19 January 2009

return of the Arggh Lace Monster

I cast on for the Woodland Shawl. I read the directions too literally, as the first few rows are kind of vague. She says "begin pattern" so I took that to mean "row 1 of pattern" instead of the pattern set-up row. Confusion! I almost threw it out the window and started crying because I couldn't figure out why everyone kept saying "omg this is so easy!" and I was having such a hard time. Duh.

After I realized my mistake, I frogged back a few rows to the edging. Now it's coming along very well. It's pretty fluid since the repeats aren't insane and the stitches are easy. Hopefully I can speed through this!

I am using 2 skeins of discontinued KnitPicks Memories to do this. My yarn is only about 440 yards, while the pattern uses 460. Hopefully this won't make a substantially shorter wrap. I have messaged someone on ravelry who has some extra skeins up for sale, so hopefully I'll hear back about that... just in case. I plan on wet blocking it too, so maybe I can get some stretch out of it when it's all done.

18 January 2009

Kool-aided yarn

I went with 5 packs of Cherry, 1 pack of Soarin' Strawberry Lemonade, and 3 packs of Grape. I added them to a nearly-full 4-quart pot on my stove in room temperature water. Meanwhile, I soaked the wool (4 oz hank) in the bathroom sink for about 20 minutes. Then I added it to the fruit-stravaganza mixture. I squished the yarn to help get it integrated into the dye. (My hands smell like candy, and they're a bit stained... should have worn gloves. Oops.)

I put the heat on low for about 20-25 minutes. I could see that the dye was being exhausted before the water even hit 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The water went from very dark and nearly opaque to a translucent/slightly cloudy color at the bottom of the pot. Once it looked almost completely exhausted, I turned up the heat for a few minutes, put the lid on, then turned off the gas. I let it cool on the stove until it was lukewarm, then I rinsed the dye out in the bathroom sink.

The color is similar to a burgundy-blue colorway I bought on ebay. I wasn't 100% of what to expected from the colors I chose. I think I added too much grape which made it a bit dark & muddy. But overall I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Now that I know how easy this is to do, I have a few skeins of undyed sock and lace yarn I've been thinking of dyeing. But I think I'll need to hit up the grocery store for more Kool-aid (or possibly food coloring) first.

Here's the dried yarn. The color lightened a bit once it wasn't sopping wet. It has a nice burgundy-brown-blue thing with a few purple & mauve sections. I actually like the results much more than I thought I would!

Meanwhile, I'm casting on for the Woodland Shawl. I am making these for a friend's birthday present (I offered her to make something, but she didn't seem to mind if it was knit, jewerly, or whatever else, so I decided to knit). I keep having frustration with lace, but this one seems to be a little less daunting than the others. Fingers crossed!

Experiments with kool-aid

I just received my January yarn from Elliebelly. It is the first time I have gotten a colorway that I don't really like. It's blue-white-yellow-pink-brown. Not very me. Rather than trade it, I am going to try to overdye it using Kool-aid. (There's a good tutorial here, and a good site with color swatches here).

The yarn is a merino wool/seacell blend, so I am not sure how well the color will take (I've never dyed seacell before...), but it should change the color enough for my purposes.

I have a bunch of packets to choose from. I am thinking of just overdying it with a bright red (Cherry), a bright orangey-red (Soarin' Strawberry Lemonade), or a combination of a red & purple to get a red-violet color (Cherry + Grape). I'm leaning toward the latter because I think it'll add a nice tone to the existing colors in the yarn.

Updates to come!

12 January 2009


I am almost done with the Stulpen gloves. Except that I just realized I did the increases incorrectly for the thumb gussets, so I'm going to have to rip out the last 2-3 inches of work and start that all over again. HAHAHAHA. I've already redone the cable once already, and now I have to start it all over again!

Well, at least I learned how to read the cable chart without having to refer to the key. And I found out how to do the cable so that they are mirror images. But, I think I will put these on the back burner for a while and knit something else for a while. I will also make sure that I read the directions carefully! Maybe I'll even finish them before winter ends. But then again, my hands are always freezing, so whatever.

I subscribed to a few sock clubs. I did the Blue Moon sock club. I love their raven series, so that was enough to sway me to try a subscription. Some of the designers this year look amazing too. It was expensive, but I used some of my Christmas money for it.

I also (re)joined the Elliebelly sock club. Her colorways are nice, and she's one of the more affordable clubs. This one is only 3 months, though, so that's also a plus for saving money and not ending up with 34098 skeins of unused yarn. I'm also doing the Neighborhood Fiber Co. sock club (a 6-month subscription over one year), but the yarn is now a month delayed—I still haven't gotten December's yarn (woe is me).

Maybe I should be knitting socks...