Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fruit Basket Hat

Taa-Dah!!! Here's what my Fruit Basket Yarn became...

I modified for my adult head the Children's Cotton Hat in Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson.

I'm pleased with the way the colors in the yarn worked out. I had originally thought about making a hat for my great-niece, but...the wool was a little scratchier than I wanted for her. It is, however, just right for me! So in celebration of the last day of the Kool-Aid Dye Along, I made myself a hat!!

And one more...

This is the same recovered thrift sweater yarn, dyed with Wilton Icing Color in Moss Green.

When they say concentrated, they mean it! I used less than a half-teaspoon for my pot of water, and it was way, WAY, WAY TOO MUCH!! I used the same microwave technique as for the Kool-Aid, with the addition of about a cup of white vinegar as mordant.

After I was certain the yarn had absorbed enough color, I rinsed, and rinsed, and rinsed, and then rinsed again. I finally had clear water and pruney fingers, but I think I am happy with the color -- a grassy-moss green. I'm considering using it for the Green Hat Along.

I will definitely use Wilton again...lots of fun colors you can't get with the Kool-Aid, it's safe (I have a problem with the fumes and chemicals that some dyes have), and it didn't cost a lot. Single colors were $1.69 at my local Michael's. Sets of four colors were $4.39. They also had some larger sets (12 colors).

I wanted to play with a green that wasn't the Kool-Aid apple. The Wilton Juniper Green was good, too. But I had to pick just one. Eye Roll

Monday, January 29, 2007

Fruit Basket Yarn

So it's nearing the end of the Kool-Aid Dye Along at Get Stitchy and I feel like I've got a good handle on how it works. But then I saw Allie's yarn photos...she dyed her yarn in balls rather than in hanks. Hmmmm...I start getting ideas. What if....

So I took a 100-yard ball of the wool I just reclaimed from a thrift store sweater, and dyed one end in Watermelon Cherry.

Then I drained it, flipped it over and dyed the other end in Orange.

Because I was concerned about the dye reaching the center-most portion of the ball, I wound it loosely. After dyeing, it looked like this.... mmmmm, fruity....

Even though I soaked it well, wound it loosely and allowed the yarn to take up all the dye, I still found some undyed areas near the center. But I like the effect. I'm thinking it will make a cheerful little hat for a darling little girl I know.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tabula Rasa

Clean slate. Starting from scratch. Empty canvas. Blank paper. January.

I love that feeling. Every January, as I pack away the holiday decorations, clean up from all the celebrations and look into the year ahead, I see such wide open options. I have been making resolutions; some the same as every year (health, finances, relationships), and some new. I am finding a renewed excitement in my "hobbies" of knitting, spinning, and the like. I am now looking at options to create a revenue stream. I'm still seeking my niche.

I am also doing more experimenting with recycling and refashioning knits. This week I bought a Banana Republic men's wool sweater. The poor thing had been worn, but probably never washed. I imagine the guy that owned it saw the tag that said, "Hand Wash, Dry Flat" and decided to just donate it to the thrift store. I could see it was worth saving.

I frogged one sleeve to see how it would handle. (I had to cut off the was just not salvageable.) It made a skein of just over 100 yards of beautiful soft wool with little slubs. The fronts and backs should yield at least another 400 yards. It would be gorgeous as is or hand dyed. The other sleeve (also sans cuff) was unseamed and then felted in the washer. It made a very soft lovely fabric. I may use it as part of a bag, or ?? The possibilities are almost endless... I love that feeling!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Grape Hat

I am the Queen of UFO's. And if not THE Queen, I am definitely a full-fledged member of the sisterhood! One of my New Year's Resolutions is to work on that habit, and maybe even give up my throne.

My single skein of Paton's Merino that I dyed with grape Kool-Aid has been sitting here staring at me for the past couple of weeks. I dyed it as part of the Get-Stitchy Kool-Aid Dye Along. It was a great experiment, and needed to become more than just a pretty purple ball of yarn.

I finally got my hands on a copy of Fiber Trends' Felted Hat pattern. This was it. The pattern was extremely easy to follow. It's knit with a double strand on size 11 needles, so worked up very quickly. Having heard horror stories about light-colored wool yarn not felting, I was a little concerned about this skein. Remember, it did not start out purple.

I didn't need to worry after all. With just one and a half cycles through the washer, the hat was just the right size. I used an upside-down gallon jar to block it. Now, I am pondering embellishments... be continued.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Square Along

Here I was. Knitting away on a TestAlong Square for Larissa's book. I finished it at about the same time as the credits ran. Yipppee! I set up the ironing board to block it. And there it was. A goof way down before the middle. Grrrrr. So I went ahead and blocked it, photographed it, and posted it online. Next step?? Frog-it!

Sorry. I blame it on Hollywood!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Black Cherry Pi

I have been reading The Opinionated Knitter. Every time I read or re-read anything from Elizabeth Zimmermann, I am thoroughly inspired to become a better knitter. I love her enthusiasm for the craft and her straight forward writing style. I am so glad her works live on.

For some time I have been considering making an EZ Pi Shawl. Remember this? Well, based on her design, it became this...

Alas, I did not have quite enough yarn to make the shawl as large as I wanted. I like the pattern, but by the time I was at 288 stitches, I was getting a bit bored with the stockinette effect and decided to add a lace stitch. I bound off with a picot edging to conserve yarn. When it was blocked, it was only about 36 inches in diameter...not really shawl size.

I had Kool-Aid dyed the yarn in variations in strength of Black Cherry. When worked up, I didn't really like the effect, so re-dyed the finished shawl in yet another vat of Black Cherry, this time with a slosh of white vinegar. There are still some light and dark areas, but I find these acceptable and indicative of hand-dyed garments.

Here is is all blocked and just the perfect size to be a side table tidy. Of course, it's next to my knitting chair! (The orange tone is due to the lighting.)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

My name is Janet and I am a Kool-Aid addict.

It's all Ruth's fault. Her and her Kool-Aid Dye Along. Shame on her. Until this month, Kool-Aid was just a memory from childhood. My brother and I would sit out on the grass, slurping on the cool sweet liquid every summer; the Tupperware popsicles my mother made by the tons "dyeing" spots on our shirts where they dribbled as they melted (foreshadowing?).

So even with this history, I never delved into dyeing my own yarn/roving with it. Now I am making up for lost years. My newest obsession is Kool-Aid dyeing.

This week I got the "urge" again but I was silently chastising myself for even considering buying more yarn until I destash. But digging through my spinning supplies, I came up with some Merino/Cotton (80%/20%) roving that I purchased long ago. Yippee! More dyeing... guilt-free!

I used approximately 3oz. divided into six portions. Keeping one portion as a control, the other five were dyed in various colors shown below.

The white streaks are the cotton fibers that do not take up the dye. It should give an interesting effect when spun.

Okay, so now I've had my "fix" this week. My parent side is scolding me to use what I have before making more... the kid side is dreaming up even more flavors of rainbows. Stay tuned to see who wins! (Odds are on the "kid.") Oh, and thanks, Ruth!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

"Excuse me, Ma' have a rainbow in your microwave."

I joined the Get Stitchy Kool-Aid Dye Along and couldn't wait to start on it. I was fairly confident with the first batch. I started with Paton's Merino in Winter White and a shade of Kool-Aid that has already been proven...Grape. I followed many of the suggestions listed in the tutorials on the site, and finished with a very successful skein of purple yarn.

There is a bit of streakiness in it...I see some strands that are a bit more red than the others. Perhaps I need to stir a bit better, or it may be just how the yarn absorbed the dye. I'll have to play some more to find out what happened. For now, though, I like the little inconsistencies.

I'm not usually big on variegated yarns, but I wanted to experiment with the process. So I used a second skein of Paton's Merino in Winter White, and divided it between two jars. I dyed one in Lemon Lime and one in Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade. I'm somewhat satisfied with the resulting green, aqua and white yarn. I'm curious to see how it works up.

Next came the real unknown. I have four balls in my stash of a vintage mohair blend that I bought some time ago at a thrift store. It's Columbia-Minerva Reverie in Pink Frappe. In the store, it looked very pink. After getting it home, it really was more of a peach...which I rarely use. So it sat in the stash.

What if I overdyed it? Since it is a blend 67% Mohair, 33% acrylic, I wasn't sure how it would take the dye. Since I hadn't used it in all this time, I decided it was worth the risk.

I kept one ball as a control, dyed two balls with Black Cherry (one pack per ounce of yarn) and one ball with a double dose of Black Cherry (two packs per ounce of yarn). Hmmmmm. I think I like it. Now, what shall it become? I'd love your ideas.

Monday, January 01, 2007


It's finally done! My Argosy scarf.

I was really hoping it would be my final knit of 2006. Yesterday, I cast off and was ready to block, when I noticed a gaping error near the middle of the scarf. Aaarrrrggghhhh! It was one of those mistakes that I just couldn't live with. It would always be staring back, mocking me. So, New Year's Eve afternoon was spent frogging and re-knitting. I missed my self-imposed deadline, finishing it up today. Ah, well. Now it becomes my first knit of 2007.

Happy New Year!