Monday, October 29, 2012

Loong post. So much going on!

I have been a crafting fiend lately!

I have been knitting and sewing up a storm lately to get all of my Christmas projects done in time. I don't know why, but I promised about half a dozen people I would knit them things for Christmas, and then there are another few people that I want to make gifts for as well..
It's a little overwhelming, and I want to make sure that I make really nice items for everyone. It's looking like there are going to be a few people that are going to either receive late gifts, or that will have to wait until next year for hand knitted items, but I am quickly working my way through my list.
Unfortunately, with all of this crafting, my school work has sort of taken a nosedive. Don't get me wrong, I still have a 4.0 (that isn't going to change, dagnabit!), but I have definitely been procrastinating on studying and researching...

This means that this last weekend has been full of furious studying sessions to prepare for my multiple exams this week...AND I have a research paper due on Halloween and another project due next week for my online class. AND ALL I WANT TO DO IS KNIT! *Sigh*

In other news, I am planning on adding a video segment to this blog, and (at some point) turning it into a podcast, but since all I have all I have right now is a POS webcam that I got for five dollars on Amazon, that project will have to wait. My boyfriend, Brandon, hinted that he may be buying me a nice webcam/camera for Christmas so...fingers crossed. 

So, anyway here is what I have going on lately, knitwise (see what I did there?)

Works in Progress

Right now the only thing I have on the needles is a striped scarf for Brandon

I am knitting it on my size 7 Clover circulars with Knitpicks Brava sport in Soltice Heather  and a yarn that I recycled from a thrift store sweater. I threw away the tag a long time ago, but if I remember correctly, it is a cotton, angora, and acrylic. It is very soft and goes well with the Brava. 
Since the white yarn is more of a light worsted weight, I am decreasing two stitches when I change to white, and adding the stitches back when I change to blue. So far this seems to be working well

I decided to carry the yarn up the side of the scarf, instead of leaving long ends and weaving them in like I usually do with striped projects. I'm sure that this will save my sanity in the long run, but I keep getting my balls of yarn tangled and it is driving me crazy! 

Finished Objects

My sister Celeste can stop reading here, please! 
She has not seen her present yet, and I want to keep it a surprise. I have shown my younger sister, Molly, her present because she is the pickiest person I have ever met.

1) Textured cowl 

This is my Christmas present for Molly. It is a simple seed stitch, garter stitch, and stockinette stitch scarf, with buttons sewn on one end so that it can be turned into a cowl. I knit it on size 15 (maybe 13..I don't remember) needles with Caron Simply Soft in Off White and Sand. I figured a nice soft acrylic yarn would be good for a seventeen year old- it is machine washable and durable. I have more information about this pattern in my Ravelry notes.

2) Celeste's Daisy Stitch Scarf 

So I really hope Celeste isn't reading this. 
I used Morgen Dämmerung's Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks pattern for this scarf, and I knit it on size 13 needles with Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Lotus held with Paton's Lace in Vintage. The scarf is super warm and squishy, and I really think she's going to like it. 

3) Finn Hat for Finn

This is actually a sewing project, but I am too excited about it not to show it off. It is a hat based on the hat that Finn wears in the show Adventure Time. My nephew Phoenix (whom we call Finn) absolutely adores that show, so I decided to make him this adorable hat. Unfortunately, I did not realize that the pattern was for an adult until I had already started sewing, but my nephew is enormous, and I'm sure this hat will fit him soon enough. 
I got the pattern here, and I made it out of white fleece from Hobby Lobby, and then sewed on velcro on the ear flaps. I love it!

Ignore my weird face. 

Stash Enhancement 

So I found this yarn from a Chinese seller on Ebay (that link will probably expire soon, but the seller always has some for sale) and I snatched it up because it was cheap, it looked super fluffy, and I have been on a mohair kick lately. The description claims that it is "52% angora mohair and 48% wool cashmere" which doesn't make any sense at all, but since I have had a chance to feel it in person, I am pretty sure that is is mohair and wool. It is really soft and fuzzy. 

I also recently got a couple samples of merino yarn  from Colourmart in lace and DK weight so that I could decide if I wanted to buy from them They sent me some very generous samples, and the yarn is lovely. A couple of cones of their merino may be in my future once I have some spending money. i have several sport and DK weight sweaters in my Ravelry queue, so their yarn would be perfect. 

Whew! That was a long one. 

Thanks for coming by, and I will try to post again soon.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Experiments in Koolaid Pt. 2

This yarn is beautiful!




I am so happy with how it turned out! I love the way the colors blend together, and I can't wait to start a project! I think I'm going to name this yarn Berry Picking

I am so excited to try this again! I have to wait a while longer until I have a little bit more money to buy some more un-dyed yarn, but in the meantime I am going to look through my stash and see if I have any yarn that I can dye or over-dye. 

More adventures to come! 
I just finished a Christmas scarf for my sister, and I am working on a couple more Christmas projects as well. There will be pictures soon! 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Experiments with Koolaid

I was going to wait a while to start this blog until I could prepare for the video-blogging segment that I am planning, but I just could not resist posting about my newest adventure
I dyed my own yarn!!

As you can imagine, I am VERY EXCITED and cannot wait to knit up a pair of socks.

I got the idea for Koolaid dyeing from Stacey of Freshstitches' tutorial on her blog. I used her process, but modified it a little bit.

I started out with a bare hank of 75% wool 25% nylon fingering weight yarn that I got from jslaurent on Etsy. To be honest, I will probably not buy this yarn again: although it soaked up dye like a dream, the yarn is a little bit too scratchy for my preference.I think that it will work out fine as a sock yarn, so I am not too disappointed. I mostly just bought this yarn because it was the most inexpensive that I could find, and I did not want to ruin an expensive skein of yarn with my shoddy artistry.  

I will explain what my process was for dyeing this yarn, and what I will do differently next time.

Step One: 
I soaked my yarn skein in lightly soapy water for about 15 minutes. Then I rinsed it and gently squeezed out as much water as I could

Step Two:
I used two packages each of unsweetened Kool-aid powder in Grape and Blue Lemonade

I poured one package of each into separate glass casserole dishes filled with boiling water, and then poured one of each into a preheated crackpot filled with a couple cups of water.

Step 2.1 (Optional)

I smashed my tea kettle against the side of the casserole dish because I'm a moron. D:
Step Three:
I dipped one end of the skein in the blue Kool-aid, and the other end in the purple Kool-aid, and I left a large portion of the middle bare. I let the yarn soak like this for about 10 minutes, until it had soaked up all of the dye, leaving clear water in the dish. (Seriously, the yarn soaked up the color crazy fast. It was awesome).
I didn't take any pictures of this part because I was so excited watching the dyeing process that I didn't even think of taking any pictures until I was done. 

Step Four:
I placed the whole skein of yarn in the purpley-blue dye in the slow-cooker and let it soak for about 20 minutes. 
This did not work well, for some reason. A lot of the middle areas of the skein were this weird mottled purple, and I didn't like it.  Next time I will try to find a different blue, because I don't think this one was as saturated as I wanted
 SO, I improvised and went on to 

Unplanned Step Five:
I wasn't sure if this would work, but I mixed three teaspoons of blue food coloring with a teaspoon of lime juice and two cups of boiling water. I have read that wool needs acid to soak up dye, but I wasn't sure if the citric acid in the Kool-aid would be enough, and I don't have any vinegar so I tried the lime juice. And it worked WONDERFULLY! The undyed sections soaked up a really rich blue, and it gave a blue cast to the rest of the yarn as well. 
I let the yarn soak in this for about 15 minutes.

Step Six:
I soaked the yarn in lukewarm water in my lovely Eucalan wool wash for 20 minutes.

Step Seven: SUCCESS
The yarn is currently hanging to dry in my shower

Some areas are very blue    


and some are very purple

and some are in between

Yay! Tomorrow I will post pictures of how it looks when dry.
Next time I think I'm either going to try to do long stripes or do a tonal yarn.