Friday, July 18, 2008

Playtime Sling Pattern...Now Available

My first ever design-by-request...

a knitted pattern for a child-sized sling for carrying dolls

Serena loved testing it :) She was even emulating some behavior that she saw us doing with Owen when he was smaller & liked to be in the sling. Good practice for promoting baby-wearing later in life :)

Now available thru my etsy shop & Ravelry.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Yarn Barf...An Adventure into Natural Dyeing

We have a ton of berries growing at the back edge of our property. Mostly black raspberries and some mulberry too. So when J brought in a huge tub of berries what did I immediately think of? Wool, of course!

Researched natural dyeing on the internet & found that I needed to use a mordant like alum to use a natural dye. I was going to...even had J pick some up at the grocery store. But then I read that even when using alum from the spice aisle you can no longer use the dyeing pot for food...NOT gonna work :(

I read some more & thought that maybe I could use vinegar as the mordant instead...well I could try anyway, right? I skeined up 50g of Fishermen's Knitting Wool and got to work.

Here's my mashed black raspberries

In the crockpot with yarn

Lookin' good :)

Not much bleeding right out of the pot :)'s a bit brown :(

Overdyed with 2 packets strawberry kool aid...too red :(

Overdyed again with one packet berry blue kool aid...acceptable

Crocheted into a pony with some purple hair (as requested) by Serena.

Where does the "yarn barf" come in, you ask? I've heard this term used for crazy-looking thick & thin yarn made by newbie spinners. And also seen it used to describe knitted objects that are not looking very attractive. However, I'm using it in another way. "Yarn Barf" is how I would describe the atrocious smell that came from my crockpot as I was over-dyeing (both times). Now granted I did the over-dyes right away and did not dry the yarn in between so maybe that contributed to it. But my guess is that it was the OVER-cooked black raspberries exacting their revenge. I conditioned the yarn & lanolized it lightly with some lavender and eucalyptus oil and now it finally doesn't smell repulsive anymore :)

Dyeing in Black

Ok, so got on ebay to see what kool aid flavors were out there and found this...

Scary Blackberry "Ghoul Aid." Of course, I bought some (read "72 packets")

Skeined up the last of my Fishermen's Knitting Wool (only ~54g left). Tied cotton ties so I would have 5 roughly even portions to dye that would represent ~1/8 of a 100g skein.
Here's the mixes I tested, From bottom right, clockwise: Blackberry, Blackberry + 2 Lemonade, Blackberry + 2 Lemonade+ Ice Blue Raspberry, Blackberry + Lemon Lime, Blackberry + Lemon Lime + Orange.

Yarn added.

Ready to zap...

90 minutes later...the dye baths are all FINALLY exhausted. The BB + LL took the longest to exhaust. I was only zapping for 2 min at a time and letting it rest for 2-5 min in between.

This pic is blurry but it has the best match to the color I see with the naked eye.
From left is BB+LL+Orange, BB, BB+Lemon, BB+Lemon+IBR, BB+LL

Here's with a flash

Blackberry alone

Blackberry + 2 Lemonade

Blackberry + 2 Lemonade + Ice Blue Raspberry

Blackberry + Lemon Lime

Blackberry + Lemon Lime + Orange

BB alone is a really pretty dark purple.
BB + 2 Lemon is not that different.

The closest to black (in my opinion) is BB +LL. If I was to try it as a stripe on a 1/4 skein I would use 2 BB, 2 LL, and one IBR or berry blue just to liven it up a bit. There are some nice grays but it's pretty flat as it is.

BB + 2 Lemon + IBRL is close to a cool black. There is potential for a nice navy here too.

To get these approximate results on 100g, multiply packets by 8.

I haven't decided if I'm going to over dye the BB + LL + Orange. It kinda reminds of army fatigues. If I do, I'll add more BB or grape.

And there are some pretty cool looking combos at the edges of the dyed sections. I have NO IDEA what I'm gonna make with it :) LOL

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Stash building

I've been in a stash building mode recently...I'm not transferring any $$ into Paypal to cover it either :)

Let's see in the last month....
One pound worsted weight BFL from Ashland Bay

4 balls of black Berroco BFL, won on ebay...didn't discover this till after it was discontinued :(

3 balls tan Berroco BFL.swapped with Raveler "happycat" for 150g of purple sport weight yarn.

2 HUGE skeins (250g) Cascade Eco Wool & 3 balls Regia plus cotton (wool, cotton, nylon mix) purchased from Raveler "kinttinfiasco"

I also bought 72 packets of Scary Blackberry Ghoul Aid on ebay and I have lines on some marled white & gray Eco wool, 8 more balls of Berroco BFL, 1200g of Perendale bulky (some purple & some white), and maybe some Cascade Fixation (cotton, elastic) in white.

Gotta wait for PP to refill :)LOL

Felting up a storm

I've been felting stuff like crazy!
These are the felted projects I've completed & am still working on.

Felted kitchen set for trivets (we don't use 'em anyway)

Half-sized wool dryer balls (to de-wrinkle & de-static J's shirts since I stopped using dryer sheets). Gotta wind on and felt some more. Instructions to make are found here. It's taking 3 turns in the hot cycle to felt as much as I like cuz it's Shetland wool & very durable.

Mini wet bag...holds three of Owen's diapers :)

Still to do...tooth fairy pillow for Serena from felted yellow sweater, another purple wet bag, an orange wet bag, a yellow wet bag, fishing reel bags for Gary (from the brown & autumn harvest sweaters)...and I need to find some time to make more diapers & crochet a pony for Serena...AAAAHHHH!!!!