Posts Tagged 'Dyeing'

Scavenger Swap

The local knitting ladies and I had our weekly knitting night last night. This night was more anticpated than most though – it was another of our fantastic swap nights.

The theme that we had chosen was a Scavenger Hunt. The five things that we needed were:

1. Something from the sea

2. Something from New Zealand

3. Something Edible

4. Something blue

5. A knitting or handcraft notion.

I got my thinking-cap on early. I dyed my yarn up a couple of weeks ago in the school holidays, and I decided to experiment with the sock blanks I got last year. This qualified as my ‘something from New Zealand’ as I used Vintage Purls yarn 🙂 Here is what I did…

I firstly dyed the yarn all over, and then hand painted around some heart stencils. Then I redyed the whole lot again, and I am hoping this knits up as a pretty semi-solid. 

I was nearly stumped with something from the sea – you see, I was determined to make as much of this from stash as I could – I felt like really scavenging.  I came across this lovely pattern on Ravelry – and free too…  Only to find out after I gifted it, the pattern was in the recipient’s queue all along 🙂 Because it wasn’t something suitable to knit with the yarn I dyed up, I gifted a skein of Malabrigo Lace Weight yarn to knit it up from too.

Edible was easy – it’s hard to go past delicious chocolate… and that left two more – something blue, and a knitting notion. I decided to knit something with some of my Malabrigo Worsted yarn that I rescued from an unlovely Juliet a few weeks back. I picked a pattern and off I went. It wasn’t until *after* I finished I realised I had misread the cabling instructions completely. So this is a somewhat unique hat! Anyway, I think it’s still cute despite that…

And for a notion, some stitch markers. I used some cute handmade flower beads that I made a couple of months ago  when I went on a craft retreat with friends, and matched them with some  blue beads. Cute! And made entirely from stash.

So, all up, this is the parcel.

And with a swap, she who gives, receives. And, boy, did I receive!  My gorgeous gift…

Oh boy! My swappee joked that the ‘sea’ item was the fact that she had ordered the stuff for me from overseas. Yes, you *do* spy another skein of Madelinetosh Vintage in the totally drool-worthy colourway Baltic there. And a  knitting book is taking the idea of a ‘notion’ to the most generous degree. I had looked at a review of this book online just the other week, so it was a real pleasure to be given it.

Oh, the chocolate! *hands it around* I am eating just a little while I am typing this up 🙂

And from NZ? Feijoas of course. “tis the season! Yum. I didn’t just get these either – I got a whole huge bag to share around.

Oh, and the yarn!

It is really hard to photograph with a flash, the colour is something between the two pictures – but it is beautiful, irridescent shades of darkest blues and purples. Simply stunning. Noooo idea what it wants to be, but I love that it’s all wound and ready to go.

Oh, I love playing swapsies!  Here’s a piccy of lovely yarn that got exchanged last night. I didn’t have enough battery life to take pictures everyone’s gifts this time – so you might just have to imagine the rest.


A perfect evening



The ingredients? Take a bunch of talented knitters, spinners, dyers and crafters, such as these…

(plus a few more who piked left before the picture was taken)

Add a delicious shared dinner complete with options for those on special diets – yup, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and those on Weight Watchers all had something to eat…

And some mysterious parcels

Mix all together with a number draw to see who gets which parcel – drawn out of a project bag of course… And let the gifting begin!

Yes, it was yarn swap time again with our lovely local knitting girls (affectionately termed the Naki Knitting Nutters by some…). We had decided on a swap with a difference this time. Instead of being given a person to make a parcel for, we each chose to dye in either 4ply sock yarn or DK weight, and have  a mystery swap within that group. Thus the numbering of parcels and a draw for them. 

All the swaps were based around some words that we randomly drew late last year.  Each person was given three words to base their swap around – they could use one, two or all three. Some got words that were impossible to relate to one another. Others, like me, totally forgot what one of theirs was and based it on the ones they could remember (oops!).  I can’t remember them all though.

So, an idea of the lovely yarn parcels and goodies for you.

8 ply first…

Handspun yarn, flowers

And the sock yarns

Enchanted Garden

Zen Garden

Bushwalk, Butterflies



This final one is what I gifted my swappee minus a wee blue dishcloth.  I dyed up 100g of Vintage Purls sock yarn with a mix of Procion and acid dyes using my favourite kettle  dye technique.

In all the excitement of the evening I forgot to take a picture of what I recieved – I’ll take a picture later when the kids aren’t around trying to ‘help’ me 🙂  There was a huge selection of differnent colours, techniques and interpretations. Such a fun evening 🙂

Dessert Yarn Swap

What a delicious and delightful evening we had last night! First we had a shared dinner, and then the yarn swap festivities began. Each person got to open their parcel, yarn was fondled around and dyeing techniques discussed.  Then after a quick photo session we lined up the yarn with the dessert that inspired it. And, then the desserts were history. 

It’s supposedly the beginning of summer now.  The last four days have been rain and more rain. The local airport has been closed for three days this week already due to low lying fog. And what has this to do with our swap? Well, the berry season is well underway despite the unseasonal weather, and you could certainly tell this from the desserts and the colours of the yarn. But despite similar inspirations, there were lots of variations on theme within the swap. Here’s a selection from the evening.

This is the parcel I recieved, with 200g of 10 ply yarn, dyed to go with a lovely wee tart willed with marscarpone and topped with stewed red rhubarb.  Beautiful!

And this is the yarn I dyed for my recipient.

You saw the dessert yesterday – I hadn’t realised how much yellow would be in it when it was made up – I focussed on pinks, with a touch of boysenberry and a little brown for the gingernut crumble on the of the parfait. The yarn is 100g of 4 ply Vintage Purls yarn.  My recipient hasn’t knitted socks before but had expressed a desire to do so.  I gifted the glass I made it in, along with three more to make a set, all with lolly parfaits, along with a few other goodies too.

I think you will agree I have some incredibly imaginative friends, and there is some beautiful yarn going to be hitting the needles around these parts sometime soon.

I’m not sure if you all want to see the desserts too? It feels like a massive picture overload for one post, so if you think I should share the delicious goodies, leave a message and I’ll post pics tomorrow 🙂

Blogtober 28th: Kiwiana Yarn Swap

I’m not the only blogger rushing home from the knitting night tonight to post a Blogtoberfest post about our awesome yarn swap. And I’m glad I can post here about our awesome night, as when I came home with my parcel, DH was far more interested in whatever he was doing on his computer than the bag of goodies I bought home with me.  Reason to have a blog #1212??

So, as promised, here are the pictures from our fantastic yarn swap evening. It was such a success we have decided to do it all again in December. We waited until everyone was there and had eaten cheesecake /chocolate /chocolate cake /marble cake (yum!!) and then the fun began.  First to open their parcel was Hannah, whose swapper was Clare.  She had chosen a theme of surfing and made an awesome woven basket from paper taken from surfing magazines.  I’m not sure how she managed to include a swift in her $10 budget (!) but that was also in the parcel.  The lovely yarn she dyed is apparently in a horrible tangle, so this wee bit is just a down payment! Beautiful depth of colours, on a 4ply Vintage Purls base.


The next to open was Angie whose swapper Kate spun and dyed her delicious yarn. The theme was ‘waves’ and she included a kit to make a wave themed nappy, as well as some stunning wee accesories – a brooch, hairclip, and gorgeous hand painted breast pads!!



Then it was Kate’s turn. Her swapper was Kristy, and she had chosen a Pukeko theme – a Pukeko is a native NZ bird.  She dyed up 4ply Merino sock yarn in the colours of the bird and the red of the beak and feet were supplied by the red wrapped chocolate.


Trudi’s yarn was dyed by Angela, who chose a Buzzy Bee theme. I was particularly impressed that she decided to pick up only some of the colours, making a stunning yarn, whereas I had been stumped as to how this could be dyed up. Delicious. And the cute ball shows some of the lovely old fashioned toys that have become part of Kiwiana kitsch.


And then it was my turn! My swap was dyed by Sam, who dyed up 100g of Vintage Purls yarn with food colouring. She chose a Paua theme and made this gorgeous yarn which her darling 2 year old daughter “knitted”, tangling up her skein. Sam’s grandparents spent two hours untangling it. What a labour of love! I also got an assortment of wee gifts – a gorgeous wee brag book that she hand made, and a big glass container filled with everything we need to make a paua themed Rocky Road treat.  Mmmm. I think that I need to take a better picture in the natural light tomorrow to show the subtle nuances of colour in this though – the picture does it no justice.


And speaking of Rocky Road, Trudi chose it as  theme for her swap with Sam.  The colours are stunning.  Love the wee stitch markers too – Trudi said her partner made them 🙂


Then it was time for Lizzie to open the parcel I’d prepared.  I had chosen the Pukeko as my theme too – and it is interesting how different the yarn I dyed was from Kristy’s interpretation.  I wanted to show the colours that the typical portrayal of the bird has – it actual fact the feathers are far darker, almost black, as you can see in the card I included.  I made  a WIP bag, and found some Pukeko themed goodies at a tourist shop to round out the parcel.



I kettle dyed 100g of Patonyle sock yarn with acid dyes – just two colours, National Blue and Crimson. 

Kristy’s parcel was intriguingly wrapped in brown paper with a pie bag on it. It turns out Hannah had chosen a ‘mince pie and tomato sauce’ theme.  The yarn is a delightful mix of reds, browns and light brown for pastry, on 100g of Vintage Purls sock yarn.  There are some clever wee goodies to round of the package too – cute wee hairclips, a cute handmade felt ‘pie’ and some Tomato Sauce flavoured chips. Oh, and note the ‘tomato’ sauce container too 🙂


Last parcel of the night was for Clare, from Lizzie. Good old kiwi classic “jandals”, and Lizzie had bought a pair, and presented them in a shoe box, nestled between them were two lovely yarns, both 4 ply.  We all had a good giggle over the patterns for socks and footsies to go with them.


Each parcel had accompanying patterns and some had lovely written explanations to go with them. There were recipes in some, and a few goodies that escaped my camera too – apologies.

What a fantastic night we all had! It was every bit as much fun to swap in person as I thought it would be. Can’t wait until next time.


And, for the readers who are disappointed they couldn’t be there, left drooling hopelessly over parcels, watch this space for a giveaway where one lucky reader will get their own slice of Kiwiana goodness.

Blogtober 27th: Kiwiana Swap

Usually on a Tuesday night, I go to knitting night.  Instead of having our knitting on Tuesday, we are postponing it until Wednesday this week because we are having a super exciting swap night and want to have as all the swap participants there.  The swap that we are doing is a hand-dyed yarn swap, with a theme of Kiwiana.  Tomorrow I will take my camera to record the lovely parcels that get swapped, but I thought I would give you a heads-up tonight so that you know what to expect.

This swap is particularly exciting because it will be exchanged in person. All of the other swaps I have done have been sent off  in the post, and there is always a delay between sending off and receiving.  It can sometimes be hard to tell if the recipient really likes their gift from a written reaction, and sometimes it’s hard to appreciate the colours and themes of the packages that are described.  So I am looking forward to being right in the action tomorrow night!

These are the guidelines we were given for the swap.

The swap will consist of :

* 100-200 grams of hand dyded yarn ( 100 grams 4 ply is plenty for a project but 8-10ply would need 150-200grams)
* A pattern matching your yarn and theme
* Paperwork of some discription ( poem, recipe, book etc)
* A small gift under $10 (eg, stitch markers, a dishcloth, some soap, chocolate etc )

The theme of ‘Kiwiana” might be a little mystifying to some overseas readers, so I thought I should explain what the concept is. According to Wikipedia, Kiwiana is items” which are either unique to or particularly common to New Zealand, particularly from the early and mid twentieth century. Although the term is sometimes used to describe any and all New Zealand icons, it is more commonly used to describe pop culture items such as toys or branded foods. A few more serious national icons have become kiwiana through heavy use in advertising and the souvenir industry. These include the kiwi and the tiki. Kiwiana is generally seen as a form of kitsch.”

These 1994 stamps celebrate Kiwiana.

A small town on the way to Hamilton and Auckland from our city has a huge Kiwiana mural and has branded itself as a type of Kiwiana town, with displays in the shopping centre, and even the public toilets featuring gorgeous hand painted Kiwiana themed tiles. 


The biggest problem that I had translating the Kiwiana theme into a yarn swap was the fact that I wanted the yarn to be usable at the end. Sure, I could colour yarn “Buzzy Bee” theme colours. But would anyone want to wear it?


And, while I love my pavalova with kiwifruit on top as much as the next girl, green and white yarn isn’t *that* inspiring, is it?

File:Kiwi (Actinidia chinensis) 1 Luc Viatour.jpg


Other Kiwiana includes: a Chocolate fish,  Edmonds ‘Sure to Rise’ Baking Powder, Gumboots,  a tiki, Hokey pokey ice-cream, Jandals, Kiwi, Kiwifruit, Marmite, Number 8 wire, Paua, Pineapple lumps,  the Silver fern, Swanndri (a black and red checked jacket), Top ice cream,Watties tomato sauce (especially when served in a plastic container shaped like a tomato).

A sauce bottle shaped like a tomato and filled with Watties tomato sauce ...

Gotta love the tomato. We always had one growing up.  And that’s kinda the point about Kiwiana. Despite the kitsch aspect, it is still seen everywhere.  The ‘Kiwi” bird is such a familar shape even Miss 3 recognised it when borrowed by Lynley Dodd for one of her nonsense birds in The Nickle Nackle Tree. While some uses are tacky, there is generally a great deal of affection for these well known Kiwi icons. 

I had great fun trying to think a little outside the box in terms of expectations, and I know that my knitting friends have had heaps of fun working on their swaps too.  I can hardly wait.



Little Monkeys

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After my post the other day about popular sock patterns, I came across a cute variation of Cookie A’s popular sock pattern, Monkey.  Instead of the regular 64 stitch pattern, I found this post on Ravelry where she posted a chart for a 12 stitch repeat, meaning a 48 stitch sock. Perfect for my little monkey.

I cast on 48 stitches and did k1p1 ribbing (instead of twisted rib, which I often have to work myself up to do),  for 8 rows. Then I worked 3 repeats of the pattern, before coming to the heel. What to do? I worked the heel flap and gusset as per my toddler sock pattern, allowing two more rows and two more stitches (as my pattern is 44 stitches).   Because it had more stitches than a pattern that already fit her well, I decreased to 22 stitches on the bottom of the foot and when I did toe decreases worked one extra set on the top of the foot. The toe decreases I worked every row as I was knitting the foot while Miss 3 was asleep and it was nearly too long. I decreased to 20 stitches and then grafted the toe. The end result is a good fit, somewhat roomy around the leg, as you can see by the baggy ankles but it stays on fine and is ultra cute.

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The yarn is some hand dyed Patonyle sock yarn which I dyed back in about April. Miss 3 loved it then, and she is delighted to finally have some socks from it!  It’s a semi solid with just small variations in colour, but it has knit up really sweetly, and I am really pleased with it.

And the pattern? I can see why Monkey is popular. Mostly when you hear me whinge on about the difficulties of lace knitting, it’s because it’s not intuitive. This pattern is. After reading the chart for half of the first repeat, that was it. No more pattern reading. Gotta love that! The original chart is an 11 row repeat.  This version is 9 rows, but freed from pattern reading, it’s a real pleasure to knit. And would I knit it again? Sure! I can see more monkeys, big and little, coming to join our sock family. And in fact, there is even a pattern adaptation on Raverly for micro-mini Monkeys.  So even Miss 1 might get a pair of teeny hand knit socks.

And speaking about monkeys, my wee monkeys have been keeping busy in the last wee while. I thought you might like to see some of what they have been crafting themselves.

Miss 3 “made” this bus for her “mannies” (aka Little People)

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And on Friday we played hookie from playgroup (too wet) and stayed home instead. Miss 1 enjoyed putting the pencils in and out of the container, while Miss 3 enjoyed some colouring, rubbing out, cutting, glueing and glitter. These were taken before all the messy fun – ‘cuse their slightly bohemian appearance – they are going thru a bead phase. Although note , Aunty D, the star set – she loves it so much she sleeps in it 🙂 Thanks!Picture 3020small

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And, if you ever needed proof playing dress up is exhausting…

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FO: Multnomah

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So, I know I’m meant to be knitting sweaters… but lookie what else has been on my needles. 

Browsing on Ravelry last week (as you do) I was struck by this lovely new shawlette pattern. My kind of pattern – simple, and with a feather and fan edging it promised to be an easy knit. I needed something to knit that I could do while reading, my CPH really doesn’t fit the bill – cabling doesn’t lend itself to not looking! And of course once the lace started to take shape, I just couldn’t put it down.

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Now, if you’ve been following my blog for long, or know me at all, you’ll know I’m mad about purple. So, the colour I chose to knit this wee beauty in won’t surprise you. And in fact I have  a confession to make – this is one of the three yarn cakes in my blog header. And since I dyed it up in December last year, it has been sitting in various places around the house looking beautiful, asking me to knit it up. And now I have.

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So, the yarn – I dyed it with Procion MX dyes, in blue and purple, the purple was made up to two different strengths, and the whole lot was dyed in the microwave.  The base yarn is Vintage Purls 4 ply sock yarn, deliciously soft and wonderful to work with as always.  I have about 15g left over, so 85g to knit this pattern. When I soaked to block, it leaked dye everywhere, but after a nice water and vinegar bath it started to behave itself again.

So, the pattern: this is a lovely wee knit. Simple, well written, the wee shawlette is a satisfying knit. The lace is intuitive, and while the rows get reeeeally long towards the end, it is an enjoyable wee knit.

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February 2019
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