Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday sky

Cold and rainy here today. But I do love seeing the color of the autumn leaves pop against a dreary sky.

I had to go looking for slippers and a comforter last night. I love autumn... there's something so cozy about it. If I was a tea drinker, it would be a perfect day for some fragrant hot tea. Maybe I'll make some cocoa later tonight, while I knit and watch 'Ray' on DVD.

I'd love to be dyeing today. I've been kicking around some color combinations that I'd love to try. But I promised myself I'd do homework and take a much needed nap instead. I have my sock yarn ready to go for Socktoberfest, and want to try to finish up the fuzzy foot tonight.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Looking ahead...

I love fuzzy feet, especially ones with my own handpainted yarn. They knit up so nicely and there's such a sense of pride in watching them form under my hands.

I was talking to a dear friend today about all the things I'm hoping to accomplish by the close of this year. There's a few friends I'll make small items for, but mostly I am going to focus on socks and slippers (since it's already getting chilly in the evenings here). I really want this to be a Fall/Winter of socks and washcloths for me- nice, small projects I can fit in my schedule.

My other focus is Dulaan 2007- I'm going to try to donate four knitted items and one fleece blanket before July 2007.

I've decided my first project for Socktoberfest is children's wool socks for Dulaan out of some happy pink and yellow sock yarn. That, and my red socks as soon as I can find some yarn I'm happy with (or if I can untangle what I've got). I think I've found some online, so hopefully I can make a yarn decision and cast those on very soon.

The other project I want to accomplish is knitting a bear for the Mother Bear Project. I remember coming across this website last year when I first started knitting and thinking the pattern looked so hard (but the bears looked so cute!). Looking at it now, I'm not sure what made me think it was so hard... possibly the legs?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Berry-licious Fuzzy Feet

Making some progress on the birthday fuzzy feet for d. The cuff seems to match pretty well, considering its a completely different yarn and dye process performed two weeks after the first batch.

It really reminds me of berries... raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries.... (what is boysenberry, anyway? For the longest time I kept thinking that was just a flavored syrup IHOP made up)

Anyway I'm really pleased with it so far and I hope she loves the final product!

And my little bit of stress for today....
All it takes is a minute for me to be distracted with a ringing phone, and she pounces.

Guess who thinks cashmere is a playtoy??

Why, why WHY doesn't she like scrap yarn or the cotton I use for the washcloths??

Luckily, I saw her going for it out of the corner of my eye, and made a quick save. It's now sealed back up and locked far away with the rest of my Gypsy-free stash.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sock-ret Pal has begun!

I received my pal's name this morning. This should be a lot of fun!

For my own Pal, I answered my questionnaire earlier (It's on my sidebar, about halfway down, under 'Questionnaires'.) Or... you can go here.

Today was a really full day, already. We did our first video shoot at work and I'm glad we were able to get about half the footage we need since that went from being 'ooooh fun!' to 'good grief- is this over yet??' after about 6 hours of shooting.

I am exhausted so I have decided I need a night off from grad school homework and plan to knit and watch my TiFauxed Studio 60. I'm soooo bummed... Amazing Race started two weeks ago and I didn't know. Thankfully that's about all I get the chance to watch, with the occasional Project Runway and Colbert Reports tossed in.

I tried watching Knitty Gritty since our cable TV provider gave us a trial month of DIY network. I just could not get into it at all, and I tried watching at least a dozen shows. I don't think there was a single one I watched the whole way through.

I'm hoping to get quite a bit of knitting done tonight- trying to decide whether to do my fuzzy feet or some dishcloths. I think cabling is beyond my frazzled brain at this point. Although... I did get a new knitting mystery on the way home tonight. Maybe a hot bubblebath and a good mystery will be the perfect nightcap!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I lack focus.

I've done everything except touch my homework this weekend, including cleaning out the closet (which quickly because an excuse to pet and fawn over my stash and organize my growing needle collection). I even packed up birthday gifts for the entire month of October and set them aside with little Post-it reminders of when to mail them out.

I finished up some old projects and cast on for a gift pair of fuzzy feet. I wound several skeins which had gotten tangled and took me quite a while to work everything out. Thank goodness for Johnny Depp on TV last night to keep me company while I'm sorting out knots and tangles.

I frogged my red sock that I'm doing for the Red Sock KAL. I had not gotten that far along and there was just a wierd look to the stitches that I didn't like and couldn't seem to fix. Plus, the second sock is still tangled after at least 90 minutes of me trying to sort it out. The first sock took me an hour or more to wind and this one seems to be hopeless. Its taking the fun out of the KAL so I have decided to purchase some other red yarn to use and work on this slowly but surely, and maybe make a second pair of red socks. So I will do some sock yarn shopping after getting the first half of my homework done (finally, I'm motivated!)

I just can't seem to want to do my Irish Hiking Scarf these days. I think I'm going to try taking it into work and doing a bit each day for lunch. Maybe it will hurry along a bit... as opposed to being neglected in my project bag since I'm having so much fun with fuzzy feet, washcloths and socks. I definitely will be making a second newborn hat with that Shine Worsted... it was so much fun to work with.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday Sky and assorted odds and ends

The view from our back porch- the day started off grey and rainy but changes its mind halfway through the day.

I finished my newborn hat for Caps for the Capital out of Knitpicks Shine Worsted in Coral. I really liked working with this yarn- it created soft, plump stitches and was not splitty at all. The hat feels so soft and cuddly, and I still have about half the skein left.

Two little kitty toys for a friend's care package (made out of scraps of Lorna's Laces Worsted in Bittersweet and Happy Valley).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

These little sweeties followed me home...

Knitpicks Shine (Worsted and Sports Weight) The fourth one over is a shade more 'deep periwinkle' than 'deep blue' but otherwise, they are pretty close to the actual colors.

I just love these colors- very happy and vivid. At least one of these will be a newborn cap for "Caps for the Capital". Possibly two or three. On that link, there's a page where you can see how many caps from your state have been sent in and so far, not a single one is from my state.

So I'm going to focus on this for the next couple of days, see how I like working with the yarn.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What type of sock are you?

What type of sock are you?

You quite like socks, but your not overly-obsessed with them. You would have been a pair of knee-length socks in any colour, and probably stripy or something to make you that little bit more interesting.
Take this quiz!

Monday, September 18, 2006

more dyeing pictures

When I looked at the pictures of my dyed yarn on my monitor at work, the blue yarn made me so sad since it was so dark you can't really see the colors. So I got home and tried using natural light instead (without the sun directly on it)

After this I will stop taking pictures of the yarn. My neighbor thinks I'm wierd now after she's seen me posing yarn several times now.

The plum one is new too... for reference I also included the berry colored one I painted a few weeks ago (I can finally knit it up this week, now that I dyed a cuff color to match it)

So now I need to actually stop dyeing the yarn and start KNITTING it.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fun with dyes

I dyed some Lamb's Pride a deep violet to work as a cuff for my next pair of fuzzy feet for a dear friend (the body will be the yarn I painted for her)

Then I decided to play around with blues and plums, so I overdyed a skein of "winter blue" Lamb's Pride with a mixture of sapphire, plum and teals. It came out better than I expected. I tried to capture the shifts in colors with my camera but the first picture hardly showed the violet, or the brilliance of the sapphire. I moved outdoors to natural light but it washed out the colors, especially the teals. Out of the two, the first is closer to the depth/richness of the colors. I love it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Saturday sky

The view from my backyard.

Yes, the smallest tree is already changing colors. Already! It still seems like summer to me.

Sock-ret Pal Questionnaire

The basics:

How long have you been knitting? Dec. 2005

Do you consider yourself a beginning sock knitter, an intermediate, or have you been doing this so long you could probably knit a pair in your sleep? Beginner. I tried DPNs but they were difficult to handle, so I tried two circulars and found it works for me. I love it so far, and plan to get a few pairs under my belt before we do the exchange. I’ll probably go back to trying DPNs once I get the hang of how a sock is constructed.

The measurements:

While your pal may ask for some additional info to ensure a great fit, please provide your shoe size, or any other fitting related info you think is pertinent. Woman's 8 ½ US

(fiber related) Favorites:

What colors do you love? Carribean colors (turquoise, light greens, corals) and also rich jewel tones: wines, plums, cobalt/midnight blues, teals, greens

Do you prefer solids or variegated? Variegated.

What fibers do you most love to knit with? Wool, alpaca, wool/mohair blends. But I’m still new and trying things to see what I like.

Who do you consider your favorite yarn vendors? I shop around online, from Knitpicks to Webs to various vendors in Etsy and a lot of places in between. I love the handpainted yarns.

What projects (other than socks, of course*S*) do you most enjoy knitting? I work fulltime and am attending a graduate program in the evenings. Knitting/dyeing is my relaxation. So my projects are small things I can do in small bursts. I’m still growing in my skills, so mostly I do projects that I enjoy and that teach me new skills: fuzzy feet, dishcloths, socks. I just learned cables and am hoping to move on to entrelac next.

(fiber related) Dislikes:

What fibers can you not stand to knit with? To wear? Eyelash yarn/funfur. I’m not fond of harsher acrylic, or roughness/itchyness. Softness is important to me, as is color.

What colors would you never wear? Mustard/pea green. Neon or Rainbow anything.

The Tools:

Plastic or Metal? Bamboo or wood? I like my Denises but have fallen in love with the smaller Knitpicks Circulars I bought for socks. I’m hoping to get a set of Options for my birthday from family- love the pointy tip and the cord.

Circs or Straights? I’m gravitating towards circulars. I do also have some straights and don’t mind them, its just with the Denises, I have more circulars on hand.

DPNs or Magic Loop? I’m interested in learning how to work with DPNs.

Are there any knitting accessories you don't have in your collection but would like? I’m ok on basics, so mostly my list is made up of "wouldn't it be great if I had.... " a small niddy noddy, project bag for socks, anything to stay organized.

The Extras:

Do you have a wish list? If so, please share the link! Not yet but when I do, it will be on my sidebar.

Do you like sweet, sour or salty? (or all of the above? *S*) I love Sour Patch Kids and dark chocolate with raspberries, but try not to indulge often.

Do you have any allergies your pal should know about? (Certain foods, smoke, pet hair, etc) I am extremely sensitive to smoke.

Favorite scents? Lavender, vanilla, lightweight clean smells like soft cotton/linen type scents,herbal or cucumber melon. Nothing too heavy.

Scents you can't stand? Super sweet, heavy floral scents.

Do you collect anything (other than yarn and knitting toys of course)? Recipes.

When is your birthday? (month and day is fine!) Oct. 28

Do you spin? No.

Dye your own yarn? I’m experimenting with dyeing and love it. I use Jacquard acid wash dyes.

Your favorite author/band/vacation spot, anything you think will help your pal know you better...

  • My motto in life is “No Opportunities Wasted” and I try to live with no regrets.
  • I’ve traveled quiet a bit, and will probably do more of that once I graduate. I’d love to visit Iceland or New Zealand next.
  • I love to cook and entertain when I can, and have been learning more about wines in the past year.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

FO: Fuzzy Feet

There's the change in my dye batches- I think the flash of my camera made the shift in color stand out more than I noticed when I was working it. (For example, the sheet in the background is a deep teal/marine blue color)

I also can't figure out why one fuzzy foot has more distinct striping than the other, if 90% of the skein all came from the same dyebatch. But each foot looks a little different. But three washes later, I don't think the change in dye is quite as noticable (on the right foot):

G let them dry over a pair of socks and after an hour or so, they were dry and shaped really well. He gave them a thumb's up!

Final stats: Fuzzy Feet

-Hand dyed Lamb's Pride

-1 skein plus a tiny ball of a second skein (maybe 1/10th of a skein)

Time: 2 weeks, but very intermittently. I can see myself finishing a pair in a week, even with school/work.

Project notes: Easy knit that went very quickly, considering my limited time to knit. I do plan to do again, at least twice.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Nearing the end of my fuzzy feet, part two.

I did not have enough yarn, as it turns out. (argh)

Luckily, I had dyed a second skein of the tan in that color scheme but it was not only a different weekend when I dyed it, but completely new dyes I mixed up. I'm not sure it will match. Not to mention I was saving that skein for my own set of fall colored fuzzy feet and now I am out of camel tan to overdye.

But finally, I broke into that skein because there was nothing else I could do. I still had an inch left and the toe decreases to do. (He seriously better love these fuzzy feet) I guess I will dye some green to use for my own cuffs.

All that is left is the toe grafting and felting tonight, since I am on my way out to work right now.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

At wit's end...

I'm on the second fuzzy foot, watching the remainder of my one skein disappear with each row. I have four inches left to do, plus toe decreases. Will it be enough?? I'm determined to find out tonight.

Also, an outdoor picture of my handdyed sock yarn for the Red Sock KAL. Well, half of the yarn anyway... the other half was accidentally tangled up into a mess that I've not had a chance to sort out. The outdoor light helped capture the color more accurately, I think. I didn't want a solid block of color, so there is just light shifts in shades throughout.

And of course, my partner in crime.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Weekend Update

I dyed again... this time, the yarn was inspired by a dear friend that I have known for years. She is an artist and has such a vibrant, rich personality, she has certainly brightened my life up in the years I've known her.

I overdyed this for her yesterday afternoon and was dying to tell her when we spoke last night (I am the world's worst at keeping secrets... ) but it was still drying and I wanted to make sure the colors were true to life. So I managed to wait until today.

Both of my dye experiments lately have worked out well- I've approached them knowing what overall 'look' I wanted to make and both came extremely close to my original vision. I knew I wanted to do a woodsy blend for G, and this sort of vibrant, lush berry blend for her... something about all the shades just remind me of her in all her many moods. And I'm finding I really enjoy creating colors that remind me of the people I am dyeing them for.

I will be making her something out of the yarn. In the meantime... this is how my first overdyed yarn knitted up into a fuzzy foot.


I wrote this up for someone who was asking about dyeing... I overdyed more this weekend, so I'm including some pictures along with it. I am still learning as I go, but here's what I did (specific to painting yarn):

I skeined up the yarn using a niddy noddy, lightly tied it with some scrap wool yarn, and soaked it in a splash of Synthrapol and water for about an hour. I did not move the yarn in the water at all. (note: on later batches, I soaked in vinegar/water mixture)

When I couldn't wait anymore, I pulled out my face mask and gloves, and mixed up Jacquard acid dyes with vinegar/water in squirt bottles (however, I have used this technique with KoolAid in plastic cups with sponge paintbrushes before). I mixed the powders over damp papertowels to pick up any stray dye.

I gently let the water run out of the sink and squeezed the excess out, and laid it out on the plastic wrap. I used the squirt bottles to place the dye with spaces in between each color so it would not muddy when the dyes traveled.

I used less dye than I expected, figuring it was easier to add more dye than to try to remove extra dye. I squished the dye in place with my hands to make sure the yarn was saturated, and checked to make sure the bottom side was covered in dye. (Thank goodness for rubber gloves, I did not dye my hands this time!)

I mopped the extra dye off the plastic wrap with papertowels, tucked in the ends and sides of the plastic wrap and rolled it up, placed into a pyrex dish used just for dyeing, and microwaved it in two minute intervals (two minutes microwaved, two minutes resting, two minutes microwaved).

By then, the dye had exhausted, so I set it aside to let it come up to room temperature (about an hour, just to be safe). Then I rinsed it gently in room temperature water, and let it soak for a few minutes in water with two glugs of vinegar in it. I rinsed once more to remove the vinegar smell, squeezed out the excess water gently, and let it airdry overnight.

I also made some red sock yarn, using an immersion method.