Archive for December, 2010

Idea for a Kimono-Style Pattern

Posted: December 21, 2010 in Ramblings

I’m having an idea for a knitting pattern.  Right now I’m finishing up my Lacy Night project (which will be shown after Christmas, because the shawl pin closure is still in transit).  After that, it’s back to the Max Sweater.  But then I might get around to this next idea.  I’ll put it here in case someone is looking for a big stashbuster easy project and would like to test-knit it.

Triple-stranded with laceweight yarns.   I’ll use Fleece Artist Saldanha, Unique Sheep Ling, and Jojoland Cashmere for the body and swap out the Jojoland for Henry’s Attic Cascade Lace for the sleeves.  (I really do need to do some serious stashbusting!)  Probably a size 7 needle.  Knit three big squares that are 20″ square.  Pick up stitches along one side of one square and another side of another square; join.  This will be your sleeve.  Knit until it is a sufficient length (mine will be about 20″ anyway).  Repeat on the other side of the center square with the remaining square for the other sleeve.  If desired, and if enough yarn is left, pick up stitches all around the edges.  K1inc around, then knit 12 rows to make a ruffle (remembering to increase three times in one stitch at each corner).  Bind off knitwise.  Weave in all ends.

The way I’m envisioning this, the fronts will hang down when it’s worn casually.  I’ll put a button inside the right front and a buttonhole (or yarn loop) outside the left front, to fold across like a cardigan.  Then I’ll use a shawl pin to close the outer right side to the left.

My thought, at least for my own version, is that because the body and sleeves will be variegated, I’ll do the ruffle in a coordinating solid yarn, maybe a green.

The Unique Sheep, Ling Yarn, “Waltz of the Flowers” Colorway
Fleece Artist Saldanha
Jojoland Lace Cashmere, dyed by Mom
Henry’s Attic Cascade Lace

Maybe hot pink for the ruffle!

Finished!

Posted: December 15, 2010 in Ramblings

The second version of Sacharissa’s Gloves is done.  (Two gloves.) 

Sacharissa Cripslock is a reporter for the Ankh-Morpork Times in the more recent Discworld novels.  The original design, shown in cream and brown with olive ribbon, is a color combination much more likely to occur in A-M than this garish 1980s look.  Still.  Maybe I can wear the newer ones with Diane’s 1980s colorblock ski jacket in similar colors?  Nah. 

The original gloves, with a ruffled cuff rather than a ribbed one.

I think these can only possibly be worn with a black coat.

Officially a “US Pick”

Posted: December 14, 2010 in Ramblings

Chris passed his naturalization test today and was sworn in as an American!  Congratulations from the “other” US Picks.

This suit hasn't seen the light of day since the 1999 Boole Christmas party.

Final Manicure Conclusions

Posted: December 13, 2010 in Ramblings

Six weeks of manicure experimentation have left me with the conclusion that “the old ways are the best ways.”

Original method:  OPI base coat, two coats of OPI color, OPI top coat.  Used to last me almost two full weeks.  Fully removes in about ten minutes using any kind of nail polish remover.

First experiment:  Creative Nail Designs’ “Shellac” products – base, two color coats, and top coat, UV treated.  Lasted me a little over a week because I started peeling them off when they started growing out.

Second experiment:  Same Shellac process with a different color.  Lasted me a little over a week because I started peeling them off when they started growing out. 

They say that if you keep repeating something with the expectation that it will turn out differently this time, it’s a sign of insanity.  Well, I’m not insane, so I stopped using the Shellac.  At this point I’d considered my experiments to be done.  I did the turquoise manicure (which you can vaguely see in the turquoise/chartreuse glove photo) using the Original Method.  This lasted less than two full weeks even though all three bottles were new product.

Third experiment:  Topped one of those nails with a Shellac top coat and treated under UV light.   This extended the turquoise on this nail for at least another week.  A good sign, I thought.

Yesterday I removed all the turquoise nail polish from all my nails.  The one with the Shellac on it took about six minutes of soaking in acetone nail polish remover.  Well, six minutes, no big deal, I read a book  while my finger soaked.

Fourth experiment (last night):  Did a full Original Method manicure on my left hand, then when dry, topped them all with Shellac top coat and treated under UV light.  I really thought this was going to be a winning procedure!   But the color I’d chosen looked bad – it was an old gold nail polish that appeared like molten gold in the bottle, but on the nail it was trailer trash glittery – so in frustration I decided to strip all the nails and leave them bare until just before we leave for vacation.

What I had failed to consider (when topping the Original manicure with Shellac) is that EACH NAIL takes six minutes, or more, to remove!  Luckily I had only done one hand, but even so, it was more than half an hour later when I was finally able to put the lid on the remover and wash my hands.

Conclusion:  Shellac just is not worth it.  I’d rather re-manicure every week than get two weeks’ wear out of a Shellac manicure and then spend 60 minutes to remove it.  Bleah.

Corollary:  I have a bottle of Shellac top coat, one bottle of base coat, and four colors, if anyone wants them!  But you do need a 36-watt UV light to cure it.

Another Thing about Dyeing

Posted: December 13, 2010 in Ramblings

I really don’t understand this next bit.  Perhaps someone (G-G?) with more dyeing experience can let me know.

This is the yarn I just dyed.

This is the yarn I’d used most of the chartreuse on, around 2004.
They look pretty similar, right?  Well, here is the pic I posted last week:  the poncho you see in the 2004 photo, after it was finished.  So it’s 6 years old.

Look how yellow this is!

This last photo is definitely what I call chartreuse.  The other ones look like lime, or grass green, in places.  I might have believed that the dye in the jar had changed color over time, except that the photo of the beginning of the poncho matches the stuff I just dyed last week.  So it makes me wonder if this glove will fade/alter to a much yellower green over time…?  Anyone know?

Complete!

Posted: December 12, 2010 in Ramblings

Now, I only knit one of these gloves because it was a simple revision of a previous pattern.  I wanted to design a revised inner glove for people who didn’t like the ruffle approach.  So that’s what this is all about.  Ravelers can find this pattern by searching “Sacharissa’s Gloves” in the pattern database, or by looking up my (Kaleidocherry) patterns.  This single glove took me 2 days (not counting the dye time) and yes, double-faced ribbon would have worked better.  But here it is.

I need a new manicure.

Important Things about Dying

Posted: December 10, 2010 in Ramblings

Ha, whoops, I meant dyeing.  As in dyeing yarn.

I don’t do this very often.  For one thing, my color sense needs instant gratification, so I tend to buy predyed yarns for that reason alone.  For another reason, my yarns don’t always turn out as envisioned.  (Rephrase that:  the yarn has never matched my vision.)  But my finished skeins often seem to satisfy me regardless.  For the third reason, it’s messy and takes a lot of time.

Well – no.  Microwave dyeing doesn’t take that much time, and it’s not that messy.  So that was today’s project.  I want to design and knit a pair of fingerless gloves with Kraemer Yarns’ “Sterling Silk & Silver” (a sock-weight yarn with real silver strands in it).  So, on hand here are six colors:  tomato red, chestnut brown, peacock blue, denim blue, dark navy, and undyed.  I need two colors for these gloves.  Tomato red and brown?  Possible, but boring.  Brown and peacock blue?  Also possible, and that was my top choice for a while (during the mental glove-design-time).  I need all the dark navy for a cardigan project, so that’s out.  Peacock blue and undyed?  Yeah, but the white will get dirty.  Blah, blah, blah, my usual indecision.  None of these color combos really grabbed me.

Since these gloves only take one skein of each color (well, much less than one skein), I had a rummage around in my dye box to see if there was anything that would go with the colors on hand.  Blah.  Jet black, fuchsia, vermilion, azalea…really, nothing that seemed to go!  It seemed like I’d actually need to – gack! – go out and buy more yarn.  No!

Well…no.  There is no cash to spare for yarn, especially when this house contains a ton of yarn (and dye) already.

But after a further rummage around – VOILA!  A mostly-empty jar of Jacquard’s Chartreuse dye. 

Yarn dyed with Chartreuse, ca. 2004.

This is what the chartreuse dye was mostly used for. 

 

Suddenly the vision struck me:  use this for one color, and the peacock blue for the other color.  Yeah!  Eyesore galore!  (But you all know how I am about screamingly annoying colors.)  There was just about enough dye to do one skein.  So I used the microwave dyeing technique to dye this one skein, and now that it’s done, here are the Important Things about Dyeing that I learned and want to share with you:

  1. Dye in the pot…or dye in the water…does not necessarily match the color it will be on the yarn.
  2. A dye pot really, really needs to be big enough for the yarn.
  3. When you dye a skein, you won’t be able to use it until tomorrow.

Yes, items 2 and 3 are old hat, but they still made a difference today.  I was going for an allover chartreuse color, and ended up with a sort of banded semisolid skein.  Bands of pale, bands of medium, big sections of dark.  This is because the dye pot was too small for the yarn to expand freely.  This particular item is a toughie when you’re microwave dyeing, because you need a pot that will allow the yarn to swim freely but also fit in the microwave.  Difficult.  Maybe someone should invent a very long microwave.  Then we could have long skinny dye pots so the skein could be stretched out completely!

Item 3, well, I was really raring to go on these gloves, but by choosing to use dyed yarn, it guarantees that I can’t start them until tomorrow or even the next day.  Since it’s raining here, the yarn is drying in the master bathroom (hanging over the shower head).  Air-drying takes a long time, but you can’t machine-dry dyed wool, or it might felt.

But item 1!  I’d forgotten about this.  The jar was clearly marked Chartreuse, but the powder in the jar was mustard-colored.  (Urgh, nobody wants mustard-colored yarn, do they?)  After mixing it with some citric acid and warm water and stirring until the clumps broke up, the resultant liquid was a deep olive green.  But I kept the faith and dyed the yarn, and after a good rinsing outside, here’s what turned out.

Chartreuse Sock Yarn, 2010

So my final Important Thing about Dyeing is that if you’re laid back and willing to accept some variations in your vision, things will usually come out all right!

Check back in a few days for pics of the gloves in process.