Saturday, February 16, 2013

Knitting Ribbon Waves

Blogs are a wonderful form of procrastination.  I have company coming tomorrow and I really should be tidying mi casa, but here I am blogging.  ¡Lo siento casa!

Earlier today, the sun was my excuse for not doing chores.  It is freakishly gorgeous here in the Phoenix valley.  It's almost 80ยบ, breezy with wispy clouds dancing across the blue.  How can one be expected to make a bed on a day like today?  I grabbed my knitting and went out to cop a squat in the middle of my grassy backyard.  My cat, who is also a sun worshiper, followed me and the two of us soaked up the sun together.  

This ribbon is a painted, 3/4" nylon fiber with gold thread running through.  It's so pretty out in the sun where the light sparkles off the thread illuminating the colors.  The dropped stitches are forming these fabulous bubbles and I love the way the colors are moving across the piece.  Sometimes it's hard to know how variegated fibers will turn out.  A slightly different width and I could have a scarf where the colors are split down the middle.  I like this so much more.  It's like they are traveling in waves to compliment the pattern.  

I should tell you what ribbon I'm using.  The truth is I pulled it from my stash and I had already removed the label.  I believe it is Segue Yarn in the color Peacock.  I linked to the free pattern in my post entitled Knitting Waves.  Okay, I guess I can't avoid my house any longer.  I hope everyone is having a lovely Saturday! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dyed Waves

I'm getting a little sleepy, but I thought I'd pop on and show you my dyed infinity scarf.  I was planning to make the teal and pewter colors darker, but then as I was dyeing, I decided to go with a more muted look.  I literally had all of the colors painted and in place and then I poured a couple cups of water right over them, my own version of white washing.  I like that the colors look weathered as though this is an old favorite scarf rather than a newly knitted one.  It seems a little summery, like something you would throw on for a walk on the beach one cool morning.  

I've started working up this same pattern in a painted, wide nylon ribbon.  The look is completely different, sort of whimsical and fun.  I want to get a few more rows done and then I'll share.  As for now, I wish you a good night! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Knitting Waves

A novice knitter, I experience waves of enthusiasm toward the craft in which I immerse myself utterly.  Then, at some point, I get frustrated and go rushing back to crochet.  At the moment, I'm playing in the waves again.  I would love to be as comfortable knitting as I am crocheting, so to keep myself inspired, I've been on the lookout for fun little projects.

I happen to be on Facebook last night when a page I follow posted Spinning Daily's Free eBook offer. The book includes five free scarf patterns, so I thought, why not?  Among the designs was a wavy scarf pattern.  I've seen similar ones and have always liked the look.  Plus, I have this chunky thick and thin yarn that I spun and I've been wanting a pattern that would show it off.  Inspired, I grabbed my size 9 needles and set to work.

I probably shouldn't admit this, but I struggled with the yarn overs at first.  Basically, I was trying to wrap the wrong needle.  After scratching my noggin' for a few minutes, I realized my error.  After that, it was easy to yarn over along one row and drop the stitches on the next.  Actually, it was more than easy, it was fun.  I have to say, this little scarf is the most fun I've had knitting so far.  The pattern was easy and the resulting waves and bubbles so satisfying, that I was a happy little knitter last night.  I woke up anxious to finish off my skein this morning.  I had just enough yarn to make a short infinity scarf.

I spun the yarn out of a wool/silk blend.  It feels so cozy, that I started to fantasized about making an entire afghan.  That would be a lot of spinning!  For now, I'm going to focus on giving my scarf a little color.  I have it soaking at this very moment.  Instead of just one color, I thought it could be fun to dye stripes that run the length of the piece.  I'm thinking 3 colors with the outer stripes being wider than the center.  Committing to colors is hard.  Right now I have teal, chartreuse and pewter on the brain.  I like the idea of a thin band of chartreuse separating the darker colors.   

Can you picture it?  The top half would be teal, the bottom pewter with just a thin line of chartreuse.  What?  How can you be silent at a time like this?  Color choice is critical you know!  Okay, this is me, walking away to dye my scarf... I'm going now... really I am...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Preparing to Dye

For the last six weeks I've been taking care of the rather boring, business end of having a small fiber shop.  I've played accountant, I've ordered supplies, I've replenished my inventory.  Now, at last, I can return to the fun stuff.  

I started off today by dyeing a little Firestar.  I haven't done much dyeing recently and Firestar is a nylon that takes dye with ease.  Basically, it was just something fun to do to get my mojo back.  I'm not superstitious, but when it comes to dyeing, a working mojo is important.  Otherwise you may become absent minded and neglect your wool.  Even worse, you may overcompensate and agitate your wool too much.  Neither of these scenarios produces a nice finished product.  

*Note: Tongue in Cheek :D

After I finished painting my Firestar, which dried in about an hour on this blustery day, I was still itching to do more.  I remembered the planed wood pieces I have stored in a closet.  My brother is a carpenter and he offered to rescue some wood shavings for me.  This was very nice of him as I am sure he generally does not sort his wood waste by type.  

I've dyed with wood before, but never with large shavings like these.  I decided to pack them into a jar and cover them with water.  I'll wait for about a week and see how much color I've extracted.  Right now I have one jar of Dark Walnut and one of Honduras Mahogany.  The different types of wood looked so pretty to me, that I filled a bowl with them and set it out as a centerpiece.  

I think the colors of the wood will be soft and pretty, but I felt the need to do a third jar with something more vibrant.  I grabbed a bag of dried peppermint that I keep for making Tea.  Then I decided to add even more green and went out to my garden.  I picked a couple of lemon leaves off my lemon tree and cut a handful of parsely.  Parsley, mint with a touch of lemon seemed like a nice idea.  I covered my greens and mint with water and will let that steep too.

So now I wait.  In the meantime I can mordant my wool and get ready.  I'm contemplating an entirely cool dye method this time.  I usually use heat when dyeing, so I think it will be interesting to try something new.  I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

All The Pretty Fibers

I've had a steady stream of boxes coming into the studio.  It feels so good to rebuild my inventory.  Now that I have all of the fiber I need, I can start dyeing some of it.  Before I head down to the kitchen, I thought I'd share some of my favorites.  Not all of these are new to the shop, but a few are.  You can visit their listings to find out more about these interesting breeds and blends:  Yak, Wool/Flax Blend, Carbonized Bamboo, Manx Loaghtan, Baby Camel/Silk Blend, Honey Tussah Silk, Yak/Silk Blend and a very light Fawn Alpaca.