Sunday, May 28, 2006

Knitting!

My first Denmark sock from Knitting On The Road is progressing slowly. This is the Wendy Emu superwash DK that I thought was a bit rough. I do like this pattern and I think they are going to be a nice pair of socks when I finally complete them. (I've edited this because I originally left 'nice' out of that last sentence so it read 'I think they are going to be a pair of socks' - errrr yup!)

I've given up on spinning for Meg's scarf because I would really like to send it to her for her birthday which is on Tuesday. Eeeek! I will one day knit her a scarf from my hand spun yarn but this is the pattern she chose, Wavy from Knitty, using the DK yarn I bought from Texere a while ago and dyed to colours Meg chose. Its a bit pinker than I wanted although not quite as much of a 'raw meat' colour that this pic makes it! I'm half way and I am going to finish this scarf today so I can send it to her just a little late for her birthday. Its okay, she knows me well and knows a parcel will arrive eventually!

More dyeing! This is a 100% merino 4ply dyed with just plum dye squirted randomly over the yarn in a pot with water to just barely cover it. I really like this one!



Meg sent me some Hot Socks yarn from Australia - made in Germany! How mad that its travelled half way around the world twice to get almost back to where it started! Its is very similar to Opal, Regia etc, the usual 75% wool 25% polyamide. Nice and soft though and pretty colours.

Last bit of news - I'm getting a swift for my birthday! It hasn't arrived from P&M Woolcraft yet, but it will be really hard to keep my mitts off it for 2 weeks till I turn 43!

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Great Bookmark Exchange

Yes, yes, I know - Dye-o-rama is not quite finished, SP8 is just beginning and I've been mad enough to ask if I can join another swap! I came across The Great Bookmark Exchange on Juli's blog. Its a little item, its an ongoing-join-in-when-you-want kind of thing. What's not to like about it?

I was stoopid though, I sent Juli my survey answers as well as my address detail. Doh! So, in an effort to appear slightly more intelligent and with it, here is my survey. (Even though she may not let me join when she sees how dim I've been!)

BOOKMARK SWAP SURVEY:
1. What genre of books do you enjoy most? (i.e. mystery, romance, horror, historical, biographies, autobiographies, fantasy, sci-fi, etc)
I mostly read sci-fi and fantasy, medieval whodunnits and the 'classics' but I'll read anything I can get my hands on!
2. What sort of bookmarks do you like best? (long, short, lacy/elegant, fun/cute, corner, tasselled, etc)
Anything
3. What are your favorite colors?
Green, purple, blue and pink but once again anything is fine
4. Are there any colors you don't like?
There are colours I don't wear but for something like a bookmark there isn't anything I don't like
5. What sort of "theme'' would you like your bookmark to be?
No idea! Is it okay to say anything *again*? Surprise me!
6. Are there any "themes'' that you wouldn't like??
No, see answer to 5. above :-)
7. Can you send internationally?
Yes and would be more than willing to do so
8. If your partner wants to send along extra goodies (like tea, candy, cocoa etc), what do you enjoy? And is there anything you don't like/can't have??
I love chocolate and I'm a coffee rather than tea drinker but I do like to try the occasional 'special' tea. I'm not overly fond of vanilla or floral scents in things like bath products but 'aromatherapy' type scents are good. I'm not allergic to anything
9. What crafts are you going to use to make your bookmarks? Is there a particular craft type you would like to receive? (knitted bookmarks, plastic canvas, etc)
I spin, dye, knit, cross-stitch, embroider, quilt. I also have papercraft supplies, I make hand-made paper, I bead. There are probably more crafts but my brain has fried! As for receiving, any style of bookmark made with any type of craft will be brilliant

SP8 Gifties!

The postman knocked at the door this morning and my brain went into immediate over-drive trying to think what I'd ordered. Nothing. I haven't ordered anything! Hmmmm wonder what it is. Oh, maybe it's something for Mum, after all, I'm not the only person in the house.

No, it is for me. Oooooooooh! It says SP8 - a parcel from my pal!!

I'd like to do one of those artsy posts where the package is carefully deconstructed and each treasure revealed one at a time and photographed for posterity. But, ummmmmm, I ripped the package open in a spray of glittery bits! Inside were three 100gm skeins of Coldharbour Mill aran weight 100% wool, two of plum and one of crocus, a 'Batty Bookmark' with a Max lookalike on it (hehehehe love it!) and a set of beaded coasters. I am spoilt rotten!


SP8 you are a star - I love everything! Thank you very much for putting a big, happy grin on my face.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bad Day Ends Well

I've had a tough day at work today - I knew it was going to be but it managed to exceed my nightmare-ish expectations! I've been awake since 4am worrying about this and that.

BUT! The day improved dramatically when I got home because a box of goodies was waiting for me. A box of goodies from the US. A box of goodies from my Dye-o-rama pal! It has only taken four days to travel all the way across the Atlantic! My dye pal was Jeni who is a talented dyer and very kind and generous as well. That's a bar of California's best chocolate and a beautiful project bag from Lantern Moon! I love their stuff but this the first I've owned. :-) Best of the package though, is definitely the scrumptious yarn. Jeni included the blue because she didn't think the variegated skeins would be enough for a pair of socks. I'm genuinely overwhelmed by her generosity. Thanks so much Jeni!

I'm going to be sending the 'pansy' yarn to my pal. It looks even better re-skeined. I've had to promise Mum I'll dye another similar skein for her! I'll be getting it in the post later this week as I too have a few little extras to include...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Decisions And Dyeing

First the decisions...

Ruffles from Scarf Style is no longer a WIP. I love the pattern and think it is very clever but I am making zero progress with it so... bye bye Ruffles.

The Denmark socks have managed to secure a reprieve. I've been knitting them as my commuter project this last week and the wool no longer feels rough! Why? No idea! It's a pain doing the cables while on the white knuckle ride that is the 7 am bus!

Now the dyeing.

I'm an addict! I admit it.

Last weekend I dyed this skein of Opal dye-your-own sock yarn. It was my favourite of all the dyeing I'd done... until today. I used pink, jade and a very small amount of navy. Thank goodness my Dye-o-rama pal said they don't like mauve otherwise I'd be thinking I really ought to give this to them! It was rainbow dyed so the colours will be random when knitted. This is still my favourite dyeing technique.

These next few have been dyed today and are still sopping wet so I'll post more pictures when they are dry.

Laceweight 100% merino from Texere dyed with plum. Destined to be Ene's Scarf from Scarf Style if I can ever pluck up the courage to cast on !!375!! stitches.



50 gms of wool and viscose tops rainbow dyed with maroon and orange. Not at all the result I expected but I do like the way this has turned out.



Finally my new all time favouritest ever dyeing attempt. This is Opal dye-your-own handpainted with maroon, orange and yellow and steamed. I was going for a kind of pansy colourway and I think I've managed it! I left the yarn quite wet and the colours in some sections have run together quite a lot but it hasn't detracted from the overall effect. I can't wait till this is dry so I can re-skein it. I think this may well be the new contender for my Dye-o-rama pal. I want to get my pal's skein in the post on Friday so it will either be this one or the plum and green from the last post.

So, that's the news for today! I'm taking next Friday off work so I can have an uber long weekend. I'm soooo looking forward to it!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Dye-o-rama And Socks

I've dyed another couple of skeins of sock yarn and although I think I have what I want for my Dye-o-rama pal, I'm going to continue to experiment!

First is a plum and green skein - don't be put off by the colour in the pic I just can't get an accurate representation! It really is plum and green. This is more of the 100% merino lambswool 4ply I got from Texere and is the skein I think will be for my Dye-o-rama pal.

Next is a skein of orange and chestnut although once again the colour is not accurate - its not quite this neon! I'm not sure I will be able to reproduce this one as the dye was sucked up in the one spot so I had to fiddle around with extra dye to get the whole skein done. I do like it though. I never thought I'd like orange but there you go!

Oh dear more wool to dye! The 2 cones at top left are both 400gms of 4 ply merino, the one top right is 400gms DK and the little 100gm cone at the bottom is 2 ply laceweight. There is about 800-ish metres on that little cone if I remember correctly! Love Texere!

Finally, I've started knitting Pomatomus from Knitty. This is a lovely pattern and for me (so far!!) is an easy knit. I've done one full repeat of chart A and its looking lovely! The yarn is one of the ones I dyed a couple of weeks ago. The only thing I'm worried about is that it might be a bit too big because its more stitches than I would normally knit and is on 2.75mm needles also larger than my usual. Oh well, we'll see!

I might be frogging the Denmark socks too. Not because of the pattern but I'm not feeling the love for the wool which is Wendy 100% superwash wool and it feels quite harsh to me. I think I will rip out and start again with some of the DK from Texere once I've dyed it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Finito

I've finished Meg's socks! Opal Rodeo Cotton colour #1170 knitted on 2.5mm dpns. I need to get the cabled cardigan for my pregnant work colleague finished next. I'll be working on the Denmark socks from Knitting on the Road as my commuter project.

Plus there will be a few dye experiments. This is one of them. I bought a 100gm ball of cream Sirdar Country Style DK which is 80% acrylic 20% wool because I wanted to see if I could dye it. I don't have a lot of choice in yarn in the city where I work and sometimes I can't be bothered to wait for an internet order to be delivered. So I thought why not try to create something unique from what is readily available. I didn't really care how this turned out I just wanted to see how well it dyed. Although the colours are not really me, I'm impressed! I rainbowed dyed it with three colours - squirts of yellow all over the skein, then red on one side and blue on the other. I've given it to Mum for her charity knitting. Sorry about the quality of the picture it was rather grim and rainy and getting late when I took it.

Its all such fun! I just need to win the lottery so I can have more time for the fun...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

SP8 Questionnaire

Yes, yes, I've joined up again! Here are my answers to the questionnaire.

1. What is/are your favourite yarn/s to knit with? What fibres do you absolutely *not* like?

I prefer natural fibres but I like some acrylics – gasp! What I really can’t stand is really crispy, crunchy, squeaky acrylic. I’m not a fan of eyelash and novelty yarns but at the moment I’m knitting some eyelash yarn scarves for my Aussie nieces – the things we do!

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I’ve got them in a selection of glass vases.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I’ve been knitting FOREVER! I would consider myself an intermediate/advanced knitter but as pride comes before the fall…

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

I have an Amazon wish list, please email if you’d like the link

5. What's your favourite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

I don’t like florals or vanilla but I do like lavender, citrus, patchouli almost anything ‘aromatherapy’

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favourite candy?

Do you really need to ask? Chocolate is my favouritest.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I’m a bit of a craft floosie! Over the years I’ve tried many different crafts but with most once I’ve mastered the technique I lose interest. At the moment, I make candles and soap, jewellery and yes I spin on a drop spindle. A spinning wheel is in my very near future, like in about a month.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I like rock, i.e. Bon Jovi, U2, Nickelback and lots of Aussie bands no one has ever heard of. I can play mp3s.

9. What's your favourite colour? Or--do you have a colour family/season/palette you prefer? Any colours you just can't stand?

I don’t wear red but I like most colours - purple, green, blue and pink the most. I’m not really a pastel person

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I live with my Mum and have a beautiful border collie called Max.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Scarves hats and mittens – yes. No ponchos – I’m a poncho free zone

12. What is/are your favourite item/s to knit?

At the moment, small stuff like socks & mittens

13. What are you knitting right now?

Ummmm socks! A cabled baby cardigan and Ruffles from Scarf Style


14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Oh yes please!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminium, plastic?

I’m happy to use either straight or circular and prefer bamboo, wood or Addis but I will use whatever I have.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

I have a ball winder and niddy noddy but not a swift

17. How did you learn to knit?

Combination of Mum teaching me as a kid and being self-taught since

18. How old is your oldest UFO?

I don’t have any ‘official’ UFOs although I’m on about my third different yarn to knit Ruffles from Scarf Style. I like this one but I don’t pick it up very often and its only about 2 months old at the most.

19. What is your favourite holiday?

I’m not really into celebrating holidays but I love winter

20. Is there anything that you collect?

I have a small collection of teddy bears

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I don’t have any magazine subscriptions. There isn’t anything I’m dying for but, if you’re an international pal, anything that we can’t easily get here in the UK would be nice, like Knitpicks who won’t ship here.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I still haven’t learnt 2 socks on 2 circs!

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Oh yes! Foot length: toe to heel: 9.5 inches, toe to ankle: 7.5 inches. Foot circumference: 8.5 inches. Ankle circumference: 8.5 inches. I wear a UK size 6 which is equivalent to about a US size 7.5 - I think!

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)

June 14

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Just A Quick Update

Mum has started knitting a sock with the pinky purple yarn I dyed last week. (Here's the sock reclining gracefully on some very obliging self-seeded dill!) I really like the way its knitting up and its super soft! I realised the other day that it isn't superwash wool so will need to be hand washed and now I'm thinking my Dye-o-rama pal won't thank me for the extra work. So what do you think? Would you hate me if I sent you yummy soft but hand wash only 100% merino lambswool? Or would you prefer something like Opal dye-your-own which is machine washable? Don't panic - I have some of that, 4 skeins actually! (coughebaycough) :-)

I've been knitting away on Meg's second sock and I really want to get it done either today or tomorrow. Its her birthday at the end of May so I want to get the socks in the post for then. Along with some other goodies too! Well, you can't spoil your bestest-friend-ever too much now, can you? :-)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Got Socks!

My Sockapaloooza socks have arrived! All the way from Texas and made by the very talented Olga. They are a perfect fit and I absolutely adore the colours! The yarn is Hill Country Yarn in the Pecan Orchard colourway. Its a hard colour to photograph but I think these flashless pics are close. The flash makes the colour way too bright!

Look at the fancy pants heel!

I got all teary-eyed when I opened them! I really enjoyed making my pal's socks and receiving these has really made, well, my whole year! What a shame it's actually decided to be spring finally and it's just a bit too warm to wear them. I think I just might wear them anyway - they are too gorgeous not to!

Keeping in with the green theme, it was a beautiful morning and I snapped a few pics of the fields at the back of my house. There was the slightest bit of mist over the river and I could hear a cuckoo calling as I was drinking in the morning. Fabulous!



Monday, May 01, 2006

Been Dyein'

I spent a little quality time with the dyepot yesterday as training for Dye-o-rama. (Haven't got my partner yet... patience is a virtue... remember that Sue!)

Both skeins were randomly dyed using the tried and true rainbow dyeing method. I mixed up a dye solution according to the directions, put the pre-soaked skeins in a saucepan and just covered with water. I used a syringe to squirt the dye randomly over the skeins and simmered for 30 minutes and then left it to soak for a while - not sure how long because I didn't pay attention to that bit! I did swirl the saucepan around a couple of times to distribute the coloured liquid a bit more.

I am very pleased with the results in the skein and can't wait to knit them up. I've hinted to Mum that she can have the pinky purple one but the greenish-blue is mine all mine! :-) Best thing is that I know I can repeat the colours - not exactly but enough to be able to call it the same colourway.

First we have the pinky purple. This was dyed with two colours - red and blue. No surprise there then. :-) The first picture shows how it looked out of the dyepot and the second is re-skeined to re-distribute the colours.

Second was dyed with two colours again, this time jade and blue. In both cases I used 4mls of blue and 7mls of the other colour. The colours are quite pastel but not overly pale. I'll be experimenting further with stronger dye solutions to get brighter colours.

Nice huh?

Now off to order some more cones of sock wool to continue the experiments. Yeah, yeah I know its an obsession!