Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Delegating and Delivering

 While I was knee deep in gift knitting this year, I had one request that came along that I couldn't deliver on. Thank goodness someone else was able to do the delivering.

Son in Law wanted a crocheted knight's hat and I stink at crocheting. I found one expertly crafted and all I had to do was to wrap it up. I was tempted to remove that label and take the credit but that would have been terribly naughty.

 I did make that scarf for #2 Son from some of my new Chroma stash and I have to say that I love it. I am happy I bought it by the box full because I have more plans for this lovely soft stuff. I am thinking about a striped cowl but I first have to figure how how to graft in 1x1 rib. I bet there's a video somewhere. At least I hope so.

Monday, December 30, 2013

From Bad to Worse

 Even though I did not consider the Raven dyeing adventure a complete success, I felt confident enough to try it again. This time with Washington's colors for Sister's husband.

  I did the same thing I did before and thought I had a done deal. Until I noticed the white turning pink. Horrors-the burgundy was bleeding.

 Having no dye sense at all, I thought I would have a quick fix with some dye remover.

 The white whitened up beautifully but I did not fix the real problem. The burgundy was still bleeding. I rinsed it and recooked it with vinegar for two days and it still bled.

 I left it in the crock pot for hours with no luck.

 I read that Dawn will stop the bleeding so I gave it a try. What it did was make the burgundy wick up completely into the white. It even made the gold bleed into the white and it wasn't anywhere near the water. #&$^@%&$!!! You wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere near my kitchen when this happened. It wasn't pretty.

Of course, the bleeding stopped as soon as I gave it what it wanted which was more yarn. As soon as the white was all pink, the burgundy decided to behave itself and stay put. Burgundy, gold...and pink? The project was now officially declared a fail. Making lemonade out of my lemons, I decided just to have fun with it.

I added orange to the gold and blue to the pink-in small amounts. I didn't want anymore excess dye raining on my parade. It was a hot mess but who doesn't need more crazy sock yarn?

As for those Washington colors, I bought them. It wasn't sock weight but these were for a joke anyway. Real men wouldn't be caught dead in burgundy and gold socks so I should have thought of this in the first place.

 As for that crazy skein...

 ...it didn't turn out quite as terrible as I thought. I gifted these to Little Sister who started all this insanity in the first place. I bet her feet turn burgundy.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Quoth the Raven: Part Three

The crazy mess turned into a skein very uneventfully.

After all that work and worry, the stripes worked up pretty well. The purple was a bit watercolory but I liked the effect.

 The one fly in the ointment was the gold stripe. I didn't measure it right and it was about two inches too short.

Whenever I got to that little gold stripe, I had to stop and dye a bit more of the white so the gold would meet itself around the sock.

After dipping, I took the tiny and strand and made up a contraption to steam it for heat setting.

Sock number one showed up on November 4th.....

 ...and was ripped back on the 5th.

It had an ugly gusset. I hate ugly gussets and I have no idea how this got past  me for so long. A sock is only as good as its gussets so it had to go. I learned a new trick on You Tube that closes that gap that I hate so much.

At this point I should have had a happy ending to report but instead I had yet another giant crash and burn. Just look at what I did. The leg of the second sock is longer than the other. I got carried away on the second sock, now didn't I? Of course I had to rip it back all the way to the third black stripe and reknit the entire heel and foot. Arghhh.........

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Quoth the Raven: Part Two

 After realizing I was going to need lots of space in order to pull this dye job off, I took the yarn over to Daddio's where we tried to figure out something in his driveway.

 After bending and stooping for about an hour trying to wind it all up on things we found in the garage, we gave up and got the dining room chairs. Mom would have had a fit.

 We mixed up the dyes and hoped for the best.

 I couldn't figure out how to get the dye to stay on the tightly suspended yarn. A plastic lid helped but it was still slow going. Making things even worse was that it started to rain.

 When faced with having to take it off the chairs, I had no idea how I was supposed to keep the colors separated so I panicked and covered the whole thing in plastic wrap for it's ride in Daddio's microwave.

 I was well aware of what a pain in the behind it is to unpeel plastic wrap that has melted around wool so I knew what I was in for.

 It took forever.

 The next day, the purple was too girly for football colors.

 It had to be dyed again. This is when I got some expert advice from Wandering Cat Studios on how I should have gone about this in the first place.

Instead of painting it got dipped and instead of plastic wrap it got put into bags. I really needed ziplocks but this is all I could come up with. Next time I'll be better prepared.

The purple was still on the funky side but I wasn't dyeing it again. It would just have to do.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Quoth the Raven: Part One

Now I'm going to start explaining some of those projects I showed off yesterday. I've had some very interesting things going on here and I don't mean in a good way.
Way back in October, Little Sister asked me to knit some socks for her DIL for some Christmas gifting. She wanted them in the Baltimore Ravens team colors and a skein in those particular colors was nowhere to be found.

 What I did have was some Bare and the vaguest idea of what needed to be done.

 It took a lot of math to figure out how to come up with wide stripes. I knit a bit of a sock, made marks on it with a marker and unraveled it to see what I had.

 I had six yards for about an inch wide stripe of color.

 I wanted three colors to stripe around the sock so I figured I needed six yards of each. I cut three different colored yarn pieces so I could make a leader-that's weaving talk for the string that shows you the path to take on the warping board for a certain length.

 I tied those leader strings to my warping board but the board was too small. I had to come up with another plan to lay it all out so I could dye it.

While I was thinking about it, I used some scraps to see if I could come up with the colors I needed: purple, black, white and gold.

 It wasn't too promising but I knew better than to judge it while it was still wound in it's original little skein.

I made a ball and then a small sample that didn't show the striping I wanted but it did show how the colors worked together. Not bad. I was starting to think I may just pull this off.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Here's what I have been doing in secret for the past two months. I've been knitting my fingers off and that's not all.

I've been piecing an enormous quilt as well. Number Two son asked for one on Thanksgiving so I have been working like crazy on it every night. It's a very random disappearing nine patch and it was lots of fun to do. He only got the top as a gift. I will have to actually quilt this monster in the new year.

I've also been finishing Daddio's Christmas masterpiece. This one nearly did the old guy in. He's taking a break from hand piecing at the moment and I couldn't be happier. I still have a giant pile of his things to catch up on.

Then there were the towels from the loom.

 What a job that was. Whew. I've still got so much to learn about this weaving thing.

I had enough warp for another one but I couldn't go any further with that tangled mess at the back. I'm lucky I managed to squeeze two towels out of this disaster.  I've got plenty of cotton left so I'll try this again in January when my mind has had a chance to settle.

All the wrapping of the knit gifts was quite time consuming as well. Everything got put back into the yarn wrappers, tagged for care, and given a sachet to go along for the ride in the little bags I made for them.

I handmade quite a few of these cedar and lavender things to tuck into the gift bags to ward off any evil spirits until the new owners took over the care of all this wooly stuff.

 I was honestly glad to see it all go. Making things for other people makes me nervous. Nothing is ever good enough for gifting. I knit pick it all to death in my head until the fun is gone.

Having said that, I already have plans for next year. I even bought a box to store it in in hopes that I will give myself an earlier start. Of course, I need to find new victims to knit for and new projects to knit.

And don't forget...hand wash those socks and don't put them in the dryer, please!