of time on my hands I decided it would be a good idea to enter Robynn's (of Purlescence) storytellers challenge. Over a period of six months Robynn would introduce a character from a well known story and ask - what would they knit? Get the idea.

So here we were Alice from Alice in wonderland what would she knit? A very good question and a whole variety of things she may start to consider. I instantly dismissed the obvious tea cosy cover for the Mad Hatter's tea party or a blanket for the Pig baby, I wanted to knit something more interesting, more obscure.

So after discovering a missing chapter from Alice through the Looking glass with the title A Wasp in a Wig I decided to enter a design for a wasp wig hat.
So here is my original design. A yellow and black stripey hat with various knitted curls to come off the hat to represent the curls he (the wasp that is) once had.
I decided that this was going to be a simple knit suitable for beginners and affordable using novelty yarns.
I then had to find some yarn to knit up my intial samples so I could ponder such questions as to how many rows of each colour should I use for each stripe etc.....

The following are the samples that I knitted:

So decision time which one is going to work the best and fit with the theme. I decided to go with the last one. The first being novelty yarn overkill, the second just too plain and the third striking a happy medium between the two. Well at least I think so.

So with yarn now selected, needles won all that is left is to put the lot together and come up with the pattern to knit the wasp wig.
Watch this space.................................................

It's a wrap...............

Finally, finally, finally finished. One cashmere wrap in Hipknits laceweight cashmere.

This is certainly a labour of love. This was my dedicated holiday knit when I went to Turkey at Easter this year. Everything a travelling knitter would want from a project. Only a 100grm skein needed for the whole project and only one size of needles according to the pattern. This is where I would make a recomendation of casting on in a larger size needle and very loosely indeed. (Suggest 3.5 or 4mm depending on whether you are naturally a loose knitter or not). This meant that I would only need to pack one project that would last me the whole holiday. Well in the week that I was there I only managed to knit the back and one sleeve and I am generally known as a fast knitter. Apart from doing my Yoga DVD on the balcony 3 times in the week and going for meals I mostly spent my time by the pool knitting in the day and in the bar knitting in the evenings. I never thought that I was going to get it completed.
I then had to take a break when I got back off holiday as other jobs and projects had a greater urgency and I finally had a chance to get back onto this project at the end of July. I actually finished knitting it on the 4th August, including sewing up which was also very time consuming. Definately block for this one - steam iron method is fine but do use a cloth between the iron plate and the fabric.
So here it is ready to be worn to yoga class (maybe sooner than I thought with the awful weather that we have had).

Tabi Socks

OK a while back I mentioned that I had been lucky enought to be sent a free skein of sock yarn form Kerrie at Hipknits for sourcing some lovely white hat boxes for her. It really is a lovely soft yarn and it has taken me a while to decided what I was going to knit with it. I knew I was going to knit something for myself and that the something would be socks but I needed to venture away from my standared pattern (the free one that comes with the Regia sock yarn or the one from Simply Knitting). It sat in my yarn stash for a couple of months.

What I really wanted was a pair of socks to wear either with my flip flops when I go to yoga or to wear with my Nike air rift (pig toe) shoes. I was toying with the idea of adapting a pattern as surely it couldn't be that different from knitting fingers on gloves. I had seen individual toe socks patterns, indeed my mother still has the one from Womans Own in the 1970's but I wanted one toe only and the rest as a normal sock.
Eventually when browsing Amazon for books on dyeing self stripping yarn I also came across the following. Just what I was looking for. So I ordered without hesitation - I did resist buying book number one Not Just Socks on this occaision but who knows in future. So as soon as the book arrived I cast on my 64sts and I was away.

The results are below:
Currently one sock completed and second sock past the cast on and initial rib.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Long time.............

Ok so it has been nearly two months since I last made an entry. That doesn't mean though that I haven't been out spending money on yarn or doing lots of knitting.
Where to start?
So many purchases, both yarn and books. I have also completed a few projects and started several more that are not finsished, not to mention the new ones planned.
First things first, I have now had my invitation to start my Ravelry account. I now need to spend some time setting that up and working out how to make the links to my blog. I have started to add my library of books on but my invitation arrived the morning I was setting off on my holiday so it has had to wait at the moment.

Holiday knitting:
Here is the jumper that I knitted on my holiday for my nephew. He is now 8 months. Unfortunately I didn't finish it until the day that we were leaving so I didn't get the chance to take a picture of him wearing it.
Very pleased with it though and found two really cute little buttons to put on the neck so that his head would fit thorough. I was also able to use my very limited crocheting skills to make the loops for the buttons. It was great knitting on my lovely ebony, lantern moon needles too. The yarn just seems to glide across them. I now have five 50grm balls left of Debbie Bliss DK cotton and the most recent baby born (last Sunday to a work colleauge was a little girl).
Yarn purchases......
While on holiday I made a visit to Texere yarns to buy some undyed wool that I could have another go at dyeing myself with Kool aid. Updates on that later. There are some rather lovely skeins drying out in the garden on the washing line right now.
Book purchases....
Well with lovely yarn ready to hand dye a book on dyeing your own self stripping yarn was definately in order. Of course other purchases had to be made at the same time just so not to pay postage. As well as the yoga thing I am also a great Harry Potter fan so couldn't resist purchasing Charmed Knits. I will be joining the knit along so progress will be posted here.
Obviously there will be socks but I am also looking at creating my own Hogwarts ipod socks, something I think every discerning wizard should be seen carrying. What better way to revise for your OWLS or NEWTS than listening to lessons on your MP3!