Project ideas?

I recently finished spinning a bunch of the roving that I had dyed with Greener Shades dyes back in February.  I was trying to work my way through a bin of older fiber before I allowed myself to play with my new goodies – thinking about it, it’s kind of weird that I create so many rules for myself while working on tasks that are supposed to be purely recreational.  

Anyway, I ended up pulling out several braids of dyed Merino that seemed the most fun, then spun them each into a lofty 2-ply bulky weight yarn.  I had split each braid in half and then predrafted the fiber without splitting it further, resulting in long color repeats for each single ply.  When I plied them together, I got a nice barberpole effect that should work up as subtly shifting stripes.


Sock yarn – not just for socks anymore

Well, i really couldn’t wait for silly hubbster to make up his mind
about the trout yarn. So I got him some Hawaiian shirts on sale and cast
on something for myself! So there!

I was thinking socks at first, but with summer on its way I wanted
something I could get a little more use out of. Since summer clothes are
generally pretty light, but the AC in this building is, well,
temperamental, I decided I’d make a shrug instead!


gift knitting spree

This fall and winter, almost every project I cast on was one I intended to give away. That makes for thoughtful gifts and happy recipients, but not much blog fodder until the gifts have been given!

Here’s a quick recap of my gifty F.O.’s from the last few months:


Overdyeing socks

I finally finished the socks I’ve been knitting from the sock blanks
I dyed with Kool-Aid. My husband and I are adopting 3 teenaged siblings
from Russia, and one likes pink, and two like red. I had dyed 3 sock
blanks: pink for Liza (watermelon cherry), red for Dasha (cherry), and
dark red for Max (black cherry). Three sock blanks. Three kids. No
problem, right?

3 Sock Blanks

And here are the finished socks!



Dyeing Supplies Shopping List

When we sent out last week’s e-mail, I mentioned that summer is a great time to take advantage of all the canning supplies that are available everywhere from Safeway to Target. Here is a list of what I keep on my dyeing shelves.

Hot Water Canner – This looks like a huge soup pot.
Jar Rack – Designed to hold the jars while the water is boiling. I use it the traditional way if I am dyeing small amounts of fiber or yarn actually in jars of dye solution. If I am steaming, then I turn the rack upside down and place the plastic wrapped fiber or yarn on it above a couple of inches of simmering water.
Wide Mouth Quart Sized Canning Jars – Wide mouth is really the only way to go. Easy to measure in dye stuff, easy to put in and take out the fiber or yarn and easy to stir around or poke as needed.
Wide Mouth Rings and Caps – I store solution in wide mouth jars so I need the rings and caps to put on the top.
Canning Jar Lifter – This is an item you might think you can ignore figuring you can use plain hot mitts. Don’t! It is so much easier and safer to use this tool.


Dye Blank Contest Winners

Wow!  A lot of you sent us pictures of your custom dyed sock blanks, and we were really impressed with the results!  In case you’re curious and want to see all of the stunning dye blanks, I’ve made a slide show so everyone can see the contest entries, and it is posted in the Dye-Along group here.


Dyealong Wrap Up

Thanks to everybody for following along with (and participating
) our sock blank dyealong!  We’ll be posting our finished projects
over the next several weeks, and you’ll be able to see how our sock
dye jobs translate to actual stitches.  Just a reminder, you
can still enter to win a $50 gift card by emailing a photo of your own
dyed sock blank – here are the

I’m a big fan of the Jacquard
acid dyes
, and I use them all the time at home.  Instead of dyeing sock
or Bare
, though, I usually tend to dye a lot of roving and loose fiber
for spinning my own yarn.  For one of my first attempts, I tried dyeing
the roving by handpainting it with foam brushes, wrapping it in plastic
wrap, then steaming on the stovetop.  I chose a basic rainbow color
palette (since I was just starting the whole dyeing thing) and this is
what I got:

(That’s my cat Eddie, mashing up my nice
fluffy roving.)

I spun the roving in color order, and once I had
two bobbins full I plyed them together in roughly the same order so that
the colors would blend and kind of “smash” into each other.  I knit the
yarn up into a basic linen-stitch scarf, and this is what I got: