So I'm sure it looks like I've fallen off the face of the earth. I assure it nearly happened but I held on by the tips of my toes and now I am back….if a bit sporadically.
I am finally getting the chance to start knitting again, after a few weekends of redneck activity attending mud drag races in support of our friend Jeff and his kickin' truck Wild Cherry. If I had pictures that weren't all blurry, I would show them to you. Maybe in future. For now the hubby's and my photography skills need some work.
The lace shawl of death is completed. Though the pain of it is too near at the moment and I must separate myself from it a bit before I write about it. Actually it would be such a picture intensive post, I've just been really lazy about writing it. Ok, here's a picture to get you started.
Can you see the mistake?
As I said, full story in future post. I will get around to it, as well as my words of wisdom about knitting lace. Like so many lessons in life, it was a tough one to learn!
So what am I knitting now? Another lace shawl. After all this talk, can you believe it?? I assure you it is a much simpler shawl, and if I had been smart I would have finished it before I knit the one pictured above. The pattern is a faroese shawl from Knit Picks. I am knitting mine in the color Blue Jeans. I started it forever ago, and had gotten quite bored with it because only the center gusset was worked in a lace pattern and the rest was garter stitch. This meant that the progress on it was slow and not very eventful. It was/is a good first lace project. It helped me become accustomed to working from a chart, while having the row by row instructions to fall back on, and I was also able to get used to working with a fine yarn on small needles. I should have completed this project before delving into a much more difficult one, but I am too easily seduced by a new yarn/pattern and the excitement of trying something even if it seems well above my skill level. After the mishaps of the shaped triangle shawl (a.k.a. Lace Shawl of Death, Bane of my Existance, Birthday Shawl Gone Dangerously Wrong!) I have returned to the Faroese feeling quite humble and respectful of the learning that needed to be done before moving on. One must accept their limitations and know that at times they must–must–must follow the instructions and guidance of those who have gone before. I shall never doubt again!
I am nearly done with the faroese shawl and will hopefully have some pictures to post this week if all goes well. I just spent a day tinking back and reknitting a couple of rows so I really shouldn't speak too soon of it's completion. The Karma gods will strike again if I don't watch it and my luck lately has been completely non-existant! But it is my hope to have it completed this week and pics will follow. Until then, I shall scurry to bed to dream of perfectly blocked shawls, absent of all mistakes….ah sweet.
P.S. You don't think these posts get a bit melodramatic do you???
Ok. So the next morning, I found my newly dyed yarn all nice and dry and waiting for me. I also noticed a loverly fruity smell in the kitchen. Mmmmm….
I was really jazzed about the result of my dried yarns. They looked great hanging there, the colors were vibrant, none of the sections had bled onto the other in a gross way. I was ready to wind these puppies on the knitty-noddy! So back on the chairs the yarn went.
This time Eddie sat under the skein between the two chairs–and out of my path. Good kitty. I wrapped the yarn up on my niddy-noddy and twisted it into a skein
I did the same with the other 2 yarns:
For this yarn I used blue raspberry, lemon-lime, watermelon-cherry, and lemonade.
This one I made 5 sections, then died them in gradient shades of red/pink using black cherry, cherry, watermelon-cherry, and pink lemonade. The last section I dyed yellow with lemonade.
I was totally happy with how the yarn turned out
And when I knitted the first batch, here's how it looked
and the top
The purple stripe looks a little grey in the picture. But I liked the way it striped near the crown. I was really happy with the way this skein turned out. I'm making some fun little socks with the second skein:
Here it is, sitting on a the nifty swifty my hubby made me when I was crying about having 1200 yds of lace yarn to wind and no swift. The color is not very true in this pic so here's a close up:
I'm really happy with the way all the yarn has turned out. So happy, I have plans for some odd ball skeins of aran merino in the stash closet. I went back to the store yesterday and bought 40 (yes 40) packets of Kool Aid! Lexie, the check out girl, gave me looks like "Man, you drink a lot of Kool Aid!" I told her I use it to dye yarn. She was like "huh?" I'm sure Lexie thinks I'm totally weird now. Wait til I'm walking around town this winter in my totally awesome KoolAid hat. Everyone will want one !
Well, I'm a few days late in getting this posted, but here's what I did this past weekend.
I made these:
I know dyeing yarn with Kool Aid is way old hat for some of you, but this was the first time I tried it and I had a blast with it!
I first tried some HyVee brand drink mix with some of my very first handspun.
Those of you who are spinners can tell these are very good examples of beginning handspun. In other words–I'm not a very good spinner yet! The skeins get progressively better from left to right. The one on the left is my first hand spun–very kinky and either over or underspun. The center was my next attempt, the one on the right was my first attempt at plying and it looked better. The best skein I have created so far is not pictured here because I have decided not to dye it, but to preserve it until I learn how to do better!
I decided I would try the microwave method of dyeing yarn first. There is a good tutorial here. I soaked my yarn, mixed my orange drink mix in my microwave safe dish, popped in my yarn and zapped it in the microwave in 2 minute cycles for 10 minutes total.
It looked pretty gross.
Then I tried the raspberry on my second skein of handspun–same process–
Brad and I decided it looked like intestines. Eeewww…..
I rinsed the mess and squeezed out the excess water (see directions in above mentioned tutorial for proper procedure) and hung it outside to dry. The finished result was…well, less than satisfactory….
The colors were definitely bright but not exactly what I was looking for.
With my third skein, I tried handpainting (There are some great tutorials online about this too, like this one, which I failed to read until after the weekend dyeing extravaganza–I'm not one for patience or reading directions).
I laid out my yarn like this on a garbage bag, and used a turkey baster to squirt the different colors of drink mix on the yarn. Trying to go for a variegated affect.
Again, not exactly what I was going for. It was messy and the colors bled all over the place. I think maybe I had dilluted the mix a little too much. The yarn also felted a little which may have been because I didn't let it cool completely before I rinsed it.
Feeling disappointed, I set about to cleaning up my mess, when I remembered I had an entire skein of Lion Brand Fisherman's wool I could play with. It was off to the store where I found unsweetened Kool Aid packets on sale for 10 for a buck! Whoo hoo! I decided this time to go online and see if I could find some more info on dyeing to help insure a higher rate of success. I found some really great sites like this one. If you scroll down, she also has some great references in her post. So I set about to dye my Fisherman's wool accordingly.
I didn't get very scientific with it. This blog shows just how to figure out how long of a skein you should make according to your gauge and the striping affect you want to accomplish and so on, but I just wanted to play. So I set 2 kitchen chairs about 5 feet apart and began to wind a giant skein.
By my estimates, the chairs were 5ft apart, and 1ft wide, so one wrap around the chair=12ft/4yds. If my math was correct, 30 times around the chairs = 360ft/120yds. I decided this was enough for each batch. I made three skeins in this method. I just walked around the chairs and let my pull skein unwind. This would have been a lot easier if my cat hadn't decided to sit right in the path I was walking in, but when have cats ever been considerate of anyone?
Once I had my skein wound. I separated it into quarters. Again, not very scientifically. I just tied off the skein on each side of the chairs in approximately the middle, and did the same thing with the yarn in about the center of the area that wrapped around the chair.
With a different color yarn, I tied the skein in several other places so it would not get tangled during the dyeing process. I then gathered the skein up so that each of the 4 places I tied off first met in the middle:
Each of these 4 sections will be dyed a different color. I soaked my yarn in cool water for about 20 minutes while I prepared everything.
One packet of Kool Aid will dye one ounce of yarn. Each of my 4 sections was between 1/2 and 3/4 ounce (the total skein weighed 2.5oz). So here's what I used for dye:
Section 1: 1 packet black cherry+a few sprinkles from a second packet
Section 2: 1 packet of blue raspberry with a sprinkle of black cherry to give it a sort of lavender hue.
Section3: 1 packet of Orange
Section4: 1 packet of Pink Lemonade
For this method, I used the stove. I put the drink mix in 2 seperate pots with a little water. I then added one section of yarn to each pot:
I added more water until the yarn was covered. I heated the water till it was just boiling then I turned it down to a simmer. I figured out that the colored water will creep up the yarn that's sticking up above the level of the water, but just a half inch or so. I took a wooden spoon and shifted the exposed yarn between the 2 pots back and forth so that there would not be a white spot between the two colors. Because the color did not have the chance to permeate the yarn as it did with the yarn that was actually submersed in the pots, the color was lighter on these center sections which I thought made for a nice transition between the colors. If you want to avoid this result, make sure to fully submerse the section in one pot, then lift it into the second pot till the second color meets the first. Be careful the colors don't bleed together as that can make a yucky brown section between your 2 colors. I simmered the yarn until the dye was "exhausted", about 20 minutes. You'll know it's done because the water will be clear. The exception is with the lemonade flavors. They become cloudy when they are done. I wasn't exactly sure what to do with the yarn then, but I knew I wanted to to cool so I just dumped it into glass bowls while I did the other 2 sections of yarn.
After all of the yarn is dyed, it is colorfast and the colors will not bleed onto each other. They can be set aside to cool and then rinsed. Rinse your yarn in water the same temperature as the yarn to prevent felting. I did not let mine cool completely (did I mention I was impatient?), so I put on some rubber gloves and rinsed my yarn in hot water, then slowly ran it under cooler water until the yarn was cool. I then squeezed out the excess water. I wrapped the yarn in a bath towel and rolled it up, set it on the floor and walked on it to squeeze out even more water. Then, I put the yarn over 2 hangers and out on the porch it went to dry.
I repeated this same process with my other 2 skeins of yarn. By the time I had those hung up to dry, it was getting late so the skeining would have to wait til the next day.
Just a little teaser of what's to come in my next post…
Had some fun with KoolAid over the weekend! Have lots of pics and info to share when I have a few more minutes to post.
In dishcloth news…I now have dishcloth yarn and needles stashed strategically around the house. There's the red by my computer for when I'm waiting for pictures to download from my camera; the peaches and creme ball band pattern (in yellow and fiesta vari) by the phone for
when someone long-winded calls those luxuriously long phone calls; the spring meadow vari in my purse for car rides (it also makes appearances in the kitchen while I'm cooking dinner). Hey, at least I haven't stashed any in the bathroom…that would be going a bit far, eh? Now if only I could use my multi-tasking abilities for good instead of evil!