FO Friday (Mark One)

Somewhere about Wednesday I decided I wanted to participate in FO* Friday. It was more to encourage myself to finish all the UFOs** I had languishing in the top drawer of my stash than anything else.

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I knitted as fast I could for two and-a-half days (which isn’t that fast at all. ;)) and I did manage to lower my WIP count quite a bit.

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The first thing I finished was the Hippie Trippy washcloth (The Almost Lost Washcloth by Julie Tarsha).

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I used some acrylic yarn from the bottom of my stash. I think it was my little brother’s at some point.

The second thing I finished was the Stevedora hat of my own creation. All that was left was the crown decreases and I finished pretty quickly. As soon as I cast off, three stitches promptly unraveled. I have no idea where they came from but I caught them and fixed it up. This morning my I got my brother to take pictures of me modeling it.

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Please excuse my hair, it was still damp from my shower.

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This afternoon I finished a little coaster made up of four mitted squares.

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I used scraps of a wool/silk blend and acrylic yarn I got at a yard sale.

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The lines don’t quite match up but I don’t care. It’s a prototype for more to come.

One thing I didn’t get done was a beanie.

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I made a valiant effort but I only got about four inches into it and it needs to be seven before I even start decreasing for the crown. Maybe next week.

* Finished Object

** Unfinished Object

FO Fridays are hosted by Tami’s Amis

Back on the Horse

It’s been a while since I was around the dye pot. But Sunday night I found a long-lost skein of yarn hiding in on of the crannies of my stash. It was part of a skein of crystal palace something-or-other (I’m pretty sure it has cotton in it, and maybe bamboo) that I started making minis out of last summer. I had been dyeing them and using them for the blanket.

I’ve been gathering dyestuffs since I first started learning how to dye fiber naturally. That being said I had enough onion skins, dried dandelions flowers, and dried sour grass ( Wood Sorrel is what I consider “sour grass” but there are a few different plants that people call by this name.) to dye the remainder of the yarn into nice variegated skeins. I was sorely tempted to use some off the left-over coffee grounds I have been saving but abstained. I decided three colors was enough.

Monday I mordanted the yarn using alum and cream of tartar. I’ve used alum before but not cream of tartar. It made me a little nervous but I decided that, for once in my life, I would follow the directions.

While the yarn was simmering I whipped up a batch of onionskin dye. I just put some of the skins in a glass jar and poured some boiling water in over top. The affect was instantaneous.

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After having so many dyes not produce much or any color (I’m looking at you birch bark) it gratifying to see color, especially the color that developed as I let it sit over night.

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The next day I made the other dyes and let them sit for most of the day.

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The dandelion dye just starting

That evening I I tried laying the yarn out and using a syringe to try and stripe the yarn. The onion skins worked wonderfully, the dandelions moderately well and the sour grass, surprisingly, didn’t make any color on the yarn at all. I could see it in the jar but it refused to stick to the yarn.

Knowing that some battles aren’t worth it I put on another pot to boil and dump the contents of my dye jar across the road far enough away that my lazybones cat wouldn’t find it and eat it. When I returned the water was boiling merrily so I rinsed out the jar and dumped the still-damp coffee grounds my mother had been nice enough to save me into the jar and then the boiling on top.

As I was getting ready for bed I remember that I hadn’t ever actually put the yarn in the dyebath so I ran downstairs in my pajamas and quickly strained out the dyestuffs from the dyes. I positioned the jars next to each other and put 1/3 of both skeins in each color and promptly went to sleep.

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Clutching my coffee cup and rubbing sleep out of my eyes Wednesday morning I stumbled out onto the porch to check the yarn.

 The one in front is coffee, the red is onion skins and the greenish is dandelions.


The one in front is coffee, the red is onion skins and the greenish is dandelions.

The colors had all adhered to the dyes dyes this time. I breathed a sigh of relief and at about lunchtime I took the yarn out and rinsed it. I left it to dry hanging on the pear tree out front until it started to rain. As it was mostly dry I hung it over the back of one of the chairs on our porch.

There was still dye in the jars though so that night I put it back in the jars to sit overnight again. This morning I pulled them out and, just as I’d been hoping, the dandelion and coffee dyes had continued to be absorbed and their colors were much stronger. I rinsed out the yarn and the jars and hung it up again on the pear tree.

The colors go coffee, dandelion, and onion skin. The white stripes are the 12% nylon fiber content

The colors go coffee, dandelion, and onion skin. The white stripes are the 12% nylon fiber content

 

After it dried I held the colors together and was rewarded with this.

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Then I twisted both skeins up into mini adorableness.

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The top one is the 30 yard one and the other one is the sixteen yard one. This has been my longest dyeing session and also the most successful. I can’t wait to get knitting!

Lightning Strikes Thrice

I don’t know what it is but there is something about Delaware that makes me want to yarn bomb. It is, after all, the place of my first yarn bomb. Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s the anonymity of being in a high traffic tourist area where no one knows me. Whatever it is, I scratched that metaphorical itch these past two weeks while my family was in on vacation.

I had decided ahead of time that I was going to use the squares from the memory quilt I started in middle school. I took with me a few squares that had not been attached when the blanket WIP was put away.  I ended up only leaving two tags but I can share a little bit about them.

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I left this tag at a rest stop on the way, before we even reached the campground. This little square was knitted to commemorate the time in eighth grade when I took third place in my school’s science fair. The topic was electricity, hence the lightning bolt.

 

This tag wasn’t a part of my memory quilt but it has a special story. The fist tag I left got me high on guerilla knitting and I was determined to leave another. What better place than the wonderfully eclectic Fractured Prune? I made it out of purple fun fur and teal yarn. I was going to leave it two years ago but, when we were there my picture taking device (I forget whether it was a camera or iPod.) was dead so I saved it. In a fit of foresight drastically uncharacteristic I packed and took it with me. Continuing  this strange behavior I took it and a darning needle with me the first time we went on this trip and left it.

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I had this square for two years and not only did I manage to hold onto it and remember that I had it but I actually thought ahead enough to pack it. Be impressed my friends, be very impressed.

Since sand and yarn don’t play well together, I left different kind of knitting tag at the beach.

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I built a ball of yarn with a pair of knitting needles sticking through it out of yarn. Unfortunately I didn’t think of it in time to enter the sandcastle contest held on the beach earlier that day.