Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Dyeing at home

I had a lovely time on Saturday morning. I had seen on Instagram that Laura from Adventures in Yarncraft was holding a 'Dye at Home' yarn dyeing workshop via Zoom so thought it would be fun to give it a go. I received my kit in the post in plenty of time. It included two foil trays for dyeing the yarn, two skeins of merino yarn, 4 pots of acid dyes, a pot of citric acid, pots for mixing dyes, spoons, gloves and a mask. Laura asked us to soak our yarn prior to the start of the workshop, so that we could get on with the dyeing nice and quickly. We were instructed on the safety aspects - wear a mask when the pots of dye are open is the most important, and then Laura showed us how to go about dyeing a skein.





It was inevitable that one of my skeins was going to be purple! I mixed some of the Amethyst and Peacock Blue dye powders together in hot water and was very happy with the colour they produced. The dye pot was topped up with cold water before pouring it into the foil tray. More water was added to make sure that the dye bath was deep enough. The skein of yarn was then added to the tray and moved about in the dye to ensure that the yarn took up the dye as evenly as possible. Then citric acid was sprinkled into the dye bath and mixed in before putting the tray into a warm oven for about 30 minutes.





You can see how the dye gets taken up by the yarn and the remaining liquid is clear. I guess that if you were using a really saturated colour, there might be some residue still in the water. While this skein was 'cooking' in the oven, we made a start on the second skein. For this one, we were learning how to dye a variegated skein so mixed up three colours. I went for a teal blue shade, a fresh green and a yellow-green mix. The skein was put into the foil tray and the different pots of dye were poured over different areas of the yarn. Despite the fact that I had washed my hands (in the gloves), when I picked up the skein, I managed to get some specks of purple dye on it! So I added a tiny bit more purple to various points on the skein to hopefully disguise my error! I think that I need to add some more purple now that the skein is dry so that it's a bit more obvious, but I am waiting a few days to decide.




While the second skein was 'cooking', I removed a lot of the water from the tray with the purple skein in it. We were going to add some speckles and the yarn needs to be drier so that the speckles of dye powder don't spread out too much. I decided to add some black speckles followed by some blue and amethyst ones. Laura suggested that we mixed a tiny bit of dye powder with some citric acid to encourage the dye to set quickly. In a couple of places, my yarn was a little bit too wet so the speckles spread a bit more than I wanted, but on the whole, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. The speckled yarn went back into the oven so that the heat could work its magic. Once cool, both skeins were rinsed thoroughly in room temperature water and then hung to dry outside.






The following day, I twisted the yarn into skeins so that I could admire it! I love the purple skein in particular.





The green skein is pretty too, but I do think it needs a few more splashes of purple. They are still a bit sparse and look like they got there by accident! (Which of course they did!) What do you think? Should I add more purple or just leave it as it is?






I loved dyeing the yarn and would like to dye more, just for myself or as presents for fellow yarn lovers. Not that I need another creative rabbit hole to disappear down of course! If you are interested in having a go yourself, I think that Laura is planning to hold more dye workshops via Zoom. There were 15 of us in the workshop and it was absolutely fine as Laura explained and demonstrated everything so clearly. Thank you Laura! As the skeins are both DK weight, I'm thinking that they will become hats or cowls. The yarn is lovely and plump and I think it will have a gorgeous stitch definition. Which do you prefer? And what would you knit with them? Let me know in the comments. Stay safe and chat again soon. xxx



Friday, 11 June 2021

Fibre 4 Fibres Giveaway preview 61


I've got some gorgeous things for you in this week's prize. Some beautiful shades to help you keep cool. The prize includes a set of 12 miniskeins which have been dyed and donated by Beth who runs Beehive Yarns. This set is sold out on Beth's website so I feel very honoured that Beth chose to share a set with you. Beth has also donated a set of hexagonal stitchmarkers and a bee progress keeper. Julie from Suffolk Socks has donated a zipped project bag and a pin badge. I love how Julie's sense of humour rolls over onto her products! Sue from Diss Wool and Craft shop has donated a ball of Regia striping yarn in wonderful shades of blue. It reminds me of a swimming pool! There are three balls of Yarn Stories 4ply merino yarn and a knitter's notebook, perfect for keeping in your project bag! Thank to everyone who has donated a prize.











I'm sure that you know the score by now, but I'll tell you how to enter anyway! You have a chance to win all these gorgeous prizes for a minimum donation of £2! Are you tempted to try your luck? Here's everything you need to know. This giveaway will run this coming Sunday 13th June, closing at 23:55. To enter, go to my JustGiving page here and buy your virtual raffle tickets by donating £2 or more. £2 gets you 2 tickets, £3 gets you 3 tickets, £5 gets you 5 tickets and so on. The more you donate, the greater your chance of winning. You will need to leave your Instagram or Ravelry name, or tick the box to share your email address with me when you make your donation, so that I can contact you if you are the winner. This is really important as I have no way of knowing who you are otherwise. Each week, I still get donations where no name or email is left, so if that person's number comes up in the random number generator, I have no idea who it is! All your donations go the Myositis UK to help fund research into this incurable muscle disease, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support. Every single donation is important. Thank you and stay safe! xxx

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Sock highs and lows (and highs!)

*** Sock highs ***

I finished my pair of self-striping 'Fruit Salad' socks. Even better, I have enough yarn to knit a second pair, I just need to find a miniskein to go with it. It won't come as a surprise to you that I'm pretty sure I have one (or two or three!) The yarn is from Laura who runs Crafter's Balm. I've just seen the yarn for her next month's sock club and I fear that resistance is futile! 





*** Sock lows ***

My May rainbow socks (the ones with the horrible crinkly yarn) are now firmly in time out in the naughty corner! I was just starting the heel flap on the second sock and discovered that I was one stitch short. Eventually I found a dropped stitch, way back down near the cuff. You can see it on the stitch marker in the photo below. It was impossible to pick it up so I had to frog back to the the dropped stitch. I admit to saying quite a few rather rude words when I discovered it! 




*** Sock highs ***

To console myself over the naughty May socks, I wound another skein of yarn and cast on for my June socks. The yarn is from Norah George and the colourway is Muted Rainbow. I'm doing a simple combination of knit and purl stitches but I think it's quite effective. 




 

Friday, 4 June 2021

Fibre 4 Fibres Giveaway preview 60


This week's raffle prize is all about rainbows. If you're a regular follower, you'll know that I love rainbows, so it felt right to pass on a bit of that rainbow love to you too. The prize includes a beautiful framed rainbow hearts crochet which has been made and donated by Hannah, an Instagram friend. I know that Hannah's frames are very much sought after so am sure this will be a popular prize. Knit Pro have donated a colourful set of Waves Crochet hooks. They have just got a new website and it shows off their product range really well. I can recommend taking a look. I have a couple of Knit Pro hooks and find them very comfortable to hold and work with. There are 12 balls of Debbie Bliss DK cotton yarn. It's so soft! Lastly, there is a postcard and sticker from Lana Bou and a set of rainbow stitch markers. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated a prize.









I'm sure that you know the score by now, but I'll tell you how to enter anyway! You have a chance to win all these gorgeous prizes for a minimum donation of £2! Are you tempted to try your luck? Here's everything you need to know. This giveaway will run this coming Sunday 6th June, closing at 23:55. To enter, go to my JustGiving page here and buy your virtual raffle tickets by donating £2 or more. £2 gets you 2 tickets, £3 gets you 3 tickets, £5 gets you 5 tickets and so on. The more you donate, the greater your chance of winning. You will need to leave your Instagram or Ravelry name, or tick the box to share your email address with me when you make your donation, so that I can contact you if you are the winner. This is really important as I have no way of knowing who you are otherwise. Each week, I still get donations where no name or email is left, so if that person's number comes up in the random number generator, I have no idea who it is! All your donations go the Myositis UK to help fund research into this incurable muscle disease, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support. Every single donation is important. Last week the total passed £17,000 - you really are amazing! Thank you and stay safe! xxx

 

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Grumpy knitter




It's not often that knitting makes me grumpy. It's generally my 'feel-good-me-time'. But my May rainbow socks are proving rather tiresome, to say the least. The yarn has been sat in deepest stash for some years, but when I decided to knit a year of rainbow socks, it felt like the perfect opportunity to use it. The yarn, from Mothy and the Squid, is a glorious rainbow of colour in a knitted sock blank. I haven't knitted from a sock blank before (where the yarn is already knitted up, dyed and then you unravel it to knit it) and this one was more complicated as the sock blank was actually made up of two strands that had been knitted up into a long and fairly narrow tube. It came with a little label attached to show which end to start unravelling from, and I decided that I would knit two at a time socks, but on separate circular needles as I would be unravelling both strands at the same time. Things soon went pear-shaped when I discovered that a couple of stitches had split the yarns so that it was impossible to carry on knitting without cutting the yarn and rejoining it. So I decided to go to the other end of the tube, cut the yarn at the halfway point and then wind two balls. Flo helped me with this!




Not long after starting to knit, I decided that I. Do. Not. Like. Knitting. With. Crinkly. Yarn. Not one little bit! It's impossible to get a neat knitted fabric with all the crinkles. I am just hoping that with a long soak and blocking that this issue will resolve itself. After all, the knitted tube looks perfectly fine, doesn't it? 






I think that if I was going to knit from a sock blank again, I'd unravel it, skein it up and soak it so it was straight to start off with. But that does seem like an awful lot of work for something that in theory should be very simple. I'm knitting on them in fits and starts (and didn't have any motivation to get them finished by the end of May!) and in the meantime, have cast on another pair of socks in gorgeously smooth and crinkle-free yarn. This is from Laura, who runs Bumbling Yarns and was her self-striping sock yarn from last month's club. I don't have a monthly membership, but when I saw her post a photo of the yarn on Instagram, I had a bad case of 'the wanties'! Laura also makes the wonderful Crafter's Balm which is very soothing for dry skin. The colours remind me of those Fruit Salad chewy sweets of my childhood! It's knitting up a dream. I'm going to knit short row heels in the pink contrast miniskein and pink toes too!





I'm going to push myself to try and finish the rainbow socks over the weekend, and I will definitely be picking out a lovely smooth yarn for my next socks! Stay safe and catch up soon. xxx

 

Friday, 28 May 2021

Fibre 4 Fibres Giveaway preview 59

After what has felt like a very cold, damp and dreary week, the sun has finally appeared here and the weather looks promising for the next few days. Thank goodness for that! It's a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, so the sunshine and warmer weather will be very welcome. I'm planning a weekend of selfish knitting as a break from all the secret projects I'm currently working on, as well as time to read.

This week's prize is a sock knitter's dream! The prize includes a cute sheep print project bag with lampwork glass bead stitched by my friend Michele who owns Three Bags Full in the USA. There is a sock set from Giddy Yarns which was donated by Sharon on Instagram. I bought some yarn she was destashing and she very kindly included a couple of extra skeins to use as prizes. This sock set is called 'Earl Grey and Lemon Cupcake' and it is as delicious as it sounds! There is a set of 5 miniskeins dyed in delicate pastel colours which has been donated by Shannon who runs Blue Fern Yarns and two balls of Drops Fabel sock yarn which has been donated by Sally and colleagues. To go with all this yarn, there is a Knit Pro Symfonie 2.5mm circular needle which has been donated by Suffolk Socks, a yarny notepad, pen and pin badge which are all from Lana Bou and 5 pretty stitch markers. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated a prize.













I'm sure that you know the score by now, but I'll tell you how to enter anyway! You have a chance to win all these gorgeous prizes for a minimum donation of £2! Are you tempted to try your luck? Here's everything you need to know. This giveaway will run this coming Sunday 30th May, closing at 23:55. To enter, go to my JustGiving page here and buy your virtual raffle tickets by donating £2 or more. £2 gets you 2 tickets, £3 gets you 3 tickets, £5 gets you 5 tickets and so on. The more you donate, the greater your chance of winning. You will need to leave your Instagram or Ravelry name, or tick the box to share your email address with me when you make your donation, so that I can contact you if you are the winner. This is really important as I have no way of knowing who you are otherwise. Each week, I still get donations where no name or email is left, so if that person's number comes up in the random number generator, I have no idea who it is! All your donations go the Myositis UK to help fund research into this incurable muscle disease, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support. Every single donation is important. Our next milestone to pass is £17,000 and I have everything crossed that we do that on Sunday! Thank you and stay safe! xxx

Friday, 21 May 2021

Fibre 4 Fibres Giveaway preview 58

It's not that long until midsummer and it's so cold! I'm sat here in woolly socks and a cardigan, and I've relented and put the heating on too! Crazy weather indeed. So this week's prize is hopefully going to encourage the warmer, sunny days to come nice and soon!

The prize includes a gorgeous, roomy French-style market basket with pink leather handles which has been donated by Basket Basket. Elephyn Rose on Instagram has donated 10 balls of Debbie Bliss 'Juliet' yarn (52% cotton and 48% acrylic) which is a summer tweed, perfect for a summery top. Jess from Hook and Cwtch has donated two skeins of gorgeous Pima cotton DK yarn. There are two skeins of Wendy Happy 4ply yarn which is a 75/25 bamboo and acrylic yarn. It has beautiful drape and would make a lovely shawl or scarf. The team over at Yarndale have donated a limited edition stainless steel drinking bottle, just right for keeping your drink nice and chilled (or lovely and hot if today's weather is anything to go by!) There are some pretty iridescent stitch markers which have been donated by Scarlet Stitchcraft and last but not least, there are a couple of postcards and a sticker! Thank you so much to everyone who has donated a prize.













I'm sure that you know the score by now, but I'll tell you how to enter anyway! You have a chance to win all these gorgeous prizes for a minimum donation of £2! Are you tempted to try your luck? Here's everything you need to know. This giveaway will run this coming Sunday 23rd May, closing at 23:55. To enter, go to my JustGiving page here and buy your virtual raffle tickets by donating £2 or more. £2 gets you 2 tickets, £3 gets you 3 tickets, £5 gets you 5 tickets and so on. The more you donate, the greater your chance of winning. You will need to leave your Instagram or Ravelry name, or tick the box to share your email address with me when you make your donation, so that I can contact you if you are the winner. This is really important as I have no way of knowing who you are otherwise. Each week, I still get donations where no name or email is left, so if that person's number comes up in the random number generator, I have no idea who it is! All your donations go the Myositis UK to help fund research into this incurable muscle disease, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support. Every single donation is important. Our next milestone to pass is £17,000. Thank you and stay safe! xxx