Sunday, July 31, 2022

Road Trip Knitting

We took a road trip last week, so of course I needed to pack projects. But since we were planning to drive through the night for part of the trip, I had to scale back on that packing.

I don't attempt to knit or crochet in the car when it's dark outside. While I could use a small light, I always worry that it will make it difficult for the driver to see outside.

(And there were so many deer on this trip! Even into the wee hours when they can usually be expected to be bedded down. Thankfully all but one stayed in the grass, and we had plenty of time to brake for the one that ran into the road.)

I very reasonably packed a pair of socks that I've been knitting with only a half of one sock left to finish. And an assortment of scrap sock yarn to potentially start a new pair. And a 5.25 mm crochet hook (size I) because one never knows when a bathroom break might be at or near a big box store that sells dishcloth cotton.

Feet crossed and resting casually on a dark gray dashboard wearing hand-knit socks in a cheery hand-dyed pink. In the background is the highway, greenery and storm clouds.

The socks that were already in progress are in the Open Twisted Ribbing pattern from Charlene Schurch, knit in the Miss Babs Putnam colorway Spotted Flowers. It's a 4-row pattern that's easy to memorize. The stitch count varies through the pattern repeat, which can be helpful in minimizing color pooling from hand-dyed yarns.

I finished them somewhere in West Virginia, I believe. The yarn is such a lovely, cheery color — but especially so as we headed into dark clouds and rainstorms.

While we were at our destination, we stopped into a yarn shop that we've visited before and my daughter requested a pair of socks. This never happens! She chose Super Soxx Color 4ply in the colorway Dublin from Lang Yarns.

I cast on for the socks our way home and, because I had the book with me, I chose Charlene Schurch's Uneven Ribbing pattern. I wanted a ribbed pattern for the extra stretch because there was a lot of room for error in our method of measuring her feet while we were on the road. This is a 2-row pattern with some visual interest that was easy to memorize and simple enough not to detract from the strong horizontal color stripes in the yarn.

Top view of feet wearing hand knit wool socks in green and dark brown stripes on a dark wood floor.

Her feet are narrower than mine and she only wanted ankle socks, making these a relatively quick knit. She likes to wear socks that coordinate rather than match, which worked out well for me because I had a little bit of trouble aligning the color repeat.

I never did use any of the scrap yarn that I packed, and it was decided that we didn't have enough time to visit the yarn section during our one big box store bathroom break. However, I picked up two other skeins of sock yarn during our yarn shop visit. Both are brands that I've never knit before; I'm excited to get them on the needles soon!

Monday, July 4, 2022

Dyeing Greys

Like so many others, I stopped dyeing my hair after we went into lockdown due to COVID-19 in early 2020. I had been loosely considering growing out my natural color for a while, and for numerous reasons, when my inability to visit the hair salon all but made the decision for me. I thought I would ride out the pandemic without hair dye, then revisit the question of whether to go back to dye after the pandemic was over.

Close up of draped fabrics, grey on the left and green on the right.

A little over two years later, all of the dye is gone and I really like how my hair looks. It's a mix of grey and dark brown — not quite "salt and pepper" but close. I had cut it short to move the process along, and it's starting to regain some of the length that I prefer. I get a lot of unsolicited comments on the grey, some good and some bad, but that's a whole different story.

My overall look varies depending on what tops I wear, seemingly more so now with the added effects of the grey. With black, for example, the brown hair appears darker and the grey adds a dramatic sparkle throughout. But with medium-to-light greys, the brown gets mousy and from there everything about me looks drab.

So now what to do about the perfectly good grey tops that I've been avoiding in my wardrobe? Instead of dyeing my hair, I'll dye my shirts!

First up is a semi-sheer blouse made from 100% polyester. I picked up a Peacock Green bottle of Rit DyeMore, which is made for use on synthetic fibers. Following the directions on the bottle, I doubled the amount of dye in the pot as suggested and stirred the shirt in the dye bath for a full hour.

A green blouse hanging in front of a grey shirt.

The final result is gorgeous! I forgot to take a "before" photo, but it's shown here next to a shirt in the same grey that it used to be. What a dramatic difference! And I love how the subtle diamond pattern in the fabric catches the light — over time, the diamonds had become nearly invisible in the grey.

Close up of a bright green tag surrounded by the darker green fabric of the shirt that it's sewn into.

This tag, which used to be white, gives you some idea of the brightness of the Peacock Green dye on its own. It makes me confident that I'll continue to get deep colors as I overdye other grey tops.

The only question now is: What color should I make the next one?

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Still Knitting

I knew some time had passed since I last shared any projects, but I hadn’t realized that it’s been more than a year.

The sad thing is, I haven’t made much in that time.

In this COVID‑era world, the effort I put toward my day job is about the extent of my creative energy. I’m still learning new things, but I’m not spending anywhere near as much of my free time reading or making.

Knitting Socks

Those socks that I wrote about in November 2020? I finished them at the end of May in 2021.

I made another pair of knit socks from June to November 2021. And I just finished the pair that I’ve been working on since November 2021:

Top view of feet in a pair of hand knit wool socks in a mix of blues, greys, greens and pops of golden yellow.

This is the pattern Goldengrove Socks by Mindy Soucek, from the book Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn by Carol Sulcoski. The yarn is Miss Babs Putnam in the colorway Believable.

Close of of the heel and toe on a pair of hand knit wool socks.

It’s a little difficult to make out the stitch pattern against the mix of colors in the yarn, especially in a photo. But it’s noticeable enough that it adds that extra touch of visual interest to the socks. They’re warm and comfortable, and I’m happy with the result.

And Knitting Sweaters

I also have a few sweaters on the needles in varying states of completion. One is a light top in a lace weight cotton/silk blend. Another is a pullover with a colorwork neckline in fingering weight Merino yarn. And the third, the yarn for which just arrived today, will be a baby gift. I’m pretty excited about that one — and it’s small enough that there's a good chance I’ll finish it before my excitement wanes.

And that means there’s a good chance that I’ll post about it!