Back at last and with some finished items

Hi there, how are you? I hope you are doing better than I am since I have a big cold and have totally lost my voice! Apparently that is going around these days.

So, I know I told you last time that I was going to concentrate on finishing all the wips BEFORE casting on for new stuff. Well….how can I say this?…..I totally failed! I have cast on sooo many projects that I have to do at least two posts to share everything with you!

So today let me show you three projects that I have just finished. The first one is a pair of socks for my older daughter. I used my hand dyed SOX and SPARKLES yarns and just did a simple vanilla type pattern, knit from the top down and did a short row heel. I also did cuff, heel and toe in contrasting color to hold the pattern of the variegated yarn.

IMG_4497

I’m really happy about how they turned out. The color way for the variegated yarn is called Another Kind of Christmas. I dyed that up in December and put up for sale in my independent shop (which by the way is not working out so I really need to list the yarn there on Etsy).

And I believe last time I also told you about doing a double experiment, dyeing self striping yarn and using NEKO knitting needles. Well I finished my first pair using the Neko needles and my self striping yarn.

As for the needles, they are nice BUT not transcendent, not enough to make me want to knit only with those. The idea behind them, I feel, is like knitting with 2 circulars so if you like knitting your socks with two circular needles you might enjoy the bent Neko needles.

I do find that my gauge is looser when knitting with the Neko needles than when I knit with dpns or circulars. I think that it might be because of the shape of the needles and that I was not able to find the perfect way to hold them. The only problem though that I had, was when I was almost at the end of sock number two. I had begun de toe decreases when all of a sudden one of the needles broke! I was sitting at my desk so I immediately took a picture and sent to the manufacturer asking if this was a recurring problem with their smallest size and if they guaranteed their needles and would send me a new one. They answered very quickly and said that this did not happen often but they would be sending me a new set of needles. I was very happy with that and just transferred half my stitches to a different needle and went on to finish my sock and then….a second needle broke! I hope I will have more luck with the new set that they sent me! I don’t think I used too much force and the needles were not bent out of shape so I’m thinking maybe the 2mm size/0 US is just a little too fine for the plastic material they use for the needles.

But anyway it was a fun experiment and I have cast on for a second project using the next size (2.50 mm) and those feel sturdier so cross my fingers and hope they will not brake. But now I think it is time for some pictures.

First off some pictures of the dyeing. So I wanted to do a self striping yarn. I have heard that a lot of dyers do not do those because they are soooooooo time consuming. And I can definitely confirm that. I will need to research methods to speed up a little the process if I want to offer those in my shop otherwise they will just not be worth it because I’ll never be able to sell them at a profitable prize.

So I actually did 2 self striping tests and this was the first one. So I decided to do a regular skein and wind it up into sections that would then be dyed in different colours. I used a yardage measuring device to help me wind the same amount for each section so that the stripes would be as equal in size as possible.

IMG_4478-1

Then I put each section into a little plastic bag to keep them separate. I then wet the yarn and took each section/bag and poured the dye on. When all the sections were dyed, I put them in the pot to steam set.

IMG_4482

Here the yarn is just out of the dye pot and drying in front of my fireplace. You can see that the sections are connected together because I did not cut the yarn. Also I dyed the skein “single” I mean that I did not wind the yarn double to make two identical skeins for one pair of socks but I actually dyed one skein, single wound, to make one pair.

IMG_4483

Here the yarn has dried and this is where the “fun” starts. You have to wind the yarn on a niddy noddy to make a skein that can then be sold or in my case put on a swift so that I could wind it and knit asap.

IMG_4484-1

Here is my yarn all skeined up and looking gorgeous.

IMG_4486

And here it is wound up into  a cake. The Neko needles you see are not the ones I ended up using. These are 2.50 mm and I found that my gauge was much looser so I would have ended up with humongous socks so I ripped back my first cuff and started over using the 2.00 mm needles.

IMG_4489-1

Here you can see my stripes forming. I had 8 colours and each stripe measured 10 yards. That was ok this time as I was knitting a 64 st sock but I do think the stripes should be smaller because at this yardage, you can only really knit large socks, anything small would not really be a stripy sock but a sock with colour sections.

So what I learned from this first test was that I CAN DO IT! and that I need to make the stripes smaller. I also realized how much time it takes from start to finish to make a single skein of self striping! But I admit the process is fun and I’m really happy with the outcome. Again I did a simple vanilla, top down sock with a short row heel. I also dyed a small skein of yarn in a different colour to use for cuff, heel and toes so that the stripe pattern would not be broken up. And it worked perfectly.

IMG_4522-1

And here they are! All done and gorgeous:) I’m most proud of the fact that I was able to make a totally matching pair of socks even if I did not dye my yarn double. That is way more difficult than dyeing a small skein double where you are totally certain that the colours are going to match up. So I’m really happy with this. And I did enjoy using the Neko, bent knitting needles and I’m going to knit some more on those.

Wow that was a lot! But before I leave you I have one more project I want to share with you. My daughter has a friend who is going to celebrate her 10th birthday this weekend and when my daughter asked her friend what she would like for her birthday the friend said: a hand knit, hand dyed hat and a hand knit mermaid tail blanket! WOW! I learned this Wednesday and the birthday is Saturday!!!! Of course I’m super happy that she loves my knitting. I have knit her a pair of socks she adores and apparently she wants more! So who am I to say no?

Well, first I wanted to be reasonable and so I said to my daughter, ok I can do the hat but I will not have the time to do the mermaid tail blanket. That was not good enough!!!! But more about that later.

It just so happened that I had dyed a little bit of some DK Cash’merino yarn and so I took a skein and wound it up, found a pattern on Ravery called “Gentleman hat” and cast on.

IMG_4517-1

I need to make a pompom as that was part of the wishlist. The pattern is fun and very easy so this was a quick knit. I knit the child size and the only critique would be that the ribbing should have been longer, I should have thought to make it longer myself…but I didn’t but hopefully it will still be ok. I like how the colour shows on the hat with lots of white and then some red, some pink and some purple and I hope the little friend will love it!

And then there is the mermaid tail blanket!! When I showed my daughter the hat I told her we needed to find something else to go with the hat and she said NO! She only wants the blanket! And I said; I’ll never finish in time. But my daughter has an answer for everything so she said ” not a problem, its ok to give the rest of the gift a little later”. Being the knitter I am, I of course folded an found some yarn and cast on last night!

I’ll show you pictures next time and a link to the pattern if you too have been thinking about doing one of those yourself.

That’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed stopping by and sharing some time with me. I’ll try to be more regular in my postings. And next time I’ll share my mermaids tail blanket as well as pictures of my second self striping dye sock knitting test and….. the 3 yes I did say THREE MKals I just joined! Talk about NOT casting on any new projects before all the WIPs are done! Clearly I’m not very serious!

So until next time, enjoy your crafting. The weekend is just a day away so you should have some more knitting time around the corner! Take care

2 thoughts on “Back at last and with some finished items

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s