Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Group Dyeing

That sounds weird, I know. 

In our German Random Acts of Kindness group on Ravelry, we decided to do some group dyeing online. Angel1313 and I did this before, more or less by chance, and we had a great time chatting online while dyeing our respective skeins, asking about colour combinations and the best technique. We enjoyed it so much that we agreed to do it again sometime, but we never got round to it.

Then a few days ago Angel asked me if I would like to dye again. Luckily, I had just bought two skeins of undyed BFL sock yarn and some more Hue & Dye acid dyes and was ready to give it another go. Angel then had the idea to invite others from the group to join us and so we spent this morning and the early afternoon playing around with colours and yarn. 

I hadn't tried Hue & Dye before so I was curious to see how it would turn out. I must say I very much prefer the German Sewo-Color acid dyes and will try to import some next time. The dyes were much richer and glowing. One skein was meant to be white, turquoise and ultramarine, but the white all but disappeared during microwaving. Oops! Still, the colour is lovely and reminds me of the sea, as I had hoped it would. I shall call it Sea Breeze.
I tried to replicate my peacock-coloured yarn, but ended up with something far less brilliant in every way. Not bad, just duller. Ah well. It's called Deep-Sea-Diving.
All in all, there were a number of different techniques being used in the group: we used acid dyes, easter egg dyes and natural dyes. Some used the microwave, others the oven or a simple pot. All results were lovely to look at and we all have skeins of different shades hanging out to dry right now. Seing how hot it's been lately, it shouldn't take long for them all to dry.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Staked - One Sock Down

I do love socks with intricate stitch patterns and the fine cables of Staked are perfect. However, since their intricacy requires me to actually keep my eyes glued to the instructions, the socks take a while to finish. In the end it is definitely worth it, but this is not a pair that I can finish in three days or so.
Sock number one is done, though! Sock number two is under way as well, but I am in no hurry to finish as long as it looks good when it is done. The first sock fits well at the foot, but somehow I managed to make the CO a bit too tight. Yikes! I hope it will give with time. The material is just as amazing as I expected it to be, the yarn is nice and smooshy, and the colours are fantastic. Can't wait to wear them!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Being a Yarn Snob

Without warning, I have turned into a yarn snob.

I am not sure how it happened, other than gradually. When I started knitting, I did not have access to any good wool shops, so I made do with the cheapest possible yarn I could get – which was 100% acrylic. In fact, I still have the first socks I ever made in that yarn and a pair of nice fingerless gloves.

Then I moved to the UK and suddenly had access to a much better shop selling all manner of yarn, some of which I hadn’t even heard of. Until then I didn’t even know how expensive wool could be! From then on, I never bought acrylic again, not even as a blend. I just don’t like the feel of it anymore though the yarn can be very soft. Mostly, though, it feels like plastic to me, so I just don’t use it.

So once I realised not too long ago that I actually look down on anything that is not 100% pure wool of some sort, I also realised I was a yarn snob. Unfortunately, it means that I seem to look down on people who do not use pure wool, which shocks me. I certainly haven’t got much money, but instead of buying the cheaper yarn, I will wait till either my birthday or Christmas to get the good stuff if I can’t afford it at any other time. Also, I have been lucky enough to know people who are willing to do swaps, so it is fairly easy to get good quality despite having hardly any money. To my mind, therefore, there is no excuse for using anything but the best. (Granted, you probably won’t be able to get the large quantities needed for a jumper or a similarly large project, which is why I have only ever knitted one to date.)

Of course there are lovely expensive yarns I would love to have, but can’t. However, I will never go back to acrylic unless it were blended with sock yarn. Never. It’s tough being a yarn snob sometimes.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Spindles on Display

 Finally, a place to store and display my spindles.

Knitting, Honestly!

It may seem that I am so preoccupied with spinning that I have given up on knitting anything anytime soon. That's not entirely true! I have a few WIPs waiting to be finished, mainly shawls that will takes ages and require a lot of concentration. However, there is also a new pair of socks waiting to be completed and they are so squishy and pretty that they should really be worn without my feet ever touching the ground. 

These are Glenna C's Staked socks, originally knit with Indigodragonfly's merino sock yarn in the colourway "And Buffy staked Edward. The end." Love that name! My friend Wendy sent me this yarn in an equally awesome colourway called "TARDIS" (I can't imagine why!) and so it was clear I would have to knit these socks. 

I am still on sock number one, decreasing the gusset. It is a fun pattern to knit and hasn't caused me too much trouble yet. I have learnt to read the chart more carefully, however! It's happened often enough that I ended up knitting cables leaning in the wrong direction. And there are a LOT of cables. Nonetheless, the sock looks amazing and I can't wait to wear them! The cabling and ribbing pulls the socks together quite a bithe pattern isn't visible unless worn. The socks are very stretchy too, and as the name of the yarn indicates, these socks are indeed bigger on the inside.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Pretty Little Lavender Pouches

At Wonderwool my friend Verena bought a bag of lavender for her closet and asked me if I could knit some little pouches like the ones we saw there. I figured they were really easy to make and since I have lots of unloved acrylic yarn left in my stash from the early knitting days, I said it's no problem at all. 

I love these pouches! I cast on 30 stitches using 2.5mm DPNs and simply improvised the design. I've only got three colours to choose from, but once I am tired of combining colours, I may try knitting some textured pouches instead. These really are a quick knit if you are bored, but don't want to start anythign that will take you long to finish. At the end you bind off, fill the pouch with lavender, and sew the edges together. A very satisfying little knit!

Dyeing Fibre

Well, I am not entirely happy with my first attempt at dyeing spinning fibre. I was told I would need more dye than usual, so I was quite generous, but the colours still aren't nearly as brilliant as I had hoped. It may well turn out quite nicely once spun up, but at this point the fibre just looks very boring to me, particularly because the colours are too much like some I already have. Had they been deeper, it would have looked quite different.

I will either have to give this a go again with new fibre or I might just dye spun yarn to make it easier.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Life After Wonderwool

Following Wonderwool, I have been spinning a little bit more of the seacell fibre I bought there, but more recently I started on the 200g of Falkland tops from Mandacrafts. The colourway is fittingly named Estuary and is starting to look lovely as singles. The brown in it is not usually something I would go for, but the combination of colours does look good. 

Yesterday and today I have also been able to try out some of the dyes I bought (and I have placed an order for more colours just in case). My first attempt involved some leftover sock yarn that I dyed with Sewo Color, a dye from Germany that I loved as soon as I saw the result. I don't think I can get it in the UK so I may have to place an international order someday. Those colours are just amazing!

Tonight's dyeing involved spinning fibre (100% BFL), which I have never dyed before. I didn't like it, the process is the same, but it is slightly more cumbersome because you have to be careful not to end up felting it by accident. Not sure I will do that again. At the moment the roving is drying so I will post pictures in my next entry. At the moment, however, I am a bit underwhelmed by the result.