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Category Archives: Yarn

All Hail All Hallows

I loved this yarn the first time I saw it.

AllHallows

It’s Mosaic Moon All Hallows on a Licorice Twist Base. Licorice Twist is a round yarn that has one ply of superwash spun in with the wool. The superwash takes the dye differently than the non-superwash (typically darker), which means you get colour variation within the colour variation. On top of this awesomeness, it also has a great sheen – this yarn fairly glows. It’s got all my favourite colours – bright oranges, vivid greens, and deep purples.

So, I bought it on impulse and it sat in the shop for about a month – I knew if it didn’t get snapped up soon, I was simply going to have to make something with it…. Then Deirdre grabbed it when I posted a sale on in-stock yarn and asked for a skirtie. Squeee!!

So a skirtie it became. There’s a dark purple trim on top, and a plain purple cuffed soaker underneath.

AllHallowsFinal

AllHallowsFinal2

We went back and forth deciding what to do for the edging on the skirt, but once I’d got most of the skirt knit up, it became pretty obvious to me that the yarn would show off scallops really well. It really does!

AllHallowsFinal3

We even had enough left over to make a matching beanie.

AllHallowsFinalHat

While she’s been waiting, Deirdre made some really amazing spiderweb leggings to complete the outfit – this child is going to rock Hallowe’en this year…

 

Sun-Dyed Yarn

Last Friday we hit 30C (around 86F) – for September that’s pretty warm – and I figured it was likely the last day this year I could try sun-dyeing.

I’ve read about it before and we saw it when we visited Avonlea Village in PEI this summer – they used blue Kool-Aid. I’d never tried it, although there’s really not much to it. Dye needs heat to bond to the yarn – typically I use the microwave for hand-painting, or the crockpot for kettle dyeing. I essentially did kettle-dyeing using the sun as the heat source.

Wool Dyeing with Mrs. Lynde

Wool Dyeing with Mrs. Lynde

This is quite possibly the easiest dyeing I’ve ever done.

I washed the yarn (Briggs & Little Softspun – my go-to for affordable, toddler-worthy yarn). I put it in a bowl of water. I put the bowl outside.

SunnyStrawberry_blank

I sprinkled Strawberry Kool-Aid over it. (Is it me or does this look like a Hallowe’en decoration??)

SunnyStrawberry_dye

I let it get warm. I chased the sun around the front yard. I checked on it.

SunnyStrawberry_warming

Results? Not as intense as crock-pot dyeing, and I think the dye would have taken better if it had been outside longer and got warmer. I started at around 11:30 – I should have started first thing in the morning. I ended up zapping the bowl of water in the microwave at the end of the day to finish it off and clear the dye bath.

SunnyStrawberry_tonal

The yarn looks nice though – more of a pale pink with a hint of coral. It’s tonal rather than solid – some places are darker than others. That was purposeful – I sprinkled the Kool-Aid on top rather than mixing it in to get a tie-dyed look.

I’m more or less pinked-out now – I’ve done a lot lately. I’m listing the yarn – there’s enough for hats/mitts/a soaker/smaller longies. I’m guessing this is the only sun-dyeing I’ll do this year… the weather is cooling off rapidly.

Simple is good – the Abate

I participated in a Knit-along with some online knitting friends this summer. I don’t do many because the projects always get hibernated when orders come in. This one seemed doable though – big needles, not complicated and eye appeal.

We had a choice between Ease/Abate or Glazed Pecan. I picked Abate because a sweater for a 9-year-old is faster than a sweater for a grown woman. Plus my daughter was a willing recipient. Abate is knit in worsted, but on US10 needles so the stitches are loose and drapey.

For yarn, I wanted a superwash, partly for ease of use but also they tend to be smoother. We had decided on Cascade 220 until Unraveled posted that they had some limited edition hand-painted Superwash from the Mineville Wool Project - a Fleece Artist venture. We took the trip to Merrickville to check it out – it turned out to be beautiful but a little prickly. The kid decided she wanted it anyway. $12.99 per 180m – SOLD!

Mineville_wound

The yarn traveled down with me to the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia (fittingly since it’s *from* Nova Scotia) and I knit up the body and one sleeve during the two weeks we were down there. I tried it on her – it looked great. The half-finished sweater traveled back here, and sat around until the Knit-along-ers reminded me that it had to be finished by Sept 1. Eeek!

On the Bay

So… I’ve been knitting like mad this week and just finished it off – now it’s soaking in a lanolin bath to hopefully soften it up a little, but it has been pronounced wearable and loved. I swear the sleeves were longer a month ago – damn those summer growth spurts. I have some yarn left over that I’m going to store if I need to lengthen them before she outgrows it in other ways.

Abate

There’s this little trick they tell you about when you’re working with hand-painted yarn – you’re supposed to work with two skeins at once and alternate yarns. This, kids, is why. I was lazy, and didn’t do this. I managed to grab one skein that was dyed a little differently, so there are spiral stripes on the top of the body, and none further down, where I ran out of yarn and changed skeins. I seem to be the only one who cares, though, so I’m pretending I don’t notice.

Mission complete – I hit the deadline.  So now… do I bite the bullet and make a larger one for me? I can do it without the collar which is good for someone who prefers nothing at my throat!

For fellow Ravelers – here’s the project listing. Feel free to add me as a friend!

Dye Job

I’ve been dyeing yarn in the crock pot for a couple of years now, on and off. I enjoy it, and I love the tie-dyed effect, but new skills are great, and I knew that hand-painting would give me a more predictable result in terms of colour placement. Also, it gives me the flexibility to dye more than one skein at a time, which is tricky in the crock pot.

Here’s my first attempt. There are plenty of tutorials out there; I used this one.

I used Easter Egg tablets – they’re typically on sale the day after Easter so I grabbed a box.

The Dye

The yarn was a single skein of natural Cascade 220 – a decent 100% wool. I soaked it in a vinegar/water solution for a while and then laid it in my pyrex dish.

Yarn Blank

I dissolved the tablets in vinegar per the dye instructions and then put them in squeezy bottles (I forgot to take a picture of this step). I picked up a set of three barbecue condiment bottles last year for that purpose. I squeezed the dye solution on three areas of the yarn and squished it in with gloved hands to make sure that it was saturated. Then I transferred the yarn to a smaller microwaveable dish with a lid and zapped it.

Ready for heating

Zap

After it was cool (it was REALLY hard to wait to take the lid off!) it looked really vibrant and I love that the colours are so defined.

Hank_Dry

Hank_Skeined1

Wound

I’ll definitely be doing this again with new colour combinations. I will try some food colouring next, and then I think I’ll take the plunge and buy some commercial dyes. This skein is enough for a skirtie, shorties, newborn longies, a hat…

Edited to add! Here’s the skirtie that I made with this yarn… it’s available now in the shop:

Pink Lemonade

The Woolly Wormhead Mystery Knit-a-Long

Originally posted on November 6, 2013

This year I’m participating in the Woolly Wormhead mystery knit-a-long for the first time. I’ve never done a KAL before – they’re generally projects I’m just not that interested in – but I’ve made several WW hats (my first hat was a WW design) and they always come out really well.

The deal is that you buy the pattern at a reduced price and it comes to you in instalments throughout the month. You are given hints about the design and yarn suggestions before you commit, but you don’t get to see the final design before you start. This is what makes it fun! There’s a discussion forum on Ravelry set up for support, you know, just in case…

I’m going to post my progress here as I move along. I’m doing 5 rows a day so I don’t interfere with customer work. This hat is for me – I don’t get a chance to knit for myself much!

So the first instalment has come out. It calls for Double Knitting (DK)-weight yarn and after going through my stash, I’ve decided on some vintage DK that I inherited from my Nana. I’m guessing they’re left-overs from a sweater – need to check with Mum. I’m pretty sure that there will be enough left over to make a pair of wrist-warmers too – bonus!

Yarn balls!

Yarn balls!

The yarn is a brown base with blue and orange mixed in – loving the colours. This poor yarn (no idea what it is, but it feels like pure wool) has been wound into tight balls for ages, so first step is to rewind on my ball-winder to let it relax.

Close-up

Ok, but of course I can’t WAIT. So I’ve started knitting with one of the tight balls. Gauge swatches are for the weak, so I’m crossing my fingers I’ll hit gauge – I always have with her patterns, so what could go wrong? ;)

There was a choice between doing a peaked brim or just a regular ribbed brim. I was tempted to do the peaked just to learn a new technique, but decided in the end the rib will suit me better. I’ve done a few rows over the past couple of days – nothing much to look at yet but it’s a start! Stitch marker was made by my lovely sister-in-law Em :)

So far... so good!

 

JUNE 2014 UPDATE: Yeah, well, it’s sitting in a bag… I think I’ll take it on vacation with me and see if I can finish it!!

Sweet Sweater

Originally posted on October 9, 2013

Waaay back, I posted a “find” that I’d discovered at my LYS (Local Yarn Shop) Wool-Tyme. In their warehouse sale, there was a bin with this pretty pink and grey-shaded yarn. The muted pastels caught me at once, but when I realized it was Fleece Artist BFL (Blue-Faced Leicester) it had to be mine! Fleece Artist is a Canadian luxury yarn producer – usually the yarns are financially way out of reach for me – to find an older colourway at an affordable price was a score!

 

Fleece Artist BFL DK

Then the question was what to make with it. At a double-knitting weight, it’s thinner than I generally work with for longies, although it could work. When I posted it on my Facebook page though, my sister-in-law jumped on it and asked me to make something for my sweet little niece. After going back and forth on patterns, we decided on this attractive but not too saccharine hoodie from Sirdar.

The project has been slow going… it started with disaster when my ball-winder broke halfway through winding the first ball. That was a lot of yarn to wind by hand. I’ve missed changing needle sizes and had to pull back.. I read the wrong size and knit one front panel 2 inches too long… I had a last minute panic about the fact the back was shorter than the front panels (thankfully my Mum could talk me down and point out that the seams don’t hit at the top of the shoulder…).

I’ve been bringing parts of the sweater with me all summer trying to fit it in between other custom projects. It’s been to Nova Scotia, the local Science and Technology museum, on my front deck almost constantly… and now finally it’s done and on its way to the West Coast. It reminded me again why I stick generally with small items… I would dearly love to wear a sweater I’d knit myself but I just don’t have the patience!

Sweet Sweater

The Delightful Behaviour of Multi-Coloured Yarn

Originally posted on May 16, 2013

I post a bunch of the yarns that I have in my stash on my Facebook page to give customers some colour choices (you can find the album here). Customers sometimes ask how a particular yarn will look when it’s knit up.

How will this look knit up? No idea!

How will this look knit up? No idea!

Unfortunately, my answer is usually “it depends!”. Sometimes, the results are predictable. Some of the yarn is dyed to be self-striping, so it’s always going to end up in stripes – the only variability is how thick those stripes will be. That depends on the width of the garment and how long the repeats of colour are.

Self-striping yarn by Munchkin Knitworks on etsy.

Self-striping yarn from Munchkin Knitworks on etsy.

Most of the yarns I have, though, are variegated or tonal, and these yarns behave quite differently depending on what I’m knitting, and the size of garment. Sometimes you’ll get stripes, sometimes splotches of colour, and sometimes some really cool swirls of pooling yarn.

The yarn that I have below here is a great example. The wool is organic 3-ply Merino from Purewool – the colourway is Praia.

Praia, skeined up

Praia, skeined up

Last year, I knit up a pair of shorties in size extra-large. The colours pooled into large waves at the top of the body. This pattern (Ultimate Longies on Ravelry) has increases through the body to make it fit nicely – it also means that as you get down the body, there are more stitches in each round, using up more yarn per round, changing the size of the swirls, eventually changing them into stripes.

Extra-large Praia shorties

Extra-large Praia shorties

This year, I’ve just finished up another pair of Praia shorties – this time in size large. Same pattern. Check out how the yarn behaved – totally differently!

Praia Size large

Praia Size large

But then… here’s another pair of shorties, for the same customer, same size, same pattern, but in a different yarn – lots of pooling in this one!

Shorties in Knitpicks Bulky WOTA "Juicy"

Shorties in Knitpicks Bulky WOTA “Juicy”

So… my answer’s going to always have to be “it depends”. It’s one of the most interesting parts of hand-knitting – everything’s one of a kind. If you pick a yarn, I knit it up, and you absolutely despise the way the colours come out, let me know – it’s important to me that you’re happy with the result!

You can see more examples of the delightful and unpredictable behaviour of multi-coloured yarn in my Completed Projects album on Facebook.