Monthly Archives: August 2014

two little FO’s…

It’s been a while since I posted about a finished object! There are a few reasons..

  1. I’ve had a few different things on the needles at the same time
  2. I’ve been doing a little more drawing, and other crafty things
  3. I found a hole in the sleeve of the jumper I’ve been working on, and it made me SO MAD that I threw it back in the bag, and haven’t had the stomach to pick it up again since

I will finish that jumper.. I will, I promise.. Just, not any time soon..

ANYWAY! Onto something I have finished!

Yes, it’s another cowl! I know, I know, I need to do something different, but I just love this pattern, and I can’t talk enough about the wool! This is Manos del Uruguay Maxima, in the Mixed Berries colour-way. It’s squish and beautiful, I just can’t get enough!

Using 6mm circular needles, I cast on 146 stitches, gave the cast on a single twist, then used 1 stitch joined the round. I worked in seed stitch until I ran out of wool.

Just like my last cowl, this one is long enough to twist and slip over my head, making a super thick neck warmer. This wool is really gorgeous, you can’t see any distinct twist, it’s almost like the strand has been felted. Love love love!! And, I probably don’t need to share this, but I have another 4 skeins at home, waiting to be made into something gorgeous!

I did say that I had 2 FO’s for this post.. And here it is! Haha, it’s not very exciting, just a hottie cover-up! I chose this to teach myself how to knit in the Continental style. I’ve always been an English knitter, but I was curious about Continental. What I found, is that the knit stitch is easy and really quick! The purl stitch, however, is a bit trickier, and weirdly, it hurt my right thumb when working on the back side. Anyway, I feel confident enough to switch between the two styles, depending on the project, and my mood.

Which style of knitting do you prefer? Have you tried both? I’m very interested to know how many people are in each camp!

Advertisements

for the love of dye…

Dying wool to your own specific colourway is so much fun, and it’s really easy! I love using food colouring to dye wool, and over the weekend, my friend Nyome and I had a blast doing just that! I’ve written posts on dying wool before, but I’ll outline the basics for you.

To get the best results, start with 100% wool. My #1 go-to wool is Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury, in Frost. The balls are a missive 200g, and the wool is gorgeous and soft. Wind the ball into a skein (we used the edge of Nyome’s dining table!), and tie it off in at least 4 places. This will reduce the risk of the skein getting tangled (which is an utter nightmare!). Then, soak the wool in warm water, with a bit of white vinegar for half an hour. I added about 1 to 1.5 cups of vinegar to the water, but we were soaking 800g of wool in a massive sink!

 While the wool soaks, you can get started on your dyes. I like to use good quality gel food dye, which you can get some cooking supply stores. Put a small amount into a container (a little goes a long way!), add warm water, and stir to dissolve. The more water you add, the paler the colour will be. Grab your skein, and squeeze as much of the water out as you can. You want it damp, not dripping. Lay it out flat onto of some cling wrap.

Now for the fun part! Paint your wool! There really isn’t any hard and fast technique to this, just apply the dye with a paint brush, and (using a gloved hand!) squish the dye into the layers of wool. Once one side is completely painted, you will have to carefully flip the skein and paint the underside.

When you’re happy with the skein, carefully wrap it up using the cling wrap that it was sitting on. You want to make a neat, tight little parcel. Pop the parcel into a slow cooker to set the dye. Mine has a little wire tray in it, so the cling wrap doesn’t sit directly on the pan. I also make sure to put about 1.5cm of water in the cooker, to make some lovely hot steam. Cook your wool for 1 hour on a high heat.

After an hour, carefully remove the parcel from the slow cooker, and let it cool down before you unwrap it. That parcel is going to be full of hot steam, which can give a really nasty burn, so please just be patient!

When it’s cool, unwrap it and give it a gentle wash in warm water with a bit of wool wash (or shampoo). There should be little to no dye coming out of that wool, which is exactly what you want. Rinse, squeeze out the excess water, and let it dry. Once it’s dry, you can rewind into different sized skeins, to really show off your colour choices!

This really is a lot of fun, and it’s so simple! Now I have to decide what to make with my fantastic wool!

TOP: Sea Glass / UPPER: Bubblegum Pastels / LOWER: Unicorn Dreams / BOTTOM: Paddle-Pop

share that knitting bug…

You may remember a while ago, I wrote a little post about teaching some of the girls at my workplace how to knit (during our lunch break!). It’s been a few weeks (months?) since then, so I thought I’d share the groups progress.

I am so happy to report, that the knitting group has GROWN! Yes, I’ve gathered more recruits, and they all amaze me each week by how much they’ve practiced!

Carine tried knitting for a few weeks, but requested to be taught crochet. Before I knew it, she had mastered the basic granny square. This is the second baby blanket she’s made, with plans of plenty more! I love how the yarn changes colour, and gives that classic granny square look, without having heaps of ends to sew in.

Farzana is slogging her way through a thick and chunky scarf, look how long it is! I’m very impressed with Farz, she knits on the train to and from work! She is very confident!

Although it’s a little hard to see, Claire is knitting her first beanie! She completed a scarf, which she gifted to her sister, and we both thought this was a perfect second project, as she can practice knitting a rib, and decreasing stitches. She’s working in a gorgeous yarn, Rowan Kid-Silk Haze.. This will be such a cute, fuzzy beanie!

Jessie learnt a few basic crochet skills from her mum, and has dived into making some leg warmers for her 3-year-old niece. Look at those colours! They are going to be the brightest (and warmest) legs around!

Grace is my newest pupil. She’s just put down her practice wool, and picked up some amazing classic wool by Manos Del Uruguay. She’s working on 6mm needles, and about 20 stitches, to make her first scarf. She’s already expressed wishes of adding tassels, which I think will be perfect!

I still love our Monday Knit Club, I look forward to it every week. I am very proud of all my “students”, and they are all doing so well, even though they often say they feel like they’re getting nowhere fast! It just takes practice girls, honestly, you get better with each stitch.

The Knit Bug has bitten! I can’t wait for it to bite a few more..