Archive for August, 2009

This time last week

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I was getting prepared to go to my friend Kate’s for a dyeing night. We had such a super time! A bunch of us enjoyed a curry first (and then Hannah’s delicious crumble), and then headed in to Kate’s kitchen for some dyeing fun.  For a number of my friends it was their first attempt at dyeing yarn and they tried out a range of techniques – hand painting with food colouring, dip dyeing with food colouring, and hand painting with acid dyes.  I was the sole person doing kettle dyeing.   Also, as a study in contrasts, I did up a second skein the next day with the exact same colours but dip dyed, to show the differences.

I finally wound my attempts today, so you can enjoy some pics.

First up is some 4 ply that was white to begin with. I wanted a semisolid red, without being pink. I wasn’t overly happy with the amount of variegation I achieved, and the picture doesn’t really show any variegation at all, but there is a little.

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Next came two on the same base. You might recall my comment that I had no more yarn to dye. I had a choice – stay with my pledge not to buy, or break it.  I dug deeper in the stash and sacrificed some yarn I didn’t love. An unlabelled DK weight yarn that a friend picked up for me at a mill sale, I have 500g of it. So, each  of these skeins is 100g.  I’m not sure of the yardage, but it looks generous. I had started knitting it up, in fact I’ve got a nearly finished sleeve for a me-sized sweater… but needs must!

Anyway – this is the kettle dyed version.

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And this was dip dyed, with a touch of black painted on the bits where the colours meet.

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Much cuter than the plain sage I started with 🙂


And here’s a link to more pics of the night.

So, who are these crafty friends of mine? They are an awesome bunch of ladies that I met through The Nappy Network. We are now getting together pretty much every Tuesday night for knitting nights, travelling around from house to house. Not all of them are bloggers, but you can check out some cool sites here from Hannah, Nyree, Kate and Sam. We are a mixed bunch from experienced knitters through to complete newbies.  It has been awesome to see fellow knitters come ahead in leaps and bounds, to see delicious  projects and beautiful yarns.  They seem to be averaging one yarn co-op a week at the moment but I’ve been standing strong 😉  I’ve got some great ideas about what to buy when the time comes though!


Final Sock Club Installment

My final Vintage Purls Winter Sock Club installment arrived last week. And it is super delicious!

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I love the sock pattern, it’s a plain stocking stitch foot, with a lovely lacey design starting where you begin the gusset increases. Gorgeous!

And the colourway – rich, beautifully varied, and just my cup of tea.

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Of course, you might recall I am on a self-imposed yarn buying ban, and I promised myself I would not buy any more until I had knitted up the winter sock clubs and the final summer installment. I have some progress to report!

I have completed the first of the pair of summer socks, but you will have to remain pictureless for now – they are intended as a gift. I will cast on the other one soon, but I have another sock which needs finishing first.

Secondly, you might recall instead of one skein last month, I got two lovely skeins of yarn with a colourwork pattern. Since I am not doing this, I am doing a pair of socks from stash and stashing these lovely skeins – I want special projects for them, not something hastily chosen. But since it’s my buying ban, I can change the rules if I want too! Sock #1 is complete, sock #2 went awry somewhere so I have some frogging to do to get it back on track.

Meanwhile, the two bins I have allocated for my yarn actually have some room in them – thanks to lots of little projects and my Central Park Hoodie which is coming along really well. So I think the buying holiday has been great in this regard.

I have to confess, however, that some of the space is thanks to removing all my ends of balls from the stash. It is sooo much easier to see and find things with them elsewhere, and I’ve found myself using them more too. See, I can justify anything!

How to make a small girl very happy

A no brainer when it’s my small girl. Dora makes her very happy.

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This wee skirt was made from some denim I had in my stash, and appliqued with a Dora and Boots from some fabric left over from a wee secret sheets-for-her-birthday project I did yesterday.

Made without a pattern, I think it’s big enough to fit her for several years. Oops. But I don’t think she minds one bit. What do you think?

What’s on the needles?

Things have been fairly quiet on the knitting front here lately, and here’s why…

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Yep, I’ve started my next big sweater project.  And since it’s knit in pieces I thought I’d do the sleeves first. Why?

a) To act as an extended gauge swatch- I wasn’t 100% certain it was right, so I figured I have nothing (except 4.25 inches of 2×2 rib) to lose.

b) So I could tell how much yarn they would use. I was hoping to make the sweater longer, but have a limited amount of yarn. Which was solved when I found 4 more balls to match -same dye lot and everything! Well, I found more than 4, but only bought this many 🙂

c) I’ve had a few issues with sleeves and motivation (anyone remember the endless rib sleeves of my Slinky Ribs?) so I thought this would get them out of the way.

So, in a week or so of knitting I’ve done both sleeves and about 10 inches of back.

And what am I knitting? Anyone able to guess?

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By the way, the colour in the top pic is by far the more accurate. The label says ‘navy’ 🙂

Jump like a green frog

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One of the songs we sing at Music is “Jump like a green frog” and it was sung and danced to enthusiastically many times today as I knitted up this cute wee frog.  I was enchanted when I saw the one here on a blog that I read. I knew I had the perfect frog coloured yarn in my stash and thought that he might go down well with the girls. I was right! This super cute wee frog is getting lots of love.

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So, what’s so special about this frog?

Well, not only is it a super quick knit, and pretty economical on the yarn, it also has cute wee details. I love the i-cord arms and legs, and the cute round belly? It’s got a tennis ball inside. Yep, this frog actually *does* jump like  a green frog.

The pattern is a free pattern too, you can find it here.

So, if you feel like  a quick, cute project, this one might be for you.


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Milo Mitts Pattern

As promised, here is my latest pattern, fresh from pattern testing. A big thanks to all of my testers for their feedback and super knitting. You can check out their projects here.

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My little miss loves to be all matchy-matchy.  Nearly as much as she loves Dora.  So I couldn’t resist making a wee pair of fingerless mittens to match her Milo top.

The cable that I used for my Milo was the horseshoe cable. I will share the instructions for this cable here, the other 4 cables in the Milo pattern can be used on these mittens as well. Or you could substitute any cable that uses 8 knit stitches.

 The instructions are for 3 sizes: 1, 2 and 4.

Size 1 is knit on 3.75mm needles, and utilises the same stitch numbers as size 2, but is knit at a tighter gauge. The thumb should be knit two rows shorter.

Sizes 2 and 4 are knit on 4mm needles, with a gauge of 6 stitches and 9 rows to an inch in stocking stitch.

I love to knit using magic loop, but you could easily knit these mittens on DPNs instead. They have also been tested on a 30cm circular needle.

 Materials: You will need approximately 20-40g of DK weight yarn for each pair of Milo Mitts. Also you will use two stitch markers and some scrap yarn as a stitch holder.



2×2 Rib – knit 2, purl 2 stitches

pm – place marker (stitch marker)

M1R – Make one, right leaning increase. Pick up the bar between the stitches with your left needle coming from in front of the bar and knit through the back of the picked up bar.

M1L – Make one, left leaning increase. Pick up the bar between the stitches with your left needle coming from behind the bar and knit through the front of the picked up bar.

These paired increases make a tidy thumb increase.

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 There are two options for this pattern as shown below option 1 is shown in “Watermelon” colourway by The Wool Company. It features a garter stitch cuff. Option 2 is shown in a now deleted pink Wool Company colourway and features a 2×2 ribbed cuff.

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You will need to knit a ‘left’ mitt and a ‘right’ mitt as the cable is on the top of the glove.

Horseshoe Cable Pattern:


C4F – slip 2 stitches to cable needle and hold at the front of the work, k2, then k2 from cable needle.

C4B – slip 2 stitches to cable needle and hold at the back of the work, k2, then k2 from cable needle.


Round 1-3: p2, k8, p2.

Round 4: p2, C4B, C4F, p2

Round 5-6: p2, k8, p2.



Left Mitt

Cuff Option 1:

Cast on 28 (32) stitches, join in the round and work alternating rounds of knit and purl for 1 inch.

Knit one round, increasing 2 (4)  stitches evenly across the round, bringing the total to 30 (36) stitches.

Round 1: sets up for the cable.  k 3 p2 k8, p2,  knit to end of round

Round 2 : knit in pattern as set above.

Knit 8 (10) rounds in pattern, beginning cable as per cable instructions. Then continue on to Round 3 below, continuing to work cable in established pattern.

 Cuff Option 2:

Cast on 28 (32)  stitches, join in the round and work 2×2 rib for 2 (2.5) inches.

You should have 14 stitches on needle 1 and 14 on needle 2.

Knit one round, increasing 2 (4) stitches evenly across the round, bringing total to 30 (36) stitches. *

Round 1: sets up for the cable.  k 3 p2 k8, p2,  knit to end of round

Round 2 : knit in pattern as set above.

Round 3:  knit in pattern to last stitch, PM, M1R, K1.

Round 4: k1 M1L, PM, knit around in pattern.

Round 5:  k2 M1L, Option2 works cable row here [ k2, p2, C4B, C4F, p2, knit to marker] * , knit to marker, M1R, k2

Round 6: knit around in pattern

Round 7:  Knit to marker, M1L,slip marker knit in pattern to marker, slip marker, M1R, knit to end of row.

Continue to alternate rounds 6 and 7 until there are 10 (12) stitches between markers.

Then – knit one round with no increases to final stitch marker. Remove all the stitches between markers onto a stitch holder – I use a piece of scrap yarn.

Cable cast on two stitches and work cable pattern until desired length.

Option one: work one round purl, one round knit, one round purl, and cast off in knit.

Option two: cast off.


Place the 10 (12) stitches from holder onto needle. Pick up and knit 6 stitches along the top of the thumb. 16 (18) stitches.

Knit around, when you get back to 6 cast on stitches, knit 2 together, knit 2, knit 2 together.

Knit 1 round without decreases then knit to cast on stitches, knit 2 together, knit 2 together, knit around until desired length. Approx 2 (4) rounds.

 Those knitting Option One may wish to work one purl round before casting off  in garter stitch.

Right hand

Work as for left hand until * (just after increase round)

 Round 1: k 1 p2 k8, p2 knit to end of round.

Round 2:  knit in pattern as set

[Option 1: Knit 8 (10) rounds in pattern, beginning cable as per cable instructions rather than beginning in Round 5 below. Then continue on to Round 3 below, continuing to work cable in established pattern. ]

Round 3: k1 p2 k8 p2, k2, PM, M1R, K2, M1L, PM, knit to end of round.

Round 4:  knit around in pattern

Round 5: k1, work cable row [p2,  C4B, C4F, p2] knit to marker, slip marker, M1R , knit to marker, m1L, slip marker,  knit to end of round.

Round 6: knit around in pattern

Round 7: knit in pattern to marker, M1R, knit to marker, slip marker, M1L, knit to end of round.

Continue to alternate rounds 6 and 7 until 10 (12) stitches between markers.

 Then – knit one round with no increases.

On the next round remove all the stitches between markers onto a stitch holder – I use a piece of scrap yarn.

 Cable cast on two stitches and work cable pattern until desired length, cast off. Again, you may wish to work a couple of rows in garter stitch before you cast off if you are knitting Option 1.

Work the thumb as for Left hand.

Happy Knitting!

Dyeing Experiments

Sometimes when I spend too much time online I end up idly looking though things that I normally wouldn’t. And perhaps shouldn’t. Especially when I’m on a yarn buying ban.

However, the last lot of idle browsing I did was on some Ravelry groups.  I love the enormous variety of groups on Ravelry, it seems like there is a group for everyone, and if there’s not, you can just go ahead and make one 🙂 The groups I was browsing were dyeing groups:  Love to Dye and Colour by Hand (yes, the correct  British spelling of colour was used in the group’s name!) Awesome groups, totally gorgeous project pics, and heaps of interesting ideas for dyeing.

But you can totally see where this is headed though, eh! The dyepot!

What I wanted to play around with was some new techniques for dyeing semisolid colours. I have used a few techniques with success already, but am always keen to try some other methods.

The first yarn I chose was some 5ply yarn Mum donated to me earlier this year. It’s  100% wool and I had about 110g of it. I skeined it up and instead of soaking it put it straight into the dyepot with some vinegar. Because soaking opens up the fibres, thus speeding up dyeing and absorption, and I wanted to slow it down, it seemed  like a good idea. And it worked a treat.

I mixed up some dye – National Blue colour acid dye, and put some already diluted into water to dilute it even further. Then I poured some directly onto some of the yarn (lifting it up out of the water) in several places, and put the rest into the dyepot. Once that was clear I had already a very light semisolid blue. I added more dye to the dilute mixture and poured more dye over the yarn in more spots. I repeated this twice more, making the dye more concentrated each time. Once the water was clear I cooled the yarn down, rinsed and dried it. And this is what it looks like reskeined.

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I am really impressed with this – I love the variety of intensities of blue, and this technique was waaaaay less messy than painting the dye on to the yarn and then kettle dyeing it.

So, of course I had to try with more yarn! And more colours…

The only things I varied this second time was that I used three different colours: a purple, salmon and boysenberry. I used two different strengths of purple first, and then the other two colours. It’s a shame I only have 50g of this 8 ply yarn, as I am not sure what I will make with it.

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The other shame is that I don’t have much undyed yarn left to experiment on. This has really whetted my appetite for dyeing, but alas I have to be good!

August 2009
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