Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Putting on the Swift

Today I finally and properly utilize my swift as I am in need of dyeing some yarn to finish a hat. I am actually over dyeing as I am dyeing over an existing color to get some degrees of Burgundy. I am also superstitious with salt, so what you see me doing after the salt fell is putting some salt over my shoulder lol! There will be pictures of the yarn after I am done dyeing it. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Swift in the Making

What is a swift? A swift is a tool used to hold a skein of yarn while it is being wound off. It has an adjustable diameter so that it can hold skeins of many sizes, and rotates around a central rod. They are generally made out of wood or metal, however other materials may also be used. In the 18th and 19th centuries, swifts were sometimes made of whale ivory and they are now sought-after antiques. Swifts are not used very much in the textile industry, but are used more by knitters and crocheters who buy their yarn in skein form. The swift allows for easy balling, without the yarn getting tangled and knotted.
I will tell you, that I, like anyone else, enjoy sponsoring people and their businesses. I have seen swifts made out of plastic, cheap wood and you tell me you tell me you want $50 or $70 or even $80 for something as simple as a swift? I know I can make it by myself and maybe on my own. Before I started my head spinning I decided to google this and I found my response to making my Own Swift HERE . This guy's swift idea is great, I went for version 2 with some enhancements of my own. I could not find my chisel so in way for me to get this edged in the wood I used my saw and a screw driver.
This is the end result, I was very happy because I was able to make these indentations in the wood, because this is were these arms cross to make an X, you will see in another post.

Sand before staining the wood, once the wood is dry and before you varnish you sand the project lightly again.

Then you varnish once, after it is dry, you can lightly sand the project once more, then you varnish second time. You may or may not do it a third time. I chose a satin finish, it looks very nice. If I was going to make this again, I would pick a Stain and Polyurethane mix, or I would pick the Gel Stain which has the polyurethane in it as well. , thus avoiding one step. You could stain and varnish in one step , I would recommend it very much so, less mess and faster results.
As you can see Crafty Andy has been busy making himself a swift. There will be some pictures and maybe some video later on. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bare Necessities from Knit Picks

One of the things that I discover as I go along my journey of Craftsmanship is to enjoy the craft and the process of learning. Knit Picks allows me to do this easily with their bare yarn. There are other companies like Dharma (here in California) , but for now I am comfortable with Knit Picks and the choices they have to offer.


I am also done with the Easy Head Hugger from Danny Oullette, Malabrigo is not the best yarn for this pattern, but I wanted to make the hat in this yarn. The colorway is very distracting from the chevrons on the lower band. Going back to Knit Picks a great deal for little money and the ability to paint it yourself! You can not beat such a great deal!

Well I hope you enjoy the video is in HD and I am playing around with videos as well, so have fun as well, thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Easy Head Hugger by Danny Oullette

Easy Head Hugger by Danny Oullette can be found HERE. is a great pattern to make and it only takes about 50 grams of malabrigo, it took me a bit more as I was not knitting as tight as I Usually knit. I could have gone down a needle size or half a size and that would have taken care of that situation. The hat has a loop at the bottom of the back like most of my hats.

Once I was done with the hat I went around the neighborhood to take pictures and show off my hat. This hat took me a bit of time as I am retraining myself to knit in a different way than before . My new way is a lot more relaxed and a lot less tight than before. It is a pleasure to knit this hat without having to deal with a lot of the tension. The pattern is better suited for a single color, but I wanted to see what it would look like in this Loro Barranquero Malabrigo. It is better in one solid color, but what can I say it goes with the scarf that I am very close to finish.
So there are more Danny Hats to come in the near future, I actually have one for a sweater I will be making, Hat, scarf and sweater combo what a Hoot! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Spring 09 Everyone

Are you ready for the most fun ever? Alan Dart has gotten PDF Downloads on his site and will be adding more next month. I just got this Yorkie Knit Pattern PDF, a great value for $3.72 at this moment or £ 2.50, I have been able to get the link the the patterns for stuffed animals that are really to die for. I admire Alan for his accomplishment of great realism in knit patterns. Please go and visit him and get some PDF patterns HERE, you will not be disappointed, they are in knit format and he accepts PAY PAL! I think is a great deal, I have never seen patterns like his, and now they are available for download.
I hope the Spring of 2009 brings us lots of fun. I can feel the change in the air, the economy will turn around very unexpectedly, but not really. A lot of cash has been infused and I believe consumer confidence is back. Those people at AIG I say "Never cheat a Klingon unless you're sure you can get away with it." rule of acquisition #192. I just can't believe that you think you deserve a bonus after what has happened. We shall leave it at that, in the meantime there is yarn to dye for!I like this picture it shows the movement in yarn, is funky. So what I am doing with the yarn, well if you are interested in purchasing a specif skein let me know, but otherwise I am planning to make hats and maybe some scarves, The sock yarn is definitely for socks and there is no limit to the fun I am having. As I am learning about colors , I am learning about fibers and the chemistry of dyeing. Cotton is more difficult to dye than wool, but synthetics like acrylic, that's something left for the manufacturing process. Show and tell will continue as I am more and more involve into dyeing. I ordered some samples from the Knit Picks bare yarns and let's see if I can apply what I have learned so far about dyeing yarn. It can be fun if you take all the precautions needed to protect yourself from the chemicals. Well I hope you enjoy the video and thanks for stopping by.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Experiments in Teal Dyeing

Paton's merino wool dyed in Teal, also called teal blue, is equal parts blue and green. The color gets its name from the fact that it surrounds the eyes of the common teal, a member of the duck family. The complementary color of teal is coral pink.

The Skein above was achieved by immersing, (dipping) a section of about 4 to 6 inches of the yarn for a limited time, or rather a timed section of time. 4 minutes to begin with, pulling that section and soaking a new section of yarn for 8 minutes, while the previous section rests on the outside of the pot. You continue increasing the time , let's say 20 minutes, then 40 and then less than 2 minutes, for the clearer part of the teal. This is one of the easiest ways of creating a measurable colorway than may be reproduced. When dealing with reproducible ways of making color measurements are the key, same amount of water from the same source and quality (chlorine free , filtered, distilled, bottled, et cetera), vinegar (white or red or yellow) and the dye itself in milliliters or better yet weighted. I like to weight them rather than measure the liquid. In my opinion is more accurate, but maybe not.

I used a "GLAD Brand"plastic bag as they are sturdy to place the yarn as it was being processed, in the way there was a bowl where the excess liquid was dripping. When I was done dyeing it was time to wrap the yarn like a burrito in the plastic wrap, then put it in a plastic container in the microwave and nuke it for 2 minutes, letting it rest for two minutes, then repeating 2 or 3 more times. Once your yarn is done cooking, let it cool down,or rinse it quickly in cool water. You may also prepare a cool bath with water and half a cup of vinegar and put it in locking the color. I leave my yarn in that kind of rinse for about 5 to 10 minutes then test it to see if it is still bleeding color. If so another vinegar soak for a longer time is needed, then 10 to 15 minutes more. When you are doing Kool Aid, the water where it was soaking comes out usually clear, it's amazing.

The end product is the last skein. This is a Paton's Merino Classic Wool. I went to bed in Pleasantville in a black and white world and Woke Up in a World full of Color! Pleasantville is an Academy Award-nominated 1998 film written, produced, and directed by Gary Ross. Released by New Line Cinema in Canada on September 17, and stars Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, Marley Shelton, William H. Macy, Joan Allen, and Jeff Daniels. Don Knotts, Paul Walker, Jane Kaczmarek and J. T. Walsh are also featured. I have found something that I really enjoy and that I find myself navigating toward all the time. Most of the yarn that I have bought comes from hand dyed skeins. I can now produce such skeins and in the colors that I like and want. Wool is a lot easier to dye and a lot of fun, it can be non-toxic with food grade coloring, you can never go wrong with utilizing glass and stainless steel containers as they are extremely resistant to absorbing anything. This is it for today thanks for stopping by and maybe soon a video instruction on how to dye some yarn, it will be fun!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Crazy About Color

Yep I am crazy about color. I think that one of life's biggest pleasure comes from the sense of sight, the second is tactile and the third is smell, then the fourth is taste and lastly but not least important is hearing. Maybe I am crazy , but I find myself engulfed in the experience of that which we call LIFE. I love Dyeing yarn, I just found a new true love for something that will bring me a lot of joy. I will try to describe techniques I like and techniques I discover as I take you along my journey in later posts. By the way I bought the Kit from this EBay Store, but she has An Etsy Store as well . WC Mercantile.

Above and below are my latest creations mostly wool, Cotton is very challenging and too much work in my opinion. Wool, bamboo, silk and such are easier to dye and thus more satisfying. You have stove top, microwave, crock pot method, and even the old time favorite of just staining something by mere chemical reactions. Your chemical binding - reaction is preceded and or in conjunction with laying down your colors, or applying them to the material. There comes intensity, subtlety and hues of colors. I think that mostly I like Hand Dyeing because is Chemistry and I love my Sciences! Dyeing can be fun , but you need to take the precautions of protecting yourself from the chemicals, never forget fun has it's daring part.

Some of the yarn is dyed by timing the dipping of the yarn, dip the first few inches for 10 seconds, then let 6 more inches steep 5 minutes , then 10 minutes for the next 6 inches , then 20, 40 and so on and you will have a gradient in your dye. Squirt your color, brush your color, sponge , decant your color you have so many choices.
Then when your yarn is dried you have presentation, will you believe that these two skeins are the same skein of yarn? Which would you buy, If you could smell a hint of Lavender in one, which would you buy? Presentation is an important part of your product!
I want to thank you for stopping by and allowing me in your home. There will be more postings, but not today. I have plenty to study about color mixing, potion making and just plain having fun. If you can not have fun and joy it is not worth doing. Remember your inner child and let it have fun with the colors!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's all about Yarn Dyeing

Could this be my new Hobby? Who knows, but one thing I know is that dyeing yarn by hand is a lot of fun. I did my research and the yarn is soaked half an hour, 30 minutes in warm like water with some liquid dish soap added two drops, you may add some vinegar at this time to the water or not,but for soaking plain water and dish soap any container will do. Half and hour later, squeezing the excess water out from the yarn, the yarn is ready for the already made dyes.
The second step is a bit tricky and the best thing you can do is to use mason jars or to use the same plastic containers all the time. Remember that you should mark these containers for reuse for dyeing only. Never use these containers for anything else as some dyes, even vegetable dyes may be harmful to you, on your skin, inhaled. Anyway they are chemicals whether from vegetable nature or not, rubber gloves, latex, vinyl they will serve to preserve your alabaster skin beautiful.
The second step is to have your color mixes ready according to the instructions you have, vinegar is very important when it comes to dyeing wool, it sets the color in. For this project I even had some kool aid solution (light Yellow), and some food coloring(Blue). Nevertheless the colors that I have here are Chery, Aztec Gold and Turquoise from the EBay store. You can buy them from Knit Picks at a better deal. I only good enough for the two skeins that you saw, but I Imagine that I could have used all the color on 100 grams of wool. I stretched it and experimented adding and combining them. I had plastic bags on top of a towel on the kitchen floor, there was very little mess, I can say almost none.
Once you are ready you paint your yarn. I would recommend paint by the numbers and rinsing your gloved hands, from color to color. You may use a brush for each color, this will allow you to keep your hands clean to handle the yarn. when you are satisfied the yarn is to your liking, is time to take the yarn and make a burrito with the plastic bag or plastic wrap. This needs to be a very good plastic or it will melt in the microwave. Yep you are going to take your yarn and make a roll, then make like a cinnamon bun and microwave the yarn 2 minutes, letting it rest 2 minutes x 3 , yep 3 times. Once the yarn is done cooking, lol, be careful handling the hot plastic wrapping, you can use lukewarm water to rinse. I allowed my yarn to stay in a clear water bath with some vinegar to help set the color better for 15 minutes then I proceeded to get the excess water out and hang them to dry.
These pictures are very very close to the real color of these skeins, I am so proud of myself, because this is something that I know I can do. I can create my own color yarn, it is cheaper to buy unfinished wool and dye the color you want. If you keep all your measurements and timings the same for the process, you should end up with the same colorway every time. Thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My First Hand Dyed Skeins

This yarn that you see here is the same yarn that is in a ball . It is Crystal Palace Iceland wool and I thought that since I got a Dyeing Kit on EBay at this EBAY STORE , I might as well try using some Kool Aid too. The light blue is a mixture of food coloring and yellow kool aid, the rest is part of the original kit.
This yarn below is the same as above, I thought it would be a great idea to try and dye it. It was a lot of fun to dye your own yarn, very creative and I am sure that I would get very good at it with time. I rinsed both skeins of wool and allowed them to sit in a bath with some vinegar to help set the color in. I was glad my bathroom sink is black.
This that you see below is the wool/bamboo/nylon sock yarn that I will be making a pair of socks with. I was very excited to see the yarn turning colors and to mix the colors or rather blend them as they found each other. I used latex gloves as these dyes will dye your skein and anything that comes in contact with. An unexpected surprise to make your own colorway. I can replicate it if I have to because you have to go with measure ingredients. I hope you en joy the video that will follow as well. Thanks for stopping by!
I hope this video is fun for you guys as it was early, the beginning and the end result.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

More Yarn Porn Mar 09

This is some old yarn, but I believe I have not shown it by itself in it's glorious shine for each skein and my review of what I like about it. Yarn has to be touched otherwise it is just eye candy right!
Joann Sensations Kashmira is not a bad looking yarn and it feels soft, but it has nothing extraordinary besides,that. It is a great price and it is wool. It has many colors.
Noro is another story, Kureyon Sock yarn is a beautiful yarn to make hats, scarves (brioche!!!!) and socks. I have washed and dried socks made out of this yarn in my house and they require nothing more. No felting, no shrinking, this is a great yarn for socks if you want them to be washable, imagine if you just dry them flat and handwash the? Beautiful isn't it?
I got four skeins of this yarn for the holidays, 2 of each colorway S182 and S185. I would buy Noro anytime. The only thing it has pieces of mother nature in it, it twirls a lot and it is rough for the first 3 or 4 washings, maybe if we condition it like hair, with a good shampoo and conditioner it may have a different behavior.
Icelandic wool is one of my favorite wools, I was lucky to run into this one at the Men Who Knit Retreat on the West Coast. I am planning to dye this skein, some beautiful green or multicolor.
Fortissima is a yarn that I will have the opportunity to make socks with soon, there is a great pattern from Skacel that was given to us with these skeins of yarn, two white and one black skein.
I prefer the black skein more than the white skein , it is probably because It has a lot of specks of color s in it.
Briar Rose Fibers Sonoma yarns are sensuous and have a great feeling. There is a lot of yarn on this skein to be able to make a hat and a pair of gloves. There may be one of my projects for next winter.
This is one of the most beautiful skeins from perchance to knit. 65 merino, 35 bamboo, very soft and it feels springy, it is a lot of skein enough to make a pair of socks.

So here it is Sunday, I have uploaded 100's of pictures to flickr and there are more to come, have to go to knit on my scarf and hat made with the Loro Barranquero from Malabrigo. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Ebay Yarn Porn Mar 09

As of Apr 06/2009 I decided to use the yarn I bought from this Ebay Store, the Black Yarn that I bought at the same time I bought this one is no good. One of the skeins has five knots in it, not very happy, I wonder if the second one will be the same "THE GOLDEN ONE". I wrote the seller to let them know. I solved the situation by fusing it, but I would not buy this kind of yarn from this seller again. Will keep you updated

The Yarn-Barn Ebay Store
50% Merino Wool 50% Silk Blend Yarn
6 skeins - 100 Yds each (all are one lot)
Light Sport Wgt /Heavy Finger Wgt - WPI 18
Suggested Needle 3 / Hook D
600 yds total - Approx. 6oz
Sunset (Golden Orange tone)
Nothing better than to start the month with some new Yarn. This economy has put me on a yarn diet, but it has made me more picky. I am actually buying yarn for possible projects. I think you should go and check this store out, I liked the ran that I got from them is not ultra soft, but it feels like good quality and the store's feedback speaks for itself. I order another one of this in black, well, I actually went into an auction. Still they do have some nice lots of wool for Buy it Now prices, This is all for today, thanks for stopping by!

Almost two years without blogging August 2020

Life can be a bowl of strawberries when cheries are not available.   It has been almost two years since I have been in this blog.  I have s...