Hotel Knitting

I just returned from an institute with my graduate school in Denton. We had to go for a two day orientation for a class and, let me tell you, listening to lectures from 8am to 5pm for two days was a little torturous. I searched for the best knitting project to take. My favored project at the moment is the Comfy blanket, but with roughly a foot long and 40 inch wide swatch of blanket hanging off the cable, it’s not exactly a lap sized project anymore. Although knitters know we can knit and listen at the same time, non-knitters sometimes aren’t understanding. So I wanted to take a smaller project. I ended up pulling out a baby blanket I started… I can’t recall when. A year ago maybe? It’s a simple little garter stitch number worked corner to corner. Then you go back and add a fancy border. I’d love to link to the project but I got it from the Knitting Fairy and I can’t find it online. Actually, I can’t even find my print copy of the pattern right now, so once I hit the halfway point I need to go get another copy from her. The yarn is Cascade Cherub DK in Ballerina 504.

I ended up not even knitting the first day because the professor was getting such an attitude about people not taking notes. I’m not a note taker, ever. I never go back and read the notes I took so I rarely see a reason to do it, but whatever. Also, I think that by the end of my Master’s degree, I should be able to decide whether I’d like to take notes. I don’t need some overbearing professor dictating my actions.

The second day, our actual professor was gone and we only had the teacher assistants but I still didn’t knit much. The only time I really did any knitting was after I finished a mountain of homework but before bed at the hotel.

So I thought I’d share some pictures of where I spent the last two days. It was a pretty nice hotel considering how cheap it was.

baby blanket hotel hotel1

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A Yarn Bouquet Only a Mother Could Love

I put together the yarn bouquet for my Mom and gave it to her on Mother’s Day. When I first put it together I wasn’t crazy about how it came out, but luckily I had some fake greenery sitting around. Once I added that it looked much more bouquet like.

The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash. I didn’t take down the colors but, as you can see, it’s four kinds of purple. It may be Amethyst, Wisteria, Periwinkle, and Light Iris. The stems are ChiaoGoo straight needles.

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I enjoyed how much the yarn bouquet echoed the real bouquet I got my grandmother.

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Finished Projects: The World’s Pinkest Hat

So last night I decided to skip what would’ve been my first trip to the knit night at Starbucks ( I was feeling bummed from some bad news) and stayed home to power through and finish the hat I was working on. The pattern is Capucine by Adela Illichmanova and I knit it in Cascade 128 that I dyed with Kool-Aid.

The pattern is super easy to follow and knit up pretty quickly. I don’t like mine nearly as much as the example photo for the pattern, but it was fit for bulky weight yarn and I was eager to knit up what I had dyed. The hat is kind of kooky and looks cute on but I’ll be giving it away. I just don’t like pink that much, but I’m sure I know someone who does.

I may make another of these eventually since it was quick and easy. I would really like to make one more like the example.

 

It's looking less pink here

It’s looking less pink here

Borrowed from the Ravelry page for the pattern.

 

An ounce of prevention…

…is worth a pound of cure.

That’s what I was telling myself yesterday as I sat untangling yarn. If you noticed in my last post about dyeing yarn, I briefly mentioned that the Cascade 128 yarn had gotten tangled during the dyeing process.

I may have underestimated how bad it was.

After allowing the yarn to dry over night, I woke up to the beautiful sight of the reddish-pink yarn practically glowing in the sunlight. I was ready to wind it into balls and cast on… something. I hadn’t actually selected a project yet, but I wouldn’t let that slow me down (too much).

I remembered that the yarn was tangled,  and had attempted to remedy that last night, to no success. I thought it might be easier once it was dry.

I sat down with the first hank of yarn and started untangling. I ended up with the hank around my neck while watching Montana Sky (a very cheesy Lifetime adaptation of a Nora Robert’s novel that I only like because I find the actor John Corbett so charming).  After maybe 15 minutes I gave up and decided that it was good enough to throw on the swift and started winding. After a few initial tangles, it was good to go. One down!

The second skein was a whole other issue. I spent probably 20 minutes untangling on the couch without making much headway. I got frustrated and put it on the swift the best I could. It was a big mess with strands hanging down in all directions. Winding on the ball winder was out of the question. I ended up spending another 40 minutes painstakingly winding by hand: inch by tangled inch. I could wrap more than a few inches without having to fix a significant snare.

Had this dyeing attempt come out slightly less likeable, I would’ve given up. Had the yarn been cheaper, I would’ve given up. Had the yarn not been so incredibly fluffy and soft or had there been more than 128 yards in the hank, I would’ve given up. But, darn it, I loved the cheery pinks and reds, and the silky fluff of this yarn and I was determined to fix the problem. My perseverance paid off and I ended up with two perfectly wound balls of my own colorful creation.

Here’s where the prevention should’ve come in.

When I untwisted the hanks I realized they were only tied in one place. In my experience, commercially produced yarn typically has three or four ties keeping the hank nice and orderly.

In doing my mini-hanks of Cestari (for the rainbow dye job), I did two ties, and those were really small. So I’m not sure why it never registered to be that I should maybe possibly probably  definitely add a few more ties to keep things in order. That simple act would’ve saved me close to two hours of untangling and winding. The other thing that would’ve helped would have been to tie the hanks in an acrylic yarn (that wouldn’t pick up dye) so the ties would be easy to spot and remove.

Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.

 

That being said, I did cast on, and nearly finish, the rainbow hat for Baby Roman (or his sister, if it turns out too big) from the Kool-Aid yarn. So that will be coming soon.

Dessert Yarn: Part 2 – The Process

After my last Dessert Yarn post, I learned that Kool-Aid is actually better than Jell-O for dyeing with because it comes in small, sugar-free packets in a variety of bright shades. I realize now that Kool-Aid may have been what I originally heard of this process being done with, and I just got mixed up.

Researching the process got me all excited and I was determined to start my yarn dyeing project almost immediately. So I decided to rush around after work and make all the preparations. This included going to Madtosh in Fort Worth to look for undyed yarn because I know they have a section of it there. (I’ll leave out my grousing over the terrible traffic en route and my own terrible navigating). They didn’t have the weight I wanted at easy reach and I was trying to hurry to get out the door before they closed. I did get some Cascade 128 (which is a chunky yarn) to try out.

Cascade 128 Yarn

Cascade 128 Yarn

My next stop was to Jennings Street Yarn (just down the road for Madtosh) to get a replacement for my broken Dreamz needle and to pick up my new Nova set (YAY!). I decided to check out what they had as far as dyeable yarn and picked up a skein of worsted weight.

Cestari Traditional Collection. 100% Wool

Cestari Traditional Collection.
100% Wool

Then I trekked back to Arlington to hit the grocery store for dinner supplies and, of course, a trillion Kool-Aid packets. I wanted to do rainbow shades so I found myself in the Wal-Mart isle having to ask myself “what Kool-Aid flavor is indigo?”.

So much Kool-Aid

So much Kool-Aid

I won’t post a full tutorial of how to dye with Kool-Aid here because there are already some fantastic posts out there about it. I used the following two for reference.

Dyeing with Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid Dyed Yarn

I mixed each color into a disposable bowl and put roughly a seventh of the Cestari yarn into each bowl, then nuked them in the microwave.

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Bowls of Kool-Aid Dye.
Cherry Red, Peach Mango Orange, Lemonade Yellow, Lemon-Lime Green, Mixed Berry Blue, Mixed Berry/Grape Indigo, Grape Violet

I got pretty good at sectioning off an ounce and a half (the yarn is wet, so this isn’t really accurate) on the food scale and winding it into a mini-skein during the two minutes that the previous bowl was heating.

Makeshift swift

Makeshift swift

Yarn or spaghetti?

Yarn or spaghetti?

Then the yarn was rinsed and set out to dry .

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Drying Yarn

For now, here’s a list of random things about my dyeing process:

  • Did I dye my hands? Almost immediately 
  • Was there cat hair in the dye? Of course
  • I was the most happy with the Cherry yarn and how the color came out so rich
  • I was least happy with the grape and indigo. Both are a little dingy and the indigo didn’t pick up the blue and purple evenly.
  • The tutorial said that the water would turn clear as the yarn soaked up the dye and I didn’t believe it… but it really does!
  • O’Malley was really fascinated by my temporary chair swift and watching the yarn unwind.
  • The funniest part of the evening is when Cullen attempted to leap onto the table as it was covered in bowls of dye and I panicked and tried to block him.
  • He managed to land gracefully in an empty spot… but then knocked one over just walking past it.
  • While the yarn set, I did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, and wrote the post. 🙂

Additionally, I decided to dye the Cascade using a dip dye method.

Testing colors

Testing colors

This was far more complicated than the other process. It didn’t come out exactly how I wanted but I think it’s pretty. I had to dip a portion of the hank into a Pyrex pan of one dye color, nuke, rinse, then start over with another color. Finally, I dunked both hanks into a “wash” of Cherry Red.

Overall, the affect was nice, except I totally tangled the two hanks of Cascade.

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Left to right:
Pink Lemonade, Strawberry Kiwi, Watermelon, Strawberry, Cherry, Black Cherry