Friday, December 16, 2005

Wilton's Icing Dye

Hello, This is the story of an Alpaca named Cocoa. Actually, it's not.
This is really the story of the frightening characteristics of Wilton's cake dye. Yes, that's right, the same stuff that you eat is also used to dye yarn.
Now I'd like to point out that this was my first attempt. Therefore the resulting yarn is not exactly wonderful, but not exactly terrible. It's really not what I expected, but I will say it's a good first try. First I wound the yarn into skeins. This was time consuming, but worth it. I used two different lengths, and at the end decided that creating a longer skein is better. For example, the pinkish bluish funkiness was a short skein, and the colors moshed all together and I really was totally unprepared for the whole thing. Second attempt as documented (since the first was so embarrassing) was a longer skein, giving me more room to 'paint.'
First things first:
1. Wind yarn into skeins. (I used guitar stands, open kitchen drawers, whatver as long as its stable and comfortable). I used a small scale my husband previously used for measuring rocket powder to achieve my 50 grams of yarn.
2. Soak yarn in vinegar and water (white vinegar). I suggest looking online for the correct proportions because I just guessed (and that's as dangerous as not checking your guage).
3. Lay out yarn on plastic wrap. I suggest lying it down in a long line, instead of leaving it in a oval like you see in the picture.
4. 'Paint' as you see fit. I wore gloves (the second time) and used chopsticks (first time with the dye straight out of the bottle) and paintbrushes (second time diluted dye in a little bit of water)Either way works.
5. Once done roll up yarn in plastic wrap.
6. Microwave for 2 minutes at a time off and on. Give the yarn time to rest in between. I used a glass pan/pieplate. (candle for stinky vinegar smell)
7. Rinse, but don't shock the yarn (it'll felt). You should have almost no dye at all coming out of your yarn. I repeat very small amounts of dye should be coming out of your yarn. Otherwise rewrap and nuke some more.
8. Dry (I wrung mine out and hung it in the shower)
9. You may have to rerinse that funky vinegar smell out.
10. knit.

I used Lion Brand Fisherman's 100% wool as Faith already said. It's cheap at ACMoore, especially if you have a coupon (200grams for barely 4 dollars).

Here's what I did the other day, now that I'm wiser about this whole handpainted yarn thing...
Not bad, huh?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The pretty yarn.

This is what I'm using to make the "Creative Focus Chunky" tipless mittens from the fall Interweave. It feels luscious on the skein -- 100% alpaca. I'll let you know how it behaves on the needles. It will be for one of my sisters, who is now into pink and brown.
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Sarah is a very bad blogger but a very good friend. I got this in the mail on Saturday with a note: "hey! I dyed this!" Might there be any pictures to go with that experience? No! However, she did very thoughtfully send it to me to play with. If/when I do knit this up, it will probably be a collar or something. One of those great things that you can do with tiny bits of pretty yarn.

This is LB Fisherman's 100% wool, dyed with Wilton's icing dyes in Sky Blue and Brown.
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Thank you Sarah!

Well, I have no time to write. I've been knitting non-stop and have several FO's for you, but can't currently get to that. We're packing for the holiday visits! More later.

Not enough days till Christmas!!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Top Secret Secrets

Look what came in the mail!
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These were shipped very quickly. I'm going to be really mad though whenever I find the sets I lost...

And what's this? Bernat Velour? Why yes. I can't believe I bought it either. And no, I can't tell you what it's for. Besides the fact that it's a Top Secret Christmas Gift, it's also going to be a new pattern submission to Crochet Me mag, so I'll let you know how that goes.
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This just came in the mail yesterday from
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I cannot believe how beautiful it is in person. And, even though it's 100% wool, it's so soft! You can't beat the prices either. How do they stay in business with prices that low?!! The pink lace weight is called Brown Berries, and the bulky blue is Charrua.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Because you're never too young to learn wool love

Mr E and Bubby Bear.
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Still knit-knit-knitting away at those socks. (I must admit I've slowed a little, now that I'm approaching the final few inches. Soooooooo...long....must go on...)

What's keeping me sane in my iTunes:
Secret Knitting

Stasia's Place

If' you've never listened to any of this, you should!! It's the perfect thing to do while knitting. Don't fry your brain on your TV -- listen to Podcasts! There's tons of different subjects -- those are all the knitting ones currently available, but go find whatever appeals to you. Podcasts for everyone!!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

soft, fuzzy Bliss

Hey, need more yarn? Of course you do! Check out what I'm selling:
eBay: Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora TURQUOISE yarn

There's a little free gifty with purchase! I'm throwing in 4 handmade note cards (blank on inside) just because I'm that nice. =)

I'm done with one-and-a-half of my brother's King Kong Cabled Footies, but I'm waiting to photograph until I can shoot the pair. Oh my aching hands!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Winter Knitty is live!

The new Winter Knitty just went live!!

Of the new patterns, things I just might have to knit:
Mrs. Beeton: which is super pretty and delicate looking -- the most dainty gauntlets I've seen
Real Stocking Cap: well really any excuse to knit a sock. Plus, my brother Jom would probably wear this proudly.
Danica: because I love the woven look of the pattern stitch, and I've never tried Entrelac, so I might as well start here.
Marley's Ghost
: this is going to be the first thing I'll knit for Mr FiberFlash, I think. It screams his name.
Thuja: not exciting, perhaps, but a Christmas knit for my Grandpa, nonetheless.
Pomatamus: must I give a reason?
Namaste: because I need one (for real!)
Creatures: while going about their chores in the frosty NY air, I think that my little siblings would find these indespensible

With no disrespect to the authors of the patterns (heck, I don't have anything in there, so I can't speak too harshly!), here's my short list of "What In The Blazes Were They Thinking?"
Forecast: while I enjoy Stephanie Japel's never ending creativity, sometimes I wonder if certain designs would look goood on anyone else?
Bobblicious: I've been wondering if I should like bobbles. I'm left to still wonder.
Blanche-Neige: if you would like to embark on the most expensive hand knit of your life, go for it! Not only would this project cost you $228 in the main color alone for a size small, but the yarn is only available through the author's store. Hmm. Also, this pattern doesn't really stand out to me. I wouldn't substitute a yarn to do it either. Yes, hmm indeed.

But really, what are you reading my blog for? Go! Check out the new Knitty!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Cables wrong and right

While in Florida last week, this is what became of my Newsies Hat.
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Yes, it's sad. A moment of silence, please, for the first cabled, wrong hat.

Here it is after taking a shower. It took a little over a day to dry because of the humidity. Also, it had a peculiar smell that I've heard described as "Alpaca hairy smell". I can't describe it any better. It wasn't quite bad, just, well, hairy smelling.
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Here is the sock that I'm designing for my brother. It's being modeled for you by the lovely foot of my husband. (Nice hair, huh?)
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And a close up of the (correct) cable down the center.
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I am naming these "King Kong Cabled Footies" for the one fat cable down the center. My math was a little shaky, but I've realized that as long as you know what you're doing with sock construction, there's a bit of fudging that can be done with no real harm. I intend to have a second go at these after Christmas (for myself, maybe) to work out the pattern oficially, before posting it here.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

frusterated + christmas knits

A few weeks ago I was looking around for my interchangable needles, and discovered them missing. "No matter", I thought, "things always turn up in time, and I'll just use DPN's for now." Yesterday I did an all out search through the house, because for my Christmas projects, there can be no more delay. I need the needles now! They are nowhere. Also, all of my crochet hooks are missing. The two sets were in two little ziploc bags. After turning the house upside down for yet another look-see, I finally gave in and bought new sets. I found a really good deal on eBay. It sucked that I had to buy more, but the new ones I'm getting are in their own cases (Boye Needlemaster and Boye Crochetmaster) and not too expensive. Check out this seller -- they have 6 more sets of needles, and 5 sets of hooks. These are killer prices; only %30 of what you would pay at full price (the needles are normally almost $100, and the hooks are almost $50 at

Currently on the needles: a pair of socks I'm designing for my brother Caleb. They are cabled footies, inspired by this pair I saw on Misocrafty.

In other news, yesterday was my father-in-law's birthday. Andrew, Elijah and I made this card for him and put it in the mail on Monday:

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