Join me as I share my crafty journey with you. I continue to expand my repertoire of hobbies. I knit, sew, crochet, bead and probably most importantly am a lover of science fiction. Occasionally I even pick up a book. I play Nerd Wars for Team Stargate Command which consumes most of my time.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kettle Dyeing and Some Fishy Tawashi

     Alright lets cut right to the chase.  I've been bitten by the yarn dyeing bug.  He's big and ugly and leaves a really itchy welt that only can be scratched by dyeing some more yarn. I don't have pictures from yesterdays excursion, since one its just now dry and two it looks almost exactly like another skein I just did.  More on why that is later.  This is what I dyed on my day off last week:
The two orange skeins and the purple skein are new.  The orange and purple spotty skein is that muddy one, now touched up.  I used straight grape to make some purple spots, the blue is a perk of the heating process.  It is much more in tune with the May KAL:  Spots.  That skein was handpainted.  The orange and purple skeins are kettle dyed.  Kettle dyeing is another dyeing technique.  The dye and the heat are applied at the same time.  In my case it all happened in a pot on the stove.  Kettle dyeing can also be done with a crock pot.  I did the purple one first.  It is a mixture of Kool-Aid flavors added to a decent amount of water.  I used my large pasta pot and added 7 cups of water.  The yarn was completely submersed.  This is why the color is more or less uniform.  The two orange skeins were done separately but with the same three Kool-Aid flavors.  I changed the amount of water in the pot for these two.  I put the yarn in first then poured the mixed up dye over the skeins in concentrated areas.  The colors mixed together in the pot with more water so that skein has minimal variegation.  For my third skein I put very little water in the pot to begin with so when I poured in the dye there would still be a limited amount of liquid.  With less liquid the yarn keep the dye colors sequestered so the last skein has much more distinction between the three colors.  All in all I think it was a successful session.  I'm learning slowly that less is more with dyeing.  

     As I said earlier I dyed some more yarn last night.  I was trying to get a lighter purple.  It didn't go so well.  I ended up using five packets of Kool-Aid and the last of the made up Grape.  It wound up nearly the same color as the one pictured.  I did get a variegated effect because I let the yarn sink into the pot on its own.  Once the yarn was heating I jumped into the Internet and learned some things about getting purple with Kool-Aid.  Basically its tricky since Kool-Aid red is Red40 and it tends to make things muddy.  In hind sight I should have used less of the made up dye, saved the rest for later, to make a lighter color.  The part of the yarn that sank into the dyebath last is a really pretty light purple.  I may keep experimenting with purple now that I found a great site with formula's.  I sort of see this Kool-Aid purple thing as a challenge now, I shall defeat thee Red40!

     Enough blathering about what I could'a, should'a, would'a done differently.  I was able to finish one project recently.  (I aggravated the pinched nerve in my neck last week, so I've refrained from knitting for an entire week now.  Gah!)  So, before all that happened I finished the two Wishy Washy Fishy Tawashi.     
There is some embroidery I can do to make the eyes stand out more, but I'm pleased with them as is.  I hope the recipient likes them as much as I do.  I had been working on a Mitered Ballband Hanging Towel diligently up until the pinched nerve.  I have one repeat left of the pattern before I switch back to the main color to do that solid garter top section.  Sadly I don't have progress pictures yet.  

     There was a really great sale at my favorite yarn shop Sheep Thrills! Yarn Company.  Beth wants to make room for the new yarns coming in so she put a huge list of yarns up for sale at 40% off.  Of course I had to take advantage of that! 
I picked up four skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Baby Llama.  Yes, more Baby Llama.  I got three whites so I can dye them if I so choose.  The other three are Sublime Yarns; Extrafine Merino Wool DK and Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK.  I've never used these before, but the yardage was decent and they're super soft.  After the discount the Baby Llamas were under $5 and the Sublimes were all under $6.  I scored Cashmere for under $6!  The sale will continue 'til the end of May.  I would love to go back and get some more.   

     That's everything I've been up to lately.  Its been getting into the 80s here, so summer has officially arrived.  I'm excited to start knitting up the yarn I've been dyeing.  I finally dyed through that first skein of Fisherman's Wool.  Until later, Happy Crafting!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Handpainted Yarn, Earrings and Some Dishcloths

     Okay, I've been meaning to post for a week or three, lets see what I've been up to.  Tournament 7 ended in April so I'll start with the rest of my projects.  I finished the fingerless mitts:
The pattern is Peridot.  I used Jack as my tie in since he states on numerous occasions that peridot is his favorite color.  Peridot is also the birthstone for August which is what originally drew to this pattern.  (My birthday is in August.)  The pattern in the cuff and fingers is berry stitch.  It ends up looking very pretty, its a fiddly stitch though.  You increase and decrease every other stitch and then purl in between those rows so its actually very open.  The yarn is Elsebeth Lavold Cool Wool, its a DK weight 50/50 cotton wool blend.  The colorway is Peridot too.  These turned out snug on me and I have small hands.  If I do them again, and I probably will since I still have half the skein left over, I'm going to add at least a pattern repeat.  The gauge is already pretty loose so I wont change needle sizes.  (The pattern calls for worsted weight.)  I put these, along with a dishcloth, into the WIP challenge.  I also used them for the April Fingerless Glove Fanatic's KAL.  I was on a green kick last month, I think because it was the very beginning of spring and the tree leaves are this color when they bud.
This is the tree outside my craft room, the leaves are all grown out now and a normal dark green.
     Once the weather warms up I usually start making dishcloths again.  The bright colors remind me of summer and knitting cotton just feels right.  Here is the dishcloth I submitted with the Peridot mitts:
 The pattern is:  Leaf Lace WashclothI finished this one just before the tournament ended so I had to take the pictures in the dark.  I suppose I should get a better one now.  This pattern has been in my queue forever so it was nice to finally do it.
     I made another dishcloth for last round as well, this one should be familiar, its the project I chose from Knit Crochet Blog Week:
The pattern is:  Spring Time Dishrag.  I made a couple modifications.  I did seed stitch borders instead of garter and I did only four rows and the top and bottom.  I should have omitted about four stockinette stitches on the sides of the pattern as well since I shortened the cloth it looks squatty.  This was a super fast dishcloth, the tulip pattern is just yarn overs and then SSK or K2Tog to compensate for the YO.  I like it and I'll probably be making more of these too.  That wound up being it for round three of T7.  The final scores aren't out yet.  At this point most of us are doing other things since we only get a month off.  I'm already looking forward to T8.  

     Speaking of a month off...  I've been working on a combo of projects here in May.  I need to do some end weaving but I've already finished two dishcloths and two tawashi.  Tawashi are Japanese style pot scrubbers.  I don't have pictures yet of those, but I assure you they are super cute.  I do however have pictures of the dishcloths:
The pattern is:  Mitered Ballband Dishcloth.  They turn out pretty big which is great since these and the tawashi are going to be gifts.  The designer has a pattern for a dish towel as well.  I'll be making that too, once I get some more of the Peaches and Cream Striped yarn.  I went with the same general color scheme for the tawashi as well.  I want everything to look like a set as much a possible.  I love ball band dishcloths, it was the second dishcloth pattern I ever did, so finding and making this mitered pattern was really fun. 
     I showed you the stitch markers I made.  I got some more beading supplies and I've started making earrings as well.  I made eight pairs in one sitting, but I've only taken good pictures of two of them.  I have two reasons for making earrings.  One, earrings are fun and fast and I love to wear dangly earrings, two, the earring heads can double as crochet stitch markers.  The stitches are different for knitting and crochet.  Its hard to explain to people who don't craft, the easiest thing for me to say is that crochet markers have to be removable.  The dangle earring heads work for that so I can use those parts two fold.  Alright pictures:

The flash kept going off on the second picture for whatever reason.  They are pretty simple and not too long.  I found that I like to mix the sizes of beads for a nice textural look.  The larger glass beads are 6/O seed beads.  I have no idea what size the tiny beads are.  I'm up to two cases for my beads now.  I have mostly green and mostly blue happening right now with clear and silver to off set the colors.  I want to get a purple ensemble yet and then I think I'll be happy.  I also want to pick up wire so I can experiment with shapes and essentially make my own head pins.  I don't want to go super crazy though since I have more than enough yarn to keep me happy... I don't want to get side tracked.  (I think it may be too late.)
     Speaking of being side tracked...  I dyed more yarn!  Remember the Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool I picked up?  I wound off six mini skeins and had a dye session Monday night.

The dark greens and orange are from Easter egg tablets.  The blue, purple and pink are from Kool Aid.  Yes, Kool Aid can dye wool and its color fast.  I never really drank Kool Aide growing up and I'm rather glad I didn't.  It's sort of scary that only two packets each can permanently color that much yarn.  When using KA, make sure to pick up unsweetened packets, or else you'll wind up with horribly sticky yarn.  There are multitudes of tutorials on the web.  I sort of combined at least three and winged it a bit as well.  For the purple (grape) and blue (mixed berry) I did two packets and 8 oz. of water.  For the pink (strawberry kiwi) it was two packets and 6oz water.  I steamed these skeins to set the dye but the microwave can be used too.  I have quite a bit of the purple left over so my next session will be purple oriented.  I think I'm going to try kettle dying for the purple, I want some variegation.  What I really should do is knit some of these up, since I haven't done much of this yet, I don't know how the color placement correlates to finished product look.  All I really know for sure is that this is super fun and I will be getting side tracked with this!  The first picture is actually two skeins twisted together.  Those colors are the left overs from the Easter egg kit I used for the first dying attempt.  They are orange, dark green and supposedly gray, but it just looked like even darker green when I was dying.  I think I figured out where I went wrong with my first dying attempt.  I watered down the dyes too much.  This time I only added the 1/2 cup of water the kit specified.  The orange turned out really bright and pretty.  My inspiration for these skeins was my husband's grandfather who just recently passed away.  He was an avid hunter and outdoorsman so this is a tribute to his favorite pastime.  I don't expect other people to get it, but its my way of appreciating his life.  I did this with the two smallest skeins since I expected it to be a disaster, how on earth will orange green and gray go together, right?  I was very surprised when I unwrapped them from the Ceranwrap and they were gorgeous.  I wish I would have kept the extra dye so I could have done more.  Now I guess I'll have to re-create these colors... oh darn.  The muddy skein was the only other one I had a "plan" for.  It was, however, a fail, IMO.  I joined the group What a Kool Way to Dye on Ravelry.  The Dye Along (DAL) for May is spots.  This was supposed to be spots of color.  It is mud.  I think I'm going to use the left over grape to make splotches.  I think my drops were too small and they ran together.  I also got over zealous with the dropper and covered everything instead of leaving some white.  I think a superwash would also work better for this technique too, since superwash sucks up color faster...  See how much I'm learning already.  (I'm not addicted, really I'm not.)  The other skeins were just off the cuff so to speak.  I really love the one with all four of the colors.  I cant wait for my next session.  
     I also got some more yarn:
There are two skeins of Cascade 220 Fingering in turquoise and pale blue, one skein of Ella Rae Classic Superwash for more dying and two skeins of Malabrigo Rios in Piedras.  I love Rios.  Maybe someday I can dye yarn to look this good. 
I picked up a skein of crochet thread so I can try some of the knitted edgings in the old book my co-worker gave me, remember that?  Keep and eye out I have some ideas brewing.  Until next time.  Happy Crafting!