Archive for the ‘Dyeing’ Category


You’ll excuse the fuzzy picture.  Slicing knitwear makes me a bit woozy.

But it all came together beautifully and we now have this:

OK, perhaps I won’t show you.  Evidentally that last picture was the end of my free upload quota for WordPress.  I finally paid for a FlickrPro account tonight, and now WordPress is having a go.  Hmph.

Anyway, I uploaded lots of lovely pictures on Flickr, documenting the steeking process.  It went very smoothly.  I’d planned the steek with lots of extra sts which became the front facings.  I didn’t even need to use bias tape.  I did 2 lines of crochet on each side, one to turn the raw edges under, and one to turn the facing under.

As I was doing the line of facing-turning-crochet I started wondering if one could use applied I-cord to do the same thing?  It would take longer, but it would look nicer, and it ought to turn the edge just as well.  But first I need to learn how to apply I-cord!   One thing at a time…

Other updates- Gabriel’s sockies are finished.  Sweet sweet little boy that he is, Gabriel wore the first sockie with his  regular sock the whole day I was working on #2.  How endearing is that?

MS3- Not much progress.  Row 58.  ooof.

Harry Potter-  does anyone else think that R. A. B. is Sirius’s brother?


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*oc*ie ***

*** Thank you OtherPeggy for giving me appropriate words to use in cases like these.

Really, how hard can it be??? I set out to knit Nikolai a pair of nice little sockies with that nice stripey demo yarn. You saw the first one, nicely finished, ends woven it, proudly photographed an presented to it’s excited new owner…. But it didn’t fit.

Well, he could get it on, but the heel was too short and pulling the leg down. The foot would have been too short next week and the leg too tight next month. Way before he actually needs wool socks. Rrrriiiiiippppppppppppppp.

Attempt 2 had me adding stitches to the leg and making the heel flap longer. He was luckily awake when I wanted to check the length before starting the toe….. only to discover I’d made the heel flap way too long and the entire thing was baggy around the ankle. Rrrriiiiiiiiiiiiipppppppppppppppp.

Attempt 3 started at the shortened heel flap and it looked good. I knit on determinedly. Nikolai had gone to bed so I guessed on the foot length. Again I got it all finished, ends woven in, etc. Then I snuck into the boys’ room to try it on his sleepy little foot. Half an inch too long. Rrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiippppppppppp.

Grr. I just ripped back the toe and the half inch of foot and started Attempt 4. I can just hear the knitting gods up there cackling….. “hehehhe this one will be too short!!” Really, how can such a little *oc*ie have so many things go wrong?

later… final updateOk, I was wrong. The knitting gods gave me another long sock. But darned if I’m knitting it again. It will fit in his shoes and that’s good enough!    I left the finished sockie on Nikolai’s foot. I wonder if he’ll notice in the morning?   hehehe

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Things you’ll need:

1. Crock-Pot

2. Pint (half-liter) canning jars or something similar that can tolerate lots of heat.

3. Dyes and something to set them with.

4. Some kitchen utensils- turkey baster, wooden spoon, colander/sieve/strainer, large bowl. Safety Note- If you are not using food dyes, say acid or plant based dyes, you will need separate equipment. Once you’ve used your stuff with acid or plant dyes it is no longer food safe. Of course, if you use acid dyes regularly you probably already know this.

5. Wool. I would recommend doing this in about 50-100gm batches, anything more will be too crowded in the jars. And use wool!! (I tried some Lion Cotton yesterday and it didn’t take the dye at all. Suck.)

6. Rags, towels or washclothes you don’t mind getting dyed a bit.

Got it all? Excellent. The principle here is that we’re going to use the jars as individual dyebaths and the Crock-Pot as a double boiler. Place your jars in the Pot and fill everything (jars and Pot) about half-full. One jar for each color stripe. I’m doing 3.

When skeining the wool think about how many colors you’re using and how long you want the stripes to be and make your skein an appropriate length. Or just wind it however you like and be surprised by the results. Use plenty of ties!

When your wool is ready for the dyebath squeeze out the excess water and lay the skein out on a towel. *I wasn’t sure how long it would take for me to take good pictures so for the sake of my carpet, I did this with dry wool.*

Now we’re going to shape the skein. I’m going to be dyeing with three colors so I shaped my skein into a triangle. If you’re doing four, make a square… and so on. Next, bring all the sides to the center so you have 3 (or whatever) distinct sections. No one says the sections have to be equal, make whatever shape suits your fancy!

Then you’re going to pick up the skein, keeping the sections separate between your fingers. Like so….

Carry your wool over to the Crock-Pot and carefully feed each section into it’s own jar (personal dyebaths, remember?) I couldn’t take pictures of this as it’s a two handed operation. But knitters are smart, I’m sure you can figure it out. This is the end result.


Now turn on the Crock-Pot, put a lid on it and go knit until the water is hot.

OK, it’s hot. Next mix up your dyes. The food dyes I use (these) need to be dissolved in hot water so I like to use the turkey baster to suck out the hot water from each personal dyebath, use it to dissolve/mix the dye, and pour it back into the same jar. When adding the dye make sure you give each jar several gentle stirs so the dye gets to all the yarn.


Put the lid back on and let it do it’s thing while you knit some more. In an hour or so the wool will have absorbed all the dye and you’ll have clear water. I still find this amazing. At this point you can add more dye to saturate the colors or overdye with different colors, or be done.

Pull the wool out, wash it, rinse it, roll it up in a towel and let your kids help squish it dry…

woolout.jpgwashed.jpgpict2051.jpg stomp.jpghellper.jpg

That’s it! Now go make some sockies for your most dedicated fans. Happy Knitting!

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Plan C

I’ve been mentally knitting those socks I showed you last time.  Thank you for all the good advice.  The yarn is similar to Fortissima Socka.  The pattern calls for sz. 0 needles and that’s the fabric I like best, so I’ve been thinking about sidestepping the whole needle change by adding a back panel instead.

The socks will be almost stocking height on me, so I’ve been thinking I’ll eliminate 2 pattern repeats but add a 12 stitch calf shaping  panel.  I’m hoping it will give me enough for large calves and come down enough for slender feet.

My plan is to use the sz. 0 needles, start the ribbing on 72 sts (6 st repeat), then after the ribbing mark a 12 st panel for the calf and knit the other 60 sts in pattern (10 st repeat). After some swatching and measuring I think that 60 sts will be about right for my ankle and foot.

The pattern, as written, uses 3 50gm skeins but I think with all the resizing I can knit them with two… Let us hope so.

And speaking of socks, Nikolai really wanted to dye yarn yesterday so we skeined up this sock yarn and turned it into this:

Nikolai chose the colors, and I figured out how to make self striping yarn in the Crock-pot.  I can put up a tutorial if anyone is interested.

One more thing: I’d like all of you to meet the wonderful lady who is my Aunt Dot. She got me started doing ballet, something I still love.  We got to take a class together last weekend, a wonderful something we haven’t done for many many years.

She taught me to knit when I was 9 (of course I didn’t start knitting until I was 24 but that’s not the point).  She gave me all that wool, and we dyed some of it together while she was visiting.  It turned out lovely and she’s thinking of trying her first pair of socks.

And she loves my children and my children love her. What a Great Aunt!


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Nikolai had his last day of Preschool yesterday. And while I’m still coming to terms with what that means to my personal time for the next 3 months I can only guess how a 4 year old processes that kind of time-break. I spoke with a few parents and all the kids had a unique understanding what the End Of School meant.

Nikolai- Did not want to go to school the last day. Denied vehemently that he liked school. (this is my fellow is does not want to turn 5 because then “I’ll have to go to kindergarten and I won’t be able to go to my preschool anymore! I love my preschool!!!”) Also assumed that because school was over for Summer, it was now time for Swimming Lessons. Today.

Tyler- Thought the teachers would come to school alone all summer. And where would the kids be?

ShaSha- Did not want to go to school. Refused to say goodbye to the teachers.

Madison- Refused to go the babysitter’s saying she “…won’t go because I only like school.”

The mind of a child. They are all such fascinating and precious little beings. skeing.jpg

Nikolai, still in his ballet clothes, helped me skein up a bunch more wool today. Hopefully I’ll get more dyed up tomorrow so I can keep going on…. all garter stitch handdye you’ve been seeing (like the header)… a Tomten for me!!

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Here we are, 8 sets of decreases from the neck. Hooray!  can I have chocolate now?

About the dyeing…. Thank you all for your nice comments. I’m using Wilton’s cake decorator paste colors for my dye and setting them with white vinegar in the Crockpot. No, OtherPeggy (do you mind if I call you that?) it is not novelty yarn- it’s just a funky spinning job. But the yarn is it’s own story.

My good Aunt Dot once bought secondhand 2 huge bags of natural, poorly washed, barely carded, inexpertly spun wool. She has used a little but when I started knitting last fall she gifted me with enough of this wool to fill my cabinet. Some of it is quite nice- lamb’s wool and merino and mohair and alpaca…. Some of it is crap- wiry, dirty, coarse….

I’ve been doing my best to use it up- so I can buy more yarn of course- but the creations are rarely something nice enough to wear out of the house. Mostly the wool just does not feel nice against the skin and lots of washes have not helped.

I really didn’t mean to start ranting about this yarn. Sorry!   Anyway, long story short, I have several pounds of yucky yarn that I can experiment on and I think will become a Log Cabin blanket. I thought it would be a Tomten, but it  just doesn’t feel nice enough to wear. But I’m in love with the colors!

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Guess what I did this lovely long weekend? Work diligently on that Fishtrap? nope.

Instead I tried my hand at dyeing. I saw this article in Knitty and realized I have everything I need- including lots of wool I’ll never use as-is. So now I’m hooked on dyeing. If I ever learn how to spin I’m probably doomed. Oh well.
You can see all my colorful, and muddy, escapades over on Flickr.

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