Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This is something new for me

I am always in pursuit of new projects and mainly with needle work, I stick to what I know, which is crochet and I have not given up on this, in fact I am working on the Afghan simultaneously as I start this new project.


I have been admiring all the pretty knitted socks I have been seeing by my flickr contacts. Chawne gave me a beginner pattern that she learned on and now am grappling with Double Pointed Needles or DPNs. I have always been intimidated by DPNS. I guess I once saw my mother knitting a hat with them and it just looked frightening to see all those sharp looking points sticking out in every direction. I have been assured that I will get used to it and it will be "a breeze".

I guess the hardest part was casting on and getting it into a round and making sure I didn't get the cast on stitches twisted. OK got past that and starting the cuff.

I was confused why I wasn't getting ribs until I figured out somewhere my K1 P1 sequence got mixed up. Start over. I am using cheap-o acrylic yarn until I can turn out something worth wearing. When I'm convinced I want to put sock knitting on my needle work agenda then I will order from the States all the necessary birch and Adi- Turbo needles. I am partial to circular needles as I am more familiar with them and they have a relatively low risk of the little ones pulling out a needle, which happened just yesterday. Knitting on DPNs is not to be done around small children for various reasons.
Here's where I am so far:

Not bad for a first time!

So I wanted to share a tutorial that I found most helpful for anyone who finds this blog and wants to start knitting socks and hasn't a personal tutor. It's from the Knitter's Review and it's a Sock Knitter's Companion. There is even a tutorial on using DPNs. Stay tuned to see if I ever get to the heel, scared of that!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Experement: Dyeing silk roving

Today I dyed some silk roving samples. My thought is to blend them into batts (when I get a carding machine). Here I am going to explain the process as I did it step by step.
***** I am making my disclamer here : The end results turned up a roving that was a little on the rough or "felted" side. Perhaps from being overhandled. I suppose I will have to do some experementation. Never the less it can be carded, it was really simple, although it may turn out a little slubby.


* Silk roving (I used Blending silk from Paradise Fibers)

* 3 Bottles of Pebeo Silk Dye (my colors cyan, magenta and black .... I had run out of yellow)

* Warm water

*Disposable cups

* Disposable latex gloves

* 8 Zip lock sandwich baggies

* 8 Sheets of news print

* 8 Sheets of aluminum foil

* Pot (with lid) for steaming dyed fabric (See: "make your own stove pot steamer")

* Synthrapol Textile soap

1) OK first, separate off 8 sample sizes of roving. I made each between 1 - 1 1/2ft. in length, Soak them for about 30 min in warm water in a bowl. Gently drain out the excess water from the roving samples. Place each sample into a separate plastic zip lock baggie.

2) Make several mixtures of dye in various colors, you only need about 2-3 Tbsp. of dye/ liquid for this amount of silk, even less (add water) depending on the shade. I did most of mine full strength and at the end added water to the dye that was left for some lighter shades. Magenta and black, Magenta and cyan, cyan and black, Cyan and less magenta, etc. is how I formulated. You can measure by the teaspoon and record your results, I never do.

3) I then put each dye batch into the plastic baggie holding the roving and seal the zip lock and gently press againt the baggie until all the roving is covered in dye. This way your hands don't get messy. You can let that sit for 15 minutes (I have no patience for this part :)

4) Now lay down a piece of foil onto your work surface and on top of that a piece of newsprint paper. Remove the dyed roving from a bag and place it on top of the paper.

5) Next wrap the roving gift like in the news print.

6) Then wrap the newsprint gift again in the foil.

7) You will have a double wrapped silk roving that looks like this:

do this for all 8 pieces.

8) When they are all wrapped place them on a rack inside the pot of your steamer making sure not to touch the bottom of the pot. Add water up to the trivet (i use a stainless steel circular trivet and an old toaster oven rack that I bent to fit inside like a cradle) or whatever is elevating it from touching the bottom. turn on the burner bring to a boil with the lid on and turn flam to a level that will maintain a steady boil. Then place a brick (or a can of beans) on top and allow to steam for at least an hour and a half. Check periodically to make sure you have enough water.

9) After the steaming session is finished take the foil packets out carefully (use tongs). Bring them to a sink not used for food. Here you need synthrapol and warm water. Gently wash each sample until the water runs clear. Roll in a towel and gently squeeze out the excess water. Hang to dry. Viola!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

More wonderful mail!

I received some ATC's recently, just wanted to share and give credit where credit is due to all of these wonderful artists and new swap friends.

This one is from Aileen Clark in Scotland, Titled "Brads , Beads, Wire and Wool" It is a sensory experience on all fronts; visual and tactile. And she sent me some little extra bits that are from her stash, thanks!

The next is from Neki Rivera from Spain. It has needle felt and fiberfusing and embroidery. Great stuff, Beautiful card!

Then all the way from Australia is Doreen Gray, Such a pretty card, all my favorite colors! Plus little gold embroidered stars. Thanks so much Doreen!

From the Netherlands, Margreet made this lovely crazy quilt in gold fabrics and embroidery, such a nice combination. And also some yarn samples for future projects. How fun! Thanks!