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The Birthday Swap

Every year, there are groups on Ravelry that organize swaps. You can participate in swaps for dishcloths, mittens, shawls, and even for your birthday! Well, I went ahead and participated in one for my birthday this year. I wanted something special, and definitely different from what I did in years’ past. So I signed up for the Birthday Swap early this year.

When the time came around, i couldn’t be more thrilled. Now came the best part after all: shopping! πŸ˜€

I needed to shop for yarn, which was the easy part actually. The rest of the package had to be a minimum cost of $30. The aim was to make the swapee (is there such a word??) feel pampered and loved, even if from far. So I totally went to town with my shopping list. Chocolate, craft kits, and personal care item. It also included a hand-made item from me: my silk-wool shawl Intriguing.

However, I couldn’t manage to make get the package together before Lynne’s (my swap partner) Birthday. I had to send it out before the month was over, and that’s what I eventually did! However, Lynne was a darling and sent mine so that it got to meΒ before my birthday.

Then came D-day: my birthday, and more importantly: package opening day! And boy, was I pampered! Here are the pics of what I received:

The entire package
The entire package. The bag was the handmade that Lynne sent
Lovely lovely yarn! <3
Lovely lovely yarn! <3
Postcards from Yorkshire
Postcards from Yorkshire
Fat Quarter pieces to push me along in my sewing journey
Fat Quarter pieces to push me along in my sewing journey
Books! Lovely collection
Books! Lovely collection

 

What I sent included:

Manasa Gift 2014 001.JPG

 

Manasa Gift 2014 003.JPG

Manasa Gift 2014 004.JPG

Shawl modelled by Lynne
Shawl modelled by Lynne

I guess the pics taken by Lynne are definitely more detailed than mine! But then I wanted to showcase the sheer amount of stuff she sent across! This was a fun experience, and I will certainly look forward to nest year. πŸ˜€

 

 

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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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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