Thursday, March 19, 2009

Serendipity: Pooling = Stripes

I've been pretty lucky recently when knitting with hand dyed yarns. Through no planning on my part I've gotten some really cool striping looks. Some are my own hand dyed and some are from more well-known sources. The only thing I did intentionally was attempt to match up the beginnings of the colorways on the sock pairs.

Here are some examples:

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport held double stranded to get 5x7 gauge

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport

These are more like "opposite socks" :D
My own hand dyed sock yarn (Fingerpaints Sock)

My own hand dyed aran wt (Fingerpaints Worsted/Aran)

Fingerpaints Worsted/Aran

This was a close one :D
More Fingerpaints Worsted/Aran

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Breathe In Those Kool Aid Fumes!

This is a bit belated, but in January I began selling my hand dyed yarns in my esty shop.
I named my creations "Fingerpaints" and have various weights available. Most of it is non-superwash worsted weight, but I have done some sport and sock weight too.

In February, I added hand dyed roving. I have now replenished my undyed stash and have about 5 lbs of yarn waiting for the dye pot :)

Here's what I added to the shop in January & February. Some have sold, but I still have several currently for sale. I'll also be adding more as I work my way through the new stock.

Superwash Merino Rovings:

And three that I'm saving for my kids:

This one has already been knit into shorties for ds.

Slip Stitch Striped Sock Pattern

I'm REALLY behind on writing up some of my patterns, but here is one I just did that seems to be of interest to a few people. It's for socks...go figure :)LOL

Slip Stitch Striped Socks

I am all about customizing the size of my socks...because I have large feet. So don't be afraid of some knitter's math here. That way you can also use this pattern for different yarn weights, too. Pattern is written for toe-up socks on two circulars or magic loop method.

Here I used one skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in the "Grumperina" colorway. That's right ONE skein for my size 11 feet! Yes, I did augment with a bit of light purple :)LOL

A few notes:
I use the Magic Cast On method described in Knitty Spring '06 with one slight modification. I do not make a slip knot to begin. I simply take the yarn and wrap it around the top needle to begin. This eliminates the nasty bump I was getting with the slip knot.

Toes and heels are knit using a short rows that do not involve wrapping stitches. This is not my original idea, just how I knit them. Here is another slightly different description of how to work these. Also, I am a LOOSE knitter! Seriously, I use 000 needles to get 8spi with fingering weight yarn. So if you are a "normal" knitter, you may have trouble picking up the "bars" with your size 1 or 2's. Instead you may try a small gauge dpn or crochet hook to help you pick up these bars to close your toes & heels.

I like to add some 2x1 ribbing to the underside of my socks along the arch...but you don't have to.

The bind off method I describe here is something I came up with after learning how to do Kitchener stitch (without a tapestry needle) but before I learned there was something called a "faux Kitchener bind off." My method produces a similar result.

Knitter's Math:
Knit a gauge swatch.
Measure your stitches per inch = ______ (A) spi
Measure the circumference of the widest part of your foot (usually the ball) = _____ (B) inches

Calculate number of sts to cast on.
_______(A) x _______ (B) x 0.9 = ______ (C)

Round C to nearest multiple of 4 = _____(D) sts

Measure length of foot = ______ (E) inches

Calculate length of sock: ( _______(E) x 0.9) - 2 = ________ (F) inches (round to nearest 1/4 in)

CO the calculated number of stitches (D) using Magic Cast On. Reserve half stitches on one circular.

Begin short row toe. Knit across until one st remains on the left needle. Turn work. Slip first st purlwise. Making sure there is minimal slack in the working yarn, purl across until one st remains on left needle. Turn work. Making sure there is minimal slack in the working yarn, knit across until two sts remain on the left needle. Turn work. Continue in this manner until you have approximately 1/3 of your sts slipped on the left needle, 1/3 slipped on the right needle, and 1/3 remaining as live stitches in the center of the work...ending with a purl row.

Close short row toe. Turn work. Making sure there is minimal slack in the working yarn, knit across until you reach the first slipped st (one st before the gap). Slip the next stitch knitwise.
Using the right needle lift the bar between the just slipped stitch and the next stitch on the left needle (it will be on the wrong side of the work). Knit these together as if perfoming a SSK. Turn work. Slip the first st purlwise and purl across until you reach the first slipped st (one st before the gap). Slip the next stitch purlwise. Using the right needle, lift the bar between the just slipped stitch and the next stitch on the left needle (it will be on the wrong side of the work). Slip the bar and the slipped stitch from the right needle to the left & p2tog. Turn work. Continue in this manner until no more gaps remain, ending in a purl row. Turn work. You should have one stitch on the right needle and the remaining sts on the left needle.

Close the gaps. In order to close the gaps b/w the toe and foot, slip purlwise the next st on your left needle (there are now 2 sts on the right). Knit across the remaining sts on needle 1 until 1 stitch remains on the left needle. With the right needle moving from front to back, pick up the side of the knit stitch laying below the gap (not the bar b/w sts). Now slip the last live stitch knitwise & perform a SSK. For needle 2, ktbl across needle 2 (1st time only). Count this as Round 1. At the start of Round 2, sl1 purlwise. Then with the right needle moving from back to front, pick up the side of the knit stitch laying below the gap (not the bar b/w sts). Slip these two sts back on the left needle and k2tog. The picked up sts can be pulled tight later and the slack redistributed. Knit a total of 5 rounds.

Begin slip stitch pattern. I am writing this for stripes spaced every 4 sts. The stripe pattern is different in the picture than this because what I did would be confusing & I wanted this pattern to be more "universal." You can adjust where your slipped stitch stripes are depending on how you want your sock to look (i.e. evenly space, thick midline stripe, etc.). You'll just have to work out the math yourself ;)
Round 6: *K2, sl1, k1 repeat from * across needle 1. Knit all sts on needle 2.
Round 7: Knit all stitches.
Repeat Rnd 6 & 7 until work measures F inches.

Begin short row heel. Knit across needle 1. On needle 2, work the heel exactly the same way as the toe (note that the needle #s will be opposite). Close the gaps in the same manner as well while resuming the slip st pattern on needle 1.

Resume leg of sock. Continue repeating Rnds 6 & 7 for 8 more rounds (9 total). On 10th round, knit needle 1 as before. For needle 2, continue the slip stitch stripe pattern.. Work leg until it is the desired height. Work 2x2 ribbing for 1/2 to 2 inches.

Try on sock. Take working yarn and wrap around your leg 3 times. Cut working yarn here. This is the length of yarn you'll need to perform the bind off and not run out. If you are trying to conserve yarn, you can go with 2.5 times instead. You should not need to get another needle to perform this bind off. Make sure stitches are situated so that you are starting with either 2 knit or 2 purl stitches. Be sure to work LOOSELY. Having to pull out this bind off is not fun.

Bind off:

Step 1: Insert right needle into first stitch purlwise. Wrap yarn as if to purl and draw working yarn completely through the stitch (leave this st on the left needle).

Step 2: Insert right needle into second stitch knitwise. Wrap yarn as if to knit and draw working yarn completely through the stitch (leave this st on the left needle).

At this point give the two sts you are binding a gentle separating tug so that they are not too tightly bound together.

Step 3: Loosely wrap yarn from the front around to the back of the sts. You can hold it in place with your left thumb while performing the next step so as to keep everything loose.

Step 4: Insert right needle into first stitch knitwise. Wrap yarn as if to knit and draw working yarn completely through the stitch. Drop this stitch off the needle.

Step 5: Insert right needle into first stitch purlwise. Wrap yarn as if to purl and draw working yarn completely through the stitch. Drop this stitch off the needle.

Repeat steps 1-5 until all sts are bound off.

If you were doing two socks at a time, YOU'RE DONE! If not, go back and start again for sock #2.

Please let me know if you find any errors or points of confusion.

3/13/09: Fixed some typos, added to notes section, and added gap closing instructions b/w heel & foot.
3/17/09: Added note about length of tail when binding off if conserving yarn.
3/19/09: Corrected instructions for closing the gaps on toes & heels.
5/3/09: Edit "Close the gap" instructions.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Homespun Goodness

I finally plied my singles for the sock monkeys I want to make for the kiddos. I was able to meet up with my spinning buddy on Monday night to use her wheel.

I started with my first wheel spun single: 2 oz of white corridale

And plied it with two 2oz singles of gray BFL/Corrie X that I spun on my kick spindle.

Here are the results:

Both skeins came out to be 68 yds! Don't know how I managed that! The first one has a few spots where the ply twist is underspun but we were having some trouble with friction in the wheel. The second skein is much more even. Over all I am VERY HAPPY with the results.

I even have some of the corriedale left over. It's from the inner bobbin and was some of the first stuff I spun on the wheel (back in October) when I had the tension set too high...boy is that some ENERGETIC yarn!! :)LOL

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yummy Lorna's Laces

I was able to snag some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport from someone's destash recently. I got 1 full skein in "Rainbow" and a mostal in a purple color (Blackberry maybe?).

I was gonna save it to make dd a hat for next winter. But instead she was complaining that her ears were cold using the old store-bought hat she had (which was truthfully too small anyway). I took the "ear muffs" from Christmas away cuz she just kept pulling and stretching it like a rubber band so much that it didn't do anything anymore anyway. So she asked me to make a hat this winter instead.

All the patterns I had previously marked for ear flap hats were for bulky yarn...but double stranding the sport weight only got me to I hunted for a different pattern.
I found this one...Big Funky Hat
It seemed to be written for an adult head so I modified it a bit to fit my 5 yr old.

Here it is

I love how the colors pooled :D

Friday, January 9, 2009

My first handspun FO!

I started with 1 oz of mystery gray locks that were still a tad greasy. Tried my hand at washing locks for the first time...I think it felted a bit. Pulled the locks into a seemingly usable form of roving. The fibers were definitely not all parallel but it made for a lofty yarn. Spun it on one of the drop spindles I made and it turned out like this...

Overdyed with kool aid and food coloring..cuz it would look BAD to have a gray headband next to my gray hair :)LOL Then looked for ideas for bulky yarn that used less than 16.5 yard long. I found some ideas for head bands and improvised from there.

Here it is: a headband...

and ear warmer

A Handmade Christmas...

It' s no surprise that money was tight last year...and it doesn't look to improve in 2009.

So last September, I set out to hand knit the majority of the Christmas presents we gave out this year. My original idea was to make felted wool slippers for everyone that I could hand dye with Kool Aid...cuz I LOVE doing that so much! Unfortunately, some recipients preferred non-wool items due to wool sensitivities. So I had to get creative :)

Here's what I ended up making this year:

The largest one was this scrap-ghan for my aunt.

This was something I had big plans for...several years ago. But had since put it away and lost interest. When my aunt requested a lap blanket instead of a "foot item" I thought it would be perfect! Especially since it's acrylic & she was the one I knew ahead of time would not want wool. I just had to make a few squares to complete the "pattern" and weave in the zillions of ends = DONE!

Another one that did not take much time was this pair of socks for my mom.

These were originally for me. I thought they were great...except that when I test wore them I ended up with horrible indents from the constriction :( These were the second pair of socks I ever made. Because my first pair had been so loose, I had intentionally tightened up on the gauge and had calculated a 10% negative ease to try to get a better fitting pair of socks. If I had only done one of these adjustments...I might have been able to wear them. However, I measured them & it seemed like they'd be a perfect fit for mom. This way I wouldn't have to frog 'em...after all that work...YAY!

Next was the the felted slippers using the Fuzzy Feet pattern from Knitty. I had at least 3 pairs I wanted to make. I had some issues with running out of yarn, mis-measured feet & scouring the internet for discontinued yarn for FIL. I also had read that some people had worn holes thru the bottoms pretty quickly...I did NOT want that to happen so I scoured ebay for some decent leather to use as slipper bottoms. Results? Four pairs of slippers (only one of which I dyed...after felting...the burgundy ones).

Then there were acrylic slippers for the nephews (improvised)...and had to make one for dd too. I chose nylon yarn for the cuffs so I could do some more Kool Aid dyeing. They both started out as silver/gray...

Then it was HUG scarves for the BIL & SIL visiting from to do more dyeing for them too :)

Yes, SIL arranged her scarf like that on purpose :) LOL

Also made some cotton wash cloths for the kiddos with the first letter of their names knitted in a garter stitch relief pattern. I'll spare you pics of those wash cloths...but I will add one of a double-side spa-cloth I made for the other SIL that has cotton chenille on one side (another improvised pattern).

And let's not forget the soap bars with knitted sweaters on them :)LOL I used this pattern as a starting point, but really just made it up as I went along...super easy!

For my brother it was a Shrek pillow...cuz let's face it, he's an ogre and proud of it!

I surprised dh by making him a log tote (sewn, not knit) while theoretically taking too long to make pillow shams for the in-laws...the shams were a bit too small :(

Didn't save these for Christmas day but ds got a couple of knit items in December too. A pair of awesome BFL longies & a pair of wool mittens (improvised).

DD also got another hand knit item. She wanted "ear muffs" after she saw my headband/ear warmers. So I knit up something similar for her.

I will probably end up sitting down and making her a hat with ear flaps as a more practical solution.

And finally, the one project I was secretly afraid of cuz they were gonna be so dad's birthday socks made with the yarn I dyed here.

Well, that's all the projects I finished. Yes, I'm still working on one...a scarf for dh. It won't be a surprise but he knows how much I don't enjoy making it...yet I keep going cuz he likes it & I love him :) I'm ~10" from being done so it'll probably take me another week since I only work on it for about an hour a day.