Monday, 16 October 2017

Dyeing Up A Storm

Seems quite an apt title given that Storm Ophelia is currently blowing away and we've had the weirdest orange sun and sepia skies today!

But I was more referring to yarn, of course.  I've loved dyeing my own yarn for quite a while (would one day love to delve into becoming an indie dyer should the 48 hour day ever be invented) and am finding more and more at the moment that I will dye my own yarn unless I see something that I *have* to have!

So, recent (how on earth has it been 5 months since I blogged?!) dye jobs include...

A trio of Merino Singles Sock Yarn dyed with Dharma Fluorescent Dyes.  No plans at all for these as I was just testing the dye out but they do look rather good together!

A sweater quantity of Merino Sock Yarn (purchased at Yarndale 2016) to make a Polaris jumper.  I couldn't decide between green or pink but eventually decided to stick with my original plan of eye searing pink!

Spooky Sparkle Mini's in Sparkle Singles Sock.  Halloween is by far my favourite time of year and couldn't resist dyeing up a set of mini skeins in Halloween inspired colours.  The singles sparkle sock base looks amazing dyed up (I was slightly unsure of it when undyed!) 

And last but not least...

Black Pumpkin Self Striping Sock Yarn.  This was this weekends project and I loved dyeing it - did not love winding it quite as much!!  Destined to be yet another pair of Sod Socks! Gloves which I am just casting on.  

I have another few skeins of sock weight left to play around with and have plans for some neon speckles.  I've also got a few hat pattern that require DK on my wish list so think I'll have to pick up some more undyed skeins for those too.    

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Making Cakes

Back in April 2010 I purchased my first ball winder.   A vintage £6 eBay bargain - it arrived in the original box, which was battered, dusty but otherwise as new.  That little winder has since wound a hell of a lot of yarn!

A couple of years ago I decided to upgrade,  the little winder had started clunking a bit and I needed a jumbo winder to tackle a 300g skein of Wollmeise Lace.  I had been lusting after a wooden winder since my first, but the only options were very expensive and had few UK stockists.  I eventually settled on a Brother Jumbo L2 Winder which I have been really happy with (although it always takes me a few turns to remember which was to thread the yarn through the second arm!)

As happy as I was though, my heart still lusted after a wooden winder.  After the unfortunate issue last year with waiting almost a year on a custom waiting list and eventually giving in on the seller (I'd lost faith in the customer service anyway)  I had all but given in on getting one.
Then a few weeks ago I saw the winder I wanted appear for sale, completely as new, and at a great price.  After some gentle persuasion from a certain best friend and the added bonus of birthday money covering half of the cost, I took the plunge and  purchased a Strauch Jumbo Ball Winder.


It is truly a thing of beauty!! 

Initial thoughts were tainted slightly as there was a bit of a grinding sound - cue panic and sadness!!   However, there was just a drop of lubricant needed and wow - ball winding perfection!!  I wound just over 700g of sock yarn for my Fade Shawl in an afternoon with absolutely no shoulder/wrist pain and it really was yarn winding joy!!  I actually take huge pleasure in winding yarn cakes (although only wind yarn as requires - my stash is all stored in skeins!) and I am so, so happy I took the plunge as I can see this lasting for many, many years to come.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Stash Enhancement aka Confessions of a Yarn Addict

I've done a fair bit of stash refining over the last few months and destashed a yarn that, as beautiful as it is, I just will not use.   I've discovered I'm increasingly sensitive to alpaca and recently found I couldn't knit with Wensleydale without skin irritation.

I'm never able to keep a balance in my Yarn Funds account for long though and as yarn is also my go-to present request for myself (as well as my self prescribed fluffy Prozac!), my stash has been healthily increasing of late back to "burst out of the storage" levels!

One of the reasons for this is a bit of a crush on Hedgehog Fibres at the moment!  After snaffling a skein of  Sock  in "Jelly" in a destash at the end of last year I have slowly been acquiring all my favourite colourways.   I received a beautiful skein of "Pesto" in Skinny Singles for Mother's Day earlier this year and the rest have sneaked in over the last month. (I do very much  still need Boombox though!)

Since we had some gloriously sunny weather this weekend, I finally managed to take some photos - so commence the yarn porn!

Top Row (Left to Right): Skinny Singles in Pesto, Merino/Silk Lace in Monet
Middle Row (Left to Right): Sock in Aroma, Budgie and Night Ride

Bottom Row (Left to Right): Skinny Singles in Film Noir, Sock in Genie, Pinky Swear and Jelly


Not hard to see why I am quite so in love!  I've also managed to finally snag some yarn from Martin's Lab which I have been lusting after for aggggges and I was so excited to see is now also being stocked over at Tangled Yarn (so much so I had to buy a skein of Fairy Dust in Bouncy Merino!).  There's still a few colourways I *need* (Candy Sparrow!) so I'm stalking for a restock!

From Left to Right: Bouncy Merino in Fairy Dust, Merino Singles in Cuteness Overload and Baby Flamingo

There is a reason behind quite so much new pink stash of late - I'm been attempting to Find My Fade!!
Completely down to the many, many beautiful photos on IG, I just had to buy the Find Your Fade pattern by Andrea Mowray of Drea Renee Knits.  I really wanted a Fade that showcased beautiful speckles and various shades of pink - a bit of variation from my usual hot, hot pink and in your face green.

From left to right: Hedgehog Fibres Sock in Genie, Martin's Lab Merino Singles in Baby Flamingo, Easyknits Dusted Dreams in Betty Boo, Martin's Lab Merino Singles in Cuteness Attack, Hedgehog Fibres Sock in Pinky Swear followed by Jelly and finally, Easyknits Deeply Wicked in Pinky

I really can't wait to cast on - but have to cake all the skeins first.  But I have a new toy for that which I think deserves it's own blog post!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Rainbow Layer Me Up Mitts

In my current attempt to complete old WIP's, I dug out my Layer Me Up Mitts which had been languishing in my WIP basket since the end of last year.

I saw these fabulous mitts on Instagram and offered to test knit them for Toni of Woolgasm.  Whilst I managed to finish the first mitt in a few days, the second has been half finished for the last few months!

I decided to use sock yarn I had leftover from my Pop Spots shawl - I'd dyed several individual skeins in solids to form a rainbow and, with a fair amount of each colour leftover, they were ideal for this project.

The pattern calls for a both a German Twisted Cast on and German Short Rows - which ironically are currently both my favourite cast on and favourite short row method.  The finished mitt gives the impression that you are wearing several layers (hence the name!) by the separate colours being knitted together - a really easy technique which gives fantastic results, I think it would also look great on the hem of a slouchy sweater!

Yarn:  Sock skeins dyed in Rainbow Solids by Me

The best part about these mitts is that you can have SO much fun with the colours!  They use so little yardage per pair that it's an ideal project for mini skeins or leftovers.  My yarn was a heavier weight sock with 344m per 100g and I used the following amounts per pair:
Red:  12.4g
Orange: 10g (inc thumb)
Yellow: 9.2g
Green: 7.2g
Blue: 8g
Purple: 5.8g

Yarn:  Sock skeins dyed in Rainbow Solids by Me

I can definitely see more of these on the needles in the future - I think a gradient of a single colour would be perfect!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Spring Brioche

At the beginning of the month I was at a bit of a loose end with my WIP's and decided I needed to cast on something new - whilst I was intent on finishing all my current projects, my mojo was fading somewhat and I wanted a challenge.

I have been admiring several brioche knitted shawls on Ravelry but had never tried the technique.  Whilst browsing I found a free pattern for a brioche cowl in DK and decided it was a good opportunity to, well buy more yarn!  I have hardly any DK in my stash as I rarely use anything other than sock weight now so I brought some lovely West Yorkshire Spinners Wensleydale Gems DK in Tourmaline (Pink) and Peridot (Green) - I've been wanting to branch out of my usual fibre comfort zones but generally fail miserably!

Yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners Wensleydale Gems DK in Peridot & Tourmaline

Unfortunately, after caking and casting on, I started getting hives along my fingers and a few rows in my hands were extremely sore so I had to abandon the lovely Wensleydale.  I dithered over whether to order in some undyed yarn but didn't want to wait so found some Merino/Cashmere DK in my stash and dyed them up - pink and green, because I'm slightly predictable and I think they go so well together!

After a quick read of the fabulous instruction on the Brioche Stitch website I found the brioche incredibly easy and SO much fun!  (Please ignore the inconsistent colours - my camera hates this shade of pink!)

Yarn: Kingcraig Merino/Cashmere DK (dyed by me)

I find learning new techniques really satisfying and enjoyable - this literally flew off the needles and and was such a great pattern for learning two colour Brioche techniques!  I love the texture that the brioche lends to the finished fabric and have to say I found it much squishier pre-blocking so may consider soaking again and letting this dry without any blocking for a cushier feel.  I reduced the width of the cowl pattern - only casting on 176 stitches and I think if I were to remake this I would knit an extra pattern repeat to make it taller. 

Yarn: Kingcraig Merino/Cashmere DK (dyed by me)
I can't wait now to cast on the Sizzle Pop shawl that I have had on Ravelry queue for ages.  The plan is to use a skein of the Merino/Yak/Silk singles that I dyed green and another I've dyed black - because matching your shawls to your hair is totally acceptable hehe!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Dye all the things green...

I completely forgot to blog about my latest dyeing adventures - both my hair and yarn!

It's been almost two years since I decided to change my hair from red to black and pink.  I LOVED the colour but my hair had started to break from colouring and bar regularly trimming it myself I haven't had a decent chop for six years!  I started chopping a few inches off every time I cut my fringe - taking it from my lower back (when straight) to about bra strap length - whilst I pondered whether I had the courage to cut it short, which I had wanted to do for a few years,   The week before Christmas, with badly faded pink, roots and lots of white in my black, I shut myself in the bathroom for a few hours and chopped it all off.  A bit of bleach and a couple of pots of dye and I really rather love the results!



(Excuse the twatty face - it is, however,  the best picture of the haircut!)  I've since trimmed it again and it was much less nerve racking the second time round - I have a rather odd fear of hairdressers (amongst many other things!) and since I cut everybody else's hair in the house as well as a few other peoples, figured I may as well carry on doing my own too!   I do have a dog grooming qualification and years of experience in that and people are much easier LOL!  I love having it short - it has to be literally level with the bottom of my ear lobes to not curl - and the green makes me SO happy!  

On to the yarn dyeing...I saw this amazing base from Chester Wool Company and had to grab a couple of skeins.

This is Yak Singles - 65% Merino, 20% Silk, 15% Yak, single ply with 480 metres per 120 gram skein of lushiness!  The undyed grey base in itself is beautiful - the silk means this really shines.  And after a dip in Chartreuse and Kelly Green Jacquard Acid Dye, they turned into...

There's not a huge colour difference in the two skeins and I'm still debating giving one skein a dip in something a bit darker.  I have absolutely NO idea what they are destined to become but it's such a gorgeous, luxury base that I am very likely to be getting more!  

Thursday, 16 February 2017

The hugely long catch up post!

Apparently it has been forever since I wrote, completed and published a blog post!  I could have sworn I blogged just after Christmas but apparently I dreamt that.

Soooo...what have I been up to?  Well, obviously there was Christmas which flew by, as it does,  I was indeed lucky enough to get the Westknit's book that I had requested as well as copious amounts of marzipan chocolate, new sparkly body jewellery (I have expensive taste in that as well) and a beautiful felted picture from Carla.

I've been trying extremely hard not to start any new projects until I had completed all (well, maybe most!) of my current WIP's.  I did however have to cast on another pair of gift mitts for Lee's sister as part of her 40th birthday present (if I love you, I will knit for you!  And hand knit gloves are one of my go-to girly gifts!)

I decided to use some of my stashed Scheepjes Stone Washed and after falling in love with a stitch pattern, but finding the pattern didn't work with my yarn, I concocted a pattern on the go using quilted lattice stitch.

I can however recommend double checking your needle size - I managed to pick up the wrong circular needle for these which probably explained why they took me longer than expected (2.75mm oops!)  Luckily they turned out fine and the recipient seemed to like them as well,

Pattern: Christmas Lattice Mitts - my own pattern
Yarn: Scheepjes Stone Washed in 806 Canada Jade
Pattern Notes on my Ravelry here 

I then spent most the Christmas holiday's working on my Doodler.  It had been on the needles for a while and it was one of those WIP's that, once I picked it back up again, I LOVED knitting!  The Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light makes for such a smooshy knit and I now need to knit all the things in single ply yarn!  I added 2 rows of black in between each wedge of Colour C in Section 3 - because Edison Bulb is shit scary bright!

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Twig (overdyed black), Fluoro Rose & Edison Bulb.
Full pattern notes on my Ravelry here

After I'd cast off the Doodler, it was back to gloves and finishing my Sod Socks (Warm Fingers).  After a bit of scribbling and calculations the pattern was adapted to add fingers and they have proved SO useful these last few weeks as the weather has cooled right down again,

Pattern: Sod Socks (Warm Fingers) - my own pattern, to be published
Yarn: Knitterly Things Vesper Sock in Witchy Woman 
Pattern notes on my Ravelry here

Before I decided to complete all my current WIP's I couldn't resist purchasing Knitvent 2016 from Helen Stewart (Curious Handmade) and cast on the completely gorgeous Alpine Sunset Shawl.  I'm using two skeins of Easyknits from my stash - Deeply Wicked in Keylime and Dusted Dreams in Neon Nights - which I think look amazing together (and Jon is one of my absolute favourite UK dyers!)  This is next up on my complete list - I'm currently half way through - so fingers crossed for a FO soon!

Yarns: Easyknits Deeply Wicked in Keylime and Dusted Dreams in Neon Nights

Right, I think that's enough waffle for one post!  I shall be back with some yarn dyeing, beta test knitting and FO's soon.