Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ut oh, another passion ...

As if I didn't have enough crafty obsessions, I have a new one! This is not my first foray into the world of beads, but this is something completely different from simple bead stringing of earrings and necklaces. No sireeee.... I've learned a whole new skill and am loving it!

I've always admired the work of Stephanie Dixon aka The Dixon Chick, and for a long time wanted to take one of her wire bead crochet classes at BeadFx in Toronto but they were always scheduled when I wasn't available.

A couple of weeks ago that all changed and I was finally able to meet Stephanie at an Open Beading Night at BeadFx and she got me started down a slippery slope. I made my first wire crochet necklace and was thrilled with it.

Stephanie is an amazing teacher and tons of fun too! I was so hooked (pardon the pun) that I also took one of her classes a couple of weeks later. Be sure to check out her blog. She's an amazingly talented woman.

Here are the pieces I've made so far.

This was the first necklace I made using purple
wire and an assortment of green, purple and mauve beads.
This is the one that I made in Stephanie's class. The wire is gold
crocheted with Swarovski Crystal beads and Myuki glass cube beads
And this one I made with copper wire and an assortment of
green and amber beads.
And in in spare time, I made this simple memory wire bracelet with an assortment
of size 6/0 Czech glass seed beads called "Honeybee Topaz Mix".
I think it needs a matching necklace, don't you?

Can you tell I'm having a wonderful time? I have so many ideas spinning around in my head that I want to do. If only there were more hours in the day and more money in the bank account!

Of course I'm still knitting and quilting too. I'm only slightly ADD! :-)

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lace Shawl done and blocked!

In the spring I took an online class at Needlecraft University (class K154 - Triangular Lace Shaw). The project we worked on was from Heartstrings Fibrearts, the Triangles Within Triangles Shawl.

This was my first shawl ever, let alone taking on the challenges of a triangular shawl. I had trouble wrapping my brain around a couple of the concepts but finally "got it". The pattern is suitable for all weights of yarn so to prevent myself from going completely insane, I chose a sport weight cotton yarn so that I wouldn't get too frustrated. I was definitely a very good decision! I used Knit Picks Shine Sport in "Hollyberry", a lovely burgundy colour (a now discontinued colourway it seems). This is a lovely soft yarn with a nice hand with just a hint of shine.

I finished the shawl early in the summer but only got it blocked and photographed a couple of weeks ago. I'm delighted with the results and have already enjoyed wearing it a couple of times. :-)

Can't wait to make another lace shawl, maybe even with some stashed lace weight! However, before that happens, I have several other projects to finish up.

Here's the shawl while it was drying on the blocking wires.
The shawl artfully (??) draped over a chair.
And now back to my regularly scheduled knitting!

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

And now for something quilty ...

I took a couple of days off from knitting to design and create a small, paper pieced wall quilt (or table topper). I needed a new sample to use for a beginnger paper piecing class I will be teaching at Cock-A-Doodle Quilts this fall. I'm pretty happy with the results.

This photo is a bit washed out and doesn't do
the colours justice at all!
Now I just have to decide how to quilt it. That's always the most difficult decision for me.

And now, back to my regularly scheduled knitting! 


The Great Kool-Aid Dyeing Adventure

As promised, here’s the information about my Kool-Aid yarn dyeing experiment. All in all it went well and I’m happy with the final results. Photography is not my best thing so I apologize for some of the slightly blurry images. And the colours are not quite as acid bright as the pictures seem to indicate.

In order to dye yarn, it must first be in a skein, tied loosely in a few places to prevent tangling. I used Bare Stroll Sock Yarn which came in a hank, tied in two places. Just for insurance I added two addition ties. These ties need to be loose to ensure the dye can get to all the yarn.

The first step is to soak the yarn in a basin of lukewarm water for about 30 minutes to ensure that it is thoroughly wet throughout. Because this yarn was brand new and meant to be dyed, I skipped the washing step for the first batch that I dyed green. In hindsight, that was a bad idea. I did gently wash the second batch and the colour was more evenly distributed.

Lemon-Lime Kool-Aid:

While the yarn soaked, I added 3 envelopes of Lemon-Lime Kool-Aid to 2 cups of hot tap water and stirred it to dissolve the powder. I let it stand to make sure all the powder was completely dissolved while I patiently waited. The ratio of Kool-Aid to yarn suggested on several websites is 1 package per ounce of yarn. My skein was 3.5 oz so I started with 3 packages.

When the yarn soaking time was up, I added the Kool-Aid mixture to the 6 cups of lukewarm water standing by in the crockpot. I lifted the soaked yarn gently out of its bath, squishing out as much water as possible with my hands down the length of the skein. Treat it gently and try not to get it tangled.
Kool-Aid disolved in hot water.
Did a colour test on a piece of paper towel.
Dye Bath in the Crockpot
I lowered the squished out hank slowly into the crockpot and said a prayer! I swished it around VERY gently to make sure the dye was reaching all the yarn. Interestingly, the dye bath exhausted within about 2 minutes, meaning all they dye had been absorbed into the yarn. Hmmmm that wasn’t supposed to happen so quickly. And there were some spots that were still almost white. Hmmmmmm that wasn’t supposed to happen either. I mixed up another packet of Kook-Aid and added it to the water and again, almost instant exhaustion. Now what? The water hadn’t even heated up at this point.

This was shortly after I put the yarn in the pot.
You can see that the dye is exhausted. The water is clear
and all the dye absorbed. You can also see the white patches.

I turned the crockpot on high and left it for 30 minutes because I had a feeling the heat was required to set the dye. Not sure if that was the case or not but I did it anyway. I then did an addition 30 minutes on low before turning off the pot and left it to cool down to room (I actually left it overnight).

I lifted the yarn out of the pot and put it in a basin of lukewarm water to rinse. Swished it a bit, dumped out the water and added clean water and swished again. There was no dye released in either rinse.

I took the yarn out of the rinse water, squishing the water out with my hands down the length of the skein as I did so. I then laid it on a huge bath sheet, rolled it up gently and squished out as much water as possible by walking on the rolled up towel.

I hung the yarn over a plastic coat hanger and hung it in the bathroom over the tub to dry. There are still some very light patches in the yarn but it will still make nice socks or a shawl I think.

Yarn drying. You can see the white patches.
Close-up showing the undyed parts.
The finished ball of yarn :-)

Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade Kool-Aid:

I did everything pretty much as outlined above but this time added some “Soak” to the water in which the yarn was soaking and "squitched" it a bit. I had read that adding a bit of liquid dish detergent to the water helps to break that surface tension of the water which helps the yarn to thoroughly soak up the water. Although “Soak” does not require rinsing, I rinsed the yarn a couple of times anyway (just in case) before putting it in the dye pot. Although again, the dye exhausted very rapidly, there was a much more even distribution. I can only attribute this to the addition of the “Soak”. I have since read that adding salt to the dye bath will slow down the absorption of the dye to create a more solidly dyed yarn. My blue yarn is somewhat mottled but definitely no white areas.

Colour is more evenly distributed this time.

It seems I forgot to take a photo of the completed ball of blue yarn so you will have to use your imagination. :-)

There are loads of resources on the internet for dyeing with Kool-Aid. You can find some great information at this Ravelry Group. In addition, Knitty has a good tutorial which includes a really useful chart of the colours you can expect with various flavours of Kool-Aid.

I highly recommend you try this. It's loads of fun. Just be cautious of getting Kool-Aid powder on your hands. I had "smurf" hands when I accidentally spilled some of the blue powder. Ooops! A couple of drops of bleach with some hand soap cleared it up.

Have fun!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July Socks - Little Arrow

This months sock in the knitalong is called Little Arrow. I have one sock done and have the leg of the second one almost finished and ready to start on the heel. With any luck at all, I will be finished by the end of the month. We shall see.

The yarn is KnitPicks Stroll Sock YarnThe colour is "Make Believe".

I love the wonderful rich colours of this lovely soft (but sturdy) yarn. Unfortunately, this photo doesn't show it very well. When I get the second sock done, I'll see if I can't get a better photo. Not using a white background would probably help.

I've also been working on finishing my first lace shawl. The body of the shawl is done and I'm now working on the lace edging ... which is slow going! I'll post photos as soon as it is done. I didn't use a lace weight yarn for my first project because I didn't want the added frustration of knitting with "cobwebs". Instead I used a sport weight cotton and it has turned out beautifully (if I do say so myself).

All for now


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Knit Your Own Royal Wedding

I'm so excited. I just received a new book I've been waiting for.

Knit Your Own Royal Wedding
is so darn cute and quirky that when I saw it advertised, I knew I just had to get a copy. No idea whether I will ever make any of these delightful pieces but it's so much fun to look at. It even comes with a fold-together card balcony to display your pieces.

Happy Knitting,


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Two Pairs Finished!!!

I've finished my Charade socks for the June KAL!! Yay me! It's a PAIR!

Finished ... washed ... blocked ... DONE

Finished another pair too. They were on the needles for a couple of months, poking along slowly but now DONE! Yarn for these ones is Red Heart Heart and Sole. Don't remember the colourway and the ball band is long gone.

And this is a sneak peak of the yarn I've chosen for the July KAL. Isn't it yummy?? I just love these colours. Can't wait to see how this knits up with the chosen pattern called Little Arrows.

It's Knit Picks Handpainted Stroll Sock Yarn. The colour is "Make Believe". Great name isn't it?

That's all for today.
Happy Knitting!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Knitting in Public

Last Saturday, June 18, The Purple Purl hosted a wonderful KIP (knit in public) day at Leslie Grove Park at the corner of Leslie & Jones, right around the corner from the store. It was an absolutely gorgeous day weatherwise. I didn't count but there were 40 or so people there knitting (and crocheting) away making hats and mittens that will be donated to The Street Knit Project that provides warm winter woolies to homeless people in the city.

The Purple Purl donated some lovely yarn - purple of course! They plied us with pink lemonade and cookies to keep our strength up and had several prize draws. And it didn't stop there. For every completed item that gets turned into the store by July 2, they are giving a 15% discount coupon good for the purchase or any single skein of yarn. An amazing store and amazing people.

I have managed to finish three items: two hats and a pair of mittens.

For the hats I used a pattern - that looks complicated 

but isn't - called Misty Hat, a free pattern from Picnic Knits. The purple one was knit from the yarn donated by the store - Diamond Luxury Collection Fine Merino Superwash Aran (a lovely yarn I will definitely find an excuse to use again!). The blue one was made with some yarn from my stash - KnitPicks Swish DK  Superwash in Delft Blue.

The mittens used up what I had left of purple yarn plus some pea green Patons Classic Wool that I had hanging around. I'm not fond of knitting mittens. The thumb is a pain to knit. And the pattern I used left some things to be desired. But these mittens will keep someone's hands warm next winter so it's all good. :-)

Now back to my June KAL socks. The second sock is half done but was put on the back burner so I could finish these hats and mittens.

Happy Knitting!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sock KAL - June

I recently joined a sock KAL (knit along) on Ravelry. Our first sock is Charade. One sock done, one to go.

The yarn is Lang Jawoll Color, color 132.0301.