Thursday, October 28, 2010

And The Beat Goes On

I'm back to finish up my lengthy update. I don't have pictures of the sewing or spinning that I mentioned earlier, but I do have pictures of the dyeing. The following skeins are all Knit Picks bare, 100% merino fingering. I recently ordered 17 skeins to take advantage of a really good sale. It was quite impressive to open the box.

For the first skein I dyed, I used three colors of Wilton's food coloring (brown, teal, and delphinium blue) and mason jars. I baked the whole shebang in the oven. For my first time using this method I think it turned out rather well. I haven't named this color yet. Anyone have suggestions?

The second Wilton's skein was done with a mix of the leftover teal from above and a whopping dose of royal blue, which apparently didn't dissolve all the way, which led to some very pretty results. I can't get the camera to pick up on the full range of colors. :-(

Within the dark blue spots there's actually some very pretty dark purple. It really is quite stunning in person, and I can't wait to knit something lovely with it.

Finally, I've begun experimenting with natural dyes, using only food safe mordants and dyes. I decided to start easy with onion skins.

I brought the skins and water up to a simmer, then covered it, turned off the heat, and let it steep overnight. I mordanted the yarn with 10g pickling alum and 7g cream of tartar, also overnight. The steeped skins produced the most gorgeous amber colored liquid.

I exhausted dyed this yarn (as I do with most all my dyes) and the resulting skein is beautiful.

It came out with fantastic depth of color. It's not a color I can wear, but I'm sure I can find someone who wants it.

That's all I've got for today. I'm going to keep dyeing (there's no shortage of yarn here), and my goal is to get all of the pieces for my tote blocked out so I can start the sewing process. I'm also going to work on my sewing project and get some photos of it, so keep watching.

I've Been Busy

I don't know where to start with this post, I've got so much to put in it. I've been knitting, sewing, dyeing, spinning, and Westley's right in the middle of all of it.

My knitted tote is almost done (well, with the knitting, then there's the sewing). I was working diligently on it, which apparently Westley took exception to. I obviously wasn't paying the appropriate amount of attention to him, so he took matters into his own paws.

I've also been working diligently on my Percy shawl, but I've hit (another) snag. 17 more rows of chart B and I should be in the clear to finish it up.

Of course, all of this got put on hold for swap knitting. I'm participating in a Buffy the Vampire themed swap on Ravelry, and now that my swapee has received her package I can post about it here.

First, I designed and knit a fancy pair of fingerless mitts inspired by Drusilla.

The colorwork (my first ever stranded work) is supposed to represent blood dripping, and the fancy cast on gives them the frilly Drusilla vibe. These were done in Cascade 200 Sport on US 3 needles. I learned the cast on from Lucy Neatby's Knitting Gems 4 DVD.

My second contribution to the box was some custom dyed roving. My partner put in her questionnaire that she is itching to learn how to spin, so I picked up 4 ounces of undyed Polwarth at the yarn shop and used Kool-Aid to turn it into this:

I used a combination of cherry and black cherry to get the color I wanted, and I named it "Blood of the Innocent" (inspired by something Buffy said to Spike in Season 4, "Something Blue").

I wanted to add one more handmade thing to the box, so I went back to the yarn shop and picked up a ball of cream colored DK weight superwash, sat down (with my US3s again) and designed the following on the fly.

That's right, I knit Spike. His clothes are the same Cascade 200 Sport as the mitts. His clothes are removable.

The biggest challenge was figuring out how do put on his hair. In the show, he's got platinum hair that is wavy but slicked back. It's pretty much the same color as his skin, too (the whole no sunbathing thing). I spent hours thinking about it, and finally came up with the solution. Crochet.

I picked up a loop of yarn through his head, and did a chain one, single crochet repeat down the back on his head. I repeated this across to create his hair. I felt right clever about it, too.

To round of the swap box I sent, I added a drop spindle (came with my wheel, I wasn't using it), a Buffy book with 3 short stories, a bar of Dagobah organic dark chocolate with sunflower and hemp seeds in it, 2 skeins of Knit Picks Shine Sport in "Hearts Blood" (they call it "Holoyberry on the site), a ball of Kathmandu tweed, and a Brittany Birch shawl stick (for vampire protection). My swapee loved what she got. I'm still waiting to get my box (not coming from who I sent mine to). I'll post pictures of what I get when I get it.

Westley says it's lunch time, so I'll complete my update in the next post. See you then.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Drive By Pictures

Now those are some happy toes.