Wednesday, October 31, 2007

just in time for All Hallows Eve

A pair of longies in Dashing Dachs' Ghostie colorway:

This is the second DD colorway I've worked with, and the second one where I had problems with colors stacking in vertical columns. I tried adjusting my number of stitches a bit, but couldn't get it to not stack while still getting the measurements I needed. So I ended up alternating skeins in the body of the pants. I thought I'd have to alternate skeins with the legs, too, but the yarn ended up pooling in cascading diagonal stripes, which I thought was OK.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

a happy discovery

When handpainting some BFL in my Glacier colorway today, I noticed that the blue was bleeding pink into the areas that I'd been planning to leave white. By the time I'd finished, parts of the skein were fuchsia.

So I thought I'd try rinsing the undyed sections. I definitely didn't want any pink, and I figured that rinsing couldn't make it any worse.

And it worked! Except for the bit that I absent-mindedly rinsed with hot water--that set the pink, but a little bit of overdyeing fixed that. I ended up rinsing the entire skein, which washed out the extra pink but otherwise left the colors exactly the way I wanted them. I was afraid that all the colors would run together or that everything would wash out, but instead it was the ideal outcome. Most of my attempts to fix dyeing mistakes usually make the yarn unusable, so I was very happy.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Zen Child longies, plus some gloves

I forgave the Full Belly Farm yarn for some of its imperfections after I blocked the longies. They smoothed out wonderfully and have a fantastic texture. Look Ma, no lumps!

Don't you just love the colorway? It's even better in person. I should've taken a closeup photo so you could see the subtle shifts in color, from turquoise to emerald to seaweed and aqua.

Denise of Zen-Child also sent me a rainbow colorway to work up. At first some of the colors were pooling all on one side of the pants or the other, but once I unraveled and decreased the total number of stitches for the body, the color distribution evened itself out nicely. This pair is knitted with Marr Haven yarn, a non-certified organic merino/Rambouillet blend. It pills a bit and isn't as silky soft as other merinos, but has that plush, squishy feel that Targhee has. And I was struck by how lightweight it was, given that it's a heavy worsted yarn (my gauge was about 4.25 sts/inch). The longies weighed 6.25 oz, compared to the FBF longies at 7.5 oz. Same size, similar gauges, but more than an oz difference.

I also cranked out a pair of fingerless gloves. I looked around for some grey machine washable yarn, but didn't see any that were quite the color I was looking for, so I dyed some aran BFL in a grey somewhere between medium and charcoal. My original thought was to do a pair with K4 P1 ribbing, but I got sidetracked by Soy Silk's fingerless glove pattern (link goes to a PDF file), with pseudo cables on the cuff and up the back. I knitted one glove and didn't care for it--the pseudo cables had an inverted pyramid shape that made the glove sort of baggy under the palm, and the way the pattern is written (or possibly the way my hand is shaped), the cables weren't centered on the back of my hand. Scrapped it and experimented with a baby cable cuff, then scrapped that and went back to my original concept.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

WWBN and DD longies

It's been a while since my last post, eh? Lots of longies were finished, but I've been too busy knitting to update. For some reason, it's been easier to throw stuff up on my Ravelry projects page. I guess it's because I enjoy clicking the progress bar to 100%. Hey, I'll take a sense of accomplishment where I can get it.

First, the pair of longies that were going to a customer as a surprise. These are knitted with aran Blue-Faced Leicester, dyed by WWBN in the Rustic Blues colorway. When I placed a custom order for this yarn, the photo in the WWBN gallery was of bright and deep blues mixed with dark brown. By the time I received the yarn, the photo had changed. I wasn't too happy about that, but I was able to sell this as a custom slot so it all worked out. And it really is the softest BFL I've ever knitted. I had been puzzled by WWBN's description of BFL as "poor man's cashmere." This stuff more than deserves that name. The waistband was pooling in a really unattractive way; I had to alternate skeins and it still wasn't ideal, but got the job done.

And here's another custom with a WWBN colorway. This one's called Ocean Rock. Yarn is Big Blue BFL--not as silky soft as WWBN's aran BFL, but still pretty nice. I spent some time trying to fix some pooling in a leg and gave up after several attempts. Then the patterning shifted and it fixed itself, thankfully.

This pair is knitted from organic merino dyed by Dashing Dachs. I had a bit of trouble with stacked lines of colors, if that makes sense, but I added a few stitches and it was fine. Took me some experimenting to figure out the right needle size for this yarn--mfg's suggested size is 10-11, but I used 8.

Got a few more finished items to post if it ever stops raining around here--fingerless gloves and Denise's FBF longies.l

Monday, October 8, 2007

joining the ravelry

Got my Ravelry invite last week (my ID is huckleberrymama) and it was fun till today. I've started listing my projects, looked at other people's projects with the same yarn to see what needle size they're using, and browsed for sweater patterns for my kiddo. A really nice resource, with cool features like automatic links to people's Flickr accounts and their blog posts about their projects, so you can really get a good sense of how a pattern will look in a variety of yarns and what sort of pitfalls you might run into while knitting it up. It organizes the enormous explosion in knitting blogs and photos in an incredibly useful way. Plus (NERD ALERT) I like looking at what my friends are working on, and what yarn they just bought.

But then today I fell in love. I discovered the ISO/destashing board. Now that's the way to a girl's heart. Not to mention her PayPal account.


My knitting seems to have slowed down a bit lately, as I've been fighting the good fight against pooling on three different pairs of longies. But I did finally finish up a couple of pairs this weekend. One is a surprise, so I'll wait to post photos till the customer has received them, but I will say that I knitted them from aran BFL dyed by Wooly Wonders by Nada, and that their BFL fully lives up to the hype. It's the softest, plushest BFL I've worked with yet.

The other pair is for Jenn of babyMACH for her new baby. Knitted from single-ply Galenas merino, dyed by Three Irish Girls. I had to play around a little with the number of stitches to avoid some unattractive striping and color stacking, but since the baby has not yet made his/her grand appearance, I had some flexibility with measurements.