Friday, October 27, 2006

New Projects

Man I've been doing some knitting though you wouldn't know it to look at my blog. So much for my once a week update. Here are some things I've been up to:

This is a hat for MOI in the new Patons SWS yarn in the Natural Pink colorway. We did a secret pal swap this month on our DFW Chicks with Sticks yahoo group & this was one of the yummy things in my bag. I just love the color and it was awesome to knit with.

Ok, this is also for me. I have been wanting a pink alpaca scarf & here it is - Cameo Faggot scarf pattern using Plymouth Chunky Alpaca yarn. I love knitting with this stuff. Muchly.

This is a gift for Patrick's dad using the same Plymouth Chunky Alpaca in ivory - obviously - knit in a basket weave pattern.

Fetching fingerless mitts knit with Debbie Bliss merino dk yarn that I found on sale - this was my first attempt at this pattern but be on the lookout for more, these are a gift but I'm in the middle of mitt #1 of my second pair.

This is an accidental knit if there is any such animal. I was walking with my Ipod the other day & it was really getting on my nerves - the whole having to hold it while I walk thing. I started dreaming up a really easy sock type thing that I could hang around my neck like the Ipod Shuffle. Here ya go! Knit with Caron Simply Soft in PANK obviously - really easy. This was my first attempt at knitting icord & I really enjoyed it. I am easily fascinated I suppose.

That's it for now folks! I have several projects OTN but I'm not naming them because several of them have "frog" written all over them.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Crock Pot Yarn Dyeing

I posted this yarn on some websites I frequent & have gotten several request for the instructions, so I figured I'd put it out there. The internet is such a strange & wonderful world - I have been told that crock pot instructions using this dye method are not easy to find. I am on the quest to elevate my blog to the top of google searches - try googling "Erdal Lazer" yarn - I am second only to ebay if any is listed at that time, which proves the inadequacy of the company's marketing skills - I personally think I should get free yarn for that, but I digress.

First of all, I can not claim credit for these directions. I will give them too you just as my knitting friend Ronda in Fort Worth gave them to me. I met her for the first time on the same day I saw this beautiful yarn that she had dyed & I thought she was entirely clever. Here we are months & months later & I still think so.

For my crockpot dyeing mission I used Wilton's Icing Dye. I think I got mine at Hobby Lobby for a few dollars, but I've also seen it at Michael's & similar stores. It apparently comes in varies consistencies but I used the paste. The yarn in the picture shown above was made with black dye. Just black - can you believe it? Apparently they get the dark colors by blending other colors so they split when you cook them & this is what you get. I also tried using the burgundy color but I just got pink yarn, so if you use something dark like purple or dark green or something similar, and it splits to give you varigated yarn, PLEASE let me know - I don't dye yarn to get one color - to me it just isn't as interesting.

This particular yarn is Paton's Merino Wool in an ecru color - any animal fiber should work. I started by taking it out of the skein & wrapping it in a hank, then tie it LOOSELY with a scrap piece of yarn (if you use acryllic you will see just how true it is that acryllic won't absorb dye -very). When I say tie loosely I mean it - you can see in the picture that some of the areas I tied didn't take as much, in some cases any, dye. I have a bigger crockpot - it's 4 quarts as far as I can tell - and that is what I used. Sidenote: If you don't have one, they are often at garage sales for a few dollars. I put the yarn in my crockpot & added enough water to cover the yarn. Then I put in a quick pour of white vinegar - that sets the color in the yarn & also makes it smell like.....vinegar. I let the yarn sit in the vinegar water with the crockpot off for about an hour. I took a butter knife & dipped the tip of it into the dye paste & pulled it out - there was maybe a 1/2 teaspoon of dye on there? That is PLENTY enough. Take the butter knife with the dye on it & stab the yarn in 3 or 4 or 5 spots until the knife is empty. Let the yarn cook on high for several hours - I check it every hour or so but you'll know when the yarn has taken all of the dye because the water will be clear - or very nearly clear.

To be honest I'm not sure if some of my method is overkill & what I made up myself - like letting the yarn sit that long, but I do know that it needs to be saturated. So take these non-professional directions with that in mind. Some people want exact times & measurements & I understand that - I'm usually that person. What I've had to convince myself of is that this is ART & you can use these guidelines or experiment - the products are generally pretty inexpensive & dyeing is so fun.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Stupidest Knitter Alive

I may not be, but I really feel like it. And not just because I used the word "stupidest" even though I know it's not grammatically correct. I feel like such an idiot & I imagine looking at that picture, you can imagine why.

I am currently knitting up the Noni Rather Huge Carpet Bag. I couldn't believe how quickly it was knitting up & that I was nearly done, so this morning I started knitting bright & early so that I could finish it up & bind off. So I did.

When I was a credit analyst for the bank, they used to make us do an exercise called "Spilled Milk". We were periodically assigned loans that had defaulted & that the bank had lost money on and made us re-analyze it & write up how we could have predicted this loss when it was originally underwritten. I couldn't help but think this is a spilled milk project if I've ever seen one! Let's recap:
A) The pattern called for 4 skeins of each color of yarn - you hold 2 of each color together. Last night I was telling Patrick that I wasn't even through 2 skeins of each color & that I must be knitting extra tight or something. I was already contemplating what I'd do with that left over pink & brown yarn. I could make another bag as a gift!
B) It wasn't rather huge. It was rather short. I mean really short. Can anyone say "half as short as it should be"?
C) The fact that I kept saying "gee this is knitting up so quickly"!
D) Never underestimate the gut feeling that something is wrong. My gut is pretty wise. (also true in the credit world, btw).

You see, I should be knitting 10 rows of EACH COLOR. I knit 10 rows total. I even re-read the pattern several times and counted at least 5 times to make sure I was right. I just think somewhere the damn pattern should say "you should have 20 rows total" considering they gave every other direction in every possible way as if they were talking to The Stupidest Knitter Alive. Sigh. I'll take responsibility for my screw up. I am just heartbroken because now I've cut my yarn on the first skeins on top of the fact that I already did the bind off. Going to unbind off. What do you even call that? Double sigh.