Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kool Aid Dyed Felted Fair Isle Knitting Tote

This is a fun project and a great way to use up all that wool you have dyed with Kool Aid or food colouring. In response to a question on Ravelry: Does Kool Aid dyed wool fade after time?
I give you my Kool Aid Dyed, Felted Fair Isle Knitting Tote
Ta Dah! Dyed and knit the summer of 2003 and washed non too gently since. It has been dragged through the snow and sleet of winter and the sand and sun of summer. It is still as bright as the day I made it.

I used chunky wool ( 12-14 sts = 4") and I think a 7mm needle. It is crucial that you knit loosely to ensure that the yarn will felt nicely.

Cast on however many stitches you want (I think I did about 24" worth) did I mention this is a very High Tech pattern? *snort......... NOT

Proceed in garter stitch until you have a rectangle. This is the bottom. Switch to a circular needle, if you aren't already using one, and pick up the stitches down the side across the cast on edge and up the other side. Continue knitting in the round in a simple fair isle design of your choice. Don't get to fancy the details will be lost in the felting.When you have 3 feet or so of knitting completed evenly insert eyelet holes (YO, K2tog) in the next round. Knit another round or two and then finish off the edge with an applied I cord. This will give a good solid edge when it is felted.
Knit two I cords for the handle. Make them long after they are felted you can cut them down to a more manageable size. Unless of course, you want shoulder straps. Thread the handles through the eyelet holes and tie off.
Agitate the daylights out of the bag in a washing machine with hot soapy water. Check every 10-15 minutes to see how the felting process is coming on. Oh and you will be scooping wads of wool barf out of the machine at the same time. ( Thank you Sandy for letting me use your machine, good thing Ernie isn't reading this *wink) Don't panic this is normal. When the bag looks about the size you want. Put it on a rinse cycle to remove the soap residue.

Yank it and bash it into a nice shape. If you over felt this can be a real chore. Pack it with towels to help remove the moisture. Change these towels frequently. Leave it to air dry for a day or so you can finish it off in the dryer.

Depending on the quality of the wool you used ( I used the good stuff..ole champagne taste strikes again) you may have to pick bits and fluffies off the finished bag.

When felted the "floats" disappear...see inside? I cut a rectangle from some of that white/plastic/ cardboard (name??) and use it to maintain the shape in the bottom.

Idea!!!!!! The ultimate in a recycled bag. Make different sized ones for Christmas/Birthday wrapping.
Have fun.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dye Your Own Wool.

I have a project in mind. BUT I can not find yellow and dark orange wool in a 4ply fingering. I also need it to be a friendly, wearable and affordable yarn. So I turned to my good old stand by sock yarn. I was a little concerned about the cotton content of this yarn but it dyed up beautifully!
Regia Cotton Sock Yarn 4ply 41% wool, 34% cotton, 25% polyamid. "Hank" up one ball of yarn at a time and tie loosely in 3-4 places.

I was actually looking for Kool Aid but summer is over and I couldn't find the colours I wanted. One little bottle of yellow food colouring should do the job. Looks like a mason jar of "you know what." Soak the yarn in warm water and squeeze out excess ....
..Stuff the hank into the jar and pop it into the microwave on high for 2-3 min....

..... decided it wasn't yellow enough so I drained off the "juice" and added another bottle of yellow....repeat the step above...back into the microwave for another 2-3 min....ouch hot! Careful!
Use tongs to remove the "hot" hank and let it drain in the sink..... then soak it in clean water and a generous splash of white vinegar. The vinegar is a mordant to "set" the colour. I added about 20 drops of red to the left over yellow.....

......added another 20 drops then said Oh to heck with it and added 3/4 of a bottle. Added second hank of wet wool and repeated all steps as above.
While this bottle of orange was in the microwave I finished off the yellow hank. Squeezed out the vinegar water and washed the hank gently in soap and water. Rinse in pots of water till water runs clear. Squeeze wet yarn and drape over a hanger to dry. Check periodically and re arrange the hanks till dry.
Finished! Perfect just the colours I was looking for!
Tips to remember:
Dye the yarn darker than you want it will lighten up a bit when it dries.
Don't forget the vinegar or the colour will run.
Keep a mixing bowl with soap and water and a little bleach handy to dip your stained fingers into or you will look mighty funny at work tomorrow.
You're going to need a good hand lotion after this.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A bit of southern knitting

I am writing this from Kissimee, Florida. It's warm, sunny and of course I'm still knitting LOL This is my Mystery Shawl, clue #4 finished. I only have one clue to go and it's all done. This pattern is beautiful, I can't wait to finish it and see it all blocked out. My girls are doing there best here to show all the pattern ;o)
I'm still working on my Hallowe'en Shawl. To date I haven't finished the first clue yet. Had some trouble getting it going. Knitting with beads is a first for me and it really slows everything down. I have 2 weeks to get them both finished because November is already devoted to another project which will take almost all of my time.
Not that I am worried about any of it right now. I have 3 days left till we fly home to reality. For now I get to pretend that I can sit around and knit all day. Bills? Obligations? Work?? Nope I have no idea what you are talking about. *BG*
~Daughter #1

Door Stop Kitty

In my spare time, I needed a break from knitting so I started on this Door Stop Kitty. I traced the pattern on a piece of newsprint and put her together. The trick to the door stop is that there is a brick inside. Easy to do and handy to have for the door that wont seem to stay open.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Sewing Bee

Small Projects that I had recently accomplished are finally finding an owner.

Socks and Sweater are finished and I also had time to finish a Fair Isle Toque. The Reindeer collection has mittens, scarf, toque and socks. Each with a different motif.

Neck warmer and gauntlets are an easy way to coordinate left over wool. I plan to knit gauntlets to match the Furry Russki. Mint, Pink, Purple.
The wool socks are perfect for winter days. I knit the tube longer to fit over the top of my winter boots.

~Daughter #2

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mystery Shawl #10 clue 3 finished

Half of it gently smoothed out so the rest doesn't zip off the needle. Clue #4 here I come and then I have to get a move on with the Hallowe'en Shawl.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Palette Generator for Fair Isle Designs

Kaffe Fassett teaches a class on colour, the idea of which I have found facinating. Then I came across this link whilst reading Jean's Blog. "Jean's Knitting" is part of my morning ritual blog reading. Anyway, Kaffe's idea is to choose a picture you like and pick colours out of that picture to use in a multi colour themed knitting project. Bless the internet there is now a program available that will do it for you.
My first example is one of Corinne's favourite pictures ('cause we think it looks like her)
These are the colours drawn from the painting.

I am trying to explain this concept to Carl. He can understand if you wanted to make an afghan but the tostesterone gene can not comprehend why you would want to wear something the same colours as a painting. "it would loose it's relevance one you walk away from the picture." endquote

This is for Julia: I just love this grin. If it doesn't give you a "happy " nothing will.

Go have fun with this site and thanks to Jean for posting the link in the first place!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Knitting with thread.

I have to redefine my use of the term "yarn thread" I mentioned in my last post, the fingering 4ply I was using was like knitting with thread. It isn't.

I too am working on the Halloween Mystery Shawl. The pattern calls for a 2ply lace weight. This truly is yarn thread. Yes, you can go lighter with 'cobweb' weight, but I can guarentee I never will. This stuff is driving me nuts.

100% merino preshrunk wool, it is so very soft. The yarn itself is very pretty and I like the colours, but I have frogged and changed needle sizes about a dozen times already. A panicked email to mum, because I was sure what I purchased was too light.

Finally I have gotten past the 15 row. While I won't say this is my favourite stuff, now that there are some beads on it (adding some weight to the piece) I think it is OK. I'll post a picture when I am done the first clue. I'm a little over half way there.

This is to be my plane project when I go on vacation next week. The beads slow me down some, which isn't such a bad thing. I think I am finally starting to enjoy the pattern. ;o)

Daughter #1