Thursday, April 22, 2010

Colorplay with Easter Egg Dyes

I hate to let this month slip away without showing the fun I've been having with Easter Egg dyes. I would have never guessed that those little tabs and a bottle of vinegar could make such pretty yarn colors.

This first is the result of handpainting a skein of natural colored sport weight yarn with a mix of blue and green tabs, and a mix of the orange and yellow.

I toned the whole thing down with a dilute mix of Wilton brown in invisible koolaid. Wrapped up in plastic wrap and a few minutes of steam in the microwave created this loveliness.

This second yarn is an overdye that I did over a superwash wool sock yarn. I took the skein from this:

to this:

I used the crockpot, because I wanted a kettle dyed effect with a bit more color variation. I heated up enough water to cover the skein, introduced the yarn, then poured the dye into the water in different areas of the crockpot. Because the water was hot, the yarn took up the color in the area I poured it rather quickly.

I liked how the colors didn't mix and become muddy. I got distinct areas of color in different areas of the skein. However, even though I moved the skein around between pours, there were areas where the dye didn't reach and I had to lay the skein out and do a handpaint/ microwave steam to cover undyed areas afterwards.

I'll continue to experiment with this method to try to get the semisolid effects I'm hoping for.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sock Reincarnation

I knit a Jaywalker sock the first part of April. Wow, it took a LOT of stitches. Little tiny stitches on 2.25 mm dpn's.

Problem is, when I got done I wasn't crazy about the sock. I like stretchy, squishy socks that form around my foot with a reassuring little hugginess. This sock didn't do that. Although it fit reasonably well, it just didn't have enough give for my liking.

I couldn't get excited about knitting the second matching sock, and I didn't want to sacrifice the pretty Mybootee Boutique sock yarn to what was destined to become an abandoned UFO, so ..... Jaywalker went to the frog pond and a new Monkey joined the knitting at my house.

And although it's clear the lovely yarn wants to be a Monkey - it just doesn't want to be my Monkey. Despite much pulling and tugging over my heel and a healthy dose of knitterly denial - I have to face the fact that it is indeed too small for me.

Being a resourceful knitter, and unable to face the idea of once again frogging, I came up with a brilliant idea:

Mother's Day socks!
As luck would have it, My Mom has smaller, more delicate, feet than I do. And Mom - the woman who admired and displayed every childhood art project - she deserves some dang good knitting gifts.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Black Beans Dye Blue - Who Knew?

If you've read this blog before, you'll know that I did a fun little natural dyeing experiment with black beans that gave me some gorgeous blue yarn. The question among the group of natural dyers doing this is "How colorfast and lightfast is this dye?" It hardly seems worth all the work to do the three step process of first mordanting the fiber, then soaking the beans to make the dye, then actually dyeing the fiber if it isn't going to hold its' color. (Think of all those dirty dishes!)

I made the yarn into a cozy pair of Blueberry Waffle Socks in March. I've worn them frequently since. They are my around the house, slipper sort of socks. They've already been washed a half dozen times - once in the washing machine/dryer, the rest dunked in the sink by hand with some baby shampoo. Between washes, they've mostly been draped out on an easy chair in my bedroom that's bright with natural light during the day. Sort of for experimental purposes and sort of because I'm lazy that way...

After 3 weeks of almost constant wear and light exposure- I see a little fading. Probably as much as you'd get with anything given that much use. For me - definately worthwhile to use this type of dyeing. Even on hard used items - once they've faded enough - you could dunk the whole thing in the dyepot again. I call this a successful experiment. And as a bonus, I've become very attached to my super comfy Black Bean Socks.

Friday, April 9, 2010

My New Coffee Knitter Friend in N.J.

I recently made a new knitter friend. You can never have enough of these, in my opinion, 'cause knitters - well, they're just good people. And they know stuff. Stuff other knitters want to know. And they share! They share the stuff they know and they share the stuff they love.

Ria and I both love coffee. Tea too. We're caffinated knitting people and we were paired up in the Caffeine Addicts Group on Ravelry in their Spring Swap. We swapped packages of stuff we love, or at least thought the other would love and Ria hit the nail on the head. She knows how to put together a swap package.

I just love my new coffee cup. I use this cup only for coffee because - see that thing under it that most people might think is a coaster? Well, in my world, it's a lid and I have wished for a lid for my cup for some time and now I have it. I use it every morning.
This morning I also tried the first pot of the fabulous beans she sent from her neighborhood bakery/coffee shop and they make a delicious brew indeed.

Ria also sent me beautiful cotton yarn. It's Patagonia Nature Cotton in a lovely blue/green color. This is destined to be a Bazan by Jane Richmond. Aren't the teacup stitch markers clever? They're from Yarn Lust on etsy.

Ria also knitted a tea cozy just for me. It's a pretty blue-green and it's topped with adorable leaves. I do love leaves. I've never had a tea cozy before. I have the feeling it could become as important as coffee lids - you know, in keeping stuff that should be warm, warm

The package was packed with all sorts of treats, but one of the things I really got a kick out of was this postcard. Coffee coming through an IV, and I'm a nurse and I hang IV's and I love coffee and....well, it just cracked me up. So. Perfect.

And don't you just love people who make you laugh?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Another Recovery Day

After a minor surgery, I have some time on my hands. It's a gift - this time for healing and recovery, with notning pressing to do. I'm not even supposed to drive. So athough it may be self indulgent to say so, it's definately a gift. I'm healing well, taking good care, going slow.

Today I'm sitting out on my back porch in a big comfy wicker chair where I can put my feet up. The weather is perfect - a light warm breeze is whispering through the leaves of the tangelo tree.

I have a new crochet project to start that I need to wind the yarn into balls for. No knitting deadlines to meet for once, which makes picking and starting new projects so enjoyable and relaxing.

I've set out the socks I made in March. Although I've worn and washed them several times, I never got around to weaving in the ends. (shhhhh!) I'll get it done sometime today. Maybe after a little nap.

My coworkers even sent me these beautiful flowers! I do feel loved.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Discovering the Pyramids

In my neverending search for project bags, I happened to run across this cute little concept: The Pyramid Bag. I found an obscure little online diagram and set about trying to figure it out. I came up with my version, then someone shared this archived tutorial.

I had made mine much the same, except I set the zipper in differently. I found when the zipper went all the way across the edge, it didn't make for a nice finish at the top of the bag. Sewing the top together about 2 inches before the zipper made all the difference.

I also use a fusible heavyweight interfacing to make a sturdy bag. I much prefer that to the floppy look. These bags are about 8" x 8" and make the perfect sized sock project bag. A mini one would do well as a little notions pouch.