Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yes, I have been knitting

I have finally finished my July socks for the Sock Challenge. This is the Ivy League sock pattern designed by Wendy Johnson. I test knit the pattern for it (and enjoyed doing that a lot), but after the first sock and casting on and knitting part of the second, my attention seemed to get diverted. I've been spending a lot of time working on my moguldum. I'm podcasting for Knitting Purls now, and I'm starting a new ezine, Spinning & Dyeing, which will debut in December. But I really do like the pattern. Incidentally, Wendy has generously donated it to the Patterns for Paws Project!

I'm on the board of the Editorial Freelancers Association. Last week we had a 2-hour teleconference. In anticipation that I'd get bored, I designed the Bored Board sock to work on during the meeting. I wanted something simple, since I knew I should probably pay attention. This yarn is the Mad Hatter I dyed using Kool-Aid. I like how it's working up.

As of Monday afternoon, I have something else taking up some of my time. I'd like to introduce you to Miss Ewenice T. Bunet. The last name is pronounced Bun-nay by the way. She is a Lionhead bunny and is 6 months old. And yes, I plan to spin her fur. But mostly I plan to love her.

Friday, August 08, 2008

New Goings On

Well, I'm still dyeing. This time I used Wilton Cake Decorating colors. Now, these are not the ones usually found in grocery stores. These colors are found in cake decorating stores and in cake decorating sections of craft stores such as AC Moore and Michaels. There is a wide variety of colors available, and of course you can mix colors to create your own.

I also tried a new dyeing tool: the slow cooker! Piece of cake. It certainly doesn't get much easier, unless you're using the Kool-Aid "sun tea" method. The only problem I had was keeping the yarn submerged during the first 20 minute soak. I finally put a plate on top of it to hold it down. I'm not sure why this happened, but I think it might have been because there wasn't enough water. I'm using a 4-quart slow cooker, and perhaps I should have gotten a slightly larger one. Another reason could be that I had the skein twisted a bit too tightly, which didn't allow the water to soak through efficiently and sink the yarn. Regardless, I'm happy with the results.


I want to call your attention to a new etsy shop opening at 8:00 PDT on August 8. Dizzy Blonde Studios features a beautiful selection of hand-dyed yarn. You can see closeups of the yarn here. I think we all should do our best to support independent dyers and spinners.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

What I've been up to

I've said many times that the better I become as a knitter, the more interested I am in other aspects of the knitting process. One of my newest fascinations is dyeing. These are photos of my very first attempt. I used Kool-Aid: 2 packets of Grape and 3 packets of Lemon Lime. Once the green and purple were to my liking, I squirted the middle part with Tropical Punch.

I am very happy with how the yarn turned out. There are gradations in the purple and lime; they are more obvious in the purple parts. I had read somewhere that someone thought the dark purple looked brown when using Kool-Aid. That's not true for me. My dark purple is a real dark purple. Incidentally, I named the colorway The Mad Hatter. There is a local antique store with a lime green and purple storefront.

When I do Kool-Aid dyeing again--and I will--I think I'll do it on top of the stove. I used quart canning jars in the microwave for this project. I had a mess in the microwave from "boil over." It was easily cleaned up. I don't notice that it smelled up my kitchen, and the yarn does not have an overly Kool-Aidie smell.

The next dyeing project is using a Crockpot. I think I'm going to keep to food dyes, but this time use food coloring in past form, available in cake decorating stores or Michaels and probably AC Moore. I think I'll go for a more autumnal look.

Besides this, and knitting, I've been letting the idea for a new project marinate in my mind. It would aid in my quest to create a dynasty!