Sunday, March 19, 2006

Dazzling Knits by Patricia Werner. A very interesting book! Lovely colors, great ideas!

Mitered Knitting. My other project is a mitered bottom up sweater in 11 colors of tweeds. Lovely colors, but difficult to transport since I'm using so many balls of yarn at once! These units are fun to make, and reminicent of quilting in the process of choosing colors and trying to balance them into a harmonious whole. I'm using some techniques from this book:

Here I've begun the next sweater. It is fun to see how the stripes come out. This yarn was previously dyed with Procions, but the vivid blue didn't take, so I had to get some wool dye and now I'm really pleased with the vivid blue.

New Yarn! Here is the yarn I dyed, all rolled up into nice balls. In the front is a skein of Alpaca, which dyed gorgeously and vividly. I'm also pleased with the Patons Classic Wool, 100% Merino. I'll use this in a diagonal mitered sweater, which will be portable, as I hope to use only one ball of wool at a time!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Dyed yarn results!

Dyeing Yarn

I spent the day dyeing yarn. Actually, I spent the past week brooding about it, getting opinions from friends, internet sources and Prochem technical help line, all of which were very helpful in my quest. I am still contemplating another mitered sweater, but I needed yarn with long repeats, and I don't want to spend a fortune on Noro I broke down and ordered acid dyes from Prochem, as they were having a sale on dye kits, where you can get a small sample of lots of colors for dyeing wool, silk, etc. ( ) And so of course I needed some yarn....and got a pound of some lovely merino from . Now my next puzzle is how to steam 1,200 yards of painted yarn. I wondered, Can I bake it instead?( I planned to wrap painted skeins in plastic wrap and either steam somehow or bake at 200deg F.)....Gary suggested Reynolds Oven Roasting Bags, and JoVE suggested oven temps around 200. I called Prochem and they were quite specific that steaming was the best way to go. I spent some time Monday visiting cooking equipment shops to find a good stainless steel set of veggie steamers, and found an excellent one that is made to sit on top of a fry pan, and the standard leaved one. After I visited Kohl's where huge suitcases were 50%off ( I need one to schlepp quilts to lecture! I loved borrowing Elizabeth's big red one, but I need my own!), they had a gorgeous 11qt stockpot on sale for $20, so I bought that. Now I was leaning towards trying the wrap and steam method -(thanks Ray! for the method explanation!)- lay out a long strip of plastic wrap, place the acid pre-soaked hank on it, squirt dye into it, fold over the plastic wrap toward the center, then roll/fold loosely into a flat sort of packet; then steam for 30 minutes, covered. With the old veggie steamer I had stashed in the closet ( unused since I discovered microwave steamed veggies!), I had a 3 tier arrangement to fit the pot, so I could do a lot of yarn at once... none of the packets would touch the water, and I could listen very carefully to make sure the water won't boil all away, then lifted steamer rack out to cool naturally (or just turn off the pan, remove the lid and leave it all sit ). As I had 1200 yards to dye ( and then 500yds of more assorted fibers which needed dyeing!), I was running a little production line - so I could do 3 runs of steaming, and the apparatus worked like a charm! I overdyed 1200 yards of merino which didn't dye very vibrantly with Procion in the oven which I did last wednesday,and this time used Citric Acid instead of vinegar--no smell! It was delightful...and so very gratifying! Unlike dyeing with cellulosics and Procion, the washout was a snap--all the dye exhausts into the wool. I added a bit of hair conditioner to smooth the wool, and it came out so soft and vivid! I can't wait until it is dry so I can roll it into balls and knit it up. This was too much fun! The alpaca I dyed is as vivid and wonderful as the wools...yummy!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Finished Olympic sweater

Well, better late than never! I finished sewing in the zipper and darning in a few ends last night, so here is my finished sweater. 3weeks-not bad from buying the yarn to wearing it. The design was an intricate set of calculations and lots of fun to create especially watching the yarn colors unfold. I guess I'm easily entertained. Now I'm thinking about the next project..but want to finish my blue alpaca sweater and a few other ufos...and maybe a hat from leftover Unikat yarn... and then there is the yummy silk/mohair yarn I got at the Iris Schreier workshop I took last weekend. I love being able to use different modular techniques whenever it suits me. No-rules knitting rules!!