Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Vis a vis Amy Rose

I have too many things going on at once.
I'm so unique, aren't I?
The blue monster is still lovely, and I'm almost done with the body, but the intensive knit and purl pattern isn't thrilling me right now, so 3 inches short of the top of the body, it sits quietly in the knitting basket. I'm almost done with the lined mittens, but they too aren't doing it for me because apparently, they aren't hot pink enough. So here's Amy - I'm working the Vis a vis pattern in reverse (Knitting the new classics Kristin Nicholas ISBN 0806931701) - meaning from the top down. I'm using a twisted lift increase at the raglan seams to eliminate the big holes that can happen when doing increases along a raglan seam. I really have to do this one again in a colorway I can wear - greens and blues for the silk and merino, blues and purples for the mohair, I'm thinking. The fabric this makes is really amazing, soft and light and not at all itchy.
I'm thinking for my next dying attempt of investing in Wilton or Ateco for dyes . . .

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sometimes hybrid vigor works out

When you look at just Mom and Dad, it's hard to imagine that the offspring wouldn't be kind of nasty and clashy. Yet, it works - well, I think it works.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Amy Rose the Hedgehog, part 2

Stank up the kitchen with hot vinegar last night dying Knitpicks Bare Silk/Merino fingering weight with store brand neon food color dye (purple and pink) to go with the first Kool Aid dyed round of Amy Rose.
The colors in person are pretty close to these pictures - I'm actually pleased with a photo I took in this case - and I think it will be really interesting to see them paired together.
Once this second installment dries, I'll knit some swatches. Maybe the Vis-A-Vis Pullover, maybe a cardigan?
Please let me know if you have a great idea for this stuff. . .

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pattern for worsted weight lined mittens

(This is for a pair of women's medium)


Lining yarn - 200 yards Shine Worsted (2 balls)

Outer yarn - 200 yards worsted weight wool

scrap yarn for casting on (use a contrasting color to make it easier to remove)


2 pairs of circulars size 3 and size 5

1 yarn needle


With scrap yarn and larger needles, cast on 40 sts.

Knit these sts. onto the smaller needles with the lining yarn, 20 sts. to each needle. Join into a round, being careful not to twist the loop.

Knit 2.5 in.

Next 2 rows (taken together, this would be one full round): k 1, make one via a twisted lifted increase, k 18, make one via a twisted lifted increase, k 1. Increase a total of 4 sts. over whole round.

Knit 1 in.

Next row (first half of round), k to within 3 sts. of the end of row, make one via twisted lifted increase, k 1, make one via twisted lifted increase, k2.

Next row (second half of round) k 1, make one via a twisted lifted increase, k 20, make one via a twisted lifted increase, k 1. Increase a total of 4 sts. over whole round.

Knit 2 rounds.

Next row (first half of round), k to within 4 sts. of the end of row, make one via twisted lifted increase, k 3, make one via twisted lifted increase, k2.

Next row (second half of round), k across all sts.

Knit 3 rounds.

Next row (first half of round), k to within 10 sts. of the end of row, with a peice of scrap yarn knit over the next 9 sts. Slip these sts. back onto the left hand needles and knit them again with the lining yarn, k 1 to complete the row.

Next row (second half of round), k across all sts.

Knit for the next 4.5 inches (or as long as will make a comfortable mitten).

Next row (first half of round), k across all sts.

Next row (second half of round), k 1, ssk, knit to within 3 sts. of the end of row, k2tog, k1.

Next row (first half of round), k 1, ssk, knit to within 3 sts. of the end of row, k2tog, k1.

Next row (second half of round), k 1, ssk, knit to within 3 sts. of the end of row, k2tog, k1.

Complete these last 2 rows until there are 5 sts. left on each side (total of 10 sts. for the whole round). Graft/kitchner stitch the top of the mitten closed.

Sunflower returns! More news at 11:00 (tomorrow)

So, I ripped out that ugly sock, and in it's place I pulled out the remainders of my KnitPicks Shine Worsted in Sunflower and have started some lined mittens. Thanks to magic needles, these puppies now go very fast. I'm thinking that DK weight outer wool and KnitPicks Shine Sport might be an ideal combination for these. Anyway, long story short, these are pretty fun and easy and I'll post the pattern as I work it up.
Pretty good minor league game, as well. Not that you can see it, because, well, my picture taking rather lacks . . . but if you ever read this, you know.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Time flies

Okay, I haven't been posting much basically because I haven't been getting much knitting or any spinning done. Three things that seriously cut into my time (this excludes normal dumb stuff like earning a living, cooking, trying to clean once in a while, playing video games, etc.)
1.) Tball. It's a large time commitment - but it's totally worth it.
2.) MLB Extra Innings.
3.) Jane Eyre. Such a wonderful soap opera - way better than Dallas (or Cats for that matter). Thank you Masterpiece.

That said, here's a report on the big blue beast:

This thing here is an entralac sock. I don't like it, the gauge is messy, so I'm going to rip it out. I love the technique, just not my application of it. Maybe a blanket . . . I just noticed, what a lame photo, even for me. Too good to crop, I guess?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Some ideas

So I'm working a pair of entrelac socks, but I'm still trying to sort out needles sizes so the patches work up at the same gauge as the rest of the sock ribbing and foot, so no pictures of that yet (gah, it's so ugly so far, like no one wants to see this sausage being made). The socks are washed, and dried, but I"m trying to lay off my natural nagging tendencies and let him try them when he wants to. (He just saw this as I was writing and found them to go try them on.) So here are some pictures from a walk today. I grew up for almost 32 years in the same part of the country and I really knew the birds, plants, trees, how the clouds looked before rain, or snow, and then we moved and everything is new. Here's what's new and nice (for me).
These trees are everywhere and I love the way they look like they're holding snow.
This bark is awesome - browns and grays (there are loads of layers in each chunk of bark, you can take chunks off the ground and peel away layer after layer) and green lichen in the valleys between the bark islands, too. The islands remind me of Fassett's patterns, and the colors have a lot of the Jack's Back seaside colorway (I have another colorway photographed here).

And finally, violets. The grow almost everywhere - we had loads of them in our lawn and gardens when I was a kid. I love the contrast of the bright green, heart-shaped leaf and the delicate dark purple flowers that sort of looks like a little lion's face.
Someone I look at has a great sock with these colors, but I'll have to find it tomorrow . . . .

Friday, April 11, 2008

In the washer

The socks, I mean. We want to see how they wash and dry - perhaps we'll have an action photo tomorrow morning; sorry, none with this post. If he likes them, perhaps another pair in grey.

The thing about the magic needle technique that I like is that if you have a simple enough pattern (like a 2x2 or 3x3 rib) it really is possible to work entirely by feel and not miss a minute of the movie/game/etc. that you really want to watch. If you have ever disliked socks for the dp needle angle, give it a try.

Oh, a follow up on that dying - I'm curious how others wash knitwear/fibers. I've settled washing (dunking and massaging with my knuckles, really) gently in lukewarm water with kid's shampoo in it (I like Orange/Mango myself, especially if you're trying to get rid of that not-so-yummy vinegar smell). Rinse 2 times, sometimes I rinse once more with conditioner in the water and rinse once more. Works nicely on wool, but I wouldn't do it on lofty stuff like mohair or boucle for fear of lanky nastiness.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Amy Rose the Hedgehog

Instructions are pretty much the same as yesterday.

Yes, the little one is going through a hardcore Sonic phase.
So what was I thinking doing with this? Haha! Knitting the New Classics by Kristin Nicholas has a pattern for something called the Vis-A-Vis Pullover (I'm sure someone on Ravelry has it up to see somewhere - I'd use R more, but the need to post photos via flickr is just more work than I'm willing to do more than once in a great while) which used Applause (bulky weight mohair, silk, rayon and wool). I want to dye my own, in separate strands and work the sweater this way. So here's the mohair, I think I'll pair it with Knitpicks silk and wool dyed more tame shades of Amy pink . . .

We're sitting in the living room and the small one looks out the window and says "Mom, there's a bird eating your yarn". Yup, a pair of titmice were plucking Amy Rose for their nest. More reasons to deal in food safe colorants!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The things you can do with food coloring!

This was a truck load of fun! I would highly suggest it as fun for the over 5 set. Safe, easy clean up, lots of creativity to be had. We didn't wear gloves, but we did change into black sweats for the occasion.
So we started off with
  • plain white vinegar (1 cup)
  • cool water (3 cups)
  • these two combined in a large bowl wherein we soaked for about 20 minutes
  • 4 skeins of Knitpicks Bare Silk/Merino fingering weight (I re-skeined the one into 4 small, loose skeins, so if the whole was 440 yd/sk. we got about 100 yd in each)
  • a package of normal food color (liquid, store brand, red/yellow/green/blue)
  • a package of Betty Crocker Neon gel food colors (pink/orange/lime/purple)
  • 3 Pyrex microwave safe dishes
  • many spoons to mix with
  • small cups and dishes for mixing colors in
  • our instant kettle full of hot (not boiling) water to mix with food color
What we did to the yarn:
  • Once the yarn was soaked in vinegar, we gently run it out (don't rinse). After the first skein, I left the yarn wetter to allow the colors to bleed (semi-squooshy to the touch), but if you want very distinct color sections, drier will work better.
  • Lay it out as flat as possible in the dishes, to avoid white patches on the bottom.
  • Paint, pour, slop, whatever. The color liquid you have in the pan, the muddier the skeins will be, sometimes you want this. You can mash you yarn gently with a (clean) spoon or fork to get the color distributed as you want.
  • Microwave on high for 2.5 minute. Take out of the microwave, let rest for 2.5-5 minutes. Microwave on high for 2.5 minutes.
  • At this point, the color should be set (any remaining liquor in the pans should be clear and the fiber should have taken up all the dye). Take the skein out and inspect (with a fork, the stuff will be HOT). Bare patches? No biggie, apply more dye and re-microwave. Sort of like batiking, actually, that was a cool discovery.
  • Once all dye applications have been microwaved twice and the liquor runs clear, hang them out to dry.
Thanks to Anne C for the general outline of how to dye with food coloring/Kool Aid. Tomorrow or Thursday, we're going to try the KA.
See the second picture? I think we're going to need some more [FBI guys] paper towels! Clean up also consisted of Windex and papertowels with one or two tiny patches of bleach/Comet (the purple and pink gel were a tad stain-y).

Monday, April 7, 2008


Okay, here's our target:
Knitpicks Bare Silk/Merino fingering weight (440 yds per sk, I'm going to use 2.5 or so of these) and fingering weight mohair from the Wool Peddler.
And here's the idea for the color . . .

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Okay, it's a little silly, but I was sitting there working on a sock, and the camera was there so . . . .
Braves 3, Mets 1, sock plus 3 inches.
Once you get a good rhythm, socks are pretty awesome to work on at baseball games. Especially once you're not using dp's anymore, you can do everything by feel.
Hope everyone had a nice weekend.

Socks, one down

I really like this yarn, in fact, I can see it working out for some small gauge sweater patterns that need some strength to their hand so they don't get too drape-y. And for a man's sweater, where a too-soft hand would cause problems.

Still haven't gotten a decent picture of Soryu, but maybe if the sun comes out . . . .

Oh, and Kool Aid dying? I have a snap of an idea I'm going for . . .

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Soryu, first skein

I need some daylight pictures to really show the colors, but it's nice. More subtle than I thought it would be looking at the rovings, but it's got the feel of light and shadow and scales, which was what I had in mind. And it's really soft, and I finally seem to have figured out how to put the right amount of twist into my singles to make a decent 2 ply.