Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dyeing with a knitting loom

There's a stripey sock KAL going on in one of my ravelry groups, and of course I had to join in.

Part of the discussion involved dyeing your own stripey socks -- and since I picked up a ton of easter egg dye last May, I had to try it out.

Most dyers use some kind of warping board to create their striping patterns. I had received a set of knitting looms from my mother-in-law for Christmas a few years ago, and I wondered if it would work as a warping board.

The answer: perfectly!

I wound my yarn around a section of the knitting loom a few times, then moved onto the next section for a few more rounds. I tried to keep it random, between 5-15 loops per group. 

Then into the dye colours they went, purple, green and blue. 

Then after a soak and a little time in the microwave, here they are. This looks like a tangled mess, but it's two skeins of yarn, and all the little loops are securely tied in a couple of places. 

A little bit of a towel dry, then the loops went back onto the knitting loom to dry overnight. 

 I wound them off the knitting loom the next day, and they were so pretty!

So of course I had to knit them up.

And wear them.

Friday, October 29, 2010

the dreaded C word

There's 56 knitting days left til CHRISTMAS. Bet you didn't know (or want to know).

I am looking at my current gift list and trying to figure out how much knitting I'll do for friends/family. To help me decide, I had a quick look at the knitting that I've been doing this year:

11 pairs of socks: 7 pairs for me; 3 pairs given away; one is a Christmas gift
1 short sleeve cardigan for me
1 short sleeve pullover for me (that's too big)
1 baby cardigan: gifted to my newest niece
1 pair of mittens for me
1 pair of fingerless mitts: bday gift for my sister
1 scarf: bday gift for my BFF
2 small shawls: one for me and one sent to my Shawl Wars target
1 mumble-mumble: Christmas gift for P-la
1 mitten: quilt label for Arlene's mitten quilt
1 crocheted scarf: store sample
Finished knitting Nancy's sweater for her

I've actually done a lot of knitting for others this year so I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't do much Christmas knitting. Since some of it is already finished (pats self on back), my current list looks like this:

BFF's hubby - fingerless mitts; 75% done
BFF's child - sweater; have yarn; no pattern picked
2 nieces - Hello Kitty hats; have yarn and pattern
Hubby - I need to frog last year's Tux mittens and reknit them so that the thumb fits.

That doesn't look too bad, does it? Certainly do-able in 56 days.

I have started Christmas shopping, too. My goal every year is to finish by the end of Nov. This year's date might slip a little since Circle Craft (a high end craft show) is scheduled 2 weeks later than usual. While I was out today, I picked up a stocking stuffer for the nieces:

This gift is definitely going to keep me in the "Favourite Auntie" spot.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I am armed

There is a rodent in our house. After posting yesterday, I heard a scrabbling noise and when I looked up, I saw the soffit insulation M.O.V.E. I yelled and banged on the wall and it ran away and I'm assuming, out of the house. What is scary is that this rodent can potentially get into the rest of the house so we're keeping the doors shut to this area and I've removed all the food (a bag of gummy bears). I'm trying to decide whether to clear out my yarn and fabric (good nesting materials). Anyways, I am armed with my largest cow bell. It seemed to deter last year's roof rat. I am expecting the rodent specialists tomorrow. They will evict whatever's up there and screen off all access points (again).

Monday, October 25, 2010

sunshine and socks

Still on a bit of a sock knitting binge...

Pattern: plain top down sock
Yarn: Noro Kureyon Sock; col 180; 2 skeins
Needles: 2mm dpns
Notes: Pair #54. I started these in Jun 2008 and they're finally done! I decided to finish them in time for hubby's bday. These were a bear to knit - 80 sts per round on teeny tiny needles in a colourway that I don't like (hubby went to the store and picked it). And hubby has size 13 feet. He's got 5 pairs of handknit socks now.

I just finished teaching a beginners knitting class and one student completely finished her scarf. Yay! And three students have signed up to take their second class. I'm still teaching my baby sweater class and that is going reasonably well. I'm scheduled to teach a sock class starting next week but no one has signed up so I expect that one will be cancelled. That's ok - more time for me to knit socks.

Pattern: top down sock; picot cuff
Yarn: Trekking XXL; col 126
Needles: 2.25mm bamboo dpns
Notes: Pair #55! I'm going to be matchy-matchy by wearing these socks and the matching mittens at the same time.

I have restarted Linda's R2S raffle socks. The previous sock was not going to fit her (after knitting the entire leg) so I ripped it out and put the yarn in timeout. This was in Aug. I can finally stand to look at the yarn but not the pattern. After some searching, I found something that would work and I've got 3" knit and I'm pretty sure it will fit ok. Fingers crossed!

Ricky doesn't really have anything to say because he's unconscious.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I'm in a KAL over on Ravelry and it's all about striping socks. I've got a coupla pairs on the go and this is the first one that I've finished:

Pattern: 60 st top down; 2x2 ribbed cuff; short row heel (to preserve striping)
Yarn: Yarn Candy Sweet Fiber's 100% merino sock; 2 skeins unknown colourway; 50g per skein
Needles: 2.25mm dpns
Notes: Each stripe is 5 rows. Tried a coupla jogless stripe methods and ended up using the "on the first stitch of the second round, knit into the stitch in the row below". There's a bit of a ridge where the yarn is carried but I'm hoping that will even out after a wash & block. For the heel, I knit the first half of the short row with colour A and then knit the other half of the heel with colour B. It preserved the striping on the instep. Alternated the start colour so that the toes would be different.

And lookit my new "show off hand knit socks" shoes:

I've been looking for a good pair of Mary Jane style shoes for what seems like an eternity. These aren't too dressy but they're not too casual either so I can wear them all the time.

And in the niece knitting news, my sister informs me that my niece took her knitting to bed and fell asleep while working on it. Funny but a little dangerous if she'd rolled over onto a knitting needle (even if they're blunt bamboo ones). Her tension is improving (less squeaking of yarn on the needles) and she's dropping less stitches. Woo hoo!

I look like a freak today. I walked into the bathroom this morning and my left eye is only about half open. There seems to be a bug bite on my eyelid so it's all puffed up and I've got a huge stye that seems to have cropped up in the lower lid. It looks like someone whacked me in the eye. Time to slap a warm compress on my eye and have a little lie down.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Gladys and I are participating in Shawl Wars on Ravelry. Once you receive your death shawl, you are required to post an obituary with at least one picture of the shawl. I had the good fortune to receive a Dover Castle shawl (knit by djduckee) and it was designed by Judy Marples. Lucky me, she's a local. So I contacted her to see if she would help me with my obit pic and she said yes. What did people think of us as they were driving past this:

Clearly, we were slightly insane. But it was so much fun! Judy was a good sport and let me do pretty much anything I wanted. BTW, she brought the knitting-needle-through-the-head prop. She wore it last Halloween.

Both our families came into town for Thanksgiving. My MIL is here for an extended visit and my sis, BIL, nieces, and nephew dogs also dropped by. I missed Thanksgiving with the in-laws because I was babysitting the nieces while my sis & BIL went to her 20 year high school reunion. While they were out, I taught my nieces how to knit. The oldest wasn't really interested but she wanted to try because I was doing it. The youngest really surprised me. I showed her how to hold the needles (she calls them sticks) and wrap the yarn (she calls it string). It only took a few tries for her to accurately execute a knit stitch. When I escorted them to bed, my niece made me promise to knit with her the next day.

When I showed up Sunday morning, my niece immediately pestered me to get out the knitting. She was impatient to get started. She mostly remembered what she needed to do and only needed a few minor corrections. She knit during every spare moment. I was very impressed. I managed to lure her away from the needles when I promised to take her yarn shopping so that she could pick something out to make a scarf. After supper, we knit some more. My sister took a video of us. It's pretty cute.

This is what she made. There are a few "holes" which she told me that she did on purpose. One time, she knit the stitch with the tail instead of the working yarn. Otherwise, it's not too bad for her first piece. I have to work on her tension. She really holds the yarn tightly and you can hear the acrylic squeaking on the needles. It's like nails on a chalkboard.

The boys were downstairs doing this:

Can you spot the two Xboxs? The intense concentration is caused by playing Halo Reach on the Legendary setting.

My nieces loved their Hello Kitty Halloween trick-or-treat bags. I am their favourite Auntie. My sister would point out that I'm their only Auntie.

My sister loves her new fingerless mitts.

Pattern: Fetching by Cheryl Niamath
Yarn: Punta Yarns merisoft Hand Painted Aran; 1 skein (197 yds; 100g) in col HP52
Needles: 4mm dpns
Notes: My sister's hands are tiny! She doesn't even stretch out the ribbing. The cables don't even hug her skinny wrists. If I were to make this again for her, I would leave out one whole pattern repeat (5 sts) to make it fit better.

Dad cooked way too much food (as usual) so I expect to be eating leftovers for many days. And poor hubby has the sniffoos so I should go make him some tea or something. He's shuffling around in his snuggie. Poor baby.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

the best Thanksgiving ever!

My six year old niece is really knitting!!!!! I gave her a quickie lesson yesterday and today she's slowly but surely executing knit stitches. I am so proud!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

favourite Auntie status

How to achieve favourite Auntie status:

You make the nieces Halloween Hello Kitty trick-or-treat bags.