Monthly Archives: August 2009

Samhain / Hallowe’en Fibre Retreat

You may have spotted a new link on the sidebar a few weeks ago. I am very excited that I am going to Terri‘s Samhain / Hallowe’en Fibre Retreat from 30th Oct – 1st Nov 2009 in Devon. I am also thrilled that I will be teaching one of the workshops on Friday afternoon. My workshop is on making an Emerald Beaded Bracelet. I am planning to stock up on the knitting needles, a variety of colours of beads and thread, and the other bits and bobs needed so that for a small cost people can make themselves a little kit with the thread and beads they would like, and we can have a nice afternoon knitting with beads 🙂

Terri still has some spots available for the weekend, so it would be lovely to see you there! I think it should be a fun weekend, good outings, and what sounds like very yummy food, as well as a nice variety of workshops (I may be just a little biased here) and of course the company of other knitters.

Tropical Storm socks

I can’t actually remember when I finished these. They have been sitting on the arm of the settee waiting for me to photograph them for ages.

The toe looks a little weird here because my plastic foot model is quite a bit smaller than my foot.


The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, and I think the colour is Tropical Storm.


I experimented with a garter stitch heel for these, which I like very much. It looks nice and neat and is very comfortable.


I also did a ribbed hem.


I like how this looks. Very neat from the inside too.


It is a bit pointless though, since rib doesn’t curl anyway. You do get rid of a cast on edge, but the rib makes the cuff quite thick. It was an interesting experiment but I don’t think I will do it again. I think I will experiment more with hems in other stitches.

Yet another shade of orange (and another green)

I have been playing with the dyes again for my stranded knitting project. One more orange and one more green.


This is the new orange between its two immediate neighbours.


The Kemtex Acid Dye in Yellow is definitely not as bright as the Jacquard Bright Yellow. They do have another range called Kenanthrol acid dyes, which have a variety of shades of yellow. I’m not sure what is the difference between them and the Kemtex acid dyes, but they might be worth investigating in future.

I think I have got the 12 colours for the background sorted now.


The new green was another experiment for a foreground colour. I think this one is very pretty but is too yellow for this project.

Here is the new green in the middle, with last experimental green on the left, and the original green I used for the knitted sample on the right.


I think I am going to have another attempt at dyeing a green which is more similar in colour to the one on the right, but more solid than I have so far managed with the Jacquard acid dyes. I do rather like the bluer one on the left though, it makes a good contrast with all the oranges and I think it is a definite contender.

I have now measured my tension from my sample, and started working out the charts – I think this will be quite a long process! I have a rough idea of how the patterns should fit in, and have worked out most of the logistics on my rough sketch. The charts themselves will take a while though, I am using excel and am not particularly fast. Have any of you used any of the knitting charting programs out there? If so what do you think of them? I have been looking at Knit Visualizer and have just downloaded the demo to have a play with. The details of how I am going to do the shaping will take some working out too! Hopefully I will actually be able to cast on for the real thing fairly soon.

Stitches East Part 4

It is now nearly 2 years since I went to Stitches East. High time I finally finished telling you about it! In my previous witterings I had got as far as the Saturday night. So we will start here with Sunday.

On Sunday morning I took Joan Schrouder’s class on Shaping Shawls: Triangles & Trapezoids. We looked at different directions to knit shawls. First, from the point up, and from the top long edge down. We practiced both of these on the same sample, without casting off and on again in the middle.


This one was fun to knit, but the rows are all rather horizontal and I’m not sure whether a shawl made in this method would actually be very flattering on short, wide, me.

Then a wing-shaped triangle, with sideways knitted on edging. I do rather like this shape.


And lastly we looked at knitting side-to-side. This has an elongated middle section, allowing you to make the shawl wider without getting any longer. I can definitely see this one having potential too, and I like the vertical stripes.


Joan is a lovely person and an excellent teacher, and a mine of experience and useful information. Her class was jammed full of useful information about how you can actually use these shapes to make interesting and very wearable shawls which are also fun to knit. If I have another opportunity to take a class with Joan I will jump at it!

The last class of the event was Fully Fashioned and Fabulous with Melissa Leapman. She was an excellent choice for the end of a long four days. I don’t know how she manages to have so much energy! She managed to make the class enthusiastic and chirpy,  without wearing us into the ground 🙂

We explored fully fashioned increases and decreases to shape knitting:


Splitting a central cable for V-neck:


Splitting for a V-neck in a lace pattern:


Creating the illusion of shaping with increases and decreases, first in garter rib:


Then in normal rib:


Melissa is a prolific designer (I have a couple of her books already), and I really enjoyed the tips and tricks from her class.  Towards the end of the class we discussed how you could use fashioning to create shapes, and also to create the illusion of shapes. I love this kind of thing, and found it fascinating.

As you may have guessed from previous hinting there was a bit of stash enhancement as well 🙂

Some books:


A pattern and yarn for some mittens, and some lace weight yarn:


A shrug pattern, and some more lace weight yarn:


Some purple and green sock yarn (I think the colours of this are fantastic!):


Some more lace weight yarn:


Some double pointed needles, and the Webs catalogue:


Some bargain cashmere / merino:


Some more bargain cashmere / merino:


Yet more bargain cashmere / merino:


I had a wonderful time at Stitches, although I was absolutely exhausted afterwards! Great teachers and classes, and it was wonderful to see so many things at the market that I have only ever read about or seen online. I would love to go again one day.

A bit more pre-tour yarn

I realised that I hadn’t shown you my first attempt at spinning sock yarn yet. I actually spun this before the red BFL. This is superwash bluefaced leicester again, dyed in the fibre, in a progression of colours, rather than a random mixture. I am hoping that as the yarn is knitted the colours will gradually shade from green through turquoise to purple. We shall see how successful this is!


There is 75g in each skein, and about 340m altogether. It measures about 13 wpi and so is somewhere between a 4ply weight and a DK weight.

I spun the lower skein first, and I think I got a bit over-keen with the plying of the second as it is plyed quite a lot tighter than the first. I’m not sure yet how much this will affect the finished socks. They may end up coming out slightly different sizes. I will just have to remember to wear the bigger sock on my bigger foot 🙂

More shades of orange

On Monday last week I had another play with the dyes to see if I could make another pale orange and another mid orange for my Autumn in Anatolia jumper. While I was at it I also had another go at a green for the foreground.

These were the three colours I dyed. I am having a lot of trouble photographing them accurately, but this is fairly close.


The mid orange is good I think. I am a little concerned that the palest orange is actually nigh-on indistinguishable from yellow. The green is a beautiful colour, but I think still too blue.

Here is the new pale orange with the other colours it will be with in the sequence (the new colour is in the middle).


And here are the mid oranges. Again the new colour is in the middle.


Here is the new green on the right along with the last green I attempted on the left, which is 400ml of 1% stock solution of Kemtex acid dye in green, and which as you can see is a very bluey green. Then at the bottom is Jacquard Emerald Green, which is a lovely colour, but I had trouble with it being a bit blotchy. The Kemtex does dye very evenly and exhausts very well (which is very satisfying 🙂 ). The new green is 300ml of green and 100ml of yellow. For my next trick I think I shall try 200ml of green and 200ml of yellow.


Just for fun, here is the sequence of colours laid out on our dining table. As you can tell we don’t eat on the table often 🙂


I think I shall have another go at dyeing a pale orange since I think that step is still a bit big. I think the mid orange is ok, and I shall try to get a slightly yellower green.

While I had the dyes out I had a go at semi-solid dyeing my Dorset/BFL sock yarn I spun during the Tour de Fleece. I did this using a variation on the dyeing in a bag method Fiona showed us at her workshop. Her method was a cold dyeing method, but it adapted easily enough for hot dyeing. Boil in the bag yarn! I put the dye and the yarn in the bag and squished around, then left for about an hour and then steamed it as usual.

There was 250g altogether of yarn which I think was a bit much for my bag. I couldn’t mash the yarn round as much as I would like, so some of the skeins are more evenly dyed than others. The two smaller skeins dyed much more evenly, with the biggest skein being the most mottled. I like the effect though.


It was also interesting to see how the Dorset took the dye in comparison to the BFL. As you can see from this picture, the Dorset has taken the dye a bit (both the grey and the white) but not nearly as strongly as the BFL.


I am looking forward to knitting this up and seeing how it comes out.