Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Wow was that slow!?

Last night, the last stitch was cast off and the last tail woven in on my Austermann Step socks. They came out quite nicely. Except for some weird looking pictures of my feet. I don't know why but I struggle with photographing socks and my feet. One would think it was easy, simply look down and *snap* right? NOoooo just weird freaky looking shots that make it appear I actually have no ankle. Fortunately for you I have filled in the color on my leg so you don't have to see the pasty color with all the unsavory unshavenness going on...

What else is on the needles now aside from that crazy shirt I am working on? A shawl from the Viictorian Lace Today for my mom, she picked the what was probably the hardest project, knit on both sides, the k2tog go right on top of the previous rows yo. It is crazy when you make a mistake and have to pick back. Then in my usual form I pulled one needle out like a spaz and dropped 1/2 of the work (this was about 30 rows in) and had to pull back almost to the cast on.

Also my traveling project cast on is a knitted flip top glove Broad Street Mitten on the Knitty website I began yesterday after I finished the sock. I am using the Colinette Jitterbug that Teenuh gave me for Christmas. I am thinking though about not making fingers and instead making it into a fingerless mitt kind of thing with a flip top over it. Especially since the pattern calls for about 30 more yards then what I have. I know that eliminating the finger portion will greatly reduce the amount of yarn I need. Plus think of all those woven in ends.... I have also debated making one finger (maybe the index finger) and the rest in one opening so that the mitt part will stay down when flipping back the flip top. Duh! I just realized I should have run the yarn through my meter to cut it in half then I would know exactly how much each one took. I may just run the yarn through from the ball and cut where it should be half....

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Here it is Sunday already.
I spent HOURS (and I mean hours) picking apart a partially knitted tank top that for some insane reason I have agreed to finish for someone else. I sat, graph paper in hand carefully noting each stitch as I picked it apart so that I could duplicate it quadrupilly on each of the four straps of said tank top. Why did I volunteer to do this? I don't know, it makes me want to tear out my hair.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Knitting a sock.
I am still working on my mini cable chevron Austermann Step sock. Not making much progress as I haven't had much time to knit. I just realized I didn't take any pictures yet. That's okay though i am terrible at taking pictures of my own feet. I will have to buy a foot or hire a foot model to have better pictures of my socks. Never thought I'd type or say that...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dying Yarn (Picture Heavy Post)

On Saturday Teenuh came over and we had a brilliant time dying yarn with Kool Aid. Teenuh dyed 2 skeins of Knitpicks Bare Superwash Fingering. I dyed 2 skeins of the same and 1 skein of Yarn Place Angel lace weight superwash. I documented our fun.

Here is Tina prepping her yarn.

We mixed up 1/2 cup of water per packet of Kool Aid as a standard.

Now the debate, to dump the die on or to hand paint the yarn we can't decide so we both do one of each....Tina is dump dying here. Using a spoon and a cup of Kool Aid mix. Looks like yellow.

Here are all of our skeins (post spin cycle) hanging out in the shower to dry. Tina's are the two on the right (obviously making mine the three on the left.)
Tina is showing off her still damp yarn before going home. Hours of work for 2 skeins of yarn. I jokingly noted at some point we were producing about one skein per hour (boy weren't we SUPER efficient!?). The rainbow colored skein was died by dumping the color in sections and the firey red, orange and yellow was hand painted. My skein in the same color way was also a hand paint.
After Tina left (late at night) I overdyed the blue/green/blue-green. I mixed up the Kool Aid in the same concentration, then added 10 drops of food coloring per packet of Kool Aid for a more intense color. Here is the end result of all three together. For comparision, the overdyed skein is on the right and was the same green and blue as the skein on the left was before overdying. Also you can see it in the shower third from the left. I was really pleased with the darker colors. I am thinking about dying a couple of lace weight skeins in this same colorway, it would look really cool (or should I say Kool) knit into the Fiddlesticks Peacock Feathers Shawl. Just writing about this makes me itch to dye that lace weight!
I had been doing so well with posting on a regular basis, but I don't seem to have a minute of free time lately. DS is trying out for the fighting team for Tae Kwon Do and has to be there M and W at 6:15 - 7:15. On Sat 10:45 - 12:45. This is in addition to the regular classes 3 days a week for an hour. Then after this, we must also eat dinner and do homework. Fun fun fun.

I had a groovy time doing some Kool Aid ( Ohhhh Yeah! Some how in my mind that didn't sound so much like Kool aid man anymore as it did sound like Macho Man Randy Savage.... hmm) dyeing at my house with Teenuh on Sat. evening. We got some nice looking colors, it was pretty easy and came out quite nice. The knitpicks Superwash Fingering is SO awesomely soft, it feel wonderful. I can hardly wait to start knitting with it. I think Teenuh's rainbow skein was probably my favorite. I have some pics to go with this, but I am on the laptop so I will have to do a knock down drag out post on this later.

Today, I occupied myself with knitting a little project to send out to someone else. It went very quickly, begun early in the afternoon and finished off watching the bad auditions for American Idol. Pics to follow later.

My Austerman sock continues to make progress, sock 1 is a full fledged sock now, I am racing toward the finish line at the top of the ankle (toe - up obviously). It is quite nice, I love knitting with the yarn. I am sure all that aloe etc will feel quite nice on the feet.

Alas I am about to run out of gas here. I have been having insomnia so i have double dosed myself tonight with 2 bags of strongly steeped sleepy time tea to ensure at least some sleep tonight. My eyelids are getting heavy and my brain is running slow. I promise pictures in the next post.... When I can edit photos on my Giant new to me 19" monitor (yeah, I was trapped in 1982 with my 14" monitor that was actually SCREAMING constantly, ever heard a monitor scream? It is like nails on chalkboard man... It was horrible. I don't know what was wrong with it.) Regardless the new monitor seems huge and totally in my face. It's funny though I don't have to squint anymore and my laptop had a bigger monitor than my desktop did... hmm.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mercifully... on the scarf from hell stage 3 : Running out of yarn - also known as being done, has been reached !! I made it, with both eyes intact. What a relief. Now I am swatching for a pair of socks out of the Austermann Step. I am working out a chevron with a mini cable in between. I started off with just a chevron then wanted to add something a little more interesting into the v. I am NOT making the same mistake I did with the scarf. Once I see if the swatch looks good I'll get started. I have already knit and unknit 3 different swatches of this same thing. I am tired from a long week. My eldest child, my dog Sam, is having health problems and DD is having Night Nasties (not Night Terrors, she isn't afraid, she is just yelling and hopping mad in her sleep) I'm headed for bed.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ha ha ha!! I finally know what I ordered from Yarn4socks.com. Why? Because it finally came. Lame!! Okay. What I did get was: lovely Lorna's Laces Shepherd sockin the Childsplay colorway. Rainbowrific!
Here, left to right, Schaefer Yarn Anne Handdyed in violet, blue and olive green tones. Then J. Knits Superwash Me - Sock in the Columbus colorway, sea blues mixied with jewel greens. Quite nice. Both feel absolutely WONDERFUL. Very nice and soft. Better than imagined. Mmmmmm. Both for size 1 needles.
Last but not least, three chubby german rolls. Left to right again. Austermann Step in nice Autumnal hues of blue, rusty red and tan. This has Aloe vera and Jojoba for softer feet (goodness knows I NEED that) which is supposed to stay in the yarn even after repeated washings. It feels nice now, it will probably feel great when knitting as well.
Next is Lana Grossa Cotton Fantasy (they can't all be winter socks.) It is a 45/42/13 cotton/wool/polyamide blend. Also nice and soft. I LOVE self striping yarn. Finally Lanna Grossa Magico superwash in denim tones color 2528, which now that I have it in my hands, looks suspiciously like a previous purchase of LG Colortweed 1006. Guess I really kind of dig those colors? Looking the yarns overall, apparently I was in some kind of blue/green mood when I ordered them all. Next time, I'll have to really stay focused and not lose my head. I am also thinking, next time I will not photograph things on my couch the olive green, not conducive to bright and colorful looking pictures is it? Then when I tried to recolor it another color in Photoshop it colored in parts of the yarn (particularly in the second picture.) So next time, it may be back to tissue paper, too bad I don't have anymore of the bright yellow that comes in the Commuknitty bag...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Tragic knitting day. Today I have knit nothing. Nothing I say, yes you gasp. Today my tendonitis and carpal tunnel were terrible from an afternoon of yardwork yesterday. Those of you who know my DH know he does nothing. So I do ALL the yardwork. I had 2 fruitless mulberry trees worth of leaves to clean out of the backyard. My arms are aching. Also I spent much time today prepping the box tops for education for the children's school I am the Box Top Mailer mom for the school So I have spent plenty of time cutting the boxtops right at that little pink dotted line edge. Then I have to peel the cardboard backing so there is as little cardboard as possible stuck to the printed from. Then I have to put them in bundles of 50. So, $125 worth later (also interpreted as 1,250 box tops, plus the 27 left overs that will wait for the next batch of mailing), my thumb is barking where I was continuously stabbed by cardboard peeling it apartmy tondonitis is a little more aggravated andthe school people are just a little happier. Tomorrow, I will knit, even if it kills me. Right after I run the copy room for the whole school...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Stage 2:
View the limited progress. I can now count the number of rows and calculate my progress. 21 repeats of said pattern. 252 rows. 14 Inches long. 7560 sts. Just about 2/3 of the way there. Current goal: Knit the dreaded scarf long enough to wrap around your neck and hang yourself.

Friday, January 05, 2007

What a sucker.
I had a whole bunch of the striped yarn left over that I dyed and I thought to myself, "Well, the mittens and the hat are cute, I should make a matching scarf. " Then, I stupidly say to DD "Look I have enough to make you a scarf, do you want a matching scarf." To which she would obviously reply yes. There is a reason why people do not knit scarves out of fingering weight yarn, because it is slow and it is tedious and it is stupid. And like a fool, did I decide on an interesting pattern? No, I did not. 9 rows knit rs, purl ws then row 10 -1 2 k both sides. This is over 30 sts, meant to be about 4 inches wide. It is now about 6 inches long and I am ready to stab out with eyes with the stupid moronic size 2 needles I am knitting it on. Why do I do things like this without thinking about it first!? Even child sized as it will be, the scarf will need to be at least 36" long, meaning that I am right now at Stage 1: desire to stab out eyes, only 1/6 of the way done with this. Ugh. Really, you think some people would think first. Now even though I want to quit, I can't, because DD is expecting this now. She peers over to see how much work I have done and makes comments like "I can't wait until you are done Mommy!" and "I wish I was a talented person like you Mommy so I could make this nice stuff for everyone." (Yeah seriously she says that, worded just like that, she is SUCH an articulate, 6 year old, brown noser.) Who doesn't want to knit for that!? Now I am committed and may soon find myself "Committed" in the other sense of the word to The Sanitarium for Insane and Foolish Knitters.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Yep, can you see it. I had to order it from Amazon.com It was THAT hard to find blue and green Kool Aid. Now I have SO much. 72 packets of each color as a matter of fact. The good news about Kool Aid though is if you get tired of dying with it you can drink it. Tastes great with Splenda. Even DS can drink blue and green colors. I can hardly wait to dye with it. In my head I have imagined rainbows of colors flowing from purple to green to blue. Doesn't it sound beautiful. Mmm, I can almost smell those delicious colors.

Now, on about my Kool aid dyed self-striping yarn that I made for DD. I used Knitpicks, superwash fingering. It was quite a lot of work. I started by winding small sections on my Niddy noddy (10 winds around) then tying tiny strings onto those sections (sorry for the painfully blurry pic!)

Next I separated them into 3 separate sections going in a left to right then right to left placing one section in each pile (yeah the strings on the bottom became tangled, don't ask what I was thinking). Then I started by gathering up each section and tying it together, I then made a bed of plastic wrap for it in my casserole dish and began pouring on one color. I carefully bound up that section and slid it to the side of the dish then made another plastic wrap bed and placed in the next section and dyed it. For the red and white section I poured on stripes using a 1 tsp medicine dropper. After all 3 sections were bound up I poured some extra water over the bags and stuck it in the microwave. I nuked it initially for 3 minutes to get it good and hot, then I did a 2 minute nuke, 10 minute cooling repeating cycle until the water was clear. I rinsed it out. Then spend a frustrating 3 hours untangling it (whoops, what was I thinking!?) Apparently I didn't take any pics of that part (must be my shame) nor did I take a pic of the finished skein. But here is the project I made with it. That hat is knitted out plain so you can see the color transitions coming out the way I dyed them. The mittens are knitted from finger ends to wrist cuff and the thumb was added last.
I learned 5 things doing this. 1. This is not a good way to divide the yarn because it gets all tangled up (I am thinking of a solution for this I'll keep you posted). 2. Purple requires several packets of Kool aid or you get a lot of variegation in between blue and purple (which comes out nice, but if you wanted an absolute solid you need to make sure you saturate it with color). I used 2 packets of grape and still got that much variegation 3. Wrapping tightly in separate sections of color works really good to prevent bleeding. 4. When making stripes, on a section to try and make that nifty fair isle look make sure you don't over saturate the section or it bleeds a lot on the bottom unbeknownst to you and ruins the stripe effect because the yarn on the bottom comes out mostly the color and a lot less stripey. 5. I can hardly wait to do this again!!!