Friday, March 18, 2011

Dying with Kool-Aid

Last year, I decided I wanted to give my hand a try at dying yarn.  I'd been seeing a lot of craft projects worked up with hand-dyed yarn and thought it looked so amazing.  The trouble with this plan is 1) I'd never dyed yarn and had no clue what to do and 2) Little fingers getting into the dye and getting hurt.  But then I saw where people had dyed yarn using Kool-Aid.  You know that drink from your childhood.  So I thought, Awesome!  This is something I can try and it's non-toxic.

So I did.

Here's the process I used to Kool-Aid dye two skeins of Debbie Stoller's Full 'O Sheep 100% Natural Wool (colorway Little Lamb).

Tools Needed: 100% Natural Wool, Packages of Kool-Aid in color choice(s), Pan, Pot, Water, & Space for drying

First: Unravel you're yarn and tie loosely.  This will allow the dye to reach all the yarn.

Second: Pull out your Kool-Aid packages.  I used two packs of Black Cherry and two packs of Lemonaide. (I had kind of tie-dyed effect with the yarn, where the color is lighter in areas.  Next time I will use more Kool-Aid for a stronger, and hopefully more even, dying.)

Third: Soak your yarn in a very luke warm water bath.  If the water is too hot it could start to felt and you don't want that.

Fourth: While you're yarn is soaking, you want all the yarn to get good and saturated, fill a pot with water and let that water start to warm on the stove.

Fifth: Just before the water starts to boil, remove from heat and drop in your Kool-Aid packs and give it a stir.

Sixth: Gently place your presoaked yarn in the Kool-Aid water.  Stir gently around to help the dye reach all the nooks and cranies of the yarn or just swirl around to help create a kind of tie-dyed effect.  Becareful not to cause too much agitation however, because you do not want to felt the yarn.

Seventh: Let your yarn sit in the water.  The yarn will start to absorb the dye from the water, and you will see you're yarn become colorful.

Eighth: Once the yarn has cooled and absorbed all the dye, remove from the pans and place in a fresh pan of water, roughly the same temperature as the yarn. Rinse the yarn (You can use a mild soap to wash the yarn.).

Ninth: Once your yarn is rinsed, gently wring it out to get as much excess water out of the yarn as you can.  Then hang you're yarn and allow it to dry.

Tenth: Roll, wind or ball your Kool-Aid dyed yarn and use!

There are a lot of great tutorials online for dying with Kool-Aid. Just Google How to Dye Yarn with Kool-Aid and you'll get about 1,250,000 results.  I read many of these tutorials and watched some YouTube videos and thought, this is something I can do.

And it really was that easy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A February Lady

Here she is!  Isn't she won-der-ful?!

I might have mentioned, in my last post I think, that I was doing a few KALs. (Knit A-Longs) This was the KAL for the February Ladies Sweater that the Knit Wits Podcast was hosting for the month of February.

Since I'd been eying this pattern for awhile and loving the FOs I saw on Raverly, I grabbed my nose and dove in.  A LOT of firsts for me.  Well, the overall project was a first.  My very first sweater.

But I took a big gulp and did my first buttonholes, My first sleeves, Not my first lace but it was a lot of lace! First time casting on stitches mid-row.  All those firsts!  And I loved it!

Loved it so much I can't wait to make more. This is a wonderful pattern, and is very easy to follow and memorize.  At first glance, read through, it might seem a bit confusing for a first time sweater knitter.  But it all comes together if you take your time.

Here are the notes, I made for the sweater while working it up.  I don't have Pre and Post Block measurements yet, mainly because I haven't blocked it yet.  But I'll update the post once I have them.  Soon.  Very soon!

FO Notes:

  • Cast on for size smaller because I wanted that upsidedown V look to the sweater.
  • I made my buttonholes all in the garter stitch yoke, because I wasn’t crazy about the look of the other sweaters where the last buttonhole was down into the lace. But I think next time I will space them out a little farther apart.
  • I chose not to do the full length sleeves or even to the elbow. When I cast on for the sleeves I realized I wanted my instant gratification to last longer. Blame it on the rising temps here in the south. So I cropped the sleeves and by doing this I only needed two skeins of yarn.
  • I did 18 repeats of Gull Lace for body and the 1.5 inch border.
  • For the sleeves, I did 4 repeats of the Gull Lace and then 4 rows of garter stitch for the border. I didn’t want my border to overwhelm the lace. Especially with my cutting the sleeves so much shorter.
  • Also for the sleeves I used a 16 inch cir. I couldn’t imagine using a 12 in cir like the pattern called for. At times working the lace was tight even on the 16 in.


Friday, February 4, 2011


On my way to work this morning, I was thinking that I needed to blog.  It's been awhile.  Only I wasn't sure what to knit about.  But as I was driving along and listening to a new-to-me podcast the idea struck me.  I would talk about the Knit-A-Longs.

First time I attempted a Knit-A-long (KAL) was last year around this same time.  It was a bunch of folks on Twitter. I am sad to say that project is still on my needles, buried in the bottom of my knitting bag. I'm not sure if it's the yarn or what, but I just dread the thought of working on that project. So if I can find any other project to work on, I do.  Hence the still on the needles part after a year.

However, I did not let this travesty prevent me from jumping on board to do more KALs this year.

My LYS (local yarn store) mentioned back in December that they were going to host a sock-along KAL for 2011.  The KAL would feature a different sock pattern and different yarn for each month of the year.  Since I've wanted to learn to knit socks and my hubby had been after me to knit him some socks, I thought why the heck not!  Let's do this!  So I did. I actualled started and finished knitting my first pair of socks in January.  And boy did I learn a lot! Whew!  But the cool part was knitting along side all the other ladies working the sock-along.  It was fun to see everyone's progress and finished object (FO).

For January, we did the Ann Norling Basic Adult Sock pattern. (This is a Raverly Link. If you're not a member of Raverly you can click here.)  It's not a free pattern, but because I joined the sock-along, and bought the featured yarn at my LYS, they tossed in the pattern for free.  So score! 

The sock yarn featured in the January sock was S.R. Kertzer On Your Toes. Everyone else loved this yarn.  As for me, the juries still out.  It was a little stiff to work with for me. But that could have been because it was my first time knitting a sock and using the double pointed needles (dpns).  It was very different let me tell you.  But after working on the new sock last night, I can tell I'm learning.  Things went so much easier.  My cast on and joining worked the first try!  GO ME!

I enjoyed myself so much that I climbed on board for the February sock.  I cast on and got a good start on it last night. It's an independant designer pattern and I haven't seen it on Raverly yet.  But once it is I'll link it.  But the yarn is awesome.  It's Karabella Aurora 4 in hot pink.  Well, it's not really a hot hot pink, or atleast not what I would call a hot hot pink. But I do love it.  It's a fun color.  Can't wait to see (and wear) the final product because this yarn is so squishy.  I love it.

So, you may be thinking wow, cool KAL.  And it is.  But it's not the only one.  Oh no.  You know me, I'm a glutton.  GLUTTON I tell you!

When I heard about the KAL for the February Ladies Sweater on the Knit Wits podcast I knew I had to join in.  I've had this pattern in my que for awhile, but it's a sweater and... Yikes!

But with the help of so many other knitters doing the KAL and my desire to finally knit a sweater, I decided to go for it.  I'll keep you updated on the progress of that as it moves it along.  I'm still working the yoke now and can I just say... Buttonholes. Ugh!

And....  What, you thought I was finished?  No way.

I heard about a new KAL project on the CogKNITive podcast, and I really hope I can join this one too before time runs out.  It sounds like such a good, charitable thing and the end product is so flipping cute and would make a child so happy.  It's the Mother Bear Project. The idea, which is explained in greater detail on the website and in Dr. Gemma's podcast, is you knit or crochet a bear and donate them to the Mother Bear Project and they find homes for these bears with kids who have been diagnosed with HIV or who have been orphaned because of  HIV.  It's so sweet to see the photos on the website of the kids who have received their own bear.  I need to find some fun yarn and cast my bear on.  So if you have a mind to do so yourself, please jump in.

So wow.  That's three KALs I'm knitting-along with.  So what about you?  Care to join me?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Off and Running

Well the new year is officially off and running.  Seems like the year started out with a bang and might just continue the trend.  We had some snow and ice down here in the south that completely shut down the city for a week.  It was insane but very pretty.  And to be honest, I did enjoy playing and sledding in it.  My daughter had a blast as well.

So what has been going on so far, well, a few things other than the snow.  I joined a sock-along for 2011.  The January sock is the Adult Sock pattern by Deirdre Wallace in the Ann Norling #12 pamplet (Raverly Link).  The way my local yarn store (LYS) are running the sock-along is you buy the yarn and they give you the pattern.  So, I thought why not?!  There are 1,087 finished objects (FOs) on Raverly for this sock.  I'm knitting this one for my hubby so it's a bit larger than I would like for my foot.  But for his foot it appears to be right on the money.

But I think I will have to pass on next month's sock since I've joined on to do a KAL with the Knit Wits.  I can't wait to dive in.  It's a sweater and will be my first. YIKES! I'll post more about this in the coming days/weeks.

With that in mind, I'm also still working on in progress projects.  One has been on the needles for almost a year.  I feel guilty about not finishing this one, but not really enough to just finish it. Sigh! Oh well.

In other news, I've been toying with the idea of starting my own podcast.  I'm not there yet, but it could happen sometime this year. But I also plan to blog more. Honest to goodness.  I will do it.

And with that in mind, I'm going to sign off this post because I have to get busy working. TA!