Friday, 30 May 2008

Ho hum...

Remember my experiment with hand-dyeing?

Well, it's been transformed into another pair of socks for the Resident Radiologist who's giving them their trial run today.

I'm really curious to know how the colour in these socks is going to hold up under frequent trips through the washing machine. I probably won't have to wait too long to find out as the RR likes wearing his hand-knit socks all year round.

The completion of these socks means that I've hit a bit of a knitting hiatus. I don't really want to cast on yet another pair of socks (though I have plenty yarn and they're small, portable and convenient summer projects) and I've run out of left-over yarn for the blanket project at the moment, but I'm struggling to get the inspiration for a more major project.

My sister has requested a mitred-square blanket a la Mason-Dixon Knitting, in her usual colourway (ecru, pale blue, pale pink and taupe) so maybe I'll get going on that. I haven't decided on DK or aran weight yet - I'm trying to decide which will be better value - but am probably tending towards aran.

Finally a little enigma to ponder...

How does a cat get in through the cat flap, make her way across the dining room rug and up the long flight of carpeted stairs with enough mud left on her paws to leave tracks in the bath? I really can't get my head around it!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Moody Blues...

... no, not my current state of mind (life is going pretty well at the moment) but you might think so from the predominant shade of my recent knitting.

I've been on another sock-yarn-squares romp and have cranked out about 20 in the last couple of weeks. These are the ones that have been blocked. There's quite a bit of Lorna's Laces in there, plus some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, some Rowanspun 4 ply left over from my stealth project and a bit of Artesano Alpaca Inca Cloud.

I've also got some socks on the needles - just my usual pattern with my green and red hand-dye for the Resident Radiologist. I just don't seem to have the will to knit anything bigger at the moment.

Here's who I saw for the first time on the canal this morning.

Last year they had two cygnets and one survived - hope they have a better time this year.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Monkey Business

After a year-or-so thinking about knitting these, I've finally produced a pair of Monkey socks.

The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in colourway River. This yarn is fast becoming my favourite sock yarn as it is lovely to work with and washes very well (the Jaywalkers have been through several wash cycles now and don't seem any the worse for it). I knitted the pattern as written except for using heel stitch on the heel flap instead of plain stocking stitch.

They fit well once they're on but are a little tight going over the heel.

I'm currently working my way through a small pile of left-over sock yarn making squares for my blanket, then I'll be casting on another pair of socks (perhaps Nutkin or Vinnland) and maybe a summer sweater - probably Jaden from the latest Knitty...

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Suicide Saxifrage...

... or to put it another way - dyed by my own hand!

Yes, finally, after a couple of years of intending to, I've got round to having a go at dyeing some sock yarn. I bought some undyed Trekking yarn from Get Knitted and spend much time surfing the web looking for protocols to suit.

I decided to go with the food colour paste / vinegar / microwave system as I didn't need anything that would be kept for dyeing only as all reagents were food-grade and the microwave just made things faster.

This was the colour combination I was aiming for: Saxifrage 'pixie'. A grass-green and rose-pink combo.

The method I used was compiled from many different sources so I can't really link it, but if anyone is interested in the details, leave a comment and I'll write up a proper tutorial.

Here are the essentials - plastic bin bag, yarn, nitrile gloves, colour paste, vinegar and cups to mix in.

The dyeing process:

Adding the second colour:

Yarn wrapped and into the microwave:

Rinsing and drying:

The finished product first time round came out more orange than pink so I waited until the yarn was dry and started again, overdyeing the orange. I still didn't get pink, but it's slightly less Irish flag-like now!

Possibly more geranium than saxifrage though...