Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Work in progress

Ok some of the yarn is hanked. (I'm not really sure yet if this is a real word or not but you knitters out there know what I mean.) And the wool fibers are soaked and waiting for their color bath. Yes I know this is crazy my friend Marla carefully rolled the yarn into nice neat balls of yarn from a hank of yarn. And now I'm unrolling the ball back to a hank of yarn so I can over dye it. Whopie what fun!

I test "swatched", which is something I rarely do. Just like knitting a gauge swatch I'm not too crazy about planning precision, measuring etc. I am of the ilk just to jump right in. Test is in the outcome. Somehow the knitting and fiber angels are with me on this one most of the time it's worked for me. As they say don't try this method at home, my advice is to plan ahead write down the recipe for everything and then follow the pattern or the recipe exactly. Do as I say not as I do.

Here we go, soaking yarn, crock pot ready, sink all clean and shiny ..... let there be color.

Come back for the results, I will post about it I promise.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

All tied up and waiting

I've got some great wool that I've "hanked" up to dye but it's rather time consuming to do this. The part that I really like here is the over dyeing. I have lots of really nice wool but the color is not exactly what I prefer. Why did I buy it? Maybe it was a really good price and I figured I would learn to like it or it was such nice wool that I just loved the fiber.

Either way it sits in my stash and waits for a project. Now that I have discovered over dyeing this has opened up a whole new day on this stash of mine. I have some friends with wonderfully organized yarn collections but my collection I feel is "raggedy dooo"...... some beautiful yarn and then some weird stuff that I just could not pass up.

I am on a mission to organize.... (even I had to crack a smile at this one)..... organize I will. But then again I'm constantly organizing and still end up with too much STUFF!

Then I went to have lunch and knit at a friends house. Oh no.... she is bringing out bags and bags of yarn. I mean big garbage bags FULL! I suddenly see all these "over dye" possibilities! Yes you guessed it more yarn has come to my possession. More hanking, more organization.... but it's such lovely wool.... I'm only doing food coloring so I can only dye protein fibers. (Thank goodness)

I say thank goodness because there is a whole garbage bag full of cotton yarn too... I'm addicted to yarn what can I say. Yes I still have two bags of yarn in the trunk of the car that I'm going to see if my friend Molly will take for her "Fairview Knitting Circle". Molly teaches at The Fairview Library in Santa Monica.

Fairview Branch
2101 Ocean Park Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 458-8681

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Planning Ahead

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I belong to a knitting guild and I am the "program" chair person. (I find the "talent" and book the "talent") So far this past month in April for the spring workshop we flew Amy Singer out here from Toronto, Canada. The workshop she gave was "Plug and Play - Design your own lace shawl."
(Amy is the creator of Knitty.com)

Amy and I had a great time visiting Venice Beach. If you have ever walked along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, you know what a fun and what an unusual place it is. I love visitors because it gives me a chance to go down there and act like a tourist. Look at all the "artwork" the streets performers etc. Lots and Lots of "stuff" to see.

Amy and I also searched local Japanese book stores for knitting books. I come to find out that most of the Japanese knitting books have charts that are easy to follow so you do not need to know how to read Japanese. There were some beautiful knitting books we saw. Like this one.

This coming October we are very lucky to have Anna Zilboorg come to teach us. The workshop will be all day Saturday and all day Sunday.

Saturday Workshop:

Austrian twisted travelling stitches create patterns in high relief that resemble woodcarvings. They are easy to do once one has learned a few special techniques (among them, how to interpret the charts) and had a little practice. They can also provide a wonderful base for embroidery.

The class will begin working in the round (since that is easiest with these patterns) making a water bottle cover. Then we’ll go on to flat knitting, with a cell-phone cover that could easily turn into cuffs for an elegant sweater.

Students will need to bring worsted weight yarn and 5 dp or two circular needles. (Dk weight yarn is also okay.)

Sunday Workshop:
Stranded Knitting or STRANDING

Everything you need to know about two-colored knitting will start with how to make a steek and slash it without a sewing machine. Then we’ll make a sun glass case practicing two-handed knitting in the round and carrying one color over long distances. Finally, we’ll knit backwards with one hand and with two, for those times when going in circles cannot be done.

Students will need yarn in two contrasting colors with dp needles.

If by chance you do not know who Anna Zilboorg is, here is a list of her published books on Amazon.

Read an article about Anna on the Knitting Universe site.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How much did you say this cost?

Is this a typo? I know I did not pay $195 dollars for this book. It is a wonderful book but almost $200 dollars for it? But if you go to amazon.com and search for this book you will see this outrageous price.

I guess it's true, it's out of print and very hard to find. I think I'll treat my $200 dollar book with new respect. I now remember buying this book at one of the Smithsonian Museums. At the "Renwick Gallery" in Washington D.C. What a beautiful Gallery a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Almost right across the street from the White House.

A craft museum, so I went and found a number of knitting books and this book. At the time I paid $24.95 for it and just knew that I would love it even though I had never dyed anything but always wanted to. It was crazy my suitcase weighed a ton from all the books I purchased.

My visit to Washington D.C. was fascinating, I had never visited D.C. before and went there just to see the Museums, the White House and all the American History. I loved it. I went by myself and had a great time visiting the museums and staying as long as I wanted and viewed what I felt like. My hotel was very close to the White House and I was intrigued by it all. Although it look so small especially with those large buildings on either side of the House. Quite frankly I've seen bigger mansions right here in Beverly Hills. But it was still very beautiful and interesting to look at. I walked past it every chance I had.

Seeing and meeting the very strange woman camped across the street Concepcion Picciotto. They say she has been there since 1981. Yes across the street from the White House and living on the street, sleeping on a lounge chair with some kind of makeshift tent. When I asked her about bathing and taking bathroom breaks. (Well I like to know details) She told me that she only leaves to take a half hour break and quickly comes back.

When I asked one of the many guards around if this was legal? Can you just camp on the streets? He was a handsome young man with a Southern Drawl "Mam there are no laws agains Crazy."

But I've digressed from my dyeing yarn activities, here are the "hanked" yarn waiting to be painted.
I've been "hanking"..... maybe that is not the right word or proper English but you know what I mean. It's the reverse of winding the yarn into a ball. I'm unrolling the ball and making it into a "hank".

Colors Gone Wild

A whole new world opened up to me in fiber arts now that I've discovered the wonderful world of dyeing yarn. I've been fascinated with the process but it kind of scared me and from afar it looked like it was a complicated process.

The dyes, natural, acid, kool-aid, food coloring? What to use and how to use it, most of all where to get it? Kool-Aid is the easiest get but it seemed childish and more of a play thing than really dyeing wool. Then I saw a lady with the most beautiful color mohair shawl. The color was a "Burnt Sienna" in my world a pinky salmon like pink coral. (I'm having trouble trying to describe the exact shade, too bad I did not take a picture.) Pink but not really pink, because I usually do not like pink but this color looked lovely especially on the lady wearing it.

When we chatted about her lovely shawl, ie. what yarn, what color way etc. She told me she had this ugly light beige mohair and she dyed it with Kool-Aid. Wow! Note to self: when I get home I must try Kool-Aid dyeing. I asked the first natural question that comes to mind and the same question people ask me now that I'm dyeing, "Will it fade? Does it wash out?" She told me not yet, and she's washed it once. Also said how often do you wash your shawls anyway? Not that often. Maybe a sweater more but only time will tell how much fading will occour.

Some colors may fade faster than others. Just like some colors grab easier than others, it's all a big experiment. But what fun! Here we go dye all over the outside kitchen, crock pots heating up, yarn hanging & drying...... I'm getting nothing else done.... but having a lot of fun.

The store I went to locally had a very limited range of Kool-Aid flavors but they had a whole range of food coloring. I bought food coloring and could not wait to get home to try this out. Oh yes before I went home I stopped by my local beauty supply and bought 6 tint applicatior bottles. They seemed to be practical for this task, they have ouce markings and a nice little spout to apply the color. If it works for hair it will work for animal hair/wool yarn.

Stay tuned I'm now taking pictures of all the yarn I've dyed....... will share it all later.

Happy dyeing.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Shawl by Natalie

Shawl by Natalie, originally uploaded by BananaKnits.

I took a photo class yesterday and boy did I have fun. I'm exhausted today but I've learned some new techniques to photograph knitted projects. Here is the best shot of the day's shooting, my friend Natalie posing with her garter stitch shawl. Natalie calls it "Hollywood Shawl" at least her version of the pattern "Mara". The color is rich and rusty red, looks great on Natalie.

On Natalie's Ravelry page she describes it:

"This shawl is Mara-inspired but in the end bears no resemblance to the pattern. I added eyelet rows to lighten it up and went for a ruffled edge rather than the ribbed edge."
The pattern is available free "Mara"