Rainbow Love

I cast off! A huge rainbow scarf knitted from a sock blank, and my Posh minis! Yes, I am playing around with dyeing minis. I have been AWOL as we built a huge 1,200 wing to our house. More space for yarn and my wheels! 

I have more photos, and notes and my Ravelry page. Are you my friend there yet?  Winter is in full swing. We literally had to dig my studio out. We've gotten over a foot of snow! Looking forward to getting back to work, and decorating my house. It's going to be great! 

Happy 2017 to you all.

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CREATIVE

As I move along in the creative field of soft wools an color...I challenge myself to grow. Ashley Martineau of How To Spin Yarn (formerly Neaveau Fibers) suggested I build a new website. I dug my heels in, and said NO. No? What the heck. A few months later, this website happened. Growing is good. It's a way to discover.

As I craft, and fall into following my dharma; I realize we get stuck in patterns. Like how I'm stuck in shawl knitting mode. I look lustfully at socks, although being a Teva wearing girl, I don't wear them much. Even in Winter. I told myself last year was the year. That I was finally going to knit them. And then I didn't. So I decided, why stress over it. If it's something I really want to do, I will get around to it. Meanwhile, I am always making. Whether it be digging a new garden bed, or dyeing up several skeins of yarns. I'm happiest, when my hands are full of a project. This is probably why, I am not the most social person! It's about making. The excitement to see if I can pull it off. Or if I can discover a new color-like the seaglass neon green, I stumbled upon last week. So, I decided to be more organic about my goals. To not make huge lists of things I want to do. Because I think socks might just happen this year. I just need to focus...and slow down from chasing the dye rainbow.

I even started dyeing sock yarns to inspire myself! These colors, are listed with several skeins available.

New colorways:

FIZZ BANG on my Glitter Sock yarn base, 463 yards merino/nylon superwash

FIZZ BANG on my Glitter Sock yarn base, 463 yards merino/nylon superwash

And...yes, I am using sock yarns to knit yet another scarf. Here's FIZZ BANG in my WIP Trillian scarf

And...yes, I am using sock yarns to knit yet another scarf. Here's FIZZ BANG in my WIP Trillian scarf

BRONZED BUTTERFLY, on my Lustre Sock yarn base. A high twist merino/silk, 438 yards.

BRONZED BUTTERFLY, on my Lustre Sock yarn base. A high twist merino/silk, 438 yards.

DRAGON SCALE, on Posh Sock. 463 yards merino/nylon superwash

DRAGON SCALE, on Posh Sock. 463 yards merino/nylon superwash

A treatise on hot pink.

Hot pink. One of my most favorite colors, next to turquoise, purple...red, and the rest of the rainbow! Here I am delving into a color exploration of 4 different dyes. I used the same quantity of dye, same amount of water, fiber, temperature of water. Here's the run down on what I used. What happened was interesting! Here are my thoughts on the hot pink dyes.

Here's what I used for each dye bath:

4 quarts water, heated to 185*
1 1/2 tsp dye powder
2 tablespoons citric acid
2+ oz of each fiber

Dyes: 
Jacquard Acid Dye #620 Hot Fuchsia
Dharma Acid Dye #406 Fluorescent Fuchsia
Country Classics #COC31F Very Hot Pink
Gaywool Acid Dye in Rhodamine

Fibers: 
blending nylon
superwash targhee
washed merino locks
Jacquard Acid Dye:
Jacquard's Hot Fuchsia, has been a staple in my dye set for years. It produces a clear, very saturated depths of shade with very little dye. It's very easy to use, and exhausts very fast. It washes pretty well, and wears well. Fading some over several washes, but retains it's vibrant color. It's a nice clear hot pink on natural fibers. It goes ballistic when introduced to anything nylon. We're talking black light neon, in the best possible way. Some may find this disconcerting, I personally adore it. The dye isn't fugitive, once it's set it stays. I rinsed all fibers in a 140* water bath. Overall, Jacquard is a winner. Great dye economy, a pinch will produce vibrant shades. Try it on nylon or milk fiber for wow factor! See Dharma's info page for further info on solubility, light fast, etc.
Dharma Acid Dye:
Dharma's acid dye range is relatively new. Don't let that throw you, it's a great dye range. Their Florescent Fuchsia is bright. It dyes well, and is fairly concentrated. It's a little cakey, and needs a bit of stirring to dissolve in the dye water. It dyes well, clearly and provides a vibrant shade. It bleeds a little with the rinsing, maybe the only downside. The color is similar to Jacquard, maybe a little darker. It dyes the nylon neon as well, but not as neon on the protein fibers. See Dharma's page for more info on washfast, light fast, solubility etc.
Country Classics:
The Very Hot Pink is the only dye that isn't concentrated. This is because the fixer is included with the dye. The One Shot is simple to use, unlike the other dyes; no citric acid is needed. The color is light on protein fibers, and neon on nylon. It striked faster than the other dyes, which is great if you're in a time crunch. It's important to wet the fibers you're dyeing well, with this dye. Otherwise you'll get mottled coloring. I like this dye, but prefer their Washfast range, since it is more concentrated. *note: Prochemical sells the same shade as "Washfast" that is concentrated-with no fixer added. (I didn't sample Washfast, but have used it in the past)

Gaywool:
This brand of dye is new to me. It is an Australian based company, I love everything from Australia and hope to visit some day (Hello. Bellamy Blake from the 100...but I digress). Thanks to Louet for sending me a sampler pack to play with! The written instructions could be a bit simpler. I suddenly realized, it's used the same as the other acid dyes. I'm not the best when it comes to instructions, they're more like suggestions. I didn't use the Glauber's salt, and Lyogen H assists, on purpose as an experiment. I assume, they are recommended so the dye penetrates better and is more even. The results were really good, even without the assists. Which is great, since I love to keep it simple. The dye is very concentrated! It was the most concentrated of all the dyes. I would categorize it as crazy concentrated. You could easily use 1/2 a teaspoon in 4 quarts of water, to achieve very dramatic results. It has a heavier smell than the rest of the dyes, even with a mask it was noticeable. The superwash targhee dyed more of a deep rosy magenta, which is gorgeous. The nylon went insanely deep neon pink.  The Rhodamine dyes great, and exhausted well; leaving slightly pinky water. Possibly if I used the assists, it would have been different. I need to explore that further!
From left to right, Country Classics, Jacquard Acid Dye, Dharma Acid Dye, Gaywool Acid Dye

 Overall, each dye is awesome. It comes down to brand loyalty, and budget. Gaywool does run higher in cost, but it's exceptional saturation of color makes it worthwhile. The cheapest dye is the Country Classic, it's okay but not a favorite. My favorite for dyeing wool, etc is Jacquard (surprise!). My favorite for dyeing neon hot pink turned out is Dharma's Acid Dye. Jacquard exhausts the best, which is very desirable. I have a septic tank, and am always aware of the dyes effect on the system. There's subtle differences with each color. More depth of shade, vs color. Gaywool's Rhodamine is very concentrated, and the winner if you want a very dark hot pink. I hope you try all the dyes, and explore them for yourself. Hot pink is a fantastic color, and truly is a favorite!






That Nasty Jog

I love stripes. I don't love strip jogs. Nobody does. It's something I had to research to figure out how to avoid! I almost want to rip out my project to fix the last few jogs. But I've already ripped it once so, nope! I am always looking for ways to better my knitting.

There's two techniques I'm using for a hassle free knit. You would think a simple striped cowl would be easy? Yeah, right. First is the Russian join. A must for avoiding all those tricky ends when making many color transitions. Sure, you could wait until the end and weave all those pesky ends in-there's a better way. In my eyes, the only way!

For a jogless stripe (yay) try this technique. It's so simple!



This is the scarf that made me wait 2 months to get the yarn for! I had to buy the Downton Abbey Mini's from Canon Hand Dyes.  

                                 Scarf by foofymonkey on Ravelry. So amazing, right?  I couldn't stop thinking about the gradient colors. So pretty, most knit the colors in a simple stripe. This was way more fun!
                                                                                 



Can You Repeat That?

How long, exactly is that color repeat? You see a gorgeous gradient braid, and wonder-gee how long would that fractal be. The answer, is fairly surprising.

Shown here on targhee superwash-a rainbow colorway. Surprise! About 2 feet of continuous color tucks into a tiny 4 inches of braid. Isn't it incredible, how it's deceiving? As an example, the stretch of chartreuse green is fairly compact.

So, you get a lot of color! Which is great when spinning fractal style. (fancy word for striped)

It's pretty amazing, so now, when browsing to enhance your stash you can visualize better how much color you'll get. A lot of fiber packs into those 4oz hanks I dye.



STASH

Contains many things! All that yarn, and then some.

Aspirations, right? What motivates you? For me it's yarns that's just damn gorgeous.

Stash. It happens. Once I knew someone, who had so much yarn, it was almost a yarn store. She was so addicted, that it became about the yarn, not actual making. Which, I am assuming is the fine line we all walk? My hoard is small, compared to others. I took it out of a old armoire recently, where it was tucked this way and that. Baskets overflowing! There was so much more, in there than I had realized. I sorted, I organized. Gasp....I purged. I donated. OMG!!

So now, there's a system, of sorts. I always plan on being organized somehow, and getting it right for once. Yarn literally becomes a metaphor for life. Like, what's your idea of fun? Mine is discovering an amazing pattern on Ravelry- like Hedgehog Fibres Outline. Yeah!! And realizing with a happy dance, that I have all the yarn to make it. Then, not making it. LOL it's queued, right? 

That's my fun, compared to maybe, kayaking or jumping off a bridge into the river. I'm a quiet, thrill seeker. Finding joy in the smaller, less bold things. You know, like when your cat scratches Fred Flinstone-like madly at the fish tank glass. That was the biggest laugh of the weekend-forever remembered as the most silly funniest thing ever. Yarn. It's a good thing! I plan to never hide skeins under the bed. I'm sticking to my system. No more stuffing it willy-nilly into a cabinet without a plan. I will get to that Outline pattern, maybe sometime right when Spring rolls around ;)


A favorite pattern: Hitchhiker


                  Hello, selfie! My Hitchiker-using Hedgehog Fibres "Oil Slick" yarn. So pretty!

A favorite pattern is the Hitchhiker by Martina Behm. I have knitted it once, what a great pattern. It's long, and has little 'teeth' up one side. A nod towards the Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

If you can knit, purl, kfb you've got it made. You can use any wool, or needle. I prefer to stick with the smaller 2.5 needles...These are easy stitches. The only hassle is remembering which row you're on. Which isn't hard, with a stitch counter. The pattern is probably one of the most knitted, Ravelry says there's 19,500 projects made! I love that about Ravelry-they show the pattern, and examples of it made. You can filter to see handspun yarn and much more.

So when, I mentioned I was up for knitting another scarf...I asked my daughter "what pattern" she answered: Hitchiker! So I find myself casting on again :)



No more ends!



Never weave in another end. This technique works really well! I found success with DK and smaller yarns-otherwise it can get too bulky. I use this all the time, easier than using a spit join, which can be a little yucky, and look weird. It's awesome when you want to have distinct color changes. Check out the color progression in a baby car blanket I made recently.