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When I Dyed….

A few days back a dear Ravelry friend piqued my interest in a post when writing about dyeing acrylic yarn. The reason why I was interested is that till date, I’ve been told that you cant dye acrylic: the color doesn’t hold. So how was this going to work?!

Acrylic mainly needs acid dye in commercial quantities to be viable, and to hold the color the way it does. However, HodgePodge Crochet mentions the use of acrylic colors. Seemed interesting and do-able. So the moment I was alone at home, I got to work!

The first hitch came at acrylic paint. The blog doesn’t really say wall paint, but if you read carefully, you’ll understand that that’s what she meant. Now the problem here is that I get a massive headache with the smell of paint. The only paint I was willing to work with was the children’s acrylic paint bottles. The difference: the paint is more diluted and therefore has not significant amount of smell. One more: I don’t need to burn by hands with turpentine if it does manage to get on me; soap works just fine!!!

I did figure I probably need a lot more color than the “squirt” the blogger mentions, but I decided to go ahead anyway.

The reason I was comfortable to go ahead was a stash of “natural” color yarn lying in my stash, and I had no clue how to get rid of it. Ta-Da! Solution found! So out came the hanks (which I hadn’t bothered to wind, Thank God!)

The starting point
The starting point

Step 1: Wash the yarn in hot water. Since its summer, the Solar Heater in my bathroom works just fine. So the moment I turned on the tap, nice hot hot water came rushing out. The yarn got soaked in this.

Step 2: I had a spare steel vessel I had used last time for dyeing. In this I added Leaf Green, Lemon Yellow and a dash of Burnt Sienna, all being in 15 ml bottles. I was dyeing 3 hanks (approx 150 gms) of acrylic.

The pic here isn’t great. I was conducting the process in my bathroom, which had no access to natural light ( a fact I realized only after dunking the yarn). So please don’t mind the neon shade of green! πŸ˜€

Dripping away...
Dripping away…

Step 3: I put on a pair of gloves and got to work ensuring the color reached every bit. Then I let it sit in the color for about 15 minutes, and then hung it over the tap to drip into the vessel. This was finally hung in the balcony to dry out for the rest of the day.

Later that evening
Later that evening

Step 4: I washed the acrylic to check for color fastness. Unfortunately it was not color fast. I remembered to put in salt to hold the color. And surprisingly it did hold. The yarn went back into the balcony for drying out.

The final effect is an ombre-like gradient in green. But without the flow of color. It simply became patchy where the darker color settled at the base…

After the wash, the colors lightened up
After the wash, the colors lightened up

I wanted to try once more to check for the amount of color required. So I dyed a single skein in Magenta. The experiment wasn’t really a resounding success. Apparently you need the amount of color concentration for it to hold onto the yarn. πŸ™ The pink almost seems faded…

Drying out in Pink
Drying out in Pink

 

The skeins together
The skeins together

By this time the original skeins had dried out, and so I wound one up to see how it worked for a project. I made a doily and a knit swatch to display the colors.

All rolled up!
All rolled up!
a quick doily
a quick doily

 

A knit swatch
A knit swatch

 

Finally I would say that, if you can manage, go ahead with wall paint. Else acrylic colors aren’t bad at all! πŸ˜€

Have fun! πŸ™‚

 

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Sock Me! ;)

When one of my Ravelry groups suggested a sock-along, I jumped at the opportunity. I already had made 3 pairs and I was sure its just a matter of sitting for a few hours n getting it done! Delusional, anyone?

Which essentially was stupid. I already had 3 sweaters (out of which 2 were for me… Small. Not), and a shawl. Not to mention I knew I would be busy with the in-laws here and stuff on the personal front. And did I choose a free pattern?! No, I went ahead and signed up for something that said “complete within 2 months or pay up”. So, ya, sock me!!

Anyway, today happens to be the deadline for the socks, and I’ve just managed to finish it.

The yarn is an entire different matter to crib about. It looked good on skein, and that’s the only reason I can come up with for buying it!! The color changes are normally small i.e 12″ in most Indian acrylic yarns. However, this took short to a whole new level: approximately 6″. The design is mostly invisible. πŸ™

Anyway, here’s my pic!

Arrow Lace socks
Arrow Lace socks

 

PS: I don’t think I’ve ever written a “rant” blog ever before!Β sigh

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Hooking Away

As a couple of friends pointed out here, I’m just too used to “needles”. And I finally found the need to change my terminology to “hooks”! πŸ™‚ Crocheting has recently become my go-to option when I’m tired of knitting. While knitting usually involves wearables of some sort, they take a lot of time to complete. On the other hand, I crochet only to take a break from garments. So these are small projects, doilies to be precise.

Here are a couple that I’ve completed recently:

  • Floor Show: Every bit of this rug/mat is a gift. The yarn was a gift from Rinku, and the pattern came from a crochet magazine gifted by Swapna… And I just couldn’t resist putting it all together!

 

Floor Show!
Floor Show!
  • Mallika: My very first test pattern. Designed by Srividhya, and tested on the Crafty Dozen forum on Ravelry.. and helped through the process by Jaishree and Swapna on WatsApp! πŸ˜‰

 

Mallika
Mallika
  • Dove Doily: I wanted to challenge myself… and challenge I did! It definiltly challenged my patience to stick to it till it got done. As it is i skipped the last few rows. πŸ˜›

 

Dove Doily
Dove Doily
  • Clematis: this was pretty motif that I found in a book… and decided to make a couple. Not sureΒ what I’ll do with them though….

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Pine for Me! :)

This one is freshly completed, though it actually slid off my needles a couple of weeks back. Unfortunately, I’ve just not had the time to wash and block the garment, not to mentioned finish off the weaving in of threads n sewing on of buttons. But here is the finally product, and am really really thrilled with my lovely Pine Cardigan!

The design itself is a test knit run on Ravelry from the very talented designer/s Tincanknits. Its been fun, though the sleeves were boring… I mean how fun can 20 inches of stockinette be?! But the end result more than made up for it! πŸ˜€ <3

Here’s my lovely Pine!

The un-blocked version
The un-blocked version

 

the buttons :)
the buttons πŸ™‚

 

And the lovely finished cardigan!! <3
And the lovely finished cardigan!! <3
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On a Doily Trip…

I seem to have been bitten by a doily bug! I just can’t get over how fast they get done, and how beautiful they are. To the point that I’ve made 2 since the beginning of this very week. πŸ™‚

I’ve never really got along with knitting cotton in the past. The maximum I made were coastersΒ and a mobile pouch, and then I couldn’t really think of much to make with them. They seemed to strain my arms holding onto the slippery thread. So they were relegated to the back of my cupboard where they languished for a looong time.

With the Ravellenics starting in a couple of days, I decided to challenge myself this way. What better to do than use up old thread and make pretty stuff? So I sat down and carefully looked at all the notes by the designer and thought long and hard. Then I just started doing it! I still wasn’t convinced that this was a good idea… till I starched out my first doily. Then I was hooked!

Both doilies that I’ve made have been designed by Linda Browning, for whom I’m tested earlier. The doily designs were her gift for testing!

So here are the pictures! πŸ™‚

Flower Doily
Flower Doily
the bigger doily
the bigger doily
and how they look together! :)
and how they look together! πŸ™‚

 

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Intriguing Shawl

This was supposed to be a quick project which I signed up for it. Unfortunately I got so side-tracked with other projects on needles, that I got late for my deadline! πŸ™

The nice part is that the designer was cool about it, and had no problems extending the deadline. So here’s my Intriguing shawl, with its lovely design! It was made with a silk-wool blend that I got from IndianSilkShop on 4mm needles and it was also the first time I knit with anything silk! πŸ™‚

I did make a couple of changes to the design namely I cut out on the repeats for the end garter ridge and I didn’t do the picots. Did that make a difference? No, it didn’t, because the focus is now entirely on the design! And a very pretty one it is. πŸ™‚

before blocking
before blocking
immediately after blocking :)
immediately after blocking πŸ™‚
a clear look!
a clear look!
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Gilbert

Gilbert was a sweater that I made for my nephew. The pattern was designed by Melanie Coogan, and she was very generous when she gave me the pattern for free! And for no reason but that I asked for it on Ravelry! πŸ˜€ Thanks, Melanie!

The sweater is knit seamlessly and knit bottom-up. This is the first time I made anything with such extensive cables, and it was great experience!

A close-up of the cables
A close-up of the cables
The final Sweater!
The final Sweater!

 

 

 

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WIP – A New Crochet Motif

Now that I’m done with granny squares in crochet, I thought it was time to learn something new. Of course, I cannot do this the easy way and look for a nice stitch and learn properly. I HAVE to go for something more difficult. So I decided to make a collage of motifs. I’m not sure how the whole thing will look, but I’ll try anyway.

In spite of the difficult task I set myself, I did manage to land on my feet anyway. The motif I found on YouTube was posted by Crochet Geek, and featured how to make a circle into a square. The problem was that I’d never crocheted a circle, forget making it into a square. But I managed. And I’m pretty happy with the result!

Couple of things that I learnt along the way are:

  • sc and hdc – Β I already knew dc but the others had to be viewed a couple of times before I got the hang of it.
  • Crocheting through a stitch – I had to rip up a couple of times before I got the hang of this one
  • 4-ply could mean anything – When the presenter spoke about 4-ply I assumed she meant fingering weight. But when I got done, it seemed much lighter than the motif shown on-screen. Then I figured that though she said 4-ply she meant anything up to DK :(! While what I used was almost light-fingering. So lesson learnt was to watch the videos VERY carefully, esp when they show the yarns! πŸ™‚
Crochet Motif
Crochet Motif
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Cotton Apron

When I got up this morning, I promised myself that I’d get cracking on the sweaters that are pending work. However, once I finished breakfast, I suddenly decided i wanted a new apron. I’m not really sure why I want one though, i hardly use it!

But one thing was sure: the apron I already own has strings to be tied at the back.. and I’ve been enamoured by the professional chef aprons that tie right around to the waist in front. It’s just so cool! So that’s what I decided to make.

Another reason is that I desperately need to use up my fabric stash if I intend to buy more fabric.. So my project was for a good cause: to create space for more shopping! πŸ˜‰

While I havent reached the level where I’m comfortable showing off my haphazard sewing /cutting skills in photographic detail, here’s the final product. Though there are a couple of things I’m proud of:

  • The neat way I managed to make the borders without having fabric lift up after the stitch line
  • My stitched apron strings. This is my second attempt, and I’ve done a great job (even I say so myself)

What I’m not happy about is the fact that the armsyce is different on both sides. I’m not really sure how I managed that, though I do remember thinking that one side seemed easier to stitch than the other…

Without any further ado, there’s my apron!

How it looks on me!
How it looks on me!
Final apron with the disbalanced armsyce
Final apron with the imbalanced armsyce
The neat edges
The neat edges
the neat curved edge
the neat curved edge

 

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DIY – Flower Vase

With all the roses blooming in my home garden, I’ve always wanted a nice flower vase to show them off. Unfortunately, commercial stuff has either been too delicate or too bland. I just haven’t been able to find the one I wanted.

In the meantime, this has mean that all my flowers get shown off in glass bottles. I had an idea for dressing up the said bottles, but somehow I hadn’t gotten around to getting my supplies.

Recently on a grocery run, I managed to pick up all the stuff I wanted. πŸ™‚ So here’s my DIY Flower vase

completed flower vase
completed flower vase

You need:

  • A glass bottle – I used old ketchup bottles
  • colored thread – you can opt for paper, cotton or plastic wire. I used a chinese brand macrame plastic wire.
  • Glue – use any multi-purpose glue. I used Fevicol‘s All-fix.
  • Any decorative sequins that you may wish to use.

How to do it:

  • Gather all your supplies
The supplies
The supplies
  • Apply the glue in a ring at the top of the bottle where you will start sticking the thread. Thereafter, draw lines along the length of the bottle. For a small bottle i drew 5 lines which covered most of the bottle
Notice the lines of glues along the bottle length?
Notice the lines of glues along the bottle length?
  • Stick the start of the thread and hold it in place with your thumb and proceed to wind the thread around the bottle. This may be a bit messy, but is the most effective way. You need to hold the starting point only for a few seconds as the glue will act fast.
  • Keep winding around till you reach the end of the thread. Attach another string in the same manner as the start point and continue winding till you reach the end.
  • The lines of glue will hold the thread in place while you are winding. This makes the entire work less messy than if the whole bottle was covered in glue.
  • Cover the joins with sequins if you wish (I did!)
Sequin overload! :)
Sequin overload! πŸ™‚

Viola! You have a brand new flower vase! πŸ™‚

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New Bag : Contrast

This particular project is the only one to take on so many forms before finalizing. This was one of the crochet projects I’d started a couple of months back.

It started as a table runner for my dining table. The orange-gray combination was striking against the brown of my table. The I found it was too much of work, so it became placemats, starting with 2 mats, the remaining to be made slowly.Β This has now taken the form of a bag, simply because I just couldn’t get myself to complete even the 2 placemats!

Anyway, I’m still liking the way it looks. Its been a different experience for me: to sew up so many pieces together. It is only the position of the pieces against each other changes it from a table piece to a bag.

The handle is an i-cord made with 3 strands held together and knit with 5mm DPNs. Hmm. Just can’t leave knitting behind, can I?! πŸ™‚

Here is the result:

The completed bag
The completed bag
another shot :)
another shot πŸ™‚
Before the handle was added
Before the handle was added
The opening at the top
The opening at the top
How it all began
How it all began

 

 

 

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New Achievement: Doily in Thread!

Well, lots of people knit with thread. But this is the first time I actually managed to make something big… in thread. Now, we’re not talking knitting cotton, but proper thread. The type used for doilies, crochet and heavy embroidery! πŸ™‚ So, YAY me!!

I did manage to knit a doily with the Crossed test knit. But have been thinking about the thread one long and hard. I started a couple of times with lace weight wool. But I figured I liked that even less than thread. πŸ™

Faced a couple of problems at the beginning. I managed the center crochet cast-on but wasn’t very happy with it. But I still plowed on to find a massive mistake that I made on Line 7. That meant ripping up completely. So I decided that the 2nd attempt would have a knit cast-on. Well, I should have figured there was a reason for the center to be crocheted! Mine turned out messy. But I wasn’t in the mood for ripping again. So I plowed on, and made the smallest size possible!

But it’s done, and that’s all that matters! πŸ™‚

vintage doily
vintage doily
Another angle
Another angle

 

without the flaws visible! ;)
without the flaws visible! πŸ˜‰