Archive for the ‘Yarn’ Category

After a long hiatus, I’ve started on the Babette Blanket again. I didn’t like the oranges and browns–a bit too 70s–so I ripped out a bunch of the squares to start fresh. Now I’m making purple the dominant color, rather than taupe/brown. And I finally got the time and motivation to dye some yarn.

Swish Overdye#1 & #2

Both of these started out as Knit Picks Swish Superwash in Bubblegum pink. I added red #20 powder food coloring and red Kool-Aid to the one on the left, and Wilton’s violet to the one one the right. Really love the coral/watermelon color, but it never stopped bleeding in the rinse water. I’m sure it was the powder dye that did it.

My therapist gave me a great tip today: use citric acid powder (from a natural food store) instead of vinegar. Doesn’t have the nasty vinegar smell, and it’s the same stuff they put in Kool-Aid. I find that Kool-Aid colors set pretty well.

Swish Overdye #3

Knit Picks Swish Superwash in Coast Gray, overdyed with Wilton’s violet and a splash of random red Kool-Aid. I’m going to go back and re-do it with grape Kool-Aid, since I was looking for a darker color.

My partner and I hosted afternoon tea–that’s right, a tea party. I made fresh lemon curd* for the scones, and finger sandwiches with the crusts cut off and everything. Cucumber and yogurt/dill/cilantro spread; smoked wild Sockeye salmon and fresh dill with a cream cheese spread; sliced Bosc pear (the Concorde season is over, alas) and deliciously creamy Fourme d’Ambert blue cheese. YUM! Wanted to take pics but my friends think I’m a loony foody as it is. But we did receive this beautiful beautiful teapot, which a friend left behind when she left the country.


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Mixing different colors in Wilton’s and Kool-Aid is tricky! I tried a dozen different permutations, aiming for lilac (reddish purple) and periwinkle (blueish purple) for the Babette Blanket. The bit of yellow in some of the colors wreaked havoc, creating mauves and brownish pinks/purples. Next time I’ll look more closely at the list of ingredients. Even the unspecified “artificial color” can cause problems when you mix colors. I suspect the Red #40 was also causing some problems; it just wouldn’t mix into a true purple when combined with Blue #1. Still hunting for something with pure Red #3.

Finally, I came up with these:

Hand-Dyed Yarn, originally uploaded by Rina7.

On the left, a lilac/periwinkle blend using Wilton’s icing dye in Violet (Blue 1 & Red 3), plus a tinge of Strawberry Kool-Aid. Right: Berry Blue Kool-Aid, plus a tinge of red (I think Cherry KA). Both are Knit Picks Bare Superwash, worsted weight. I put the main dye in first, and then fished the yarn, stirred in a tiny bit of the second pigment, and put the yarn back in. I repeated this process several times to get the right color saturation level.

The semisolid effect is great for Babette, but I was still struck by how unevenly the yarn drank up the dye. I wonder if pre-soaking without the vinegar might make a difference? Maybe it was the yarn: I did my test batches with Patons Classic Merino, which took the colors more evenly, though it resisted blue and generally turned out muddier looking.

Anyway, now my Babette yarn collection is complete! Until I have to buy/dye more, of course. I’m already running short on a few.

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Goody Friday

Okay, it’s actually Thursday, but I’m taking off for Ashland tomorrow. Considered”Fiber Friday” but there are other kinds of craft related goodies, so…

Assorted Kool-Aid

Clockwise from left: Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade, Lemon-Lime, Berry Blue, Slammin’ Strawberry Kiwi, Blastin’ Berry Cherry, and Pink Lemonade.

The Safeway & Albertson’s monopoly in the East Bay carries only the basic flavors. So I scoured the web. E-Bay is wonderful! Quite a mark-up over retail prices, but I was on a mission. Still need a source for Mandarine Tangerine, though.

invisible Kool-Aid


It’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit and these arrived at the LYS. Malabrigo Worsted in Shocking Pink, ordered in February. I have 5 skeins. When the fog rolls into the Bay, I’ll think of a knitting project for this. The delicious pink wants to be a feminine sweater, don’t you think?

shocking pink Malabrigo

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Dyeing for Babette

Received a Knit Picks shipment — more Babette yarn, will it ever end? The Swish Superwash Chili Pepper red is perfect, not to bright, but still intense. Then there was Coast Gray, and the Bare Superwash. I started out with the Bare, shooting for lime green/chartreuse with a mixture of Wilton’s icing dyes in Leaf Green and Sunny Yellow. This was my first time with Wilton’s and, er, I had a bit of a mishap…


I noticed right away that the Sunny Yellow gel looked orange. Paying it no mind, I mixed a bit into a heavy solution of Leaf Green. Then, trying to save time, I put the yarn (pre-soaked in hot water and vinegar) into a pyrex baking dish intended for the microwave. Took the green solution and started pouring.

Uh-oh! The solution was waaay too dark, and quickly got soaked up instead of diffusing. And it was an ugly brownish green. When you mix a secondary color (in this case, green) with the opposite primary (in this case the red in the yellow cake dye), you get brown. Hastily threw the yarn into warm soapy water and washed it out, but the large dirty brown patches remained. I re-dyed it on the stovetop with just the green. It needs more yellow and I’m unhappy with the muddy green parts, but I don’t want to abuse the yarn further. Lesson: do a small test run first! The hard part with Wilton’s is that there’s not really a good way to control the amount of pigment, given the gloppy consistency of the gel.


Had better luck with the overdye project with Coast Gray Swish Superwash. Goal: very dark plum. First try was with Grape Kool-Aid. It needed more pigment and I added a bit of Cherry, but that tilted too much towards red. A final dunk in a solution of Wilton’s Violet did the trick. In real life the yarn is a very dark purple; my camera tends to minimize red and shift towards blue.

Still on the agenda for Babette yarns: overdye some Woolease to get tan, lilac, and periwinkle. I have a pretty good handle on ovedyeing Woolease, so hopefully it will go more smoothly.

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Did I say Babette was bringing out my perfectionist tendencies? Still collecting my yarn. My supplemental Knitting Warehouse order came in: oodles of Woolease.


From top left: Azalea, Seaspray, Buttercup, Avocado, and Paprika. The photo colors are pretty close, except Paprika isn’t so bright in real life. I don’t have any plans for Paprika, it just seemed pretty. The shipment had six additional balls of Avocado–the days have been chilly, so I’m going to try the Stitch ‘n’ Bitch Frou Frou wrap cardigan again.


I also got enough Bernat Cool Crochet in Amethyst for the Butterfly Wrap, but the yarn is has much more mauve in it than the picture shows–in fact it looks kind of muddy, not a jewel tone at all. Drats! I guess I’ll test one ball and see if I should send the others back.

Did some dyeing, too, but that will come in the next post.

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I have the Chapter 6 Word document open. All the relevant research files are piled conveniently around me. But it’s 90 degrees farenheit and I feel like a slug. Spent half the day inside the house in my undies. That is all I have to say about that.

Soon I’ll be having another one of these:


Bibiana over at Preeety Crafty kindly posted a caipirinha recipe for me this weekend. I was going to try her negrinhos recipe yesterday, but with the hot weather after a deliciously spicy-greasy meal at Spices! 3, we just weren’t up for rich sweets. So I mixed up a batch of caipirinha–substituting vodka for cachaça, which I will get soon–and it was de-lish! My husband, his friend Mike, and I relaxed on our deck sipping these and watching the sun set.

My WEBS shipment arrived with more yarn for Babette blanket:


A lot of the colors are too kid-like, so I’m sending back some. It’s making my head spin to make all the colors correspond; and I still have two colors I haven’t even tried to match yet. This is quite an adventure in color!

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What the ??? It’s huuuuge. (That chair is a giant LaZBoy). Especially the armhole opening — 2-3″ longer than need be. I don’t know if it was the knitting design software or me. The stitch gauge I plugged in was maybe off by 1/2 stitch per 4″, but the row gauge was right. I’ve noticed that free Knitware trial software consistently spits out the wrong row counts. Kind of frustrating to discover after hours of work.

Click here for a picture of the sweater hanging on the machine, and a glimpse of my messy work style. You might spot a slice of pizza on the counter.


Frog! At least I’m happy about my new wool winder, a prezzie from my partner for handing off Chapter 5. Meanwhile I’m going back to crocheting. My Woolease shipment from Knitting Warehouse–always quick–came in a few days ago.


I had to run out the door just then, but I swear I wanted to roll around in the soft, colorful balls–they’re for the Babette blanket (see this post). Would have bought these at Michael’s except the one nearby only carries drab colors, yuck. The WEBS shipment of Plymouth Encore should be here tomorrow, yay!

Here’s a parting action shot of the rainbow hat on my partner, who has claimed it for himself.


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