Friday, 27 March 2009

Dye job No.1

A few weeks ago I made my first foray into yarn dyeing. I hadn't got round to showing you the results as my leg has been giving me gyp, but that's not for here.

I'm very pleased with the way the colours turned out. I used some Dylon Multi purpose dye in Mexican Red and cold water dye in Yellow Glow. Sadly these little tins of dye are being phased out. On the bright side they were going cheap in Robert Dyas.



The yarn is Zirton Trekking which felt a little thin but has puffed up nicely during the dyeing process. I used the steam fixing method as I don't own a microwave, my kitchen is tiny, and I only have one spare saucepan.

I've started making some socks with the yarn, it's lovely to knit with.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Spring

A few things have made me smile today.

1) The Very Hungry Caterpillar on Google to mark the first day of spring. A seminal work in picture book literature.



2) Learning what Norouz is via facebook. One of my friend's surname is very similar to Norouz so when she wrote Happy Norouz, followed by her sister commenting Happy 1388, my curiosity was piqued.

A quick search on the Very Hungry Caterpillar Google directed me to Wikipedia. I'm not going to explain it here, go and have a look for yourself. No? Well here's a picture to whet your interest.



3) My postman now knows I'm a knitter. I ordered some Lion Brand yarns from Banyan Tree Yarns a few days ago. When my parcel arrived yesterday it was already open with 2 balls missing. I got in touch with Banyan Tree and they were so helpful, sending out replacement yarns straight away.

They arrived today. I had a chat with the postie about the opened parcel, asking him if he knew anything, he's a really nice bloke. We finished our chat with him saying, you're doing lots of knitting aren't you. He has no idea...



Happy Spring Equinox, Happy Nowruz, Happy Knitting.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Yarny Carnage

I had Kool Aid. I had yarn. What monstrosity could I create? Read on dear reader, read on.

Firstly, Kool Aid. Do people actually drink this stuff? Reading the ingredients I realised most of the colourings, with descriptive names such as Red 40 and Blue 1, have been banned from UK foods for several years for inducing hyperactivity in kids. The smell is something else. Imagine the sickliest bubble gum smell combined with artificial strawberry flavour, then multiply it by a gazillion. Despite the weather being cold I had to open the back door to let the relatively fresh London air in.

Would you really drink something this blue?



To be fair this is made up much stronger than the instructions for drinking, but it's still pretty vile. Luckily this technicolour beverage is for dyeing, not drinking. I'm sure there's a bad pun in there with dyeing and dying. Please leave a comment if you think of one.

I made up sachets of Ice Blue Raspberry (as seen above), Lemon-Lime (lurid green), Mango (orange-yellow), cherry (red), Lemonade (pale yellow) and grape (not sure how to describe this, bruise coloured, uninviting black-purple sludge).



I had planned on a fairly tasteful colour way but the excitement, and maybe the noxious fumes, took hold.

Here's the presoaked superwash sockyarn before...



and after.



I applied the colours (except the grape) using a syringe as suggested in this excellent Knitty.com article. I love the colours the Kool Aid has created but am not keen on where some of them have merged, especially the blue and the red, it just looks mucky, not purple as expected. Maybe I bit off more than I can chew using five colours on my second dye experiment. Ah well, it is an experiment.

I'm calling this Mucky Macaw. I'll see how it dries and have a rethink.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Kool Aid Mule

A friend of ours is over from the US so I asked him to bring me some Kool Aid for dyeing. I now have a stash of sickly smelling lurid drinks. Wonder what they taste like?

Friday, 13 March 2009

Interference socks

I've finished my "In Rainbows" socks. I'm not sure about the colour pooling, looks like an interference pattern to me, but Mr Ginger likes them.



Yarny details:
Needles: 2.5mm bamboo
Yarn: Rowan Scottish Tweed for the toes and heels - I was worried this would feel to thick for socks but it's lovely. Artesano Alpaca Hummingbird in Lourie for the rest.
Pattern: Generic toe up socks.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Experiments

I've set myself the challenge of not buying any more sock yarn until I've dyed the plain sock yarn I already have. I've been putting this off til now, I gave myself a talking to and said what's the worst that can happen? Fugly yarn? Well that's hasn't stopped me knitting so far.

The yarn is now steaming in the kitchen which now has some extra colours in the worktop. Whoops.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Socks In Rainbows

I've given up on TV. After 4 weeks of vegging in front of fairly quality TV I've had enough. I'm spending the mornings listening to Radio 4, then when the Archers comes on at 2pm I switch to BBC 6 Music. I did try XFm but it's full of ads and plays the same tunes over and over again. I'm also reading a bit more which is a good thing. I'm currently on a murder mystery set in the 1900s with Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung as characters in the novel.

Actually I haven't completely given up TV, still watching the Dally Show which I record on More4 then watch the next day. John Stewart makes me giggle. I'm still following Heroes, Lost and BSG as well as Corrie.

I've become obsessed with sock knitting, probably as I'm enjoying wearing hand knit socks at the moment as they are comfier and warmer than shop bought ones, and they are easy and portable to knit.

These are my latest pair, I'm using up some Hummingbird Alpaca sock yarn I had left over from making Boots' socks. I've been listening to more music too, especially Radioheads In Rainbows. These socks are similar to the album, occasionally discordant, happy/sad, love/hate, colour pooling weirdness.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Pffffffffffffffft.

Yesterday was Mr Gs birthday. Being mobility limited and a Monday meant we stayed in and watched telly. I'll try and spread nice treats out over the week for him.

I spent the day trying out the pressure cooker we bought in India. I use lots of pulses in my cooking but usually use tinned ones as it save the overnight soaking and endless cooking. When we took part in a cookery class in India the teacher extolled the virtues of pressure cookers, both for cooking pulses and making super fast curries so we bought a small one in Delhi.

My mum had a pressure cooker when I was a kid but it was all fancy with regulators and things I don't know about. The Indian one is a much simpler affair with a valve which releases steam when the pressure builds up.

Indian pressure cookers use the number of steam bursts to work out cooking times. And when it blows it really blows. It makes for quite tense cooking, hearing the pressure building up, waiting for the release of steam. I like it.



I made a very tasty Chick Pea Masala using some spice blends we also bought in Delhi. The chick peas came out beautifully soft with a delicious nutty flavour. MmmmmMasala.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Leg work

I finally got to see a physiotherapist today. She was lovely. I've got homework, or should I say leg work (boom boom) with cute little stick men to illustrate what I need to do.



We were brave and took the bus home. I sat in the disabled person seat with my leg awkwardly outstretched. I can't fully bend my knee into a bus seat space at the moment. It was fine but people really don't look where they are going. Luckily no one walked into my leg but came a bit too close for comfort at times. It was the start of rush hour.

When my leg is stronger I'll try going out and about during the day, but no where near rush hour when the office zombies are out.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The Knee by Munch

I went for an MRI scan of my knee last night and managed to wangle a copy of the images. Working in healthcare sometimes has it's advantages. Not that I can read the scan very well. I can work out what the main structures are but can't make any diagnosis from it, although the radiolographer did point out some bone bruising and fluid around my knee. One of the images reminds me of a famous painting.



Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Pomatomus and Sumotamop

I've had these socks on the go for ages. I think I started the first one about 2 years ago, when I was a relatively new knitter. I wanted to make the second sock with the pattern reversed but didn't have the skills to do so. I recently found this blog post on reversing the Pomatomus pattern so spent last week making sock 2. While I like the end result I did find these really tedious to knit. I prefer the reversed pattern to the original, although that may be due to an improvement in my knitting.



Here's the knitty details:
Needles: Bamboo 2.5mm DPNs
Yarn: Can't remember, bought it ages ago in Liberty. It's quite stretchy so I think it's got elastic in it. Used Less than 2 50g skeins. The colour is semi solid.