Archive for September 2012

She couldn’t help thinking that there was a little more to life somewhere else

September 29, 2012

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Pattern: Noro Scarf (two-tone diagonal garter stitch) by Suzanne Pietrzak
Yarn: Bernat Mosaic (100% acrylic), colorways Calypso and Spectrum
Needles: U.S. 8 Signature straights

Time to play catch-up! I have several finished objects going back to 2011 that have not yet been blogged. This simple, colorful slant on the classic Noro scarf was completed on the eve of our Craftin’ for CASA sale last year, and was purchased by Claire for her sister Marie.

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Pattern: Harris Tweed by Luise O’Neill
Yarn: Tuesday Morning Exquisite Chunky (57% merino, 33% microfiber, 10% cashmere), colorway Cream
Needles: U.S. 10 Signature straights

This was also for the CASA sale. I loved knitting this one; this beautiful three-dimensional, fully reversible, unisex-appropriate stitch pattern deserves to be more widely known. I’d also love to get my hands on more of this yarn, which I picked up at Tuesday Morning; some people have said it’s relabeled Rowan Cashsoft.

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Pattern: Enjoyable-Rib Scarf by Anne K.
Yarn: Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (80% acrylic, 16% wool, 4% rayon), colorway Thunder
Needles: U.S. 10 Signature straights

By my count, I’ve knit this pattern five times. I often go looking for another simple but visually interesting rib pattern for chunky yarn, but I always come back to this one. So satisfying. This one hasn’t found a home yet.

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Pattern: Habit-Forming Scarf by Elizabeth Morrison (PDF link)
Yarn: Diakeito DiaFelice (50% wool, 28% nylon, 22% mohair), colorway 506
Needles: U.S. 8 Signature straights

I bought this yarn in Japan during my September 2011 visit, and knit it up over the Christmas break. It took me a lot of experimentation to find a stitch that showed off the colors, which are wool and mohair encased in a shimmery nylon casing. I was bedeviled by the fabric’s tendency to curl into a tube, though. If I recall correctly, I donated this to a silent auction to benefit Conway Cradle Care.

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Pattern: Reversible Cabled Brioche Stitch Scarf by Saralyn Harvey
Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Silk (55% alpaca, 23% silk, 22% merino), colorway Scarlet
Needles: U.S. 7 Signature straights

Ah, brioche stitch. There is nothing like you for squooshy ribbing. Throw in big reversible cables and a luxury yarn, and you have the perfect scarf. Only fault I can find with it is that the complexity of the ribbed reversible cables incorporating yarn-over-heavy brioche made the use of a cable needle (or in my case, a DPN) imperative. I donated this one to the Conway Cradle Care silent auction too. I hope it brought in a good price.

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Pattern: JustRight Dishcloth by Deborah Ellis
Yarn: Ella Rae Baby Cotton (88% cotton, 12% nylon), colorways Ecru and Ink
Hook: 5.5mm (I) Tulip Etimo

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Pattern: Squaring the Spiral Dishcloth by Deborah Ellis
Yarn: Ella Rae Baby Cotton (88% cotton, 12% nylon), colorways Ecru and Ink
Hook: 3.5mm (E) Tulip Etimo

Two crochet dishcloths for CG’s second-grade teacher whose favorite fashion look is zebra print. These both come from a lovely e-book of crochet dishcloths, containing patterns both basic and quite striking. I love using this DK-weight cotton blend that I picked up at Tuesday Morning; it’s soft, smooth, and drapey.

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Pattern: A Beautifully Simple Coaster by Deborah Ellis
Yarn: Louisa Harding Nautical Cotton (100% cotton), colorways Sage and Light Blue
Hook: 4mm (G) Tulip Etimo

And this was the teacher gift for AA’s fifth grade homeroom teacher. I was really itching to crochet up some cotton last December, clearly. More Tuesday Morning yarn; I like the sage green a lot better in combination with the bright blue than alone. Six coasters in the set, three of each color.

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Pattern: Sixty Cables by Gabi KrisztiƔn (Ravelry link)
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Solid (80% wool, 20% nylon), colorway Pond
Needles: U.S. 4 and 6 Zephyr Options 24″ circular needle (magic loop style)

I started this faux-cable hat for the Craftin’ for CASA sale, but didn’t finish it in time. Terrific textured hat pattern with just the amount of slouch I like. Still doesn’t have a home; might be part of this year’s upcoming sale for CASA.

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Pattern: Lacy Baktus by Terhi Montonen
Yarn: Inca Sportlace Hand-Painted (75% wool, 25% nylon), overdyed with Easter egg dye
Needles: U.S. 5 Zephyr Options 24″ circular (knit flat)

This is one of the two skeins I overdyed (full story here) in my first crockpot kettle dyeing experiment. I started with the colorway I liked less, the reds and pinks and yellows, just to see how the fabric looked knitted up. When I ran out of yarn, I added a purple corner in Knit Picks Palette (leftovers from my Endpaper Mitts). Although at the time I liked it as a homage to a very famous version by bluepeninsula (used as a guide and inspiration by many Ravelers), every time I put it on I worry that it just looks like a kludge. So I haven’t actually worn it yet, and might end up donating or selling it.

Dishcloth for Ellen

Pattern: Forked Cluster Stitch Washcloth by Oshinn Reid
Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted (100% cotton), colorway Bermuda Heather
Hook: 5.5mm (I) Tulip Etimo

Practically Hyperbolic dishcloth for Ellen

Pattern: A Practically Hyperbolic Dishcloth by Deborah Ellis
Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted (100% cotton), colorway Bermuda Heather
Hook: 5.5mm (I) Tulip Etimo

Two quick crochet washcloths made as a housewarming gift for a new faculty member. The Practically Hyperbolic was already a favorite; the Forked Cluster Stitch was new to me and made a very handsome texture. I’ll definitely use it again. Excuse the horrible indoor Instagram photography — I only had to time to snap a quick pic after they were given.

Believe it or not, there’s still more … but that’s enough for one day and one post!

I see beautiful days and I feel beautiful ways

September 9, 2012

Skein 1 before

Back in March, I picked up five skeins of this sport-weight merino wool at Tuesday Morning. I wasn’t thrilled with the color (especially that light celadon/seafoam shade, which reminds me of the inside contents of a refrigerator cold pack), but I figured I could either find a pattern that suited it, or I could overdye it.

Skein 1 presoaking

The dyeing bug bit a few days ago, and as Noel made preparations for his annual trip to Toronto, I took stock of my stash of Easter egg dye tablets, assembled over the past few Easters from day-after sales. My plan was to use greens and blues to try to deepen and intensify the yarn’s original colors, which struck me as faded Miami Vice. My difficulty was in figuring out what tablets might make what color; most seem to be shades of pinkish orange, impossible for my aging eyes to distinguish as yellow, orange, red, pink, or purple. Luckily I wasn’t planning to use any of those colors. But the less numerous cool colors were no easier. I did my best to sort them, but as we’ll see, I never did figure out the difference between denim blue, regular blue, and teal.

Skein 1 dye color

Skein 1 side by side before and after

Given the uncertainty of what colors my indistinguishable Paas assortment might produce, I turned to a few packs of larger tablets I had collected from some other unknown brand (I seem to recall visiting the grocery store a few days after Easter and finding the shelves cleared of all but the off-brand stuff; might be Dudley). This is the result of four tablets of green, prepared according to standard instructions in 1-cup containers with a splash of vinegar each. (“Before” skein on the bottom for reference.)

Skein 2 dye color

Skein 2 final

Here’s what came of four tablets of blue from the same brand, this time concentrated into one sixteen-ounce container of water with plenty of vinegar. This may be my favorite of all the five skeins I overdyed.

Skein 3 dye color

Skein 3 after (outdoors, sunlight)

Wait, no — this might be my favorite. Three Paas spring green tablets with vinegar in 10 oz of water. It’s all the spring green I had, unfortunately. These blues and greens are really hard for my camera’s chip to pick up accurately, so I’m picking the most accurate of the photos I took in sunlight, shade, and indoors, since it varied so much between skeins.

Skein 4 dye color

Skein 4 after (unwound)

I threw three Paas blue tablets into the dye bath for this one; two were denim and one was teal. This produced something that’s more like a darker, slightly-more-to-the-blue-side-of-teal version of the original dyejob.

Skein 4 dye color

Skein 5 after (outdoors, shade)

Seeing how I didn’t get appreciably away from the original shades on that first Paas attempt with blue tablets, I upped the ante with this one: four tablets of denim and one that turned out to be teal when I tipped a little vinegar on it to check.

Skeins 2 (left), 4 (middle), 5 (right) side-by-side blues comparison

Here are the three blue-overdyed skeins together for comparison. From left to right: unknown brand, Paas 2 denim + 1 teal, Paas 4 denim + 1 teal.

Skeins 1 (left) and 3 (right) side-by-side greens comparison

And here are the two greens: Left is unknown brand, right is Paas 3 spring green.

Skeins 1-5 diffused sunlight

All of these were done in a crock pot (which is a kettle-dyeing method); I referenced this Knit Pick blog article for guidance. I soaked the skeins for half an hour in water to cover (probably less than a quart) and about a fourth cup of vinegar (I just poured in one splash without measuring). Then I heated the water on high until it was hot to the touch, poured in the dye, and arranged the yarn (usually in a doubled circle). I kept the heat on high until the dye was absorbed, which I checked by moving the yarn with a chopstick to see if any dye would pool out into the clear water from where it was hiding under the yarn. (That’s sometimes hard to see in my dark green crock.) Skein 4 absorbed almost immediately; I kettled it about an hour, I’ll bet. Skein 1 and Skein 5 took the most time.

I like all the skeins I made better than the original colors; there’s both more variation and deeper, more consistent shades going. And with almost 400 yards per skein, there’s enough in each of my custom colorways for a cool scarf or a hat/mitts combo, or even sport-weight socks. I might try some planned pooling. Why not keep the adventure and experimentation going?