Sunday, June 23, 2013

Knitted Knockers in the Round

When ds was born, I was determined to get the breastfeeding thing right the second time around.  I was fortunate enough to find an amazing IBLC staff and a wonderful breastfeeding support group at Pekin Hospital to help me.  DS nursed until he was 38months old.

Recently, the head lactation consultant put a call out for knitted breasts.

This is my version of the pattern by Carolyn Westcott IBLC, but using circular knitting and thicker yarn.

Yarn: worsted weight acrylic
Gauge 5sts per inch
Needles: 32” or 40” circular needle in the size needed to get gauge and a tapestry needle for grafting

Using long tail cast on, cast on 60 sts. Divide sts for magic loop knitting. Mark the beginning of the round.
Knit 15 rounds.

Decrease Rounds:
Rnd 1: (K4, k2tog) 10 times (50 sts)
Rnd 2 and all even rounds: knit
Rnd 3: (K3, k2tog) 10 times (40 sts)
After Round 4, change to darker colored yarn and continue
Rnd 5: (K2, k2tog) 10 times (30 sts)
Rnd 7: (K1, k2tog) 10 times (20 sts)
Rnd 9: k2tog 10 times (10 sts)
Rnd 10-13: knit
Break yarn leaving about 6” tail and pull through all sts. Pull the tail through to the wrong side of work and run it through some sts around the base of the nipple. Pull gently to create definition at the base of the nipple. Tie off.

With right side facing you, pick up and knit 60sts along the cast on edge. Divide sts for magic loop knitting. Mark the beginning of the round.

Rnd 1: Knit
Rnd 2 and all even rounds: Knit
Rnd 3: (K4, k2tog) 10 times (50 sts)
Rnd 5: (K3, k2tog) 10 times (40 sts)
Rnd 7: (K2, k2tog) 10 times (30 sts)
Rnd 9: (K1, k2tog) 10 times (20 sts)
Stuff with filling of your choice.
Rnd 11: k2tog 10 times (10 sts)

With sts divided on 2 needles, break yarn leaving a 12” tail. Kitchener graft remaining sts closed.

You can also start with ribbing, add stockinette rows, and omit the base to make a baby hat ;)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rainbow Invasion!

About 9 months ago I introduced some self-striping rainbow sock yarns to my Etsy shop: Munchkin Knitworks.  Since then, I have barely had a chance to take a break from dyeing.

These are the four main versions that I can repeat reliably.  Clockwise from top left: Rainbow Princess, Bright Rainbow, Mellow Rainbow, and Sassy Rainbow.

 Here is a swatch I knit with "Mellow Rainbow."  It is 64sts around and approx. 9sts per inch.
Thanks to dh for being my photography assistant ;)


I do enjoy surrounding myself with rainbows, but I am planning some new self-striping colorways for spring.

And another pair of Bright Rainbows sold while I was typing ;)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

You know you have a dyeing problem....

...when you're lusting over a turkey roaster.

THIS turkey roaster: the Nesco 18qt electric turkey roaster with (now this is the important part) the stainless steel cookwell!

I've destroyed 2 cheaper roasters that had coated cookwells. Now I have to dye everything in a separate jar or bowl because the pan is rusty & gross. But with this baby I can actually considering dyeing 2 or more skeins at the same time again! I haven't been able to do that since dh made me promise to stop using my 50's era roaster with the thick enamel-coated cookwell because it was a fire hazard. ::rolls eyes::

Gotta keep saving the pennies...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How the USM saved Christmas!

I'd like to thank my USM (Ultimate Sweater Machine) for saving Christmas 2011. When November rolled around, I had virtually no Christmas knitting done. I have 13 people to knit for...what was I thinking? I had procrastinated till fall to start the "Sweater Vest of DOOM" (aka my dad's 3X vest with dk weight yarn). My mom had given me a bag of yarn & a pattern to magically turn into a poncho for her...but what about everyone else?

First, I started with some flip-top mittens...but, of course I didn't like any of the patterns I found so I had to write my own. This was already taking too long... Plus, I can't use wool for half the people so I still needed more ideas.

Finally, one day I looked at my mountain of partial skeins of various acrylics from past presents for my nephews & kids. I knew what I had to do...striped scarves!

So, the kids got some ninja/superhero/ski mask type hats that were done on the USM too. And then I had to make some striped wool scarves to go with the flip-top mittens I made. And MIL got a scarf from us last I made some dishcloths for her instead.


That was 9 scarves, 4 hats, 4 dishclothes, and one HUMONGOUS sweater vest! All done on my USM :D Using convention circular needles, I knit 3 pairs of gloves, one hat, my mother's poncho and dh's socks...I'm finally on the cuffs now...yes, I know it's already January ;)

Here's a pic of a mitten/scarf combo.

The kids (2 nephews & my 2 munchkins) loved their ninja/superhero accessories. Her scarf is around her neck & hanging down her a cape ;)

Can't forget the dishcloths ;)

And the largest garment I have ever knitted FIT my dad!
This vest could be a whole 'nother blog I'll link my project page instead: Dad's Vest

I'm so glad the holidays are over now :D

Friday, January 20, 2012

Top Down, No Swatch Hat Pattern

I recently wrote up and uploaded a pdf to Ravelry for a top-down hat pattern/recipe that I've been toying with for a couple years.

The link: Top Down, No Swatch Hat
Here's a pic of the most recent hat I made.

Several of my first attempts used Judy's Magic Cast On at the top, but I didn't like the tight line it made with yarns thicker than fingering weight. So, the solution was a simple long-tail cast on that is closed up with the tail yarn when you're done.

I've also made a few double-layered hats with this recipe. For that variation, you just double the amount of ribbed cuff, repeat the plain stockinette section, then reverse the shaping by doing mirrored decreases. Finally finishing off by grafting. Here's a link to my Flickr pic showing one of these hats. I can't find the file to upload it must be on my old PC...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Kitchen Dyeing Yarn: The Basics

This is a page I created for the "What a Kool Way to Dye" discussion forum on Ravelry. I am republishing it here so that it can be used as a resource for those who are not part of Ravelry.

So, you want to dye some yarn in your kitchen, huh?

What do you need?
protein-based fiber (usually pre-soaked)
artificial colors

What happens?
These ingredients undergo a chemical reaction that bonds the color to the protein.

Hand-dyed yarn or spinning fiber

Types of protein fiber
Wool is the most widely used protein fiber when dyeing with acid dyes. However, other fibers will take acid dyed colors as well. Here’s a partial list.

Nylon (the only synthetic that this will work on)
Odd fibers
Some have had difficulty with soy, but chemically it should work. My personal experience was that it took higher temps (~210F) for a longer time. I also added more acid for good measure.

Basically, any animal hair should work. However, I’ve heard that dog hair does not work (someone can correct me if I’m wrong) and it may vary with the breed as well. Milk-based yarn is made with protein as well. If so it should also take acid dyes.

Here is a great blog post by brewergnome that discusses the chemistry of what dyes with acid dyes & what doesn’t.

Dyeing 101: The Chemistry of Fibers - Soy, Milk, Chitin, Etc.

Sources of Artificial Color
Kool-Aid (the packets that make 2qts & have no sugar or artificial sweetener)
Any generic version of this is fine as long as the ingredients state an FD & C numbered artificial color.
Klass drink mix (the acid in these is Fumaric acid)
Food coloring (liquid or gel)--not “gel writers”
Common U.S. brands are McCormicks and Betty Crocker.
Wilton’s Icing Colors (not white)
Easter egg tablets
Sugar-free Jello (some have gotten gelatin residue in their yarn…I will see if I can find the trick to avoid this)

Types of Acid
Lemon Juice
Citric acid
This is an ingredient in the Kool Aid packets mentioned above so you don't need to add more acid. It is also sold as "Fruit Fresh" in the grocery store or can be purchased in bulk from dyeing suppliers.*
Invisible Kool Aid (in packets)
This is basically the same as using citric acid

Sources of Heat
The trick to heating is that you need to get near boiling and hold it there for long enough that the color will exhaust (complete bonding). For example, wool’s target temp is 170F and silk is 180F. A meat probe or candy thermometer can come in handy to monitor this. For non-superwash fiber, boiling will lead to felting.

Stove top (stock pot or steamer basket)
Crock Pot
Rice Steamer
Dishwasher (steam)

Have fun dyeing!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Return to Black Socks

It's been just over 2 years since I first tried to attend the shearing day at Black Socks Sheep & Wool. Well, today we finally made it :)

Oh, the anticipation!

Shearer in action.

A naked sheep :)LOL

A few lambs :D

We couldn't stay the whole time cuz dd got sick, but she liked the lambs and black wool the best.