Monday, October 11, 2004

Baby Pumpkin Hat

Let's just say that the rest of September was a complete washout. And that having hives all over you body is not a lot of fun. I didn't get much knitting (or anything else done).

I did get two little fruit hats finished. The Raspberry (pink) is a version of the Ann Norling Fruit Hat pattern with bigger bobbles than called for in the pattern. My mother-in-law requested it so send as a baby gift to friends in England. The pattern is wonderfully written and fun to knit, I highly recommend it!

The Pumpkin is my own design done in worsted weight, newborn size. Approximate gauge 4 st/in. I cast on 64 stitches on double pointed needles. I used size 5 but I knit v-e-r-y loosely, the rest of the world would probaby use size 7 needles.

I joined in the round and started by knitting in K1P1 rib for 4 rows. Switched to knit 7, purl 1 for 14 rounds. Then I knit 5, knit 2 together, purl 1 around. Each subsequent row I knit 1 less (k4, k2tog, p1; k3 k2tog, p1; etc...) When I was down to 7 stitches I switched to green and knit 9 rows then knit 2 together around and did 10 rounds. I finished the top by stitching the narrower portion in a circle like a curly pumpkin vine. One that has already been given away as a gift I crocheted a leaf and attached it to the stem.

I've also begun a heavily modified version of the Tangled Garden socks from Knitty. Since I knit so loosely I couldn't get the gauge called for in the pattern so I'm working on size 0 bamboo needles and have redone the chart. I'm using the yarn I dyed and talked about below. I like how the overdyed yarn is making large stripes. I'm not sure yet if the green is going to provide enough contrast to see the design.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Adventures in Overdyeing

I've had the Tangled Garden sock pattern from Knitty printed out for a couple of weeks. The pattern calls for buying white sock yarn and dyeing with Kool-Aid. My stash included several partial balls of variegated and printed sock yarn so I decided to use those.

To dye I first skeined all the yarn then soaked it in hot water with a generous splash of vinegar. In a pot I combined hot water, Wilton's Christmas Red Paste Food Coloring (50 cents in the clearance aisle at Walmart) plus a packet of Black Cherry Kool-Aid. I also added some salt and vinegar. I simmered the yarn for a few minutes until the dye exhausted and let it sit until it was cool enough to handle. I rinsed and hung it out to dry.

The tangled mess above is a sample of the BEFORE yarn. The ball next to it is the AFTER version. All the yarns had white as a major component but varied in color and fiber content. My resulting balls are all different but I think similar enough to make some interestingly eclectic socks. I'm combining them with an olive green gleaned from the sale bin of a LYS.

I like the contrast I'm getting so far. Alas, along with knitting backward, my other knitting foible is that I knit very L-0-0-S-E-L-Y. The pattern specifies a gauge of 9 st/in. on size US 1 needles. I'm using US 0 needles and have gotten 7 st/in. I don't have a set of DPNs that are smaller so I guess I'll be doing some significant reworking of the pattern's 24 stitch repeat. But then I just hate blindly following instructions, don't you?

AND the cat has been redeemed. My purse is a Vera Bradley knockoff that went through the washing machine just fine. I did let poor Murder back in the house. Good thing because the tail end of Hurricane Frances is still dumping rain on us.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Happy Birthday to Me

I'm hanging around the house on a rainy birthday and have decided to start a knitting blog.

Right now I'm working on Lucy Neatby's Faeroese Flower Shawl. I'm about a third of the way through. The pattern is well written and has a nice big chart. I'm using Zephyr (50% merino/50% silk) in Suede. The yarn just slides through my fingers and is a joy to work with.

It doesn't look like much yet. The flowers are the central panel and the work has started from the top edge.

One of the difficult things about knitting backward is that the decreases are opposite of what are called for in the instructions (k2tog I work as SSK). Since my stitches sit on the needle "backward" as well it's taken me a long time to figure out how to accomplish decreases.

My mom gave me some money for my birthday which I'm going to use to buy yarn for my next big project. Now the big question my own Norwegian cardigan or a Fair Isle (possibly one from Yarns International). Certainly something with lots of color work - my favorite kind of knitting.

On a lighter note, my birthday present from our cat Murder (yes the other one is named Mayhem) was to pee on my purse. She is now spending the day out in the rain!