Blueberry smoothie and red tonal

I’m going to show you two of the other skeins of yarn I dyed last year.

This one is called Blueberry Smoothie. I used food coloring and Paas Easter Egg dyes. Kid (and adult) friendly and as far as I know, colorfast.

I love the blues and touch of purple.

There are a lot of light blues and undyed yarn. Nothing planned for this skein…yet.

The second dyed yarn is a red tonal, also using food coloring and Paas Easter Egg dyes.

I already knit a pair of socks and didn’t get any pictures of the skein beforehand. This is what I have left over.

The sock pattern is from Helen Stewart’s Handmade Sock Society: Scribbly Gum Socks. Once knitted up, the yarn appears as a tonal stripe that is only noticeable on the plain stockinette stitch on the back.

I dipped a plastic fork into some black liquid food coloring and touched various areas of the yarn to give add that speckled look. It’s not as pronounced as I wanted.

I’m still experimenting with dyeing my own yarns and once the weather warms up (again), I’ll try some other dyeing techniques.

Patti

Dyed frog

This post is picture heavy. It might take some time to load.

I decided to rip out that sock and redye the yarn. It was one of three 100 gram-skeins/hanks of yarn that I dyed in the crock-pot last year (and never blogged about). The other two turned out great and I’ve knitted one already into a pair of socks.

I was cleaning out parts of the basement last summer and lo and behold I found packets of dye! Sunshine Crafts Batik dyes. Let’s just say I acquired these a long, long, long time ago in a place far away. Along with my fantastic find, I also bought some professional Jacquard dyes in some basic colors.

This is my first foray into using dyes other than food coloring and Easter egg dye and it was a great experience. In the future, I will reread the ratios of dye to water. I just winged it when I mixed the dye and the two colors were VERY concentrated giving deep, intense hues.

My original plan was to use Azure blue and Brilliant blue. I swapped out Jet back for the Brilliant blue as the Azure was blue enough.

It was warm enough last week to set my amateurish dye station on the picnic table outside. Mr. Aitch does not like the smell of wet wool and vinegar so all my dyeing is now done either in the garage or outside. And no microwave dyeing either.

L to R: Crock-pot, white vinegar, H2O, dyeing spoons, dyes, syringes, yarn, dye mixing tub, gloves.

I soaked the yarn in a water/vinegar solution overnight. In the morning I twisted the yarn so I would retain some of the lime green colors and the blues and black would blend together into a navy blue with some teal areas.

Then I placed it in my cold crock-pot with enough water and a slog of vinegar to cover. The acid in the vinegar helps the fiber to absorb the dye. It took over two hours for the water to get hot enough before I could add any dye!

Oops, I forgot to twist the yarn! The heat is on

Once everything was ready I loaded up syringes with the blue and black dyes and squirted it into the twisted skein. The dye struck almost instantly as I probably had too much vinegar in the dye mixture.

I played with adding dye in various places for about an hour. Mr. Aitch helped photograph with yarn when I checked it before untwisting it. Too much lime green was still visible so I kept squirting dye onto those areas.

The yarn sat in the dye bath until the water was clear. Then the impatient me had to wait until the yarn was cool enough to rinse. Because the dye was so concentrated, it took a long time to rinse out the extra dye…(no showers for me for at least a week! Just kidding)

Clear water. All the dye is absorbed.

The finished product.

Even though it’s not what I planned, I still love it.

The colors are so rich and varied.

Socks for sure! It takes about 65-75 grams of yarn for a pair of knit socks. I will have some leftover to use as an accent toe/heel, add with another yarn for striped socks, or the slipped stitch socks I love to knit.

Patti

May update

May marked my 11th year of blogging. It just seems like yesterday when I published my first post. I need to do some housekeeping and clean up some of the headings and pictures.

Well, the Bamboo socks are finished. I l-o-v-e them.

These are my first ever toe-up socks. I started to knit a different pattern and after the first several rows, I realized that I didn’t like it so chucked that pattern and found this bamboo sock that was also a toe-up sock.

There are pros and cons to toe-up vs. top-down socks.

Toe-up Pros: No picking up stitches at the gusset.

Toe-up Cons: Starting the toe. Loosely binding off. Plus it is new to me.

Top-down Pros: Easy to cast on. Familiar to me

Top-down Cons: Picking up stitches for the gusset. Kitchener stitch for the toes.

I’m not sold on the toe-up construction but I’m willing to give it another try. The cast-on for the toe was a killer so if you have any suggestions or techniques to help, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

Details: Needle size US #1. Used 68 grams of hand-dyed yarn. Bamboo Sock pattern.

Since my sock needles were empty, I decided to knit a pair of shorties with some ribbing around the arch. I have a pair of commercial socks with ribbing around the foot. They really support the arch and make my feet feel good.

I’m making this up as I go so once finished, I’ll decide whether or not to knit the second one or rip out this one.I’m carrying the pink up the ribbing section so I can rejoin that color for the rest of the sock.

The last update for May (and I don’t remember if I did this in May or April) is a sewing project. Our front porch furniture needed new cushion covers. I made these covers in 2014 and the fabric faded and just would’t get clean. The print was large and busy.

I tried to order some new fabric in June of 2020 but with all the craziness happening in the world, my order was cancelled in August and wasn’t available anymore. Mr. Aitch suggested a solid red. I like the color but the fabric is slippery and was very difficult to sew. However, I think it will hold the color and clean up well. And the hummingbirds like the color, too.

Oh, one more thing… Brood X cicadas arrived about 10 days ago. We’ll be listening to their lovely (?) mating song for about another month. Then we won’t see nor hear them again for 17 years. This one is sitting on my giant-leaf hosta and is about 1.5 inches long with red eyes.

More next week…

Patti

Spinifex

The newest pattern in Helen Stewart’s Handmade Sock Society is called Spinifex, named for a sturdy Australian grass that appears as a starburst when looking down on it.

(c) Helen Stewart

No yarn in my (growing) stash would work so I gathered a bare skein of Knit Picks Stroll fingering weight yarn, my Crockpot, vinegar, and food coloring for another dye session. This time I used green, yellow, and black for some soft greens that turn into deep greens. The yellow happened with one or two drops directly onto the hot yarn in the dye bath. The black broke into red and purple and added a nice contrast to the greens. I don’t really follow a recipe for the colors as I only dye one to two skeins at a time and it’s so random that I’d never be able to reproduce any of the colors again.

This pattern has a toe-up construction and that is new for me. All of my socks have been knit from the cuff down. But I was interested in learning something new. Judy’s Magic Cast-On took me over two hours to get right while reviewing written instructions and numerous videos and another hour to knit the first round! Of course, I was using double pointed needles and not circulars as suggested but I used what I had.

Not bad for my first attempt, well, my first foray into this technique as I attempted it many, many, many times!

Then came the actual textured pattern that is on the top of the foot and up the leg. After two pattern repeats I’m not liking it. Not liking it at all. The “star” in the reverse stockinette area just looks like a mess to me. And it’s lumpy.

I don’t think these would be comfortable to wear with the lumps even though they are only on the top of the foot. Several others mentioned that as well.

The inside (wrong side) looks better.

The bottom is beautiful. I love those greens!

I’m not going to rip out that three-hour toe! I will ladder down to the star stitch on the front and do some other stitch that isn’t lumpy or bumpy. Just as soon as I figure out which stitch to do.

I’ll keep you posted.

Patti