I’ve been fortunate to not lose my job during the Covid19 quarantine. In my case this means working remote from home. My co-workers know me pretty well so they probably assume I’m knitting during Zoom meetings whether I am or not so I might as well do so. (Now there’s a dreadful run-on sentence…)
Lots of sock knitting so far, burning through my stash of Patons Kroy Sock Yarn. Basic sock pattern from Wendy Johnson’sSocks from the Toe Up. Her web site: https://wendyknits.
In general things work more smoothly with the proper tools – in this case the blocking blocks and wires from KnitPicks. I don’t quite have a large enough space to block in the house but the yard works well on a sunny day.
Blocking with wires, blocks and assistant (T.R. below).
Smith Island Pattern Factory: Maude
(More interesting than the shawl was the choice of boxes to sit in.)
I once heard that there are two kinds of knitters – project finishers and project starters. It took me forever to learn the long-tail cast-on (thank you Stitch Cafe) and ultimately I think I just prefer finishing to starting. And I can cast-off ok and even weave in the threads.
(Ignore the dry looking lawn. There’s a drought and water rationing out here…) So Basil Blankets are off to the kids this weekend and Maude is also finished.
Maude the shawl. I have always seen these photos of women blocking shawls out-of-doors on what looks like lawns or fields. Now I know why. Aside from the stale urine as bleach, the damn things don’t block easily inside a tiny house.
Fortunately purchased two sets of blocking “blocks”. Maude took about I.5 plus blocking wires and assorted pins. It was an adventure.
The Smith Island PatternFactory Basil Baby blanket(s). The running joke has been some variation on would I finish these blankets before the children (my nieces: E & M) go off to college. As it has turned out the ubiquitious blankets have been completed somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd birthdays.
(Sort of. The 2nd one is being blocked as I write this….)
Blanket start (above)
Blanket #1 on the (Knitpicks) blocks
(and a corner).
Various learning experiences accumulated include: how to knit from charted patterns (being a weaver and used to reading drafts that wasn’t too terrible), why the overdramatically named “life line” is so very important, how to fix mistakes, fixing a mistake that requires (holding one’s breath) dropping a few rows down (that part was terrible) and other exciting lessons.
At some point I decided to put all other projects on hold or back burner, no casting on, no weaving, etc or whatever till the blankets were complete. Better pictures will follow.
I’ve put my other knitting on hold while I finish up the baby blankets. I am hoping to complete both blankets before the twins go off to college. (Bit of an exageration here – they’ve only recently passed their mutual 2nd birthday.) Bit more frogging and swearing and now they (the blankets) seem to be on track.
Adding to my list of things not to do is: don’t bind the edging off too tight. Do this and the whole busness will be too tight on the edge and much looser at the center. I had this feeling that some things can’t be fixed by blocking so more frogging and re-working. (For the record, the Dale of Norway/Baby Ull has held up really well with all the gentle frogging and re-knitting. You wouldn’t know what it’s been through.)
I put aside other knitting projects in order to finish the Basil Baby blankets before the twins go off to college. (They recently celebrated their 2nd birthday.) Going along fine until I started looking at other completed Basil blankets (on Ravelry) and realized that I had managed to knit up the borders (- count two – both sets of borders – ) incorrectly (backwards, insideout, don’t ask) and had myself a lesson in careful frogging. Now back on track and I may yet complete this project before the college going away party….
Dye plants work on their own time tables, ignoring (my) schedule, day job hours and other relivant interruptions which may be why I prefer using dry-ables. The Fennel seems to be going into its die-off cycle. Fortunately its one of those dye plants that seems to work just as well fresh or dried and I have enough stocked up for what passes as Winter in California. And, about the time that the Fennel is finished the Oxalis will probably be reappearing.
It would probably sound great to say I grow all my own dye plants but I certainly don’t – lack of space for starters. I probably have sufficient garden space to grow dye to cover sock toes. The Fennel (yellow dye), until I transplanted it into the yard, I used to chase around town ahead of the weed abatement people. The Oxalis (the other yellow) appeared on its own and refused to leave. Since both of these work well fresh or dry I can save and dry for the season and have enough to dye beyond the sock toes.
Otherwise I rely on things that are going to be tossed out – Onion peels, lawn grass and Eucalyptus leaves for example. I have grown Maddar but again its hard to grow enough for an extensive dye project so I buy that dried. I have to Woad plants going this year but again that probably toe coverage so the Woad and Indigo are also purchased dry.
My little overdye experiment – the Knitpicks sock blank – has some Oxalis (yard), Maddar and Indigo. This is also my first time knitting toe-up, two-at-once socks.
Lastly, this is the new wordpress version of the dye blog.
After following the Knitpicks sock blank knit-alongs and dye-alongs I decided to try one myself using dye plants.
Knitpicks sock blank. Starting with an overnight soak and standard Alum bath.
Start with Oxylas. The sock blank soaked up the dye incredibly well. I underestimated the wicking effect and lost the white spots. For the next one it mgiht be interesting to try with some dry areas.
Overdye with Maddar.
Some ‘saddening’ with Iron and Copper to tone down the yellow.
Last the Indigo overdye.
I am a total convert to the Magic Loop method of sock knitting but have never tried two at once or toe up. The pattern is good but I was somewhat confused at the beginning. Once over that hurddle I think the rest will be fairly straight forward.
The ubiquitous baby blankets have been completed up to the borders and may even be finished before a) the twins go off to college or b) by their first birthday. I’m aiming for the latter with a couple of weeks to go.