09 April 2017

Dye Tins for April

As I mentioned previously, April is a time of firsts for me.  New techniques, yarns, dyeing experiments, classes etc.  My plan is to use this yarn for my initiate knit challenge.  I was /am envisioning a shawl with a deep purple as the main colour with an orange overdyed with green variegated contrast colour.  As everyone knows, the results can be different than your inner vision.  And that was the case here.  I definitely have some super happy accidents, and not what I envisioned with either case.

I headed to my LYS Pretty Skeins to pick Heidi's brain (who is the owner) for fibre types to use etc.  Also for a little show and tell and help me type talk regarding my shawl.  LOL  She is awesome and I just love her to pieces.  Always willing to help and encourage - isn't that great!  Well I told her what I wanted to do and what I needed.

I would prefer a yarn with a nylon content as I wouldn't have to worry as much about felting my yarn.  While I could dye fabric with my eyes closed, I'm no where near that proficient with yarn dyeing.  I was looking for 4 skeins in a DK weight that had 10 - 20% nylon content.

She could help with 2 skeins of a DK, but that was all she had.  Another lady just bought up all her white DK.   DRAT!!!  So - I guess I'm doing fingering then LOL  After a lot of discussion and oooh and ahhhing and loving the squishyness, I walked out with 4 skeins of white yarn; 2 each of Sandnes Garn Sisu and Sandnes Garn 100% Alpakka - yes you read that right  100% Alpaca.   As well as a Malabrigo Lace for a test knit I'm doing later this month / early next, and ArneCarlos designed Regia sock yarn.  I just LOVE LOVE LOVE those guys.  I want to be adopted or at the very least be a neighbour with drop in privileges LOL

I went with a kettledyed approach as I LOVE LOVE LOVE tonal yarns and I had 3 dyes / paints that would look perfect together.  First in was the purple, then the pink, followed up by violet paint and a pink metallic paint.  Since I don't have a separate stainless steel pot to dye in, I picked up 2 foil bake pans that I thought would work well.  I did a double boiler type of arrangement where I rested the bake tin on the pot with water that had reached a low boil in it.  It worked amazingly well. for both of them.

I'm still getting my feet wet with dyeing yarn, and I'm using the Dylon Dye packs that I picked up for fabric as the manufacturer says it works with wool. My first dyeing attempt proved that this dye can be used with yarn.  I get a bit concerned doing it this way, as everyone says you need acid to set the colours as well as heat - hence they are called acid dyes, but it still makes me think I forgot something.  Well Dylon uses salt to set the dyes.  And heat - with these particular dyes, after rinsing, you put your dyed item in your washing machine on hot water.  Ya, I'm NOT going to do that with wool . oh hellz no - my washer would look like a sheep exploded in it - no matter how many ties I put into my hank LOL.  So I use the salt it states and the amount of dye it states based on a lot of math and the weight of my dry yarn, All three times I've ended up with unused dye and no other yarn to put in to use it all up .. grrrr - adjustments and learning .. adjustments and learning.  I will use much less powder next time.  I can always add more dye if it's too light or absorbed it all up before I'm happy with the colour.

So with my makeshift double boiler, foil baking tins, wool, dyes and fabric paint I was set for my own version of mad scientist type experiments LOL

I hit major twit mode when I started the orange.  My original plan was to do orange and then overdye sections of it green.  My mind went what am I thinking, that will not give me green but various shades of browny colour with overtones of green and orange.  So while my mind was in the right place, apparently my hands didn't get the message and put all the orange dye in all over the yarn instead of half  .. I'm such a twit!  So I added the green and went heavy with it in areas that the orange hadn't hit and encouraged it to hit the yarn that much quicker.  And adding more dye a bit later to hopefully encourage it to take up more green dye.  I could tell by looking at it that this wasn't going to have as much green as I hoped or wanted, so that would make these skeins not really usable with the purple as was my intention.  That's okay.  It's a very happy accident and I did learn quite a bit!




I did learn a number of things here.  I will NEVER I repeat NEVER dye alpaca again.  As soon as I put in the water to soak it, it stunk to high heaven like a burnt animal hair.  I could NOT believe how nasty it smelled.  I couldn't believe how something so squishy and wonderful to knit and wear, could smell so awful when submerged in water.  Just plain water - nothing else in it.  While it was drying I was constantly separating out the separate yarn threads as it seemed to want to clump together.  This alpaca actually is actually superwash.  The manufacturer says it can go in the washer up to 30 Celsius. (86 Fahrenheit) that was the only reason I attempted to dye it.
From their website:
Garnet kan maskinvaskes på ullprogam, 30 grader.
The yarn can be machine-washed at ullprogam, 30 degrees. 
That was the closest I could get the translator to go and I got the basic gist of what it said.  I am going to guess that ullprogam is delicate or something along those lines
I did not get as dark of a purple as I wanted.  This picture is several shades lighter than it looks in real life.  There is a lot of pink in it, more than I thought I had put in.  It's still a very rich colour with subtle shadings of purple all the way through to pink.  This was a super nerve wracking yarn to dye and I doubt I'll do it again until I get more knowledge and experience under my belt.  I bet you 10:1 that I did something that terrifies more knowledgeable dyers LOL   Only because I don't know enough to know better.  I'm still going to use in my initiate knit challenge - just won't be using the other yarn as I had planned.  I've got 328 yards of this and that's more than enough for a small shawl /shawlette wrap type thing.
Now the orange was definitely a happy accident and I just love the autumnal colourway I got.  This started out as Sandes Garn Sisu which I have used before for heels toes in socks.  it's 80% wool 20% nylon.  I've no clue what type of wool it is - it's not alpaca though LOL  It did not smell like burnt pet hair when it got wet.  It definitely is superwash so I was much more aggressive when I was handling it when I was dyeing.  Not that I was treating it like I was doing a taffy pull, but I had no fear moving the yarn around in the bake tin and lifting bits of it up to get the dye to flow around areas more.  Not sure what this will grow up to be, but I'm not thinking socks as I want to show off what I've created - this is 383 yards - more yardage that what I've got in the Mini Alapakka version.  This could also be a shawl - a small one, but it could be one
I loved dyeing both of these even though the Mini Alapakka was giving me minor heart failures as I was terrified I was felting it LOL  I learned so much from my mistakes and from using more than one dye at a time.  I will do this again, not as soon as I would like to though.  I'm trying not to go to crazy on building a stash and am trying to knit from it - I'm doing okay on that front.  It's great that I'm doing this as when I'm ready to make a cardigan or sweater for myself, I know I will be able to dye sweaters worth of yarn 



05 April 2017

A time of Firsts ...

Knitwise, I feel like it's been a bit off the hook, insane busy. Mind you, it's all self-inflicted, but I wouldn't have it any other way LOL. When I'm busy knitwise, I'm learning and challenging myself, and that's my preferred way.  There is so much going on that I've had to write it down to make sure I don't forget something, and I feel like I am forgetting something - as always LOL

I was working diligently on my shawl, I've had to rip it back several times as in my infinite wisdom, I decided to do bed knitting and dropped a few stitches ... several times and then the hunt was on!   LOL  I get the chart details now - at least until I start the edging.  I understood the basics of reading a chart - but as always there is so much more to learn, and learn I did.  It's for the intermediate knitter (which I am) and is heavily charted.  Heavily charted took on a whole new meaning LOL  It's written okay, but not all intermediate knitters are ones that are chart readers.  Yes I love a challenge LOL

I've had to vow not to do this shawl if my eyes are a bit fuzzy or my ability to focus is not what it should be.  This pattern requires my 100% attention and sharp eyes.  With all the gorgeous lace in this shawl, if you drop a stitch it's having itself a wonderful little journey.  I got almost to the end of chart B (main body shaping) when I realized that I had some holes that didn't belong.  All I gotta say is Thank God for lifelines!!!  They have saved me a few times.  I have also discovered that sharp lace needles would be better for this project.  I have some Addi Turbo Lace Needles ordered and they are enroute.  They should be here hopefully by the end of the week.  I just might frog back the entire shawl and start again with my new needles.  I'm not sure.  The yarn I'm using is #Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud Fingering yarn and this stuff is amazing!  It is handling the abuse of being frogged back several times and maintains it's integrity.  No untwisting, no breaking, no knotting up and getting super fuzzy and unworkable.  It's 100% alapaca - I can't say enough good things about this yarn!

I've also volunteered to do two test knits for Elizabeth Ravenwood Designs and I'm super excited about these.  One is a pair of socks and the other a handkerchief / doily.  


The socks have a deadline of June 30, and I should get the pattern in the next few weeks.  She wanted us to get our scraps together from previous sock / fingering weight projects and use them.  As I was looking at these bright bits from my knitting, I realized that nothing in my stash was telling me it wanted to be the main colour.  I remembered that I bought some yarn back in January I think that I wanted to try my hand at dyeing yarn.  I've dyed miles of fabric, so yarn should be a somewhat similar process.  I love to learn and I love a challenge so .. I decided to dye the fabric for the test knit :D  And I just love the result.  I wanted a tonal pink and with the content of the wool along with the fabric dye I was using reacted exactly the way I expected.  They yarn is 50% wool, ,25% rayon from Bamboo, and 25% nylon.  The nylon wouldn't take the full colour of the dye, while the wool would take 100% and I wasn't to sure about the rayon - the manufacturer said it would take the full dye, but since I hadn't used it before, I was hedging my bets LOL   


This picture here does not do the colour justice.  It's  much brighter and a deeper pink.  I'm very pleased with the way it turned out and canNOT wait to knit with it.  

I know there's a lot more to learn about dyeing yarn.  There's quite a bit of information out there on the web and youtube videos.

I love a tonal yarn, and a variegated yarn.  With this yarn I got lucky with the tonal effect as the nylon wouldn't take 100% of the dye and it would give me a tonal effect.  A wool / nylon blend is a cheat with this particular dye.  That isn't going to work very well for a yarn that is 100% wool LOL

The other test knit is for a handkerchief as I mentioned that could double as a doily.  This will be done in lace weight and I think the deadline for that is July 15.  I picked up the yarn for that already.  A gorgeous pink Malabrigo - it was the last one she had in the shop and it was on sale, Of course I got it LOL

This is going to be my first lace weight knit and my first Malabrigo.  I'm super excited about this one too!  I am also on her test knit for a cabled hat test knit for the Olympics next year :)

I've gotten back to my Stash Killer Blanket and it's now my bedtime knitting project.  That way I can knit in bed, and it will get some work done on it.  I don't make a lot of progress, but more than it just sitting in my bag in the dark, all alone - it now lives in the project tote, next to my bed  :)

I've used a bit of math to make sure that my yarn is going to be enough for the blocks.  I weighed out each block and took an average of what they needed, ,then I balled up and weighed my yarn and that way if I don't have a full skein, I know what blocks I can do with the yarn I have left.  While a good game of yarn chicken can get the blood flowing, your nerves singing and your toes curled,, it's not something I want to do for every bit of yarn and block I do.  I already saved myself time with the lighter coloured yarn I'm using now.  I would have had to rip 2 blocks and switch the order I had done them.  Glad I avoided that.  My OCD does come in handy somedays LOL

I've discovered ArneCarlos tutorials on Youtube and I'm just totally in love with these guys.  I want them to adopt me, or let me be a roommate or a neighbour.  These guys totally inspire me and motivate me - I could listen to them for hours.  I just love them.  My LYS has a bit of their Regia line and the Pairfect.  I didn't particularly care if I got the Pairfect because I'd rather have a pair of socks that doesn't exactly match, but you know they go together.  So I treated myself to a skein of their sock yarn.  My LYS isn't getting these right now so her supply was limited to 4 skeins, and I grabbed the one that the colours most appealed to me.







And with all this going on, my April socks are waiting for me to cast them on.  I'm going to use my Hawthorne kettledyed fingering yarn for these.  And these I am planning to do toe up, two at a time on 40" needles.

I was doing my socks on US 2 / 2.75mm with 64 stitches, but that's just a bit loose.  My options are to drop down a needle size or go to 60 stitches.  First I'm going to try on US 1 2.5mm needles.  I've a set of ChiaoGoo I'm itching to use

I tried to do them before with casting on my toe and then transfering them to my circulars, but that didn't end well - so I did them one at a time.  I'll try again using these videos.  I use her heel and its just awesome!  Her whole process is awesome.

So yes, I'm overloaded with a lot of first's and I couldn't be happier.  I'm also doing a design challenge and am having a blast with that.  My muse has been kicked awake.  I think I'll do my homework on my blog that way I can think out loud while talking to you.  It really does help!  With all that's been going on, I've not put many stitches on the needles expect for my blanket.  I am happy to be working on that again :)

Well I've homework to do for my design challenge.  Off I go!

20 March 2017

Infectious Little Knit Bug

The knit bug has bit me hard and all I want to do now is just knit knit knit and knit some more lol. Seriously, all I want to do is knit all the things! And I'm making a supreme attempt to do so!

My last blog post had my son's fingerless mitts halfway done, my socks halfway done and thoughts of a shawl in the mix or another pair of socks.  I've finished the mitts, my socks and have started my shawl.

The Cause he asked nicely mitts knit up super super quick.  I totally recommend this for  quick gift idea, or even as a stocking stuffer type gift.  It took me roughly 4 - 5 hours per mitt to knit them - now that's a quick knit and it really doesn't use all that much yarn either.  They are well named as 75 Yard Malabrigo Fingerless Mitts.

I used 53 yards worsted weight yarn that was from mum's stash on US8 needles.  There's nothing fancy to them; just stockinette stitch with 2 x 2 ribbing at the cuff and fingers.  They go to first knuckle on his middle finger.  I could make a pair of these for myself with the leftover yarn I bet, using smaller needles, maybe size 5 or so - my hands are way smaller than his LOL

Now my socks.  OMG  I LOVED LOVED LOVED knitting these socks up.  They went soooo quick and were so easy to knit.  The yarn is to die for!!  Nice and soft and squishy - and it's sooo pretty.  Not matchy matchy at all, but you know they are definitely meant to be together.

The yarn kept screaming  MUST cast on they said for days!  These are for the March sockbash for the Grocery Girls Podcast and I couldn't cast them on until March 1 - so I compromised - I made the project page, split up the yarn and knit my swatch up - then waited the agonizing 3 days until I could officially cast them on.

I knit these with US2 bamboo DPNs with Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock Yarn in Roskilde colourway.  I loved knitting these so much, that I made them much taller than i make most of my socks.  There was so much yarn on the skein that I even have plenty left over for a few blocks in my cozy memory blanket when I finally get enough leftovers to cast it on.  I want to say a final Thank You to Brownberry Yarns in the UK who sponsored the contest that allowed me get this yarn!

THEN - yes there's more LOL  I've been wanting a project bag pretty bad.  I saw a lot of cute ones, but not ones that said BUY ME now!!  Normally I'd just make one, but with my back issues, cutting fabric is beyond me for the most part as I can't bend comfortably to cut a straight line.  Which is why I've not quilted for over a year and a half.

My friend suggested that I try to cut after I get my nerve blocker injections.  I thought why not??  Worst case I'd have a half cut project bag - best case - I'd have a project bag that is all me.  So I did it - and I just LOVE what I came up with.

I loved it so much in fact, that I've got fabric on my cutting table for a medium sized bag for sweaters / shawls and a larger bag for heavier sweaters and blankets.

What I like about doing bags is that I can use my less loved or lower quality fabric for the lining.  The pattern I found has drawstrings made out of the fabric and I thought that was super cute!  I don't have a stash of zippers on hand, so that was a great solution for me.  These have a light interfacing to give them a bit of stiffness so they stand up nicely.  I just love them and both bags have projects in them :)

What I'm working on now is a project that poked me earlier this year and has continued to poke at me and demand to be knit.  Only issue, it's a shawl.  I'm not sure I'm a shawl person.  The only way to find out if I am is to knit one (or two) up and see what I think.  I'm making the Omorika Shawl that I've named Lace Chart Hell Omorika.  I call it that because the pattern is heavily charted.  I know how to read charts, but prefer written instructions.  It's easier for my eyes to follow and see where I am.  I've never done a lot of chart knitting - and yes I think I've actively avoided it.  This is a pretty intense pattern to be cutting my shawl teeth on for charting - I almost gave up and did another one that has a tutorial included for reading charts.  But I thought to myself.  I REALLY like this pattern and I want to knit it. I've been knitting for over 20 years, I consider myself to be an advanced knitter and I should be able to do this.

My first two attempts were horrific.  First, I had no clue where the pattern was starting.  The tags on the pattern said top down, but it certainly didn't look top down to me.  Inexperience with shawl patterns rearing it's ugly head early in the game.  I didn't use a life line and had to rip back when I got lost in the chart and knit the wrong row.  Soooo out it all came again for the second time - I went back to pattern tracking 101 and started for the 3rd time and am holding to my heart that the third time's the charm.  

It's working!  Tracking is tedious as hell, but I'm getting beyond that and am super excited about knitting the pattern now :D  I think I'm going to be okay - we'll see as the next chart looks a bit terrifying - but there's the old adage of knitting exactly what the pattern says and it'll all work out and don't overthink it.  So far so good :)  

Last night I finished the 2nd repeat of Chart B (The second attempt ended badly at the end of the main body set up which is just before chart B) - am about to put in my third lifeline and start on the third repeat - four repeats in total of Chart B, then Chart C - that thing is put landscape on the pattern page.  oi vay - Thank God for washi tape LOL

I'm knitting this on US3 circular needles with Knitpicks Alpaca fingering in Ernest colourway.  The yarn is so soft and squishy.  This is going to feel so good next to my neck.  I keep holding up the shawl after each row to check how the pattern is looking and making sure that the design is all lining up properly.  So far it's spot on!  Yea me!!

Okay - lifeline time and more shawly knitting goodness!

08 March 2017

March Squishiness

My needles have been super busy this month. I'm amazed at all I've knit so far and it's just the first week of March!


I cast on and finished once sock of the pattern and yarn that just kept poking at me and saying "Cast me on NOW"  The yarn is super awesome to knit, but not forgiving when you frog back.  It becomes friable and breaks - so I've had to take extra care when I'm knitting to make sure that every stitch is correctly on the needle and I didn't do a baby split of the yarn.

This yarn is Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock yarn in colourway number 02.  There's nothing on the label other than that, but some searching online says 02 is Roskilde.  I weighed the yarn and split it in two separate balls so I'd know how much yarn I'd have left.  This is the yarn I won on Instagram at Christmas from a company in the UK called Brownberry Yarns.  Included in the prize package were, HiyaHIya US2 needles, HiyaHiya Kitty Snips (these things are so freeken cute!!), Hiya HIya tape measure, HiyaHiya stitch markers that look like little yarn balls, and a printed pattern. I am in love with all the accessories and used them constantly.

I picked a pattern called Socks of Kindness, well more like a recipe - although at the time I didn't know what the pattern was - I fell in love with the stitch pattern and it wasn't until I had already cast on I found the pattern - didn't help me much as it's in French LOL  I found a translation later in cuff down version.  I'm doing toe up, so I am so glad I didn't waste my time figuring it out.

For the foot part, I'm using the Super Sock Calculator which I've found gives me a perfect fit on my foot every time!  The designer has included tutorial videos on her website to help.  The section on the shadow heel is awesome and that's now my go to heel.  I'm in love with it!

I was getting ready to bind off when a nasty gremlin reared it's ugly head and the battle was on!  I have NO, and I repeat NO idea what happened or what I did, but it was a bloody mess!  It took me 2 nights to tink back 4 rows, and then I was finally able to fix it and then redo the 4 rows of ribbing and bind off.

There's still a 'hole' in the ribbing that I wasn't able to fix no matter how I tugged a bit here and there or even hauled away at it.  Even when I tried it on, it didn't go away.  I'm hoping that blocking them or washing them will help get rid of it.  If not, ah well ... I'll have a not so fond memory of the sneaky gremlin that invaded my ribbing LOL

The kid mentioned to me (nicely) last month that he would love a pair of fingerless mitts for when the steering wheel is cold when he first gets into the car.  Since he asked nicely, I said I would knit him a pair and had him pick out some yarn.  He grabbed some yarn from my mum's stash.  I warned him it's wool and that it just can't be tossed into the washer / dryer all willy nilly - he'd have to wash them on gentle and then lay them flat to dry - otherwise they would felt and shrink.  He gets it - I hope so, otherwise they will be ruined.

I found a pattern that uses very little yardage called 75 yard fingerless mitts.  Based on the weight of the yarn, and a formula I found on Interweave, I would have more than enough yarn.  When I half out the cakes of yarn, they come to approximately 43 - 55 yards each.


I cast them on last night and would have had the first one done, but the kid was sleeping so he couldn't try them on for fit.  I just wanted to be sure that they didn't pull awkwardly and the thumb gusset felt right - and that the opening for his fingers would be sufficient.  He tried them on earlier today and the fit is perfect.  I did a stretchy bind off as he's got some big hands as you can see.  Once I get these done, it'll be back to my Must Cast On socks :)

Now, off I go to cast on the second mitt!

27 February 2017

Spiral Cowl Done

Another FO for me this month! Don't think that I'll manage to get another done as there's only a day left in this month - now that would take more needle turbo that I have LOL

I finished the spiral cowl that I was working on in stranded colourwork.  I had a lot of issues with the yarn that I used as a Main Colour.  It started out great and I was really pleased with how it was going, when about halfway through, it suddenly got thin, then thick, then thin and it continued in that manner all the way to the end of the skein.  I'm so happy that gauge wasn't important in this project as if it was, then it wouldn't have fit me properly.  It just meant the my other yarn had to work twice as hard and it did great!

I used it all up completely and totally - I didn't want any of this yarn left in my stash and returned the other skein that I had picked up.  I rather didn't want to do it as it was such a pretty colourway, but I didn't want to use a yarn that would've been worrying about all the way through my project.  I'll find another yarn with a similar colourway - so not to worried about it - much LOL

The cowl did turn out well considering - it fits nicely and as I used this yarn for the lining it's nice and soft against my skin.  I did not block this except for the seams to straighten out the curling so I could seam it easier.

I just love the pattern - it was well written and assumes that a person has a basic understanding of knitting.  The lining is a great idea as you don't have to worry about your floats catching on glasses frames, zippers, buttons etc.  And with this yarn being acrylic, it can get tossed in the washer  / dryer with no fear of it shrinking or felting.  We've had a weird winter and I'm not sure how many days I'll get to wear it this year, but this will be around for several years and I am looking forward to getting some good wearing time out of it.

I've more socks planned and my first shawl :)  I'll be doing two at a time socks for the first time as well since I was able to find a long enough circular to try this with - maybe too long, but would rather have to much than to little.  Fingers crossed I do well with this method and fingers crossed I do well with the shawl too :)

17 February 2017

Another FO pour moi!

With all the goodies on my needles, you'd think I'd have more than two finishes for the year LOL But yea!!! Another finish pour moi!  These knit up super quick too considering I spent most of last week sleeping :S.  This was the first pair where I used the shadow heel method and let's just say, I'm a HUGE HUGE HUGE fan!  I've found my heel!!  It knits up super quick and the one thing that I liked the most - no gaps or holes from my yarn being stretched from here to Kingdom Come.  Nope - that's not an issue with this heel - no siree bob!  Sorry - I'm just giddy because they knit up so fast and they fit like a charm.  They are a wee bit loose above the ankle.  I was speaking to the lady that owns my LYS and thinks that maybe changing my needle size to a smaller one after the heel, could make the difference that is needed.   Actually, I could likely knit on US1 2.25mm and it would fit and that might solve my snugness above the ankle issue .. I'll try it and then I'll know for sure :)

I so want to do my next socks on magic loop two at a time either toe up and cuff down - who knew that finding US 1 or US 2 on 36 - 40" circular needles would be so bloody difficult .. pfft.  I can find them online - but I really do NOT want to pay shipping and have to wait for it.  It appears that even Joann Fabrics doesn't even have them in store from what I was able to see when I went online.  I could buy them online and have them shipped - but ya .. shipping and then having to wait.  I would've bought them online and then went and picked them  up instore - but nope - not an option .. grrrr.  I'll keep my eyeballs open - I might get lucky .. hey stranger things have happened!

I am back to working on my Spiral Cowl and yup .. it's still slow going.  Even though I've a good rhythm going - it's still slow.  I'm at row 24 and only have to go to row 56.  It seems soooo far away from this point LOL  It's going to be worth it though and it's going to look great and be toasty warm.  Although we seem to have a spring like winter.  I'm not complaining, but not looking forward to all the bugs we get after a mild winter.

I might take a break and either finish up my Enya socks, or cast on my new 'fancy' yarn - I can't wait to get my fingers on that and start playing.

I'm eyeballing sweater patterns and more shawl patterns - I will be making a shawl using the Alpaca yarn I've got - I'm excited about it, but still not to sure how I feel about.  Not sure I'm a shawl girl, but I'll try at least two and go from there.

So back to my cowl so I get some work done on it and then I can count that as another finish for the SelfishMe KAL that I'm in on ravelry.  My socks count towards that as well as a few other KALs that I'm doing.  I think I'm seriously addicted to socks.  My goal is to have a drawer full of handknit socks.  I think that would be soooo cool!


08 February 2017

Sock Math Success

It's such an awesome feeling when math actually works - no wonder how convoluted you may think it is.  In my last post I went through the math for two different sites that help you calculate how many stitches you need based on foot measurements and knitting gauge.  I went through the calculations for both and once I made an adjustment based on understanding what resting weight meant, they both agreed.  For US2 size needles, I need a sock pattern that requires 64 stitches. Yea!!!  *knitterhappydance*  You have no idea how relieved I am.  There are way to many choices for sock needles from US000 to US3 and unlike larger garments which can be fidged sizeways in may different locations - sock construction doesn't allow to much fidging.

All the while I was knitting these, I kept trying them on - At first I thought they were to snug, then to loose - the to loose feeling kept on until I turned the heel.  I kept telling myself - don't make any judgments or decisions until you turn the heel.  That will pull the sock into shape and let it cover my foot properly rather than just pulled on over the toes.  It was a pretty agonizing and tenseful knit until I finally got to the heel turn.

I was looking for alternative heel turn methods, for several reasons - I kept having gaps because my first stitches on the needle were generally pulled and stretched that created gaps, and I like to learn new methods.  I tripped over a heel that didn't involve wraps.  It's called Shadow wrap heel turn.  That really peaked my interest.  It's done all at once so to speak, no wraps (yes, no wraps), and looked really easy to do.  I don't mind wraps, but if I'm using a dark yarn, it's difficult to see them to pick them up.  I've been super excited to try this method.  In the picture to the left this is where I've got it set up and am ready to start the rest of the heel turn.  If you notice, my stitches aren't pulled at the beginning, so I had high hopes that I would have no unsightly holes - yes I was getting super excited!  And since there are no wraps, there are no stitches to pick up - just knitting the 'twins' together and making a triplet for the next row.

I could barely wait to try them on, and I use my left foot as that is my larger foot - If it fits on that foot, it will definitely fit on the right.  And O M G - it fits!  No unsightly gaps - there is a hole at the top where I joined back with my knitting, but I'm thinking it was based on having an extra row before I joined back in the round again - easy fix.  I'm SUPER pleased with this heel - I mean .. look at that - and it's the same on the other side too!  I totally recommend this heel and I used the tutorial from Eddie's Room where the Super Sock Calculator lives.

I've gotten up past the top of my ankle and will do one more pattern repeat then start my ribbing.  I'm super pleased with these socks and am beyond tickled that I have my sweet spot for needles and stitch count.  I'm telling you it really gives you a huge boost of confidence knowing that I can cast on my stitches and my socks will fit - I'll do another knit in a Patons sock yarn to use it up and then I'll get into my 'fun' yarn, if I can wait  if not - I'm thinking the Debbie Bliss yarn I won, or Knitpicks Freemont in the Hawthorne Kettle Dyed - I might just have to do the blind reach and grab.

Now I have to find the to that speaks toe me - the wedge type toe isn't my favourite, I'm thinking I might do that spiral cast on - we'll see where my sock journey continues to lead me.

Pattern Info:
US2 (2.75mm)
Dumbledore's Christmas Stockings with
Super Sock Calculator
Patons North America Kroy Socks FX - Celestial Colours
KALs these socks are in - #selfishmeKAL #BoxoSox2017 #23HPKAL2017 #ANADIOMENA 


04 February 2017

Finished Object and Sock Math (Weird Math warning)

It happened! Yes, it finally happened! I've a finished object! Based on the law of averages, something had to give eventually LOL And I'm so glad that it did.  This was an exceptionally easy and well written pattern that included both chart and written directions.  You'd think that with as long as I've been knitting that I would be a chart goddess, but no - for the most part, I follow written directions.

The #ValanarCowlKAL on ravelry hosted and written by Elena Nodel was a great deal of fun and a lot easier to knit that you would think.  The pattern was very intuitive and a pretty quick knit.  All said it probably was 5 days of knitting to get this done.  I was hit by some sort of critter that left me feeling decidedly not in knitting mode, so it languished for about a week.

This was knit on US7 (4.0mm) with Lion Brand Heartland in Great Smokey Mountain colourway.  The yarn is 100% acrylic and I only used one skein for this project.  I picked this yarn for ease of care as this is going to my step dad and I didn't want him to fret on wash and care of it - I want him to wear and enjoy it.

While this was an easy knit, I want to do a super simple knit now, and I want to use some of my new Knitpicks yarn that I've never used before so I want them to fit right - I was thinking a vanilla type sock would be perfect - my concern is that I've not found MY sweet spot for needles and number of stitches for socks - I could continue to cast on willy nilly and hope I hit it with various patterns in different needle sizes, but that would drive me a wee more bastsh!t crazy - so I did some research,

On ravelry there is a Super Sock Calculator that tells you stitches to cast on, stitches for heel and this is a toe up, two at a time calculator.  Sounds super awesome - but still doesn't tell me what needle I should use .. **sigh**

So back to google I went and I found this site:  Sock Math and Sock Chart  And this one included a formula that makes sense!  I think I might have found the sock math holy grail!!!  Their formula states thus:

1. Measure around ball of your foot (at widest part near toes) with foot resting on it’s weight.
2. Multiply # of inches by the gauge. (gauge will need to be determined from measuring a swatch made with intended yarn and tools).
3. Subtract 10 % of this number for negative give for fitted socks.
4. The result is the number of stitches to cast on in stitch used in swatch.

So using US2 with Knitpicks Hawthorne Kettle Dyed fingering weight yarn  So let's do some math - no swatch has been done as of yet - but that doesn't take long at all to do up

Width of my foot - 10"- yes I've a wide foot
Foot width x Gauge from my swatch -  10x8 = 80 ... I've not done my gauge swatch yet, but I tend to knit to gauge and this is based on pattern gauge for the time being - just to play with the numbers
10% negative ease - 80x.9 = 72 stitches

I'm not to sure about that as I've used 72 stitches in one pattern and the socks are largish on me with a size US2 needle.  hmmm The super sock calculator says a total of 64 stitches, and there is yet another pattern for 56 stitches that follows to my gauge.

Here are the numbers that are used for the Super Sock Calculator off their website

Length of Foot - 9
Width of foot - 8 (non weight bearing)
gauge - 32 sts / 4"

My results are:
A:14
B:32
C:7.5 inches


Which translates into 14 stitch magic cast on (toe up version) increasing until 32 stitches on each needle (64 stitches) and I start my heel at 7.5 inches from toe - I've not had an issue really with length of sock - more like what needles and how many stitches.

I think I'll do a quick swatch and see what I get - I bet if I change the foot width from weight bearing to non weight bearing, the results would be more acceptable.  I just can't agree with 72 stitches for me.  I'd almost rather have a sock a smidge to snug on my foot than swimming like my Midnight oil socks do - well they don't swim exactly, but I would like them to be much smaller.  I"m thinking that the Super Sock Calculator will be my best bet - 64 is following the Enya sock pattern and while that is on smaller needles, it fits me way better than my Midnight oil Socks.  My Sunset Scale socks were a 64 stitch sock and that is acceptable.  Having a super wide foot is a real trial LOL

I did a quick remeasure of my foot and with just my weight 'resting' it measured 8.5"
Width of my foot - 8.5"
Foot width x Gauge from my swatch -  8.5x8 = 68
10% negative ease - 68x.9 = 61.2 rounded to 61stitches

That makes more sense than previous numbers - seems like a really snug fit, but I can adjust the ease numbers or not use them at all

All this for a vanilla easy peasy knit LOL  Good lord, I could complicate a wet paper bag somedays LOL   Once I find my sweet spot for needles, I plan to return the skein I didn't use for the Valanar Cowl and exchange it for whatever size in 40' circs.  Maybe US2 as I seem to use them most.  My circs are all older with much stiffer and unforgiving stiff inflexible cables so magic loop has never been my method of choice.  I think I'll use my Patons Kroy FX yarn instead for the vanilla test knit.  I can grab that at Michaels anytime I want / need it.

That being said, I'm still working on my cowl for myself.  I picked the Spiral Cowl by Betty Narducci, and for this one I am follow a chart - not much choice on this one as there is no written directions.  I chose the Red Heart Unforgettable in the Echo Colour and black as my contrasting yarn.  Not much has been done and I hope to get back to this soon so I can wear it before spring LOL

30 January 2017

Finished Object Please??

A finished object is so close to happening! I can't wait! I know i make it sound like forever, but it honestly feels that way.  You'd think with 4 different projects on my needles, that I would have something ready to show LOL.  I have been steadily working on the cowls in the past bit when I was in a knit mood.

Clue 3 has been presented and been finished for the Valanar Cowl MKAL - Clue 4 is supposed go live sometime today and I'm waiting with bated breath!  With the new cables being added, this cowl feels like it's taking forever to do a round now.  Not sure how many more rows this is going to take.  The yardage for the pattern says 350-400yds; my skein is for 251 yds and I'm still on the first skein - I knit to gauge so ... not sure how much Clue 4 is going to take considering I've not even reached 350 yds - esh I could be knitting til spring!  LOL

While waiting for clues, I worked on my cowl - it's slow going as I'm doing colour work.  I was thinking how long it had been since I've done colour work, and I'm pretty sure that the Kid wasn't born the last time I did it and he's 21 now LOL  oh vay!!!  So, ya - it's been a few years LOL 

I was a wee bit irked by the yarn I picked for my cowl - when I was doing the first 10 rows, it started light then went to dark colours, light and almost black - considering my contrasting colour is black, my eyes were going a wee bit crossed.  I did not it to be that dark - I really couldn't even see the difference in colour while knitting it and the colour difference wasn't apparent on the needles either as you can see in this pic.  It slowed me down even more (if that was possible LOL) just because I had to count each section and checked each colour section and count every stitch at least twice.

I managed to blunder on through it and am maybe - MAYBE a quarter of the way through.  My cowl is half the size of the one I'm making for my step dad and it'll likely take me longer LOL  I'm okay with that, I am enjoying the process and watching the pattern emerge with each row.

I hope that the rest of it will be heading towards  lighter colours that I see in the skein.  I wanted the pattern to pop instead of be subtle.  I think it's going to look great either way, so I won't be disappointed.

I do have another cowl for myself planned  - Cat Lover's Cowl that will use black yarn for the contrast with another Red Heart Unforgettable in the Dragonfly colourway.

In early January I won a contest on Instagram that was hosted by Brownberry Yarns (located in the UK). It was loaded with Hiyahiya accessories; kitty snips, stitch markers, a tape measure, bamboo dpns, a skein of Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock yarn colour 02 and a pattern.  Josie from Brownberry Yarns included a wonderful handwritten note and was a joy to work with and is very personable.  I've been wanting the Hiyahiya kittysnips for the longest time and I just love Hiyahiya accessories.  Thank you again Josie for hosting the competition and thank you for being such a wonderful person :)  I keep looking at the yarn and am wondering what it wants to be.  It looks gorgeous and I love the barberpoling.

No progress has been made on my Enya socks or my stash buster KAL blanket - Once I get the cowls down - I'm thinking I'll be casting on another pair of socks - or force myself to finish my enya socks - either way - I have a few other pairs of socks poking at me or else starting the shawl instead .. hmmm decisions decisions LOL  eeeeep




22 January 2017

All the Things

There has been so much going on fibre-wise since my last post when I talked about dyeing yarn.  Never one to sit still when I can learn more fun things, I took my thoughts a step further and thought - I want to try and spin my own yarn!  Yes I said that . spin my own yarn LOL

I've done a lot of research and want to eventually do fingering weight yarn that has been plyed.  It's going to take me a LOT of practice to get there, but I definitely want to learn.  So I found a drop spindle starter kit that included top and bottom whorl spindles, with an ounce of practice roving, and then three ounces of a gorgeous purple green roving that is for when you are better.  From my first attempts, I'm going to say I need more than an ounce of roving to get to that point.

Now to be fair to myself, I only did a little bit of spinning and I didn't do all that bad.  There are spots it's over spun and other where it's under spun.  Spinning has really spoken to me.  Just think, I can make my own yarn and then dye it!  I went to do a bit more spinning last night and I learned that I did NOT leave enough of a 'tail' left to attach more roving, so the first bit I spun is not something I think I can add to - not sure - I'll have to do more research to see if I can, but I think not.

The practice roving fibres are much longer than I expected them to be and it put me off my stride a bit - I think that if I can just get a good rhythm going I should be okay.  The fibre length is called 'staple'.  I want to specialize with the top whorl spindle as that's the one that spins faster and makes the finer yarn, while the bottom whorl spindle goes slower and is great for heavier weight yarn and plying your 'singles' together.  What you see to the left is referred to as a single.  The first initial spin that is only one ply.  I am really happy with this kit as it included both spindles and the price was very reasonable.  I got it from an Etsy shop called The Wooley Whale located in Maine.  Their description was very informative and educational as well.

I've got a few things on my needles.  I know I generally prefer to do one project and finish it before moving on, but certain things conspired so that wasn't possible.  I still have my Stash Killer KAL that I'm working on - I've not touched it in quite a while and I should consider getting back to it soon  I'm almost halfway done with the blocks.  I'd still have to block, then join them - and as this yarn is acrylic I need to do a bit of tap dancing to get it done.  But I've done my research and am ready for it!

Stash Killer KAL
Blossom FIngerless Mitts KAL
Gina;s Owl Mitts
Enya TozUp

Then there's my Enya TozUp that were put aside for the Fingerless Mitts KAL, and then Gina's Owl Mitts - I've been working on them and am halfway thru the foot.  I had a bugger of a time casting the last sock on - I must have made ten attempts at least!  They are knitting up nicely and I'm at the point I just want them done - they've been to long in the making and are almost at the point of hibernating forever if I don't get them done - altho with winter coming, other projects are clamoring for my attention - Like my blog title is .. All the Things!!! LOL  I think I might try knitting two at a time for my next pair of socks.  That requires a magic loop technique and I'm not sure I've circulars that are that size.  I used to do socks with two circulars, but I'm not sure where those went.  I'll keep my eye out for them, but not a bit deal to purchase a US2 in a long enough circular.  I'm still trying to find my perfect stitch count and needle size for socks - I might wait until I find that BEFORE I pick up the circular.

While watching one of my podcasts, there was mentioned the Afterthought Everything Socks - basically what you do is knit a tube, then 'cut' for the heel and toe, pick up the stitches and do an afterthought heel and then the toe.  It's a purchased pattern on Ravelry that is a whole $2 - I figured that she deserved the $2 for thinking of it and putting it to paper!  That is on my list for one of my new colourways where a vanilla sock is better to show of the yarn and let the yarn do the work.  I got a whole bunch of yarn on Knitpicks last 40% off sale, and there's definitely a few skeins that would be perfect for this technique.



The last thing that's on my needs is called the Valanar Cowl MKAL.  It's a mystery KAL that is a non mystery LOL.  It's a cowl for men.  It's gorgeous!  I instantly thought of my step dad.  It's done with worsted weight on US7 needles and should knit up pretty quick.  I did the first clue of 4" of ribbing - clue 2 comes out tomorrow.  He seems to be feeling the cold more since he got out of hospital on January 12.  And the worst of bitter cold is yet to come.  I hope that this will help to keep him warmer - and the yarn I picked it simple put in the washer and dryer with no fuss.

It has beautiful cable work that I'm going to love doing.  It's not a surprise so to speak, but I've not told him about it and have asked the kid to hush about it as well LOL  Granted he has read my blog so if he gets bored he might be reading this.  If so he needs to stop now LOL   I wanted to use a tonal yarn for it and kept eyeballing a green, but it was the wrong hue for the winter coat that he wears and I didn't see a blue that spoke to me - the yarn available was more for feminine projects.  His coat is a dark charcoal with a burgundy ish liner and the green didn't quite fit - so grabbed Lion Brand Heartland in Great Smokey Mountain for ease of care for him.

While I was picking up his yarn, I grabbed a skein of Unforgettable for myself for a cowl - I've been eyeing it every time I see it  With the sale at Michaels - it was a good time to pick it up and it's destined for a cowl for me - I'll be doing colourwork for mine and I'm down to 3 or 4 patterns that I will have to sift down further - it all depends on what's in my stash to go with it - I'm either going to do 2 or 3 colours - been a long time since I've done stranded colourwork and it's starting to speak to me.  Yup  All the things .. I want to knit all the things!!


Ravelry ID - gquilts
IG - g.quilts

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