Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chunky Blocks Cowl

I have both been wanting to dye yarn and knit a cowl for a while now, so I decided to combine the two, and came up with this.

I used Lion Brand Alpine Wool, which is a soft, squishy roving yarn.  I also did a brief video of dying the yarn, which you can use as a reference to dye your own yarn.

This is just for general reference, not an exact tutorial.

I used McCormick Neon food coloring, and doubled their instructions for Stormy Blue that is on the box.  I used about 16 cups of water.

I spit spliced the two skeins of yarn together,  and wrapped it around two chairs that were spaced out as far as I could put them.  Once that was done, I tied it off (loosely) into several sections.  This is to keep it from getting tangled, and also to give me a guide for how much to dunk into the dye at a time.  It really isn't crucial to have the yarn tied off at specific measurements, I just eyeballed it for even intervals all the way around.

Next, I filled the sink with a few inches or so of cool water and a little white vinegar for the yarn to soak in.  The vinegar will help the yarn absorb the dye, and you can even add a tablespoon to the dye pot as well if you want.  Just don't overdo it.  I have heard bad things happen if you use too much :0)

After about 15-20 minutes, I took the yarn from the sink, gently squeezing out the excess water as I went, and then wrapped it around a wooden spoon, which I let rest over the top of the pot.  This is so I could unwind the yarn a little at a time into the dye.  Just be careful that the yarn doesn't hang down the outside of the pot and get on the burner!!  (Also, you really don't want to move the yarn very much, or there is always the risk of felting it.)  I lowered the yarn into the dye a section at a time, at about 15 minute or so intervals.  Honestly, I didn't set a timer, I just guesstimated.  Incase you didn't know, I tend to let things happen as they may - I don't go for sterile, scientific practices.  Just be sure that you get all of the yarn into the dye before all of the color is absorbed, or you will be left with undyed yarn.  Unless that is what you are going for.

Once all of the yarn has been lowered into the pot,  and the water has reached boiling, turn down the heat to a low simmer, cover with a lid.  Then, when the water is mostly clear, turn off the heat and let the whole shebang cool off.   Once mine was cooled off, I just dumped it all into the sink, then rinsed it with cool water.  Squeeze out the excess water and dry.  I use a small wooden laundry rack to dry my yarn.   You can drape it over the shower bar, or any place else you have available.  I like to put mine outside so I don't have to worry about wet carpet.

If you don't want to go to all the bother to dye your own yarn,  there are some lovely colors available at the store.  You needn't dye your own for this pattern.  I am just including the info incase you would like to.

When my yarn was finally dry, I wound it into a ball and started knitting.  My first idea didn't work out well, so I had to frog and start over.  The second time was the charm.

The pattern is available for purchase HERE

And here is the video.  Happy Knitting, and Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Knitting With Plastic Bags

Pattern for the Chilly Coaster is below

Hey everyone!  I have been wanting to do this tutorial for ages, and finally got around to it!  Below is the tutorial and video, and a free pattern for my Chilly Coaster, made from plastic grocery bags.  I call it Chilly Coaster, because it is meant for cold cups.  Also, this coaster is just for fun, not really to keep condensation from getting on your table.  So be warned, don't use this thinking it will protect an important surface.  And while you could use it for a steamy, hot mug of coffee, also know that the plastic may melt, leaving a nasty mess on your cup.  So, cold drinks only on water safe surfaces.

First, here is the video.  Below that you can print the tutorial if you wish, and the pattern.  Happy Knitting, and Enjoy!

Knitting With Plastic Bags Tutorial

Chilly Coaster Pattern

Saturday, August 4, 2012

How to Knit - Brief Start to Finish Sample

I see a lot of questions from new knitters about how to start knitting.  Even though they may have watched videos about casting on, knit/purl stitches, and binding off they are still unsure of exactly how to put it all together.

The below video is a very brief video showing casting on, knitting a few rows with knit and purl stitches, and then binding off.   This video is not meant to teach specific techniques (see the "Free Knitting Videos" Tab at the top for more detailed, slower videos), rather it is just meant to show what to do once you are ready to begin working on your pattern.

This video is not meant to instruct on how to read a knitting pattern, although I have a sample pattern in the video.

This video is basically a "I have yarn, needles, and a pattern.  Now what?" demo.  It is meant solely to demonstrate the process of casting on, knitting, and then binding off.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

JJ's Knitting Knook

I recently visited JJ's Knitting Knook, located on Stuarts Draft Highway in Waynesboro, VA.  Great little shop, full of beautiful yarn!  This place looks like it used to be a house - there are several rooms of yarn, books, needles and fibery goodness.  I was waited on by Teresa, who was very nice.... and very patient when, after I had already made my yarn purchase, I decided I also wanted to get The Knitter's Block.... and then remembered I had wanted to check out some rosewood needles too.  She very kindly got the needles for me, opened them up and allowed me to inspect the cables.  Very nice little store that I hope I have the chance to visit again!  I actually missed one of the rooms and wish I had gone back to look.  So if you go, make sure you look in all of the rooms!

Below are some pictures, and check out Episode 17 of the podcast to see what I purchased.  Teresa is in one of the pictures, by the way :0)

Sapphires-n-Purls Podcast Episode 17

Hi everyone!  Just thought I would take a minute to tell you about JJ's Knitting Knook, which I visited last week in Virginia.   Of course I have a few knitting magazines in my "to read" pile - I won't list them all here, you can find links to all of the magazines I show you up in the magazine tab at the top of the blog.  All this and just a little about what I have been up to lately.

The post with all of the pictures of the shop are HERE

Knitter's Pride Cubics Interchangeable Knitting Needles

Cocoknits Knitter's Block Kit - this is awesome!

Araucania Yelcho 

Sublime Tussah Silk DK

Kollage Cornucopia and Corntastic

I am almost positive I saw somewhere that the Cornucopia is discontinued, and the Corntastic is the substitute.  I can't find the website where I saw that now, if anyone knows feel free to leave a comment!