Archive for the 'knitting' Category

More blocking, wires and blocks

I’m a project finisher. Spend a good part of the summer and into fall starting, frogging and finishing these two shawls.  Two really good, well designed patterns: Smith Island Pattern Factory/Maude and Evelyn Clark/Shetland Triangle (from Wrap Style). Always good work from these two designers.

In general things work more smoothly with the proper tools – in this case the blocking blocks and wires from KnitPicks. I don’t quite have a large enough space to block in the house but the yard works well on a sunny day.

Blocking with wires, blocks and assistant (T.R. below).

Smith Island Pattern Factory: Maude

Maude blocked

blocking outdoors and keeping cats occupied

(More interesting than the shawl was the choice of boxes to sit in.)
detail outdoor blocking and dried-up grassblocking outdoors and entertaining cats

Evelyn Clark’s Shetland Triangle

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Wrapping up the Basil Blankets & Blocking Maude

I once heard that there are two kinds of knitters – project finishers and project starters. It took me forever to learn the long-tail cast-on (thank you Stitch Cafe) and ultimately I think I just prefer finishing to starting. And I can cast-off ok and even weave in the threads.

basil blankets completed basil blankets completed

(Ignore the dry looking lawn. There’s a drought and water rationing out here…) So Basil Blankets are off to the kids this weekend and Maude is also finished.

Maude the shawl. I have always seen these photos of women blocking shawls out-of-doors on what looks like lawns or fields. Now I know why. Aside from the stale urine as bleach, the damn things don’t block easily inside a tiny house.

off the needles blocking shawl

Fortunately purchased two sets of blocking “blocks”. Maude took about I.5 plus blocking wires and assorted pins. It was an adventure.

 

 

Basil Baby Blanket(s) blocked, completed, etc

The Smith Island PatternFactory Basil Baby blanket(s). The running joke has been some variation on would I finish these blankets before the children (my nieces: E & M) go off to college. As it has turned out the ubiquitious blankets have been completed somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd birthdays.

(Sort of. The 2nd one is being blocked as I write this….)

BasilStart01 

Blanket start (above)

 BasilBlanketBlocking01 

Blanket #1 on the (Knitpicks) blocks

BasilBlanketBlockingCorner

(and a corner).

 

Various learning experiences accumulated include: how to knit from charted patterns (being a weaver and used to reading drafts that wasn’t too terrible), why the overdramatically named “life line” is so very important, how to fix mistakes, fixing a mistake that requires (holding one’s breath) dropping a few rows down (that part was terrible) and other exciting lessons.

At some point I decided to put all other projects on hold or back burner, no casting on, no weaving, etc or whatever till the blankets were complete. Better pictures will follow.

More Basil Baby Blanket(s), more frogging, and corners.

I’ve put my other knitting on hold while I finish up the baby blankets. I am hoping to complete both blankets before the twins go off to college. (Bit of an exageration here – they’ve only recently passed their mutual 2nd birthday.) Bit more frogging and swearing and now they (the blankets) seem to be on track.

Basilcorner02

Adding to my list of things not to do is: don’t bind the edging off too tight. Do this and the whole busness will be too tight on the edge and much looser at the center. I had this feeling that some things can’t be fixed by blocking so more frogging and re-working. (For the record, the  Dale of Norway/Baby Ull has held up really well with all the gentle frogging and re-knitting. You wouldn’t know what it’s been through.)

the Ubiquitious Basil Baby Blankets are frogged back to square-whatsits

Basil baby blanket with border post-frog

I put aside other knitting projects in order to finish the Basil Baby blankets before the twins go off to college. (They recently celebrated their 2nd birthday.) Going along fine until I started looking at other completed Basil blankets (on Ravelry) and realized that I had managed to knit up the borders (- count two – both sets of borders – ) incorrectly (backwards, insideout, don’t ask) and had myself a lesson in careful frogging. Now back on track and I may yet complete this project before the college going away party….

End of Fennel Season

Endofseasonfennel

Dye plants work on their own time tables, ignoring (my) schedule, day job hours and other relivant interruptions which may be why I prefer using dry-ables. The Fennel seems to be going into its die-off cycle. Fortunately its one of those dye plants that seems to work just as well fresh or dried and I have enough stocked up for what passes as Winter in California. And, about the time that the Fennel is finished the Oxalis will probably be reappearing.

It would probably sound great to say I grow all my own dye plants but I certainly don’t – lack of space for starters. I probably have sufficient garden space to grow dye to cover sock toes. The Fennel (yellow dye), until I transplanted it into the yard, I used to chase around town ahead of the weed abatement people. The Oxalis (the other yellow) appeared on its own and refused to leave. Since both of these work well fresh or dry I can save and dry for the season and have enough to dye beyond the sock toes.

Otherwise I rely on things that are going to be tossed out – Onion peels, lawn grass and Eucalyptus leaves for example. I have grown Maddar but again its hard to grow enough for an extensive dye project so I buy that dried. I have to Woad plants going this year but again that probably toe coverage so the Woad and Indigo are also purchased dry.

2sockStart2

My little overdye experiment – the Knitpicks sock blank – has some Oxalis (yard), Maddar and Indigo. This is also my first time knitting toe-up, two-at-once socks.

Lastly, this is the new wordpress version of the dye blog.

 

Knitpicks Sock Blank and Dye Plants

After following the Knitpicks sock blank knit-alongs and dye-alongs  I decided to try one myself using dye plants. 

Sockblank01

Knitpicks sock blank. Starting with an overnight soak and standard Alum bath.

Sockblank02_oxylas

Start with Oxylas. The sock blank soaked up the dye incredibly well. I underestimated the wicking effect and lost the white spots.  For the next one it mgiht be interesting to try with some dry areas.

Sockblank03_addMaddar01Sockblank03_addMaddar02

Overdye with Maddar.

Sockblank04_afterBath

Some ‘saddening’ with Iron and Copper to tone down the yellow.

Sockblank05_indegoDip

Last the Indigo overdye.

 

2sockStartToes22sockStartToes

I am a total convert to the Magic Loop method of sock knitting but have never tried two at once or toe up. The pattern is good but I was somewhat confused at the beginning. Once over that hurddle I think the rest will be fairly straight forward.