Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kids + Summer + Kool Aid =

YARN!  Here at Casa Driggs we have been having some fun with Kool Aid and wool.  I really enjoy dying, but not enough to buy a separate set of pots for it (check the labels of commercial dyes some time -- even the "green" ones are pretty toxic!).  So the solution is food grade wool dyeing.  Other advantage?  It won't hurt my kids if they decide to sample the dye pot.  This is our most recent creation:

That's 200 g of wool, dyed with five packets of sugar free Kool Aid (three orange, on cherry, one lemonade).  It really is great fun for everyone!  With that in mind, I have some tips:
  • A general rule of thumb for a saturated color is one packet of Kool Aid per ounce of yarn or fiber.
  • If you are kettle dying, make sure to heat until the dye bath is CLEAR -- if you're hand painting and microwaving/steaming, the run off when you're done should be clear too.
  • If you're dyeing with kids, it's extra fun to play changing colors -- when you mix the packets together, and then again as you're watching the dye bath go to clear.  This is especially fun with purple, as red dye strikes at a lower temperature than blue, so your purple water will turn blue before it goes clear.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer is for LACE!

This pattern was such a long time in the making, and I'm SO pleased with it!  Knit in All for Love of Yarn Sumptuosity Lace, this stole is feather light, but with the warmth of alpaca and silk.  Pattern includes instructions for either a knit or crochet edging.  Available on Ravelry for $6.00.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy WWKIP day!

Or is is knit in public week?  Either way, I KIP'ed at the Estes Park Wool Market on Saturday!  It was loads of fun and excitement.  The kids got to try out a floor loom (and now Elspeth wants one):

I very nearly called the judging for the grand champion white fleece (my pick got reserve).  And I did NOT buy any fleeces.  This is an accomplishment because I already have two or three of those giant sterlite bins full of washed fleeces awaiting carding and spinning, plus most of a baby alpaca fleece (THE WHOLE THING) that I am slowly, slowly carding out.  But mmmmm, were there some nice fleeces there.  So I've made a deal with myself... if I can process two fleeces before next year, I can buy one.  Think it'll work?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thoughts on shaping

So I've been mighty quiet around here lately, and it's the direct result of a pattern I'm working on (and, frankly, procrastinating working on).  The issue with it?  Shaping.  Everybody I've ever met says that it's easier to make a tailored garment in pieces, because the shaping is easier.  I question this.  It's no more difficult to make lines of increases or decreases in the round than it is flat.  What IS harder is designing shaping in the round.  My current project, I'm still working on the yoke... I have to make the armholes deep enough and the shoulders wide enough (but not too wide) at the same time, all without deforming the neckline.  Plus I want this one to be fitted.  Exciting!

Of course, when you're making something from a pattern, the designer has already figured that out for you.  What everybody else is worried about is things like waist shaping, which really isn't hard.  The key is to start your decreases two to three inches before you want the narrowest part, and decrease evenly, then increase at the same rate.  Ta-dah!  Waist shaping.  No harder in the round than in pieces, and in my opinion, better, because you can try the darn thing on as you go and make sure you decreased the right amount.

Now if only I could get to that point on this sweater.  Stupid yoke.