Archives for September 2012

Dishie Washcloths

Yarn: Knit Picks Dishie (25/100 g each)
Yarn Weight: Worsted
Needles: Size US 7  (4.5 mm)
Measurements:  8 x 7 “
Pattern Location: Ravelry’s Seersucker Washcloth
Time Spent: 2 – 2.5 hrs each

I haven’t been neglecting my knitting completely.  I decided to try out Knit Pick’s Dishie line and make some washcloths for my feet.  Yes my feet.  See I’ve had a bit of a foot phobia for as long as I can remember.  I hate feet. They’re gross.  I’m not scared of them but they are just so off putting that I never want to see anyone’s feet including my own.  It’s also one of the reasons I love socks so much.

Unfortunately feet are very important to a person so I’ve been working on this for some time.  It started with painting my toenails.  How bad can feet be with pretty toes?  I’ve been doing that for a few years and it’s kind of worked a bit but there’s still the rest of the foot.  My next step was starting at the heel.  I’ve always get rough dry heels in the winter and that’s why I got the Soak foot cream at Midwest stitches.  It’s been working pretty well so far but winter is yet to come.  So for now I have smoother heels and pretty toenails.

This leaves me with the middle part.  I think the last step is given them a really good wash every day.  No more sticking my foot under the shower and pretending the soap washing off my legs is really doing the job.  Feet are abused all day and they really should get more attention than mine get.

So the washcloths. Feet are still gross and who wants to accidently use the same washcloth you used to wash your face as your feet?  Even if it has been through the washing machine.  That’s just wrong.  Now I’m making  a set just for my feet.  A set that will stand out and never be mistaken for anything other that what it is. A tool for clean well cared for feet and that’s it.  Clean feet, smooth heels, and pretty toenails.  That will have to do.  Maybe one day I’ll consider foot massages but that’s a long way away!

As for the washcloths themselves they are pretty quick to knit up at about 2 hours each.  I plan to make 6-8 of them.  I’m not liking the Dishie line too much.  It’s not too surprising as I hate cotton.  It’s better than Sugar’n Cream but still has a lot of the cotton feel I dislike so much.  Some of Knit Picks other cotton lines have been better.

TKGA Master Hand Knitter 1 – Swatch 6

Week: 9

Currently Working On: Swatch # 6

Progress:

This week was back to increases with the third mirrored increase swatch in the set.  This time it was the lifted increase, also known as the raised increase.  I haven’t used this increase before so I had to spend a little more time looking it up and watching the technique.

The lifted increase can be mirrored with both a right and left slanting version.  Both versions have you working the stitch on the needle and the stitch below it.  The right slanting version has you knitting the stitch below the first stitch on the left needle and then that original stitch on the left needle.  The left slanting version has you knitting two stitches below the first stitch on the right needle.  You knit two below because you’ve already knit  the stitch on the left needle causing the stitch below to now be two stitches below.

The stitch below is also picked up different.  Both have you picking up the closest strand and moving to the front of the left needle but the closest strand is different when you’re lifting the stitch before or after you knit the stitch on the needle.  Also, the left leaning has you knitting through the back of the lifted stitch.  I still find the instructions for this increase the most confusing.

One tip I read is that if you’re stretching your stitch too much to knit the stitch directly without first lifting the stitch onto the left needle.  I’m not sure if that is what I was doing wrong but the left leaning doesn’t look quite right to me. I’ll have to compare it to other’s samples later.

References:

Hiatt, June Hemmons, The Principles of Knitting, Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Raised Increase: Chapter 11, pg 208-210.

Stenersen, Theresa Vinson, “Techniques With Theresa.” http://www.knitty.com. Winter 2009. Web. 16 Sept 2012. <http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter09/FEATwin09TT.php>

“A very nearly invisible increase.” TECHknitting. 5 May 2007. Web. 16 Sept 2012. <http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2007/05/very-nearly-invisible-increase.html>

My First Sweater – Measurements

I decided to knit my first sweater after attending Stitches Midwest where I took a class with Barry Klein about getting the right fit on knitted garments.  Suddenly all my fears about knitting a sweater were addressed and I’ve been excited to start ever since.  I wanted to do a lot of prep work ahead of time so I’ve been slowly working towards getting everything ready to knit the Briar Rose Tunic from Interweave Knits, Winter 2011 magazine.

I already had my pattern so the next step was getting all my measurements ready so I knew what size to work from.  We did the actual body measurements in class but one of the great suggestions Barry made was to also take these same measurements with your favorite clothes.  It’s finally starting to cool down so I pulled out my sweaters and did just that.

Sadly the two sweaters I like most have a lot of differences between them.  Oddly enough the sweater I always felt was a bit too tight actually had larger measurements than the sweater I thought was too loose.  I had to pick and choose and make some guesses but I have a good enough idea to start customizing the pattern to how I feel it should fit.

Now that I know about what size I will be knitting I also know how much yarn to buy.  Wow is that scary.  Most of my projects have been one or two skeins but a sweater is a lot more than that.  A lot.  It’s time to move to the next step and pick which yarn I want!

First Sweater Posts:

1. My First Sweater – Measurements
2. My First Sweater – Yarn
3. My First Sweater – Gauge
4. My First Sweater – Casting On
5. My First Sweater – Waist Shaping

TKGA Master Hand Knitter 1 – Shameful Post #2

Week: 8

Currently Working On: None

Progress:

Not only did I not work on my TKGA MHK1 program last week I didn’t even get to my shameful post on Sunday. I didn’t work on any other knitting projects either. I also didn’t go grocery shopping, cut the grass, laundry, or anything else.  I thought about back dating the post to make it look like I posted on Sunday but that’s cheating.

There are two reasons for my laziness.  First, allergies are kicking my ass.  Second, my boss is leaving the company and I’m using up all my brain power trying to squeeze as much info as I need from him before his last day.  I used all the energy I had this weekend to spend time with my niece and nephew and I’m happy with my choice!

What is really worrying me is all the time I spent sleeping on my couch.  I fall asleep without any intention of doing so and wake up the next morning.  Still on the couch.  Last week I’d say it’s about 70% sleeping on the couch and 30% in bed.  I guess that means I have a comfortable couch.  Plus side is I’m getting more hours of sleep.

References:

None

Natural Dye Workshop

Last weekend I went to a natural dye workshop in the city.  I never really understood why people would dye their own yarn.  You can just buy whatever color you want so why go through all the work of trying to find a way to dye it.  Then I realized that’s what people say about knitting too.  The final temptation was when I stumbled on Grackle & Sun’s blog.  There were a series of posts about natural dyes and suddenly it all became interesting.  There were no guarantees and so many variables that now it truly became a unique and fun idea.

I went searching for someone teaching natural dyes but I didn’t find much.  Finally I found sifu design studio & fine yarns that was having a Saturday afternoon workshop.  I was a little anxious about the parking since my parallel parking skills aren’t the best but luckily it all worked out.

The workshop was informal and the instructor even said she was using the “alchemy” approach in order to give us a good intro and overview.  If you want to be able to reproduce a dye lot you have to take very detailed measurements and notes.  Detailed notes take a lot of time so we skipped that part and just went straight to the dying.

We each got one white Cascade skein (not the super wash) split into three mini skeins.  This gave us the chance for three different dye attempts.  We had four dye baths going: onion skins, beets, marigold flowers, and Brazilwood sawdust.   We let each pot sit for an hour and then strained the water.  For my first skein I used the Brazilwood sawdust and ended up with a light pink mini skein.  I thought about putting it in for a second time to try to get it a bit darker but the skein was already tangled enough I didn’t want to risk it.

For our second skein we talked about the concept of a resist.  A resist happens when something interferes with the yarn taking the dye.  It can happen on accident or on purpose.  Some of us decided to go ahead and try it on purpose for our second mini skein.  We didn’t have rubber bands so we used some balloons and tied them tightly around sections of the yarn.  The idea here is that if the dye doesn’t reach the yarn then you will have white sections left in your yarn.  After that you can decide what you want to do about those white sections.

Some people wanted to try a different dye bath, some left it white, and some put it back into the same dye bath a second time.  I decided to try this out with the marigold dye bath which gave an awesome yellow.  However, my resist wasn’t very noticeable to me.  I could see the white parts but they were just too narrow to really have any impact.  I decided to put my mini skein back into the marigold bath and leave it in for a while in hopes of completely eliminating the resist.

It worked pretty well.  My mini skein ended up a beautiful almost fluorescent bright yellow and I don’t notice the lighter sections unless I’m looking for it in direct sunlight.  Unfortunately it was also during this dye bath that the only bad part of the class came up.  It was made very clear to us how many of our mini skeins each dye bath could hold.  There was just enough for each person in the class to dye one of their mini skeins at a time.

I guess someone thought they were better than everyone else and she decided to dye her skeins however she saw fit. In the pic here you see me and another classmate with our mini skeins in the marigold dye bath.  It was empty and we each put one in leaving two skeins in the bath.  We were told repeatedly that this dye bath had a limit of two skeins at once.  Well when we came to take them out there were now four skeins in there.  Not three, but four.  And guess what?  The extra two were from the same lady.  So not only did she ignore the dye bath limit she also ignored that we should only do one skein at a time.  I have no idea why someone would do this.  We had plenty of class time and there was a limit to the number of skeins we had to dye.  It just completely baffles me.  She ended up sitting around for the last hour of class with nothing to do.

The last topic that came up in class was the concept of over dyeing.  This doesn’t mean you leave your yarn in too long it means that you take an already dyed yarn and dye it again.  It came up with the topic of the resist.  You could use a resist in the first dye bath and then over dye the skein in a different dye bath.  This would leave the white yarn sections with the color of the second dye bath while the rest of the yarn would be a combination of the two dye baths.

My resist didn’t work so well the first time so for my last mini skein I decided to do a simple over dye of the entire skein.  I used the onion dye bath first.  This gave a different yellow than the marigold.  It was a little muddier and had some orange in it.  I wasn’t too thrilled with that yellow which I’d already seen other classmates get from the onion bath so I over dyed it in the Brazilwood sawdust.  This gave me a light/orange peach color that I was much happier with.

So in the end I had my three mini skeins in yellow, pink, and orange/peach. They were still wet here on the back of the chair but pretty close to their dried colors.  I let them hang over night to dry.  All three mini skeins got tangled up enough that I had to hand wind them.  In the future I would make sure to tie the skeins in multiple locations instead of the one tie I had.  Hopefully this will leave me with neater skeins to wind.

While the alchemist approach to dyeing is great as an intro I think I would really like to be more exact on any future dye attempts.  I’d also like to experiment more with the concept of the different mordants and well honestly everything.  I heard that some master dyers even get the pH of the soil for plants they use in their dye baths.  I know that our results were more of a let’s see what we get but I would have more fun trying to get a certain result from the beginning.  Either way I will definitely be looking into dyeing yarn again!