Thursday, November 24, 2011


Name: Diagonalley
Pattern: Staggered rib scarf
Yarn: Alize Lanagold 140 g
Needle: 4 mm

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Pattern: Sherlock
Yarn: Linate Multi Color 100 g 200 m
Needle: 4 mm

The idea of the brim came to me last year and I finally got to try it. I think it's a success and I intend to make also a beret brimmed this way.
Lately my daughter wears her hair gathered in a ponytail and you know how silly a ponytail looks under an ordinary hat! So I came with this idea of an opening, hidden in the cable of the beanie. The hat can be worn with loose hair too, the opening is almost invisible.
And why Sherlock - it's simple - when I was trying the hat on me, my husband said I looked like Sherlock Holmes minus the pipe :)

It's Raining Hats and ... Frogs

The frog curse has come upon me.
It all started with my three color summer sweater Frenchy, which I knit twice.
The Yosemite sweater was a disaster - frogged and turned into a short cardigan.
A lucky misfit was the first ribbed hat, intended for my husband - it turned out too small, so it went to our son, and I knit another one for hubby.
Then the fingerless gloves were too big - and I knit them twice - again.

And the story goes on with my latest two hats:
Robin seemed a simple enough project - but the pattern is totally unbecoming me. The yarn is going elsewhere ...

Followed Sherlock - a brimmed beanie with a ponytail opening. First the brim was too big, then the hat too short and narrow. So I ripped it out and did it again, and again.

The series is to be continued, I expect ... :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Autumn Berries

Pattern: Nalu Mitts
Yarn: YarnArt Pure Merino, hand dyed, 50 g
Needle: 3.25 mm DPN

The yarn is hand dyed with instant drinks, the process is described here.
Knit the first mitt as per pattern instructions, size medium, and as should have been expected, the mitt was too big for my small hands, especially in the wrist area. And I do love my gloves to fit like a glove.
Actually I was on the brim of abandoning the project altogether, but the design is beautiful, so I unraveled the mitt and knit it again with some alterations.
I cast on only 40 sts, knit rib for 10 rows, then started the chart on 11 st, but continued the rib on the other stitches for a full repeat of the chart (14 rows) and only then switched to st st. I also replaced the moss stitch with reverse stockinette stitch, as it suited the color of my yarn better.
Now the mitts fit just perfectly and I am very pleased with this project.
The mitts took 40 g of this delicious yarn, so I also made a brooch and a GSM trinket - knit to the last thread!

Linked to Creative Friday and Tami's Amis FO Friday
It's such fun to check out other people's amazing finished items, don't miss it!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Step by Step Yarn Dyeing

There comes a time, when a knitter feels fed up with the yarn color range available in her local yarn stores and is tempted to customize her yarn. So I've felt that urge to dye yarn for some time now, I read all about coffee, tea and Kool-Aid yarn dyeing and finally I was ready to go. I used STEP sugar free instant drink, available on our market.
But first a quick word about artificial sweeteners. Kool-Aid, as I gather, is sold sugar and artificial sweetener free, but it's not sold in my country and I couldn't find an instant drink that does not contain artificial sweeteners. Most bloggers on the Internet claim that sugar AND artificial sweeteners are bad for your yarn (for your health, yes, sure, but for your yarn??). So, I gathered all of my school days chemistry knowledge and started thinking. Sugar is carbohydrates. Carbs plus water mean starch and that is glue on your yarn - well, you do not want that for sure. BUT artificial sweeteners are NOT carbohydrates, but chemicals, which give that (artificially, ghrr) sweet taste to your drink and should not make starch with water - ERGO, no problem.
So, I bought four sachets of STEP - Berry Punch and Red Grapes, as I wanted my yarn to be slightly variegated, but not many-colored. My colors are E122 (carmoisine - deep pink red), the basic color of both drinks, E150d (caramel), E155 (chocolate brown), E133 (brilliant blue).
For my 50 g of yarn I used two STEP red grape and one STEP Berry Punch.

Here's my step-by-step process.

1. You'll get best results with 100% animal fibers - merino or other wool, alpaca, etc.
I bought two balls of 50g white pure merino (virgin wool). The first thing to do is to unwind the yarn into a hank. You don't have a niddy-noddly - ha, who has! - just use the four legs of an upturned small table or the backs of two of your kitchen chairs (as I did). Tie the hank at several places with a thread (I used 100% cotton theard to see if cotton would dye too - it didn't at all!)

2. Soak the yarn for 30 min into warm water and liquid soap. This is done to remove all dust particles and grease, that has stuck to your yarn from handling it here and there.

3. Gently rinse the yarn to remove the soap and then soak for another 30 min into a solution of 4 cups of warm water and 1 cup of white vinegar. True, instant drinks contain citric and malic acid, but to be on the safe side - you do need acid to open the fibers of your yarn and fix the color, and I'm not sure if the acid in the drinks is enough.

4. In the meantime prepare the dye (drinks), dissolving the powder with water. The amount of water doesn't matter, the amount of dye does!

5. Gently remove the water from the yarn (do not rinse it, do not twist) - it should be wet, but not dripping. Place it in a microwave-safe vessel. Because these drinks are supposedly health-hazard free (not that our family would drink such artificial s..t), I was not worried to use my cooking casserole. Now is the interesting part. Use your imagination and pour the dyes as you wish them to appear on your yarn. Gently press the yarn to distribute the dye. Cover with enough water (I used the same vinegar-water solution, in which the yarn had soaked before).

6. Cover with the lid and place it in the microwave oven, set it to the max heat and cook the yarn for 2 min, let it rest for 2 min. Repeat these 2 min sessions 3-4 more times (I did a total of 4 repeats, 8 min total heating time). Do not exceed 15 min and be careful not to boil the water, otherwise the yarn will felt.

7. Leave the yarn in the casserole to cool. The water should be clear and all the dye should be in the yarn.

8. After the yarn has cooled enough (for at least 2 hours), wash it with warm water (the same temperature as the yarn) and liquid soap (Perwoll in my case). I soaked it afterward in warm water with a softener too.

9. Place the hank on a hanger and leave it to dry.

10. Wind it into a ball. I found a method, using a toilet paper roll and it's miraculously comfortable to use. Knit something nice and wear it!