Friday, January 29, 2010

Making Progress

Stephanie wrote:

It's the dead of winter, and the time for all things warm and woolly is now. While I've been finishing up the last of my holiday gifts (a second sock, a second pop up paw . . . there seems to be a theme here), I've also been working on my knit along projects.

I often have a debate with myself. Should I concentrate all of my knitting energy on finishing one thing, or is it better to go back and forth between a couple of projects so that I can see some progress all the way around? Often I'm forced to go with the latter. I'm always knitting on the go and some projects just don't travel well. What I can knit in one situation, I can't work on in another. So I bounce back and forth between projects, noting slow but steady progress.

This week I completed one Celtic Frost Mitten.

After numerous shots of various poses I've decided that it's hard to model mittens. The mate for this mitten is underway. They should be united very soon.

I've also been working on the Fishbone Gansey Sock. I have to agree with Anne Hanson - this sock does travel well. I think most of it has been knit while I've been waiting for appointments and sitting through meetings. I'm closing in on the toe and will share pictures of the finished sock very soon.

And the dye pots have been busy, too. I'm still sampling new colors for Classy Sox.

This one has potential.

And so does this one.

Subtle shades.

The sampling process is almost done. Then comes the hard part - deciding which colors to use.

The other day I was gifted with this.

A two tone rose. I don't think I've ever seen one before. As it opens up I'm watching the colors unfold, providing more inspiration.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Knitting Along

Stephanie wrote:

Right now we have two knit alongs running on our Ravelry group, Dye Dreamers. I'm leading both of them, and it's like a get out of jail free card. Laundry, cooking, dishes, cleaning? Sorry, I can't - I have to knit for the knit alongs.

Needless to say I have one or both of these projects with me at all times. And I'm loving every minute with both of them. Here's a peek at what I've been working on.

Fishbone Gansey Sock is the winter installment of our Four Seasons Sock Club. The pattern is designed by Anne Hanson.

I am addicted to this pattern. The other day I was disappointed when my son's orthodontist appointment was over, and I had to put my knitting away. I'm having so much fun I can't put it down at the end of the day. I've finished the gansey design at the top of the sock. From here on out it's all ribbing.

I loved watching the combination of knits and purls unfold into this design.

See the fishbone? The yarn is our new Classy Sox - 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon. The colorway is A Sockwork Orange.

I'm afraid this sock is destined to be a booth sample so I'll just have to cast on a pair for myself once it's done.

My other project in tow is the Celtic Frost Mittens, the winter installment of our Four Seasons Mitten Club.

The pattern is designed by Wendy Johnson of Wendy Knits. I have a thing for cables so am really enjoying this mitten.

The yarn is our Luster (check back for color options), a 100% bluefaced leicester worsted weight yarn. The colorway is Celtic Frost. This yarn is a pleasure to work with - durable yet soft and lustrous. I've been thinking a Luster sweater would be nice. It's always good to have new project ideas percolating.

As I've been saying to my family, you'll have to excuse me now - I have to knit.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Classy Sox

Stephanie wrote:

We have a new yarn here at Dye Dreams. Classy Sox is a blend of 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon. While Classy Sox made its debut with the winter installment of our Four Seasons Sock Club, I haven't given it a proper introduction here.

This yarn is a pleasure to knit. It's soft yet cushy and bouncy. And it has wonderful drape. As you can imagine it's ideal not only for socks but also for scarves, neck warmers and any garment where you want next-to-skin softness. Classy Sox is firmly plied and doesn't split the way some softer yarns do.

This yarn takes dye beautifully. Classy Sox has a nice range of color variation and depth. We chose our initial color offerings for Classy Sox but have been experimenting with other color options.

Dyeing is a process that forces you to go with the flow, to be open and accepting of what the dye pot produces. Often I'm seeking a specific color only to look in the pot and discover a color that isn't even close to what I had envisioned. But that's OK. The color I was aiming for is yet to be found and in the meantime there's a new color with all kinds of possibilities.

Case in point . . .

This was not the color I intended, but it may grow on me and be part of our lineup in the future. It has potential.

This one also didn't come out of the pot as I had expected.

I like the depth of this color. Again, it's not what I was looking for, but it may make the final cut.

Now this color dyed up as I imagined it would.

I think it may be a contender.

I had a hunch how this one would turn out, and it didn't disappoint.

While I realize this bright green isn't for everyone, I know it speaks to some knitters.

And just to balance things out . . .

. . . subtle earth tones. I think this one has real possibilities.

I'll be sampling more colors in the next several days and will share the results with you.

There was a good response to the contest last week. While I knew the online sources of inspiration would get lots of votes, it's encouraging to see that some of you still rely on knitting groups and local yarn stores for ideas. Nancyd is the winner of the $25 Dye Dreams gift certificate. Thanks again to everyone who participated! We'll be doing this again soon.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

All In A Day's Work

Stephanie wrote:

Some days I'm amazed at what I can accomplish when I focus my time and energy. Yesterday I woke up and decided I was going to put all my knitting time into one and only one project. I surveyed the pile of possible candidates and chose this project already underway. It was to be my companion for the whole day, and it was a good choice - a lingering holiday gift.

This is Pretty Thing, a simple yet entertaining cowl pattern. The yarn is our Alpaca Sox Eggplant (sorry, still not up on our website). We had this yarn spun especially for us. It's a blend of 60% superwash merino, 25% alpaca and 15% nylon. I love working with this yarn. It takes the dye beautifully and has a subtle alpaca halo.

The cowl saw a dance class, various other errands and finally a quiet night of knitting. And in the morning I woke up to this - all done except for the bind off.

Before I let myself pick up another project, I had this one off the needles, bathed and blocked.

I like this so much that I think I'm going to have to make one for myself.

I especially like the way this pattern plays with the color variation of this yarn. The pattern calls for 164 yards making it a good choice for a small amount of luxury yarn. I added a repeat for this cowl and didn't use the full 50 gram/245 yard skein.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of two knit alongs hosted by Dye Dreams. The Mitten Club features the Celtic Frost Mittens. The Sock Club will be knitting the Fishbone Gansey Sock. Both events are happening over at our Ravelry group, Dye Dreamers.

Thanks to everyone who responded with comments to the contest. There has been a wide range of responses which I think is healthy. Remember the contest is open until Sunday. Leave a comment and let me know where you find your knitting inspiration.

For those who have been following events in Haiti Stephanie has put up the Knit-Signal for knitters who want to respond. Today I heard one veteran radio reporter moved to tears on air. The tragedy is overwhelming. As always events such as this offer an opportunity to pause and reflect.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Getting It Right and Contest

Stephanie wrote:

Lately I've been putting in some long days. At the end of the day if I get a chance to knit, I want my knitting to be uncomplicated - the kind of knitting where you follow the pattern and everything falls into place.

But of course that's not how things work out when you're tired, your feet hurt and you seek solace in your knitting, even if only for a row or two. Instead, it seems that every project I touch has "issues".

I was cruising along on this fingerless mitt until I stopped to count my stitches after all the thumb increases had been made.

I had the right number of thumb stitches, but the total stitch count was off. I counted and re-counted a couple of times. I was tempted to start ripping it out, but decided to set it aside until I could take the time to work it out on paper.

After doing all the math I discovered that my stitch count was right. The pattern was wrong. I love it when that happens. Now finishing these will be a snap.

And then there was a slight problem with these socks.

Isn't it beautiful? These socks are a gift, and I thought I had the sizing right. Turns out they are a smidge too long. As you can see I haven't taken this one off the needles yet. It's nothing that can't be fixed, but it's not something I look forward to doing when I'm tired and crave effortless knitting.

This pattern is Holidazed by Anne Hanson. I'm in love with this design and am resisting the temptation to start a pair for myself. Maybe after I finish this pair.

Now that we're in the deep freeze of winter, I think we're due for another contest. Leave a comment and tell me where you find your knitting inspiration these days - blogs, Ravelry, knit night, local yarn shop, magazines or something else. I'm fascinated by what inspires people, and I'm always looking for new sources of creativity. The winner, chosen at random, will receive a $25 Dye Dreams gift certificate. Contest closes Sunday, January 17, 2010.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Going Green

Stephanie wrote:

With the holidays behind us life is settling down to normal or as normal as it gets.

I had great fun last week watching events unfold over at Knitspot. Anne Hanson designed the pattern for the winter installment of our Four Seasons Sock Club. To make things interesting she ran a contest to name the colorway featured in the kit.

Over 300 people commented with name suggestions. I needed a diversion and enjoyed taking time to read the comments. There were so many creative suggestions. Anne narrowed down the list and took a vote. The winner is A Sockwork Orange. Very clever, indeed.

If you're interested in just the winter installment of the club, it will be available as a stand-alone kit later this week. Check our website for details.

Even though we've been in holiday mode around here, I've been busy with the dye pots. In addition to the regularly scheduled dyeing, I've been playing around with some new colors.

Since each of our club offerings features an exclusive colorway, there's plenty of incentive to experiment with color.


green and

more green.

I sampled several other greens and many more colors too. One dye formula often leads to ideas for others. I find myself muttering, "What would happen if I tweaked this one just a little bit?" The options are endless and lots of fun. The largest box of crayons can't compete.