Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I Left You Hanging

I just realized I left ya'll hanging. I promised you another dyed yarn three posts ago. Well, here it is.

smores overdye

It's just an overdye, but I think it's pretty cool. I took some Knit Picks Smores and tinted it yellow with Wilton's. All the brown parts got darker and the white sections turned a deep golden yellow. You could kind of call it a test run for my self-striping yarn.

In browsing FOs made with Smores on Ravelry, the contrast of the white against all the brown sections of the yarn is really quite stark. I think adding the yellow will give the finished item (maybe some Jaywalkers?) a more complete look. I've also noticed quite a bit of the Smores colorway up for trade or sale on Ravelry. I personally have 4 more skeins, so maybe if I like this look knit up, I'll get some more for a larger project... maybe a baby surprise jacket.

Monday, January 28, 2008

More Than a Headband

Two days progress on my wife's Shedir. Tubular cast on rocks.

ETA: Since blogger doesn't handle comments well - I can't reply via email - I'll have to take care of that in posts.

To LarjMarj and Crystal: The pattern for the blue and green socks in the post below is a mock cable pattern called River Rapids. I modified the pattern to only work the first 8 rows of the 'cable' pattern and then repeat, instead of the full 16. This is what's giving the 'cable' a twist. Otherwise it would weave back and forth.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Stripey Goodness

The sun wasn't out today, but with all the snow we've gotten lately, it's still bright enough for some good pictures. These were accomplished by opening the back door to let in the light. Our house sucks for letting in light. We have a grand total of one window with southern exposure, and it's in the dog's room.

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We 'bee' stripey yo

You can just see the end of a dark line on the larger sock on the right; this is for an afterthought heel. I'm not sure how long I can make the legs since I didn't separate the ball of yarn into two equal balls; one of the disadvantages of not having a ball winder. I started the first sock from the outside of the ball and the second from the inside. That should make things interesting closer to the finish line.

Cat in the Hood Socks
We are limp and lifeless without a foot

I hate photos like this. Sock blockers are a step better, but in my opinion, socks need to be showcased in the environment they're most used: on the foot. But, by the time I got around to taking these photos, this was pretty much my only option.

Sorta River Rapids Sock
Ahhh, that's better

I tried to do a round toe at first, but that looked awful. So I tinked back and finished with a wedge toe. This sock is the best fitting sock I've finished so far. It's a tad tight to get over my heel, but once it's on, the foot fits perfectly and I'm pretty sure the leg will stay up too. My only complaint is that I worked it cuff down and there's a lot of leftover yarn. Oh well, I suppose I'll save it in case the heel wears out.

Finally, we have some yarn porn:

Cascade 220 Wool
Feel the wooly goodness

Some Cascade 220 Wool from WEBS. This will eventually become a Shedir hat and matching scarf for my wife, Matrix gloves for me (x2), a chunky cabled purse for her and hopefully a Koolhaas for myself. It's friggin cold out there!

Finally, I was going to suggest you go watch the NHL All-Star Skills competition on VS., but it's pissing me off this year. The camera work is AWFUL (camera guys on the ice is a bad idea), the powers that be changed the setup of some of the competitions (have you no respect for history?) and every five minutes there's a 'technical difficulty' either with mikes, timers or something else. Hopefully the game tomorrow is better.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My new model

He needs to clean up his act, he's a little blurry, but he's got a good pose. :-)

Monday, January 14, 2008

I'm Such a Copy Cat

First off, thanks for all the well wishes, I'm feeling MUCH better than a week ago. I still have a lingering cough, but I feel alive again. Now on with the knitting content.

Last week it was an exact copy of the Sorta River Rapids socks by LisaRadunz. Now I've gone and copied Micah's bitchin tiger-style yarn. I can't help myself!

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It should - hopefully - self-stripe into brown and yellow stripes and be totally awesome. I dyed this up late Friday night and Saturday morning, but of course, I didn't take any pictures until I was winding it up. That doesn't mean I can't tell you all about it though! Warning, this gets a bit rambly...

The set up
The base yarn is Knit Picks Bare - Merino Wool Fingering Weight a.k.a. the same yarn as the discontinued Memories line, which I love. It comes in one large 440 yd hank, and I thought I'd be able to wind it into two hanks directly, but it was NOT working out. I ended up winding a huge center pull ball, then setting that on the floor and winding around my kitchen chairs - alternating 5 times each - to set up the stripes. It was a pain in the ass until my hands got the hang of what to do to keep the yarn from popping off the chair backs. It probably took 30-45 minutes to wind the two hanks.

What I learned #1: tie the yarn off in lots of places. I only tied it in two places on either side (here's where photos would totally help) and it made it much more difficult to rewind the yarn after dyeing.

The dye process
Earlier in the day, I was lucky enough to find the perfect jars for dyeing striped yarn. They're Ball half-gallon wide-mouth jars, I got a pack of 6 for about $10 at ACO Hardware. Three of them will fit snugly into my dye-pot, so I could potentially do four different colors (three in jars, one in the pot), but that would be a bit of a risk.

I used Wilton's food dye, about 1/4 tsp each of yellow and brown. I filled the jars about half way with dye and water, then put the separated yarn inside and filled them to the top. I placed the jars in the pot and then filled it up too. I used our new probe thermometer to monitor the water temperature per the instructions found here.

What I learned #2: The jars need to be elevated off the bottom of the pot they're in or the water trapped underneath boils easily, and therefore moves the jars around when the hot water escapes.

What I learned #3: The water outside the jars gets much hotter than the water & yarn inside the jars. Put the probe thermometer inside the jars.

What I learned #4: The stretch of yarn between the two jars will wick water (and dye!) out of the jars and into the dye-pot if it droops down. This happens when the jars move about, see #2.

What I learned #5: Vinegar helps. When I pulled the yarn out of the jars the next morning after it cooled, there was still quite a bit of dye left in the jars. The yellow was all yellow (being a primary color) but the brown was more interesting. I believe brown is made up of red and green together and different colors move into the yarn at different rates. When I pulled the yarn out of the brown jar, it was brown, but more of a reddish-brown. And the water still left in the jar was kinda greenish-brown. According to pie-knits' instructions, you're supposed to add vinegar half way through the process to help with the uptake of the dye. But with my set up, there wasn't room in the jars for more liquid and even so, I couldn't have gotten the vinegar into the jars without pouring it directly onto the yarn. Once I pulled the yarn out and saw there was dye left, I had the opportunity to add the vinegar and re-heat the yarn. The water was crystal clear the next time. Amazing how that works.

I rolled the finished yarn in a towel and walked all over it to get as much water out as I could, then I hung it in the bathroom to dry. Once it was dry, I laid it out on the couch to wind up.

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After a few tangles, I managed to get the yarn oriented correctly and had a much easier time winding it up. I really, really, really wanted to re-skein this instead of winding directly into a CPB, but I was afraid the tangles would drive me mad and the CPB would be easier to manage than a large chunk of cardboard. Ah well, there's always next time. Speaking of which, I have two more hanks of un-dyed yarn left, what shall I make next? I thought briefly of orange and green, but something tells me someone has already done that too...

Up next, a sweet over-dye and some socks updates.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

More Than I Thought

I'm afraid I can't give this post my all as I've been absolutely leveled with a nasty cold. Four days on the couch hacking up lungs is not my idea of fun, not to mention the medicine I've been taking has made me this sweaty, but I digress.

Here for your enjoyment I present progress photos of the Carbonite Socks. Why carbonite? Well the yarn colorway is named Carbon Twist and Han Solo was frozen in carbonite and if you don't like Star Wars, well then you're just un-American.

carbonite socks

And, hot off the presses, we have a craptastic photo of my most recently started WIP, a mock cable pattern based on the River Rapids sock. These are actually a dead copy of LisaRadunz's project called the Sort of River Rapids Socks (ravelry link) both the pattern alteration and the yarn. Imitation is the highest form of flattery right?

I really like the mock cable look because, obviously enough, it looks like cables, but is much stretchier and uses up less yarn than actual cables. If you'll recall the black cabled socks I had started back at the beginning of this blog, they barely fit over my foot and I ran out of yarn just after the ankle turn. I think I may have found the solution with this or a similar pattern for the future. I do still hope to make some cabled socks though.

I guess I did better than I thought, but that's about it. Time to crash on the couch again.