Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tequila Sunrise

OK, I'll skip right over all the other 8 or 9 projects I have worked on since May and jump right to this cool Kool-Aid dyeing project. I have been wanting to dye sock blanks for a while, since I have the machine for knitting the blanks, and I thought it was such a neat idea. The members of our Steveston knitting group decided a while ago that we would give this a try. In July we ordered the yarn and in early August a group of us got together to wind the yarn and knit the blanks. Then Kelian kindly opened her home and we dyed our blanks using Kool-Aid and Wilton's cake dye. I'll post my blank from that night in a few days. Fast forward to this past week when I went over to the island and showed my dyed sock blank to my U of Ottawa bound niece. She has been knitting socks for a while and was very excited at this idea, so we bought some undyed yarn from an independent dyer in Victoria (don't worry - we also bought some of her very cool dyed yarns!), knitted up the blanks and tried the experiment again. Kirstie dyed a blank for herself, I dyed a blank for one of my nieces, and another niece, Jennifer, the die-hard Harry Potter fan, dyed a third one.

I have had a pattern for "Fawkes" socks in my queue for some time now. Fawkes is Dumbledore's phoenix, and lovely shades of red and orange. I told Jen if she wanted me to knit that pattern, she should dye her blank in reds, oranges and yellows. She did a stunning job of dyeing her blank, and now it's up to me to knit up the pattern. Startitis hit hard and I couldn't wait, so cast on for the pattern. I'm really liking the way it looks... but it looks more like a Tequila Sunrise than a Phoenix... :)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Colourful Avery

This Avery sweater is a flip on the regular pattern. I had more variegated yarn than solid colour, so I made the sleeves plain green and knitted the front and back in variegated. The only problem was that normally you choose bits of self patterning yarn from different sections of the colourway to knit the intarsia blocks on the front of the sweater - and I was working with plain green and the variegated. I solved the problem by searching through my stash and finding ends of balls of yarn in various bright colours. I think they make great blocks on the sweater front - very colourful.

I took a closeup photo of the intarsia blocks as I have often been disappointed in the way my edge stitches look in intarsia knitting. This time a tried a technique that Holli described to me and I am much happier with the way it looks, although I think it still needs a bit of refining.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The colour purple

The knitting machine came in handy again as I worked with some purple yarn to create two little sweaters. Though there was enough variegated yarn to make a size 2 child's sweater, probably, I had two different shades of purple to coordinate with the Tofutsies variegated. So, I opted to make two smaller sweaters, each with its own purple. The first one, from Holli Yeoh's Devan pattern, was made with Trekking ProNatura. This is the third time, now, that I have made this pattern. It is a beauty to make and the instructions are so clear and well written. This little sweater will go into my stash of baby sweaters for handy gifts.

The second sweater was made for charity. Our knitting guild has decided to support a local hospital and we are knitting baby sweaters and baby things to be donated to the hospital. The hospital will distribute the items to new mums in financial difficulty. For this sweater, I used Holli's pattern Avery. However, that pattern has blocks of the variegated colour knitted in intarsia on the front, and I was pretty sure that I was cutting it fine on the Tofutsies yarn. I wanted something to tie the colours together, and without the colour blocks it seemed difficult. However, I thought that if I did a row of eyelet across the body of the sweater, every few rows, the effect would be lacy and feminine. To accent this, I did a picot hem in the variegated yarn on the body and at the neck. I think the final result is quite nice. The purple yarn for this one is Opal, and the colour is not very well represented in the photo. It is a very dark purple, and I actually thought that it would not be as good a complement to the Tofutsies as the ProNatura. When they were both knitted up, however, I find that I like the dark purple as a contrast to the variegated better, even though the purple of the ProNatura is almost a perfect match.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring lambs and all

It's spring time and baby lambs are on the way. A trip out to the farm in Chilliwack didn't net us a sight of the new babies - none were born yet, but Stewart got to feed the sheep and the chickens. Loretta has at least two breeds of sheep; a horned Icelandic variety and a more common, North American breed (don't know for sure what breed they are - Loretta calls them her 'woolies') without horns. They were a bit skittish with us, but as soon as Stewart had grain in hand he became their new best friend.

Loretta doesn't sheer her sheep herself, as that is a skill that takes a bit of time to acquire, however she does keep the wool, wash, card and spin it herself. She has tried some experimenting with dying the wool, but mostly she prefers to use the different shades as they come off the sheep. That is why she likes to have dark and light sheep, and is hoping for a few spotted ones among the lambs. After our farm tour, we went inside the tiny farmhouse to have a look at some of her spinning. Specifically, we were looking for some yarn to knit up a hat for my niece, Taryn. We chose a lovely mottled dark/light grey that has knit up into a very nice little Topi. The hat knitted up quickly, however, the brim seems overlarge, and may have to be frogged and reknit. Taryn will have to try it on first, but overall, I am happy with the way it looks.

So we came home without seeing any lambs, but a couple of days after the visit, we received the following photo via email! Here is new baby Ophelia:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Warm woolies

Beautiful blue for beautiful blue-eyed boy. This sweater is another Holli Yeoh pattern, called Avery. I have made it in Opal yarn, a kit I purchased from Holli. The self striping yarn with the browns, greens and blues are a great compliment to the blue of the main colour. Mostly done on the machine, the corrugated ribbing and the blocks of colour on the front were done by hand, because my machine doesn't do (a) ribbing, and (b) two colour intarsia. I quite like that I have to do some by hand, though, it means I don't entirely abandon my hand work to the machine. After all, am I knitting because I want to knit or because I want to produce? Both, but I do enjoy the knitting part.

Another Avery, this time done in Trekking yarn. The self-patterning yarn on this one, like the Christmas sweater in reds and greens, is more tweedy than stripy. I couldn't actually find a spot where the pattern repeated itself. Because different colours are plied together, and the length of the colour repeat on them must differ, they don't fall together at the same point of another ply's colour, necessarily. I really like the colour of this one, but sweet baby James' mum said it was too girly, so it will have to go to a girl somewhere. Since Christmas, I have made three children's sweaters on the machine. The sewing up is a bit behind, but it is amazing how quickly they come together on the machine.

These are the sleeves of the black and grey cabled sweater by Wilma Peers, from Vogue Knitting Fall 2006. They rather look like scarves at the moment - yes they are both on one needle, and that does emphasize the narrow look, but I am a bit concerned that they are actually going to be big enough around the arm. I love the cables on this sweater, but I have been somewhat frustrated with the knitting. The instructions are less than clear in some parts and I have interpreted, and sometimes adapted, them to my liking. My main concern is the length of the sleeve. Because it is a raglan, and I am not sure how high up the shoulder the top of the sleeve will sit, it is difficult to judge exactly how long to make the sleeve. I know it needs to be shorter than the instructions call for; even with a long, beyond the wrist sleeve, 25 1/2 inches is far too long for my short arms. I am hoping that my estimation is going to be a go...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Little tikes

Little Tikes sweater, complete except for buttons. My colleague was thrilled with the results and gave it to her nephew for Christmas.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

No time to blog...

...just a quick entry to show the completed Devan sweater - all pieces knit by machine on Sunday, November 30. Pieced and finished by today! That has to be a record! I love the colourway on this yarn (fortissimo??? can't remember - but the info is on Ravelry). Unfortunately, I knew I was going to be very tight with the amount of yarn, and so I didn't attempt to match the striping. The yarn is tweedy as much as stripy, so the effect is not awful, but probably would have been even nicer if I had had enough yarn to do the proper matching. Lovely result for my beautiful great-nephew.