You know it’s been over a month since I started my goal of knitting three pairs of socks for the Sock Summit. I’m barely done with just one, and actually I think I’ve decided I’m not going to be done with this one because I want to make knee-highs. Oh well, such is life.
I am almost finished with the Nautillina shawl I started and I’ll have it ready and blocked I think by Friday. But this isn’t for me, it’s for someone else.
Also, I needed to knit something fast so I’ve been thoroughly entranced by gigantic needles. Yes, this is the same woman who once swore off knitting with anything larger than US 10 needles because knitting with anything bigger than that was like doing the “Chicken Dance.” But I had the perfect opportunity to use those size US 19’s that were gathering dust behind my laptop. So I finished a shawlette with some Artfibers Baccarat (a lovely iridescent ribbon yarn that reminds me of Japanese Beetles) which has been languishing in my stash, but I have so much of it left that I think I’m going to undo the bind off and continue knitting until I have a full shawl. Arrrrgh. I’ll never be done. I need to lie down on the floor and remain calm.
These are the socks that never end...
This yarn reminds me of Japanese Beetles
No, not really. I could actually keep knitting.
Yesterday I hosted a Yarntasting party in Overlook Park.
At least over twenty people showed up from the invitee list. It was such great fun!!!! Surprisingly, it was a bit chilly and windy early when we started but the sun eventually came out. Many people brought food and drink to snack on while we were knitting. There was a bit of a mix up with the parks area because they double booked the spot. A poor woman showed up around 12:00 puzzled because she’d booked the site from 9:00 to the end of the day. The last hour of the Yarntasting was a bit rushed, but all in all it was great! And I got to meet a lot of wonderful Portland Knitters.
A few people did try to crochet their samples. Others like Puppydog knits created a sample mini scarf from their swatches.
Artfibers Swatch Scarf by Puppydog Knits
Located outside of San Francisco in Pinole, California, Artfibers has been producing their uniquely gorgeous artisan yarns for over 15 years. At our Yarntasting there were about 180 different gorgeous fiber samples of 38 different yarn lines to choose from ranging from blends made from alpaca to yak. You can see all of the yarns (and more) we tried at this event on the Artfibers yarn page.
I’m going to try to keep a log of fibers I both tried and took smaller samples from. It was virtually impossible to try all of the them but my favorites on the spot were (I will post photos as soon as my camera battery is charged up and I can find my blasted USB cord for my camera):
- Cassanova (Tussah Silk/ Mulberry Silk) – So beautiful I made swatches of two colors. Gorgeously soft with just the amount of sheen from the silk. It doesn’t hurt that the colors are absolutely gorgeous from a deep velvety teal to a pink and plum multi-color shown here.
Casanova 18 & Safa 12
- Bunnuit (53% Tussah Silk/40% Angora/7% Mulberry Silk) – I normally don’t like angora in such a large percentage in a yarn, but married with the silk it seems to work for me. The black angora bathes the rich multi-colored variation in this yarn in a halo of dark softness. The result is an amazingly rich texture and colorway. Did I mention that it’s super baby soft too?
- Chutney (100% Wild harvested silk bourette) – While Chutney isn’t as soft as the previous two yarns, I still love it because of how it shows off beautiful hand painted colorways. Lately, I’ve learned to love the rawer silks because they produce lovely summer garments with a good deal of breathability and drape without skimping on the warmth coverage when you need it on those cool summer nights. I actually crocheted the swatch you see in the photo below. (Still need to take a photo).
Almost all the favorites I picked have silk in them. I suddenly realized that this was because Artfibers has mastered the secret of making truly fantastic soft and luxurious yarns using silk and silk blends.
Other yarntastees are posting their photos and pictures. I’ll be posting these up here as I find them.
Me forgetting how many inches were in a yard... Doh! Excitement gets to you.
The yarn samples
Filed under Art, Colors, Community, Creativity, Dye, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Portland, Portland Crocheters, Portland Knitters, Yarn
Dyeing cotton fibers is such a pain. Not only do I want to make sure that the pain is worth it, I want to make sure I get it right the first time. Not to mention, I’ll be using my precious Artfibers cotton (Rush), and I really don’t want to over-dye any of this stuff.
I’ve decided to knit up the skeins of blank cotton yarn I have with a knitting machine and then paint these long blanks by hand using a color combo of four (see below).
Four colors of Dharma Fiber Reactive Procion Dye: (clock wise from the top left) Black Cherry, Brazilnut, Dusty Rose, and Raspberry
This may sound a bit geeky, and I’m sure there’s a better way to do this, but I used a graphics program to ‘plan’ out the color on the blanks. I think I’ll actually dye a test blank in leftover dyes that I’m not crazy about using one of the patterns below. Pattern 1 will result in a graduated dye dispersal. Pattern 2 is a recipe for plain striping. Pattern three will create broad strips of color with blends of the dye colors in criss-cross patterns dispersed throughout the fabric.
I want to know what the color patterns will be like in a large panel of stockinette knitting (say for a sweater). If only my math and programming skills were sharper, I could actually create a program that would help me estimate the staggering of the pattern based on the length and width of the knitting and the stitch gauge. Actually, I could probably do it if I had the time, but for now, I’m just going to have to rely on both my imagination and powers of estimation.
Filed under Colors, Colorwork, Cotton, Creativity, Dye, Dyeing, Dyeing_yarn, Knit, Knitting, Math, Project, Stockinette, Sweater, Techniques, Yarn
This is one of my favorite shows… The Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson aka. I-have-a-cunning-plan S. Baldrick from the Blackadder series. I’m sharing the few bits from this show that describe old and ancient dyeing techniques.
Purple makers using rotten shellfish to make ‘royal purple.’
Dyeing blue with Wode
Part I (Part about wode dyeing is about 5 1/2 minutes in. There is an interesting bit on pin-making at the beginning of this video)
Cleaning and fulling wool cloth with… yes… Pee. The part about the fulling is actually 3 1/2 minutes into the first video. It’s continued in the second.
Hopefully we’ve seen the last of the snow for now. Hopefully.
I meant to post more photos from the dye work I did in December. I finally got around to snapping pictures of the more of the skeins of yarn I dyed. Here they are for your viewing pleasure.
Northwest Woods (probably for a pair of socks for my brother Ted)
Note, I’ve discovered the fine art of squeezing the dye and painting the right amounts of yarn. I was happy with all my colourways except for one. I didn’t include it here, it was supposed to emulate the colors in a peacock feather, but i think I should have used more dark green. I need to overdye this yarn or repaint it.
Sample of the Blouson from Interweave Knits
I also dyed a good deal of peruvian cotton (about 17 skeins) for the 1824 Blouson pattern. Let me tell you, dying cotton (and I assume other plant fibers) is a royal pain in the ass. It wasn’t so much the pre-washing of the fibers in a solution of synthropol then soaking them in a soda ash solution, or dissolving the large amounts of salt into the dye water before adding the urea solution and dye. I REALLY REALLY hated the process of washing out the excess dye and other chemical badness in the yarn after the dyeing was over. Ick. I could never truly felt that I got it ALL out. On top of that I’m not sure I want to make a simple stockinette stitch pattern like the Blouson… since dyeing this yarn was such a labor intensive process. Two or three skeins of the yarn are a bit darker than I expected. I think I may have soaked them in too much soda ash solution, but I don’t mind the color imperfection. I think it adds more appeal and a hand-fashioned look to the final product.
Not to mention the warning on the package of the dye said something like… the state of California warns that this produce may cause cancer!!!!
I have decided that I will dye up a few more batches of cotton yarn, just enough to use up the dyes I purchased and from now own I’ll only dye wools, animal fibers and nylon. Or I’ll use Kool-aid and other foodbased dyes. I have a sweater’s worth of Artfibers Rush I need to dye and some skeins of mercerized cotton. Maybe I should invite some friends over… “Hey, share the cancer!”
Luna dyed with Seafoam & Grey Mist (formerly "Sunlight" yellow)
Filed under Colors, Colorwork, Cotton, Craft, Creativity, Dyeing, Dyeing_yarn, Eco, Fibers, Fun Stuff, Knit, Knitting, Socks, Stockinette, Techniques, Wool, Yarn
The View - Cove at Cape Disappointment
As I write this, the day after our beach trip, storm clouds are forming above us. So my pleas for relief have been heard. There’s something completely unnatural about living in a hot climate. But I suppose someone who grew up in the Arizona desert might beg to differ. The overly moisturized environment of the Pacific Northwest might seem a bit soggy to them.
How does one escape 104 degree weather? We do what any normal Portlander does… flee to the coast. This time we made our way up to Astoria and the Long Beach area up to Cape Disappointment. Ahhhh… it was a cool 65 degrees, and you could see the mist rolling over the tree tops.
Sandy Pug Butt
The dogs (Otto, Kirby and Pono – Pono is Kirby’s brother) had a glorious time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Otto most ecstatic and content. The cove by the lighthouse was pretty secluded and there was a steep trek down. Consequently, it’s not visited by too many people. So we felt pretty good about just letting the dogs run about. It’s quite problematic having chihuahuas on the beach with other dogs, because they’re so tiny and uppity. We worry about them getting into a deadly tussle with a much larger dog.
I was still feeling out of sorts from the heat from the last few days. The night before our beach trip, I got absolutely no sleep. I awoke feeling hungover, without having experienced the booze fun the night before, so I didn’t get much knitting done on the beach. On the way there, I did work on my Lace Ribbon Scarf (ala Knitty.com) with the very delicious Tantra silk from Art Fibers. If I was sharp enough, I would have taken a picture of the scarf on the driftwood. Art Fibers just does an absolutely amazing job with their coloring and variegation in their dye jobs. It’s worth, not being able to predict the colors exactly from their website photos. Each time I get a color I’m more than pleasantly surprised. As I look over the beach photos, the colors from this scarf seem very reminiscent of the colors I experienced on the coast that day. What a lovely coincidence.
Lace Ribbon Scarf in Art Fibers Tantra
As I lay on the beach trying to rehydrate my body and being, I did work on another Amigurumi creature, a mischievous monkey. Simple crochet in a spiral seemed to be soothing to work on. I’ll post the photos up on this item later.
Our friend, Emily experimented with some stop-action animation with her camera. She, Chad and Ryan worked together to shoot a short, short feature starring various beach paraphernalia and dead creatures (crab shells and Jelly fish). It was quite interesting to watch all of them get involved in the creative process, each of them contributing ideas and direction. You can see the results here: Mysterious Beach.
Collecting materials for the movie set
Chihuahua brothers enjoy the beach
Filed under Amigurumi, Colors, Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Knit, Knitting, Lace, Project, Stuff I made, Yarn
As promised here are the colors I am using for the Season 15 Dr. Who Scarf made famous by Tom Baker. I used Elann’s Peruvian Highland Wool because of the rich range of colors and the cost. It’s got to be the best price for the range of colors in a 100% wool yarn I’ve seen so far. I chose to use predominantly heathered yarn because I like the rustic effect vs. the well defined look. Note: I did reduce the width to about 38 stitches across. 70 -90 stitches seemed way too large and cumbersome.
I’ve matched the colors listen on the scarf pattern page. I started with 2 skeins of each color.
- Medium Purple – 0743 Grape Heather
- Light/Medium Gray– 0401 Light Grey Heather
- Very Dark Olive Green –Wasn’t really into using a dark colored olive… so I chose “Herb” as a substitute, which is currently out of stock… though you could probably get away with using 0651 Forest Glade Heather or 2308 Cedar
- Medium Brown –0208 Malt Heather
- Medium/Dark Red – 0727 Spiced Wine
- Dark Yellow – 1150 Butterscotch
- Light Tan/Beige – 282 Oatmeal Heather