Thursday, April 28, 2011

Level Up +1 Yarn Dyeing

Dyed Yarn
Today I dyed yarn with food coloring. I'm pretty happy with the results. In the past I've dyed yarn with Kool-Aid, which is great, they make bright colored yarns, AND it smells like fruity sheep. However, if you want to have darker or richer colors you need to up the game. So, food coloring it is. I used McCormick NEON! Food color and egg dye on Red Heart Heart & Sole. Mixed the colors up with the ratios that were suggested on the box for turquoise, apricot and raspberry. I had soaked the yarn in water and some vinegar overnight so that the yarn would hold the dye better. Then I used a medicine dropper to get the dye onto the yarn while it was in my crock pot. The dye immediately took to the yarn, because I was able to suction up excess water and it was pretty much dye free. I thought that was pretty cool. Cooked in the crock pot on high for about an hour and a half so the dye would set then rinsed and squeezed out as much water as I could. It's still going to be a day or two until it's fully dry though. I think I'm going to make these Elphaba hand warmers out of the yarn.

Roxanne after Clue #2
Also, finished all of Clue #2 of the Roxanne KAL. I like how it's looking so far. The textured sides are nice, though I'm hoping when it gets blocked it looks a little more lacy than it does now. Also, it ain't all that big so far, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what Clue #3 brings.

Riley figured out the the shawl was cozy.

Lastly, I have started crocheting a kippah for The Fiancee. He has a big head. It's going to be a BIG kippah. It has made me realize why in the 5+ years that I've been with him that I haven't made a kippah for him until now. They're SO EXCRUCIATINGLY SLOW! All the TEENY stitches!!! AAAUUGH!! Hopefully I wont stab myself with the 1.3mm crochet hook before it's finished.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Artistic Yarn

This past week, the Baltimore Jewish Times ran an article about a local man named Sam Barsky. Mr. Barsky has been knitting his own sweaters for years, and not from patterns. He makes his own designs for pictorial sweaters and they're beautiful. His sweaters are representations of places and different Jewish holidays. He said that he doesn't make the sweaters for money because they would cost far too much due to time and effort, which I can completely understand. Even if you buy cheap yarn, all the time spent making teeny stitches, especially to create a wearable piece of art. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Barsky and his beautiful work.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Really I Need A Better Camera

Because the current pictures I have of my shawl do not nearly represent what the colors are in real life. Today Liz Abinante released the second clue for the Roxanne KAL (a day early! squee!). I of course needed to knit through the repeat at least once, and I'm sharing my progress with you so far. Side-note: doing this KAL has made me realize that everyone has prettier stitch markers than I do, nicer needles, better cameras and better knowledge and tools for blocking. I would just settle for some pretty stitch markers.

Also, I finished a hat that was a request. I had to order the yarn from a company in ENGLAND because of course, it's pretty much discontinued. I hope my customer doesn't want any more hats made with this yarn (Louisa Harding Fauve) because it's gonna be dang hard to get a hold of. Either way, I'm pretty happy with the hat and my ability to pretty much recreate something off the top of my head (this isn't a written pattern, just something I monkeyed around with). 

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Because I did the craft show at a synagogue, I got some people who were interested in having hats made for them. Fantastic. Except that one person is being picky about what yarn I use for the hat and she keeps calling it "fabric".

It's seriously pissing me off.

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's Better To Have Loved And Lost...

In other words, sometimes it's better to suck it up, and frog a failing project then to try and see it out to something that you're not going to be happy with. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses. That was the case this week with another hat I started. I realized Tuesday night that I had to go to my "other" job the next day and needed something to knit while at work. I decided on Sweet Sassafras's Buttercup Beret in Spa in Misty Taupe. Some 34 rows later, I realized, my gauge was way too small, and I was not really a fan of the cables. To the frog pond it went. I think I'll try it again on slightly larger needles and changing the cables to something I like a little better.

Also, the Roxanne Mystery KAL started today! I already cast-on and did all of the instructions so far. There was a slightly wonky spot in the first two rows where it seemed like it needed another k1, but I just followed it too a T and moved the place markers as needed. I ended with the right amount of stitches that she says we should have so I'm not going to worry. A lot of people on the Ravelry forum seemed to add the stitch though. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I am knitting woman! Hear me roar! I have a sweater! Of course, I finished it right in time for it to start getting warm but it'll look great when I wear it next year ;-)

Also, I finished this lovely pair of socks. I started them back in December when the sweater got to be too big to knit while at work (this is the advantage to wearing an apron as part of a work uniform. Big pockets make it easy to stash portable projects.) but they got put on the back burner when I signed up to do the craft fair.

Well, this leaves me down to one active project right now. The pre-tied bandanna that I'm making up. I really have no idea if this is going to turn out how I see it in my head, but hopefully it will. However, here's what there is so far.

Oh yeah, one more thing: Less than a month until MD Sheep and Wool! GET EXCITED. Oh jeez I'm such a yarn nerd. BUT, I'm hoping that this year, (if it's not too expensive) to buy a small spinning wheel. I do like the drop-spindle but I want something that will go a little faster, and be a bit more uniform (I hope).

I'll leave you with this fun tidbit: " There are more than 300 references to sheep and lambs, more than to any other animal, in the Old Testament, on of the earliest written records of sheep." (National Geographic, May 1988 Pg 566)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

From Brain To Fingertips

Pre-Tied Bandannas
In the world of Orthodox Jewish head coverings there is something that exists called a pre-tied bandanna. These are basically cloth bags with a bit of elastic at the nape of the neck to help them stay on. there are also tails at the nape of the neck if you wanted to tie it underneath where your hair is so that it's more secure, or tie it around where the hair is to make it look like a bun. Anyway, this past Saturday, while sitting in synagogue and looking at everyone's head coverings, I thought, "what about a knitted pre-tied bandanna?" And I itched to start it, but since it was the Sabbath, I waited until it was over and then started knitting. I'm using Spa because it's light and drapey. If it works, and I make what I actually intended to make, I'll share the pattern with all of you. We'll see!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fearless Knitting

I'm gonna do this. I'm going to use the yarn I got in the last swap. I'm really looking forward to this!

Friday, April 1, 2011


"A bale of raw wool, or grease wool, straight from the sheep, can contain as little as 50 percent wool, the rest being wool grease, burs, seeds, and other vegetable matter, body salts, and dirt." (National Geographic, May 1988 pg 580)