Where we get fit and spin (wool)

Posts tagged ‘knitting’

When Life Hands you Lemons-Make Sweaters!

So those fails I blogged about? I managed to make them into lemonade! First, I held the sad sweater up to the boy, and while it is too small for him, I don’t think it is too small for a younger child. I’ll save that one for the first grandchild. Same with the second one. The second might have fit him, but his dad nixed it as being “too pink”. You saw the pictures- too pink? I would argue, but hey, dad said no, so the kid won’t wear it. The third went from a disaster to a success-for me. It fits perfectly:striped sweater

and it looks great on me. Hmmm, was this a subconscious decision? In any case, all’s well that ends well.

To top it all off, sweater #4 turned out just fine.successful blue sweaterThe sleeves might be a tad too long. I followed schematics from “The Sweater Book”, following their pattern for increasing sizes, I decreased the size. According to that, the sleeves should be 10 inches, the  boys actual arms were only 7 inches. That’s ok, they can be cuffed. All’s well that ends well.

Epic Fails

No pictures, just tears. I do know to make a test swatch. I really do. I did. However, my mathematically challenged brain, and my overzealous hurry to make a sweater ended in disaster, three times. This last time, I was determined not to make an itty bitty sweater. So I didn’t. After I lengthen it, it will fit me nicely. It will not fit a child. *Sigh* It would be too short, anyway. I haven’t given up though, I have more yarn. This time I will use a book to go with my gauge swatch, to tell me how many to cast on. I had a gauge, what was I thinking? Gauge swatches are not enough. You need to translate that into sweater dimensions well, and apparently, my ability to do that is lacking. Not to mention I have both books and software to help me AND I DIDN’T USE THEM! Grrrr. Or Duh. Or both.

Live to dye another day.

Who can resist these puns? I just wanted to add the pictures.

explaining how to dye

explaining how to dye.

Dying is so much fun, and so easy, at least for protein fibers like wool. I would recommend doing it outside, in the summer. Do not do as I do-WEAR GLOVES. Especially if other people will see your hands. Good old Wally-World (WalMart) sells dye for cotton, linen, silk and other natural non-protein fibers(cellulose). Tulip brand.  I know, you are going to yell at me and tell me that silk is a protein fiber. I know, the package says it dyes silk, what can I say?

pot of dye over campfire

The old fashioned way

Here is the cake dye pot. Wilson’s icing dye- great stuff. Cheryl took such a good picture, you can see how it didn’t take evenly.

Here is the finished product of three or four different experiments:

dyed skeins of yarn hanging to dry.

A thing of beauty and a joy forever

The above were all kettle dyed. The ones in the foreground had the blue dissolved first, the skeins put in, then using a butter knife, other colors were put in the dye pot and lightly swished.

Here is  more traditional “space-dying”, where you dissolve you dye in hot water in dispensers, then strategically place the color where you want on the fiber that has been soaked in vinegar/ water. That is what I am demonstrating in the top picture.

fiber dyed pink and yellow

Here is the dyed fiber

That’s all for now. I have to get a sweater done by Thursday. Thank goodness for a knitting machine. We are supposed to go horseback riding tonight, leaving me about 4 hours before Thursday, although if I really get crunched, I can take it to work and try and finish it on my breaks.

It’s a Looming Problem

What can I say, I love puns. So I am going from a relatively simple Schact, 15″ 4 harness table loomschact table loomto a nameless 43″ six harness floor loom.

6 harness floor loom

"Me eat you for breakfast."

While I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to expand my skill, this is an intimidating machine. I am awed by the fact that some nameless person was able to design and manufacture such a complicated piece of equipment. You can tell some of the pieces were recycled from something with words stamped in it, and the holes in the foot treadles look as if they were hand carved. The back beam is pegged on, and is removable for easier warping. I’m not sure what my first project will be. I have one or two things I have been waiting to make, but I’d like my first on on here to be rather simple and short, to get the hang of it.

Before I get to that, I have to finish my Arden sweater. Actually, it is Arden #3. I switched from the hand dyed when I realized how big 4T is. I then had to dig through my stash and totally rework my concept. Instead of tie dye like this:

I had to go with what I had enough of, in the same weight, which for me is always earth tones:

knitting on knitting machine.

This is why your stash can never be too big. You never know if there is an emergency sweater  lurking in the future. If this one doesn’t work, I’ll have to mail one to him. I’d really like to be able to hand them something hand made when they get here. On Thursday. This Thursday. Three workdays from now. That leaves me, oh, five hours if I’m lucky. 8 if I short myself on sleep. Oh well, I’ve never been one to let reality get in the way.

Back to the fiber

a group of friends eating lunch
together we dye.

Just in case you thought this blog was never going to talk about fiber, we had a dyeing day recently. Do you know just how many jokes you can make about dyeing?  We had a lot of fun, and got some beautiful colors. I did kool aid and some different acid and food dyes. Some of the others really got into the Wilson cake dyes. Those are amazing. If you don’t stir much, the colors separate as they strike, making some of the most beautiful yarn. Unfortunately, I was too busy to take many pictures, and the others posted theirs on Facebook. I don’t know if I can copy them from there.

I did take one picture of my sad sweater I made from my experiment. I say sad, as I really have a problem with size, and as you can see, while it is supposed to be a baby sweater, it will only fit a very small baby with long arms. and possibly a small head. I have since found out that the 11 month old I am making this for is just shy of 4T, changing my plans completely. More about that and the LOOM I GOT in my next post. After I get some sleep. Wait till you see this loom, it is amazing. It isn’t a brand name. But you’ll have to wait. Until I get some sleep. Did I mention I was tired?

han d dyed baby sweater

sad, sad sweater. What did you want to be when you grew up?

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