Thursday, 12 May 2016

How could I do this again?

I have to admit to being a complete idiot when it comes to sudden urges to buy yarn.  I gave in to temptation!  Yikes, and my stash is already threatening to bend the floor boards...

I couldn't resist the thought of some lovely, plump, squishy, gorgeous Madelinetosh Sock yarn!  It feels wonderful to knit with, and it feels like a luxury treatment for your feet when you wear them. Ah! I just simply cannot resist.

Too bad that I couldn't find the kind of colour I wanted, at least not for a reduced price.  But then there were two websites that had some colourways that weren't too bad, at a price that was lower than normal... You guessed it: I bought both!

Madelinetosh Sock - Vermillion
Whiskey Barrel c
And then I got them home, prepared to put them away - and guess what I picked up out of my stash?

You guessed it: another skein of Madelinetosh Sock yarn!

This one in Silver Fox, that I had won in an ebay auction that I'd half forgotten about by the time I won it (bad knitter, bad, bad, bad knitter!):

I saw these and couldn't resist:

Rico Design Superba Poem - I think the colourway is Greys
I would like to make a crescent shaped shawl in neutral colours so I thought that these black, grey and whites would be nice.  But I really didn't need more yarn, I've got lots of solid grey yarn left! Yikes.

This one was a bit of a mistake. The photo and mention of silk made me think that this is shiny yarn. But that's silly, since when is silk always shiny?

This yarn is black, it never photographs well

It is a good quality knitting yarn that's lovely and soft. I got this from the Knitting Shop. I am thinking of making another crescent shaped shawl with this but not yet.  Once I do, I'm sure that the shawl will be extremely useful.

But why oh why oh why did I buy so much new yarn?

This is terrible.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

I am not a size queen, but...

This is an awkward project. 
Or is it me? Am I doing something wrong?

I loved the lace-weight Pi shawl pattern Lucca by Brooklyn Tweed so much that  I had to buy it.  Never mind that I have a huge amounts of patterns I could do instead.  Sometimes you just see something that grabs your attention and you have to go with it.

This is a pattern where you don't knit knit rows in between lace pattern rows, you do something in each row - at least in the lace pattern sections that look quite delicate.

I was very intrigued by the roundish looking pattern rows (you get to do alternate rows there!) – these turn out to be one and a half repeats of the tulle pattern common to many lace shawl or tablecloth patterns.  You know the patterns that make big doilies?

I am really taken with the fact that using only six rows of this pattern gives such a different effect to what this pattern usually looks like.  In ‘doily’ patterns it is very often used as background - typified by two yarn-overs that you have to purl and knit to in the alternative row above.  What I get when I knit this it tends to look a bit loose and rough so I am not that keen on it, I much prefer the diamond shape pattern for lace backgrounds.

This is a really awkward pattern for me because I started it three times now in three different yarns and with increasingly bigger needles.

First attempt: petrol yarn and needles sized 3mm
Second attempt: a Fyberspates Scrumptous yarn (in DK?) and 4mm needles
Third attempt: a bright pin/purplish BC Garn Silkbloom Extra Fino yarn and x needles

My first attempt resulted in a tiny size that’s less than half the desired size. I wasn’t keen on producing something the size of a handkerchief!

Pretty. But just too small.

Second one was even worse: despite the bigger needles, this thick yarn wasn't working at all:

Just look at it! Tiny, compact, not what I wanted...

And the third attempt that I am determined to go with:

I already increased the stocking stitch sections by a few rows

So I started again.  And again the size wasn’t what I wanted nor what it looks like in the instructions. So I started again. Yes, I know I said that already, but I did. Third yarn, even bigger needles!

I am still not terribly happy with the size I am getting – but at least it’s a lot closer.

Maybe I can repeat some rows or pattern sections to make it bigger?  But I don't understand why my attempts come out tiny whereas the original photos make this look like a very comfortable size.  It is downright weird.

A funny outcome of this would be if blocking it would eventually give me a bigger size. That has happened to me quite often: I knit and knit at this misshapen blob of a thing and as soon as I start to pin the wetted down shawl, it seems to grow and grow and grow!

But this project has lots of stocking stitch sections, I really don’t think this is capable of growing much!?  But if it came out just a little bit bigger I would be very pleased.

Let me keep my fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Yarn dyeing adventures

Who knew that you could use up 750 grams of salt in a single yarn dyeing afternoon, come out with only two colours and have to stop yourself there because you've run out of salt?

Right. (I bought more salt and stored it with the dyes this time. Needless to say I haven't gotten around to dyeing any more yarn just yet...)

So I had myself a bit of a yarn dyeing adventure.

I had bought three skeins of Colinette Jitterbug in Colourway Frangipani off ebay or somewhere like that.  I don't know if someone didn't like their purchase any more and needed to sell them on or what, but they were cheaper and I couldn't resist.  Even though I thoroughly disliked the colours.

Here is what it looked like before:

The light wasn't very good
This one is better but doesn't catch the colours as well

Throw into some Dylon Flamingo Pink, and the result is this:

Gorgeous, isn't it?  I really love those colours.  I expected the green bits to turn brown and perhaps only the very light areas to be these lighter shades of pink but the result is better than I thought. I am glad I tried this.

I have plans for this yarn! Plans, I tell you, promising plans! (to be revealed at another time)

Seeing as I was dyeing 300 grams with two sachets that are good for 500 grams, I also chucked an undyed skein in, and this it here:

This is my favourite colour so I am extremely pleased that I added this yarn. I don't remember where I got this sock yarn from, it may have been from Violet Green (the url is now or from Ally Pally, a few years back.

~ ~ ~

The one skein I tried first and that I had lots more problems with, turned out like this at first:

I used Dylon Powder Pink and it didn't take very well. It looks like the yarn is blushing!  This shade is much too insipid for me.

I think it is because the undyed yarn was too yellowy.  If I had used this dye on white cotton, the result is likely to have been much different and better.

So what to do?

If in doubt, chuck more dye at it.  And boy, did I do that!

I used the Dylon Intense Violet on the still wet skein and quickly saw that the colour while still wet was too light for my taste (and colours are bound to get lighter when they dry).  Much more an Iris violet than the colour I was aiming for.  I also don't like Iris so I ramaged through my dye sachets.

Knowing that I had bought way too many colours way too long ago and not done anything with them so far, I felt that it didn't much matter how many dye sachets I was using up.  Using them up at all is a good thing!

I was dithering between the navy blue and the mid blue that Dylon do.  I was leaning towards the darker colour but was worried that this would render the purple rather dull.  Which would have been extremely discouraging where future dyeing is concerned (I didn't think I'd do more that same afternoon).  So the mid blue it was:  another sachet of Dylon's Ocean Blue. I chucked this in with the Violet after ten minutes and then left the whole thing an additional ten minutes to do its thing.

And I must say I am happy with this colour - I can definitely live with it:

This is still a bit more 'Iris' in shade than I had hoped but darker than my first attempt with the Intense Violet on its own.

One day I will also try dyes from another firm to see how their shades compare.