Sunday, December 28, 2008

Train tam

This hat was a Christmas present - very well received and fun to knit. I followed the pattern very closely, and added some embroidered flowers. The pattern is a free one:

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Second socks

A second pair of socks, made from a pattern in the two-socks-at-a-time book. These were a lot more difficult than the first pair. The yarn was thinner, and the dark blue color made it hard to see the stitches. The heels also got messed up at first, which took a while to undo and redo. Whew, I am glad they are done.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fingerless gloves adapted from a pattern in the book "Homespun Handknit". The yarn is recycled from a thrift store sweater - the label said it was knit in Nepal. The original yarn color was undyed off-white, and I dyed it with food color. This yarn was interesting in that it was very "sticky" - lots of little grasping hairs on each thread. Undoing a row felt like taking apart velcro.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fiddle faddle

Holiday stars made with bits of leftover yarn. Pattern is from Elizabeth Zimmerman in her book Knitter's Almanac.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Basketweave blanket

The yarn for this blanket was recycled from a thrift store JCrew sweater. The yarn was thick, soft, amazing. The first photo shows a strand of Cascade220 (the thinner strand) compared to the yarn from the sweater.

Now, I usually do a gage swatch, but for this blanket I didn't, I just cast on 144 stitches as the pattern requested, and knit until I ran out of yarn. Well, those 144 stitches produed a blanket over 5 feet wide. And because it was recycled yarn from 1 sweater, I was limited on how much yarn I had. So it's only 2 feet tall. I was originally going to send this to Afghanistan, but the size was outside their requirements, so it's staying here to be my thick, soft, amazing [and very wide :)] futon blanket.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Black walnut dyeing

Black walnut husks make a very strong dye, and I wanted to try it on some yarn. Luckily, my parents have some majestic black walnut trees on their place (above). The nuts fall to the ground (below), which make them easy to harvest.

I used a piece of wood to separate the husks from the nuts, then put the husks into enough water to cover them (below), and let that soup sit outside for a couple days.

Then I strained out the bits and pieces of the husks, and put in the yarn. I put one skein in for 24-hours, and it turned a darker golden brown. The second skein was put in for shorter times - dyed so it would be self-striping. From doing a little research on black walnuts, some folks recommend heating the dye, but I dyed these outside in a bucket and it seemed to work well.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hunting season hat

It's deer hunting season in western PA and my dad requested a (birthday) hat that would let hunters know he wasn't a deer when walking through the woods. The pattern is "a very plain hat" from the blog "feather and fan". It's knit with a double-strand everywhere except the brim, so it's very warm - actually too warm for the 70-80 degree indian summer weather. The black yarn is Knit Picks, and the orange is from a recycled sweater, dyed with food color to make it bright orange.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Vest became a sweater

I started this as a vest, but when I got to the midpoint I realized I had enough yarn for a sweater, and so here it is. It's a soft but heavyweight yarn, will be very effective against the winter cold in Afghanistan. This is the second of three projects I am making for the current afghans for Afghans campaign. The third project, a blanket made from lovely gray recycled wool (a jcrew sweater) been begun.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Vest colors

Here is the yarn dyed for afghans for Afghans project #2. Can you see a vest in this? I think "yes".

Sunday, August 03, 2008

More mittens

Plan on knitting three things for the current afghans for Afghans "campaign for youth" drive, Here's the first - the snow day mittens from "Knit one, Embellish too". Yarn is navy Knit Picks bulky (merino, I think) with some recycled wool for the embroidery.

The second project is underway. Here's part of the unraveled Polo sweater (i.e. yarn spaghetti) which I will dye (green/blue/yellow) and knit into a vest.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Popsicle Mittens

Some finished mittens just in time for 90 degree weather. This pattern is also from the book Knit One Embellish two. I added a couple of increases and decreases as I went along to make it fit my hands. The yarn is self-striping (5 different dye colors) that I made up using the last of the recycled yarn from the Talbot's sweater. Usually when dyeing, you soak it beforehand. But I purposely dyed this yarn dry, which increased the variation in color (bottom picture).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tree Bud Mitts

Some striped fingerless gloves, made 2-at-a-time on one circular needle. Pattern is from the book "Knit One, Embellish Too". The dark blue yarn is knit picks amethyst heather, the green is recycled from the talbot's sweater and dyed by me. Alone, the green yarn was pretty intense, but I like how it combines with the more sedate blue (pic 2). I get that jog with my stripes via circular knitting (pic 3). I might try another pair trying out a jogless join method. Anyways, a fun knit, they fit great.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

First socks

I am on vacation, went to the local yarn store, and came across this interesting book "2-at-a-time socks" that shows you how to knit socks on one circular needle - a "magic loop" technique. I'd been avoiding trying to knit socks - it was a little intimidating. But I have to say, this book made it fairly easy, and I finished this pair in a couple (vacation) days. Yarn: recycled, hand-dyed, 100% wool.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


I like the effect of overdyeing, in other words dyeing yarn more than once. It produces lots more interesting variations. I dyed this one 3 times, think it's good now. (p.s. It is a different skein than the one in the progressive dye post.)

Tasmanian sweater

More sweater gathering at the thrift store. From left to right, the top picture shows a very chunky wool hand knit Jcrew sweater, a natural color handspun wool sweater from Tasmania, and a 70% lambswool, 20% angora, 10% nylon sweater. The chunky one would make an awesome blanket for afghans for afghans.

The Tasmania sweater still had the tag on. I wonder how that sweater ended up (never worn) in a thrift store half way around the world.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Progressive dye test

This test is based on the idea that different dye colors stick to yarn at different rates. Here, I used black McCormick food dye which is made up of red, blue, and yellow primary dye colors mixed together. I put the black dye into a pot with some vinegar, then put an entire skein in there for a few minutes. Then pulled out 1/5 of the yarn, waited a little longer, pulled out another segment of yarn, etc.

This left the yarn various shades of maroon, which was not my favorite, so I overdyed the whole thing with some blue, which got me these browns, blacks, and gray colors - much nicer. The yarn I used here was recycled from the wheat colored Polo R.L. sweater a few posts back.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Finished Linus blanket

I posted the beginnings (and details) on this blanket previously. Now, 47,520 stitches later (330 rows x 144 across) it is done - whew! You can see all five colors (2 greens, 2 blues, and a purple) in the pictures. I like taking pictures of projects when they're not necessarily all neatly laid out - hence the second picture - lots of interesting texture. (The purple looks different in the two pictures; reality is somewhere between the two).

Monday, March 31, 2008

Felted bag

A thrift store cardigan with embroidered red, white, and black flowers turned into a felted bag. The cardigan label read "Karen Scott" 100% wool. The button band came off first; I unraveled that and used that yarn to sew the bottom and front shut. Then felted all by hand. The sleeves, with ends cut into three strips, were braided together to form the handle. There's a pocket on the inside, and the top edge is folder over and sewed, so I can thread in a cord if I want to pull it together at the top.

The button is from the vest in my previous post! I kept the lovely shell buttons from this cardigan for a future project.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


I stopped at the thrift store this week for another sweater to unravel, but ended up with two wool vests, both of which probably won't get unraveled. The top one is a handmade, like-new, gray, basketweave-cable vest knit in the round for $5. My dad likes to wear wool vests, so I'm hoping he will give it a new home (pssst... let me know). The second vest is woven, says "A Dafydd Snowdon Design, by Craftcenter Cymru Wales"... I'd been thinking about a felted project and this may be the raw material for that. Like the black/white/gray graphic design.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Second yarn harlot scarf

I knit another one of these for a friend in Phoenix - who assures me people in Arizona do need scarves. This time it's 100% wool, Moda Dea Cartwheel, Sea Blues.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Blanket beginnings

Here's the start of my first project using my recycled and hand-dyed yarn. The yarn was from a Gap 100% lambswool size xl sweater acquired from the thrift store for $3.50.

The original color was a gray blue. I took the yarn divided it into five skeins, and dyed each one a different color. You can see the first two colors here. I'm making this with the idea of sending it to Afghanistan through the "Afghans for Afghans" group. They say that the color green is especially beloved there, so two of the five colors are shades of green.

The pattern for this blanket is from "Knitting for Peace", specifically, it's the "Project Linus Security Blanket". I really like the scalloped edges.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Recycling continues

More thrift store sweaters have come home with me for recycling. They are pictured here. The label of the dark blue one says "Esperanto, made in Mongolia, 100% cashmere". The white one says "Dale of Norway, pure new wool", and the wheat colored one says "Polo Ralph Lauren, 100% wool".

That last one is gigantic, size xl, with such lovely thick wool. I tried stepping on the scale with and without it, and it's ~3 pounds - heavy too! It's my favorite (and was the most expensive of these three). It would make a great blanket. To be continued...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kool Aid dye-ing

Since my post about the $6.99 Goodwill sweater, I've acquired a couple more thrift store sweaters for recycling. The one pictured below was a 100% wool natural-color cabled Talbot's sweater.

I took one ball of this yarn to try dyeing my own yarn. Using Kool Aid drink mix. The Red #40 and Blue #1 that makes Kool Aid drink so bright and colorful happen to be excellent dye for other things. There are tutorials out there on this. For instance:

I used Berry Blue, Grape, and Black Cherry flavors. Used the hand-paint method, and heat set it by steaming it in a pot on the stove. It turned out a lovely mix of blues between turquoise and faded denim.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Holiday knitting wrap-up

A quick post with pictures of Christmas projects. They include, from top to bottom: a diagonal scarf, multiple hats, a felted belt, and a Noro laptop case pictured both pre- and post-felting. Other holiday projects not pictured include a twisted rib hat and legwarmers. Most pictures here taken by my younger brother.