Friday, July 5, 2019

From Alpaca to Sweater

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the fleece of two alpacas, fresher shorn, and smelled of barn.  I have never tackled fleece through to sweater, but was ready to try.  I put the fleece in small washing bags and gently soaked small batches in my kitchen sink.  Two soapy soaks and three rinses resulted in soft fluffy white fibre.  I was delighted.  I used carding brushes and blended the alpaca with 25% merino top, and rolled into small rolags ready for spinning.

I spun and plied the yarn, and ended up with lots of huge 130gram skeins, some of which I dyed a bright yellow. After swatching and calculating, I knit a warm sweater in mostly yellow alpaca yarn, and every eighth row I added a lace weight red mohai as a knit along.  It turned out better than I could imagine.  I charted a white heart for the front and knit it, intarsia style. Simple, but fun.  And seriously warm.  
Then I still had some yarn, so I crocheted this little alpaca to remind me of the start of this adventure.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Attention Charity Knitting Groups!

My friends at  Yarn Canada have announced a yarn give away!  Please go to their website and apply for free yarn for you CHARITY KNITTING.

You could be knitting Finger Puppets for the local Children's ward,  or maybe the Toddler Socks, or Blankets for homeless, or Preemie Caps, or another project that your group knits to help.

They've just started the 2nd Annual event of giving yarn to individuals and groups who knit or crochet for good causes.

In partnership with Bernat and Patons Yarn, they will be giving away $2000 worth of yarn and are hoping to get as many applicants as possible to ensure it goes to whoever it will have the maximum impact.

The details and application page is here

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Easy Slouch Hat

This one is great for beginners with circular needles.  No adding stitches or crown shaping.  A simple rib, garter stitch stripe creates a natural slouch.

Yarn. I used less than one 100 gram ball of elann Meander yarn in an old colour way(no longer available). But any worsted weight yarn (category 4) should work just fine.
Needles: 4mm (us6) circular needle not bigger than 16 inches. (The yarn calls for 4.5mm needles, but the smaller needle will help with the negative ease required to keep the hat snug on your head.)

Cast on 100 stitches.  Without twisting, join and work in knit 2, purl 2 ribbing.  If you have trouble with twisting, try ribbing flat for the first two rows, then start going around the circle. Place a marker at the “end of the row” so you can keep track of completed rows.

Work the start of the hat for 2.5 inches.  Start the pattern bands:
Band one:  After the marker, switch to garter stitch (purl every stitch) and work 6 rounds (or rows) in garter.
Band two:  Work four rounds in knit 2, purl 2 ribbing

Repeat band one and band two until you have five garter ridges.
After the Firth garter ridge, continue to work the knit 2, purl 2 ribbing until you have six rounds.
Eyelet Round: ( knit 2 together, yarn over, purl 2 together, knit 2, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2 ) repeat until four stitches remain in that row.  Knit 2 , purl 2.
Cast off all stitches, knitting the yarn overs as you then cast them off.

Ties.  Cast on 60 stitches.  Cast off 60 stitches .  Thread ties through eyelets and tie off ...
Tassels:  make them like this, and attach to ties

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

hand dying

A while ago I found a bargain yarn at Romni Wools. It was white Angora Silk... 60% silk and 40% angora. I grabbed two skeins, 50 grams each, with the intention of one day dying the two.  Here it is...
I think this yarn will make an absolutely luscious triangle shawl.  It is so soft and without much structure, so the drape should be amazing.  Pattern to follow  :)

Monday, October 29, 2018

Sock dying, sock knitting

This was a first for me.  I spent a lovely afternoon with my knitting friends, in the company of a yarn dying expert, who taught us to hand dye “sock blanks”. What are sock blanks?  They are rectangular machine knit superwash merino and nylon sock weight yarn blank in natural white.  This one is knit with two strands together to produce for two skeins of identically dyed yarn.  So the socks will match.  Magic!

 The dying was done with many of my favourite colours layer out in rough triangles. It should produce gradual fade from pinks to blues with interspersed lines of all the other colours. Can’t wait to see these socks.
 Then, because I like knitting smooth straight yarn (it is kinky when you unravel the blank), I threw the doubles yarn on the niddy noddy, and wet blocked it for a bit.  Then from the swift, I rolled two identical balls of sock yarn.
 And here you see the first done, and the second started.  I of course used my favourite sock pattern...
The Best Sock Pattern EVER.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Sweet Handspun

I have just finished spinning this lovely sport weight hand dyed yarn.  It is spun from 70% blue flaced leichester, and 30% silk, custom dyed roving, and was sold at an equally lovely shop in NE Ohio, by the name of Long Tail Knits.   Please stop by and say hi to the gang there!

Shortly, I will post a pattern made with this....  150 grams (5.5 oz) of sport weigh yarn.  (about 250 yards).  For now, enjoy the yummy photo and visit the website and etsy site of LTY.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Toddler Socks - Knitting for Children's Hospitals

A new friend has been knitting toddler socks for the local hospital, for the children's ward.  She felt that this pattern should be shared along with the other charity knitting patterns (preemie caps, and finger puppets - Poppets) that my readers have been knitting for many years.  The more we share, the more kids benefit!  So grab your left over sock yarns and your knitting group and start knitting for kids!  

Photo by Judy Kempston

TODDLER SOCKS   *pattern originally supplied by Kinsey Wool Shop for charity knitting

Some fingering weight yarn is finer than others.  I am including two versions, one for finer weight yarn, another for heavier weight yarn. 
Needles: 2.75mm or 3.25mm 
Cast on 32 stitches (I use the Tubular Cast on for a nice stretchy edge).  Divide on to 3 needles as follows: 10, 12, 10 
Work K1, P1, until work measure ¾ inch. 
Work in stockinette stitch until work measures 2 ¾ (3) inches.   
Knit across first needle.  Transfer 10 stitches from 3rd needle onto end of first needle (20 stitches) 
*Slip all stitches knitwise* 
Row 1: (WS) Sl1, purl to end 
Row 2: (RS) *Sl1, P* to end 
Repeat these rows foe 1 inch ending with a RS 
Sl1, P11, P2tog, P1, turn 
S1, K5, S1, K1, PSSO, K1.  Turn 
Sl1, P6, P2tog, P1, turn. 
Sl1, K7, K1, PSSO, K1.  Turn 
S1, P8, P2tog, P1.  Turn 
Sl1, K9, S1, K1, PSSO, K1.  Turn 
Sl1, P10, P2tog.  Turn 
S11, K10, Sl1, K1, PSSO.  Turn 
There will be 12 stitches on heel needle.  Divide onto 2 needles, 6 stitches on each.   

Pick up and knit 8 stitches on left side of flap, knit 12 stitches from the needle at the front of the sock, pick up and knit 8 stitches on the right side of the flap.  You now have stitches on all five needles.  Knit 6 stitches onto the 3rd needles and slip the other 6 stitches onto the first needle.  (1st:14, 2nd: 12, 3rd 14) 
Knit one round. 
Row 1: 1st needle:  K to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1 
             2nd needle: K 
             3rd needle: K1, Sl1, K1, PSSO, K to end 
Row 2: knit all stitches 
Repeat these 2 rows 3 times.  You should have 32 stitches on the needles. 
Continue knitting in the round until your work measures 2 ¼ (2 ½) from picked u stitches at heel.   
Transfer stitches so that you have 8 stitches on the first, 16 on the second and 8 on the third. 
Row 1:  1st needle: K to last 3 stitches, K2tog, K1 
              2nd needle: K1, Sl1, K1, PSSO.  K to last 3 stitches, K2 tog, K1 
              3rd needle: K1, Sl1, K1, PSSO, K to end 
Row 2: K 
Repeat these 2 rows until 12 stitches remain.  Cut the yarn, thread it through the stitches and secure