10 January 2017

Yarn Haul - Dyeing

Oh the joys of Instagram - I used to think it was a waste of time, but I am having a blast on it with being able to follow my vape stuff and even better yet - get overdosed on knitting goodstuffs - including giveaways.  It was one such giveaway that I entered where one of the prizes is a sock blank.  I've never heard of that before - so off to Google I go.  I think these are the best thing since sliced bread!
Sock Blanks are pre-knit tubes of undyed sock yarn. You dye the pre-knit tube with the stripes that you want, then knit your socks directly off the tube. Somehow this seems like cheating, but in a good way.” - Yarn Scoop.
Neat eh?  But what is happening is that indie dyers are dying them or painting them with various designs and you can get them in 1 or 2 strand blanks.  1 strand is one 'sock' at a time and 2 strand is 2 socks at a time where they are likely to be identical. I started to dig a big further and saw where some people are making their own blanks at home on crank looms or knitting machines, and then dyeing them.  Oh the ideas that are skittering through my brain!

I've been very successful with dyeing my own fabric for my quilts - I've done discharge dyeing where you remove or lighten the colour with "bleach"; I've had the most fun with resist dyeing where you use wax to block off parts of your fabric, then dye or paint, then remove the wax.  

I don't think it'll be to much of a step for me to dye yarn.  Granted I won't be resist dyeing as wool definitely is NOT the same as cotton; altho on a sock blank it could work.  I have a lot of the supplies on hand already from my fabric dyeing.  I've been watching a lot of videos on how to do it.

I grabbed a two skeins of a yarn that is 50% superwash Merino wool, 25% rayon from bamboo and 25% nylon.  I did some research on whether the bamboo is considered natural or not.  If this company used chemicals to remove the bamboo it is considered to be not natural opposed to the process that spins it down.  But rayon is considered a cellulose fibre and that 'should' work well with my current dyes and paints.  As for the nylon part of it, that will likely be lighter in colour as the polys do not hold this dye well at all.  Which is actually okay because I do prefer tonal yarns - less stripy.  There are a several ways  can do this; paint on the dye or  paint, do a pot dye; or even use a mason jar.  I'm going to have to do some more research, but the dye bath or pot dye is likely to be the best choice.

At the end of December Knitpicks had a sale that had me drooling LOL  I got a haul and a half considering what I spent.  When I ordered they had a promo where if you spent $50 you were eligible for free shipping and a free tote.  I was hard pressed to reach that level, but I did

I grabbed 3 different yarns to use; Hawthorne Kettle Dyed yarn (2 hanks), Chroma (2 skeins) and at the bottom corner is what they refer to as Alpaca Cloud Fingering yarn.  Wow, but it seems so light and airy - almost like I'd be knitting with cobwebs!  If there's enough I might put that to a shawl instead of socks, it seems that delicate!  FINALLY got my needle gauge for US sized 000, 00, 0 and 1 needles.  *knitterhappydance*  To reach my free tote bag - I added Sock it to Me and locking stitch markers :)  I think what I've got is going to keep my busy for a while now.  I can't wait to get into the Hawthorne skeins - those have such a solid hefty feel to them!

I finally won my first contest on Instagram.  This company is based in the UK - It was shipped to my cousin who lives there and he's already gotten it.  It'll be on its way to me soon :)  Once I get my prize in, I"ll post a pic and share it with you.  The package included a set of Hiyahiya bamboo needles, a skein of yarn, Hiyahiya stitch markers, kitty snips, tape measure and a pattern that I've no idea what it is :)  oooohhhh I'm so excited!!

Ravelry - gquilts projects
Instagram - g.quilts

04 January 2017

December ... poof gone

This is one of those posts that sounds like the beginning of confession LOL Rather like .. Forgive me Blogger for I have sinned - it's been almost a month since my last post LOL.

It's been a rather stressful month for me as my stepfather had a series of small heart attacks that landed him in hospital for various procedures since December 8th - he was in hospital until Dec 21.  He went to a rehab facility for post hospital therapy and monitoring.  On Christmas Day when I was driving him back he suffered another small heart attack.  He's back at the rehab facility and we hare hoping to have answers soon to the second heart issue and looking forward to his continued improvement.

With all that was going on, I only managed to knit a pair of fingerless mitts that were a gift for my friend. I'm hoping that I can get back into my knitting stride now as I took advantage of Christmas money and great sales!

My friend LOVES owls - and I saw these adorable owl mitts by Amanda Jones.  I totally fell in love with them!  And this sort of project fits my poor awkward stash.  I actually ended up using one of my mum's skeins.  It felt really good to be able to use her yarn!  I've no idea what brand it is or where she got it, but mum only used wool.

My only issue with this pattern is that it is worked flat and I didn't want to mess with a bunch of seams.  Luckily for me (and my research / nosing around skills)  I found another knitter had converted it to in the round!!  YEA!!!  Many thanks to Snuva for doing this :)  I could've done it, but didn't have to now.   I picked up some new bamboo Hiyahiya needles to work this and it did worked up super quick - when I was able to concentrate on it.  I did add a thumb to this pattern as it didn't come with one.

We were finally able to get together last night to visit and I was happy to walk in with pressies for her.  She suffered a loss just before Christmas and I hoped it would lift her spirits a bit.  That box contains various types of chocolate bark that I made for Christmas. There was white chocolate with cranberries, pistachios, walnuts, peppermint, and pretzels.  Dark chocolate with salted caramel.  I have a lot of fun making these for everyone.  I personally think I'm going to hell for the salted caramel.  Cripes but it is RICH!!

I decided to add eyes to these mitts and found the most perfect pair at joannes - they are just buttons that truly look like eyes .. if they were just a smidge or orangy yellow in the colouring then they would look like owl eyes spot on!  She was so happy with them.  During the visit, she kept putting them on and taking them off, looking at them, picking them up - yep I'm glad I made them for her to see the smile on her face!

Now to get back to my Enya socks .. I've been stalled at one sock done since before everything happened in December.  I'm glad I was able to get the KAL done that I signed up for - that was fun and I look forward to joining in many more KALs.

05 December 2016

First KAL Finished YAY me!

Well for my first KAL, I think I did alright!  I had a lot of fun doing this and enjoyed the discussion boards.  The project was a small one and knit level - intermediate - I didn't want to overwhelm myself on my first KAL and go to far outside of my experience level.  I look at each pattern as an opportunity to learn something new, within reason of course LOL

The first mitt went pretty quick, while the right mitt took me a bit longer.  Not entirely sure why, And of course the rounds I tinked back for the left mitt stands out in neon lights to me. Might have been better off frogging it back and doing it again, but this is acceptable and isn't making my OCD twitch to bad - just a quick tick here and there,

There is a shawl KAL and this fingerless mitts KAL to choose from. A friend of mine has been knitting them up lately and they are beautiful and tweaked my interest, Shawls require more yarn than mitts.  I've decided that new projects need to come from my stash whenever and where ever possible, and there just wasn't enough for the shawl.  Least with the fingerless mitts, I've made mitts before, even wrote my own pattern - so there is a base to work from there.  AND I had more than enough of this yarn for the project  I didn't even use the whole skein for these mitts

The cuff is really unusual and unique.  There are a gazillion 1x1 cable stitches in there - drove me a bit batty to do that many itty bitty cable stitches.  It creates a comfortable fit around the wrists that goes further up the arm and covers more area.  Also goes down the fingers just to the knuckles.  One thing I did not do was change needle sizes for the ribbing at the top and for the thumb.  I would rather it be larger than way to tight - larger is easy to fix with a bit of elastic

I do have smaller hands than most adults.  I can wear children's gloves and mitts comfortably.  I made these in the size that it was written for with no modifications.  Shocking right? I actually did not make one modification LOL    You can see how the mitts are a bit long for my hand as the pattern gets a bit lost fitting my hand - they do not feel overly large or loose - quite comfy actually.   The decision to use US2 for the thumb was ideal.  I believe that if I had changed needle size, it would be way to snug around the thumb

The pattern is very delicate and feminine without being girly.  I've been finding myself drawn towards lacy and cable patterns lately.  Gives you just enough of a challenge without it to much over the top or boring.

The designer Qianer Huang has some beautiful patterns and I'll be keeping my eyes open for other KALs that she has going on.  First I want to finish the socks I stopped half way through and get back to my blanket.  Starting to feel a bit guilty about that, although having more and more socks speaks louder than my guilt LOL

19 November 2016

Blossomlace KAL Progress

Have you ever had one of those days (weeks .. months) where it seemed nothing worked - not even a smidge??  It's rather been like that for me for the past 2 weeks.  I've been battling a bug.  This critter has my throat so swollen my Dr thought I had tonsils!!!  Good Grief!  Well ibuprofen, cepecal, neo citron and sleep - LOTS of sleep got me to the point where I can at least concentrate again.  Still feeling ick, but better.

I was tinking more than I was knitting while dealing with this critter at it's height - so I put it down and just gave into the inevitable and slept for two days LOL  No I don't feel totally rested, still tired, but not fighting to stay awake at least.

I wasn't in the mood to watch tv or a movie, so I found an app that reads epub (digital format for books) outloud, loaded up my book, grabbed my project and got to work.  I'm very proud of my self as I only tinked back twice and managed to get 10 rounds done :S  YAY me!!!!

It was a total win-win for me!!  Got to 'read' my book and got some rounds done on the left mitt.  The pattern is starting to show  - not quite enough as to be totally visible, but enough so you get the idea.  Another 15 rows and I start the thumb!  That is my goal for today - the thumb - and if I get further along then kudos to me ;D

Ravelry link - 1st KAL
KAL Group - HiyaHiya Patterns

16 November 2016

1st KAL - fingerless mitts

I'm so giddy!! I've been wanting to participate in a KAL for so long, but I kept managing to miss them. For once I checked my ravelry messages in time and got the invite to participate in HiyaHiya Patterns KAL - There was two choices for the KAL - A shawl (which is absolutely gorgeous) or a cable lace fingerless mitt pattern.

The pattern is free as long as you finish the project by December 31, 2016.  So based on project size and the fact that I need to use my stash for new projects, I opted for the fingerless mitts.

I've been spoilt working with sock yarn for the past few months,  Going back to 100% acrylic was an adjustment of sorts LOL  I was hoping there was enough sock yarn left over from my projects for these mitts, but no -  I was close with one, but still short about 50 yards and didn't have enough of a contrasting yarn for the cuff area etc to take the chance.  I really don't want to frog this project at all.  Even though it's a running joke of sorts that I seem to frog each project at least twice. So not having 161 yards of sock yarn left over, I dug into my stash and pulled out Bernat Baby Solids in Blue - I've 2 skeins and will likley only use half of one.  I'll have enough yarn left over to do up a pair of ankle socks with the remains.

The first clue contained rows of 1x1 cables on every other row that created a beautiful basket weave pattern for the cuff - it's harder to see in this picture - the first picture (shown top) shows the pattern better.

I got the second clue earlier today - this part seems to complete the body of the left mitt, the thumb and the cuff for top and thumb - I'm going to assume that Clue 3 will cover the shaping etc for the right mitt.

This KAL offers prizes too and discounts if you use certain products  I've got Hiyahiya needles so I'm using those :)  I'm just tickled that I was able to join in a KAL.

12 November 2016

Creeping Towards Two

Despite any intentions I subconsciously had to the contrary - this sock turned out pretty good!  A good snug fit around the instep of my foot - and they fit from toe to heel nicely.  Not to tight and not to loose fit all round.  I do wish it was a bit snugger above the ankle and around the lower part of the leg.  I've noticed that on the socks I've made.  Granted I normally wear ankle socks so mid calf are rather new to me LOL

I was rather expecting some major incident that would mean I would have to frog the entire sock, or tink back sections as I've had to on previous attempts - but no, this went off rather without a hitch. I hope I just didn't curse the next sock by saying that.  Each sock is a learning process and the curve has been pretty steep initally - it's way more manageable now LOL
I did find a great bind off at Slip Slip Knit - worked quite well! Not tight at all - easily able to get over my foot and heel with no issues.  It was a bit wibbly though - that could be because I didn't drop down to a smaller needle when I was doing the ribbing or casting off - another great lesson learned.  I'll be sure to try it on the next toe up pair I do.

I've been eyeballing Bavarian Style of knitting for the next socks I make.  They are absolutely gorgeous and I'm definitely itching to start them.  BUT  not until I finish this last socks :)

06 November 2016

Bamboo N Lace

A great way to spend Sunday is with coffee and my knitting until my football teams play. Yes, it's teams - I've been a Raiders fan since 1984 when a friend took pity on me and explained the nuances of the game. The Raiders just happened to be playing and I picked them as my team to cheer on. And I fell in love with the Saints watching their homecoming ceremony after Katrina - so I'm lucky this week in that they don't play at the same time :) Yea Me!!  So in the meantime I knit while I wait

Not sure if you remember me mentioning that one of the rows was going sideways on me.  I finally counted the stitches in the row in the pattern and it was short.  Lucky for me, someone mentioned in their project notes on Ravelry what the error was and a correction!  YEA!!!  So now, no more sideways rows

The metal needles are still slippery as hell for me and I'm getting a grip on it so to speak and my stitches look better now  Even so, I ordered some bamboo needles from Knitpicks and I should have them next week!  I will now have bamboo needles for sizes 0 - 4 and they are 5" long instead of 7" which is a tad long for knitting socks - those super long needles make it tricky in the cast on section of the pattern.

On the social media front, I finally caved and installed and signed up for Instagram.  I'm sure I'm going to regret this, but least I'll have fun LOL  My instagram is g_quilts and I'll post not only knit pics, but pics of my family, dogs and other hijinx I manage to get myself into LOL

Ravelry link - Toz Up Enya Cables N Lace