Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Not eaten by cougars, a knitting picture explosion!

Happily, the dear sweet lovable one was not mauled by cougars, or frozen by the snow camping trip. Since he got back I got to take lots of lovely pictures to share with you guys about all the things I did last week when I was not doing my homework.

Rhodion is finally complete. It has come a long way since October, when I had to concentrate fully to complete a single row a night, to having memorized the pattern repeat, and banging out half a repeat an hour. It was my first project using lace weight yarn, and perhaps it wasn't wise to do a knitted lace project with cables right out of the starting gate.

In hindsight, I should have made it smaller. It is a bit like wearing a toga.

No really, like a toga.

I didn't learn until after I had done 2 extra repeats, that the optimal shawl length is your wingspan. I suppose I intuitively understood this, since I would make scarves a foot longer than my wingspan, but this puppy is at least 6 feet long.

I am so happy it is finished, since I don't like having many projects going on at once. And this took so long, because I kept casting it aside. It is easy to ignore a project when it takes so much effort to complete. Once I got past the 'never going to be done stage', I had to get past the 'what? I need repeat everything I did' stage, and then I entered the 'it needs to be done now' stage, which resulted in me dropping all other projects to just finish it.

I got around to overdyeing the cobweb merino cashmere lace last week. I wish I had a camera since it would have helped with troubleshooting. I set up my 2 stools approximately 8 feet apart and unwound the ball into a skein. I used some leftover cotton sport weight to tie it up. I used the ends of the cobweb for 2 places, and 4 scraps. The key to not tangling is weaving it in and out of the skein.

I soaked the yarn in vinegar and water, then I took that liquid and heated it up to 185 F dumped in a small squeeze bottle of yellow, and put about a quarter of the yarn in. 20-30 minutes later I added some green drops, then a lot of green since it was a puke olive color. I then put another quarter of the yarn in the pot. Another 20-30 minutes later, I transferred the dyed yarn to a small pot of hot water, added more green, and put in the next quarter, 20-30 minutes later I added dissolved blue gel and the rest of the yarn. I then put all of the yarn back into the small pot, dumped the rest of the green bottle in, added some more vinegar, stirred and put all of the yarn together, and let it stew at 185 for an hour.

Now comes the mystery, I rinsed and it was clear, I added soap, specifically Eucalan no rinse wool wash, and suddenly it appeared that a leprechaun had bled to death in my sink. I went back, put the yarn in the small pot, brought it back to 185 F and let it stew for an hour, with some extra vinegar. I then left it in the pot overnight.

There are a couple of theories
1.) too much dye
2.) not enough acidity, vinegar to water ratio was off
3.) There was oil in the yarn that prevented the dye from bonding.
4.) The thermometer is broken.

I had the same clear rinse to bleed city after the second setting. So I spun it dry in the washing machine, let it sit out on the stools for a day, then very carefully caked it up. It no longer has the kelly green tones I was looking for, but it is still a fetching pastel green with hints of teal and spring.

And for comparison purposes, the before shot.
I really like how semi-solid it turned out, and since it will become a shawl, I'm just going to ignore the fact that is is bleeding still. I might microwave the finished object.

What am I working on now? Two things, the bridesmaid shawl project, and the sock knitters unusual sockitecture KAL sock. Even as I post these I know the photos are dated.

The diantha #3 is the at home project, because beads are too fiddly for in class knitting. If it seems like time is getting tight for diantha #5, I might need to bring it as my carry around project, since the middle lace section is portable. Just the first rows and the short rows have beads. I might also need to re-wind my skein, since the lace was the first center pull ball I made by hand, and it was pretty tight.

This was taken Monday night, I think by Tuesday I was halfway through the chart, so I am just cruising on this project (and I need to).

I also took the time to show how I add beads. As an electrical engineer (when I feel like it, most days I plead I am a mechanical one), I happen to have scads of resistors laying around the apartment. So I documented my bead placing process.
1.) Latch bent end of resistor on one leg the the stitch getting a bead.
 2.) Pull stitch off needle with the resistor, and slip a bead down onto the stitch
 3.) Pull stitch back onto needle with the resistor. Unhook the resistor, set aside for the next beaded stitch

 4.) Knit (or in this case purl) the beaded stitch
5.) Ta Da! Now a bead is worked into your knitting : D
Hopefully I will be finishing my carry around project soon. I don't have as many photos, but I think I started the 8th of 10 cables on the leg, and then it is just 1x1 ktlb purl ribbing until I run out of yarn.

The left sock is already completed.
The right sock is in an earlier stage of completion. I took a couple of photos to illustrate the unusual construction, since the heel flap is knit sideways to get the interesting cable pattern.

The vertical needle on the inner ankle is eventually joined using a 3 needle bindoff, and the flap is worked back and forth on the 18 stitches on the vertical needle on the outer ankle, where one bottom stitch is worked for every 2 rows of flap.

And with that I think I have exhausted my blog material for the day. I suspect I will be finished with the socks before Monday, and I will be in shortrow land on the shawl sometime this weekend too. I have an extra knitting hour since one of my classes is doubling up on Friday.

Take care guys,
Molly : )

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