Tuesday, March 25, 2008


After my family colored our Easter eggs I was left with a large amount of food coloring. Since I am knitoriously cheap-thrifty-compulsive-what-have-you about some things, I decided that the leftover dye should be used to color my Knitpicks lace weight yarn so generously donated last year by Jeanie, my Knitting Amiga.
I had 2 skeins, 880 yards each, so I could ultimately knit a small shawl or several pairs of socks from them, someday.

Tutorial for Knitoriously Cheap Dye Job:
Undyed yarn from stash
Leftover food color from Easter egg coloring
white vinegar
Pyrex dish
plastic wrap
pot holders
latex/rubber gloves
clothesline or drying place
clothespins or plastic hangers

After soaking briefly in cool water to which a couple of glugs of white vinegar was added, I gently squeezed much of the water out of each skein. Each skein was tied securely in several places!
I placed the skein in my trusty Pyrex baking dish.
I had my leftover food coloring in several plastic cups, so all I did was line the cups up and pour in the color sequences you see above. Using a fork, I pressed down on the yarn in several places to disperse the coloring throughout the yarn.
Since I was a bit stingy with my pours, as I wanted to assure that I had enough coloring for the second skein, I took my spray bottle and misted the skein with water to help saturate the colors even more to eliminate any bare spots. Again, I pressed the yarn with my fork.
Pretty, yes? I drained off any excess colored water from the dish. That way I had more control over any colors running where they were unwanted.

Covering the entire dish with plastic wrap, I microwaved it on normal setting over 3 minutes for 3 intervals ( 9 minutes total) Important to monitor the yarn during each cook cycle. Your kitchen may have a temporary wet wool odor!
Using potholders to remove the hot dish from the microwave, and removing the plastic wrap, I slid the skein into my sink. Any remaining water in the skein ran clear when the skein was pressed with a fork.
Flipping it around a bit with my fork to study the results, I let the skein cool for several minutes while I readied the second batch of yarn for coloring.
I diluted the remaining food coloring in the cups with some tap water and gently swirled the coloring around in the cups before pouring onto the second skein. This time I was going for a more pastel color effect. I purposely avoided covering all the white areas this time.
Again, cover with plastic wrap and cook slow while keeping a careful watch on your yarn!
Meanwhile, the first batch has cooled down enough that I could comfortably handle it. Didn't need to use the rubber gloves on standby because the coloring had set nicely! I let it soak for 5 minutes in cool water.
Here it is resting after the water was squeezed out of it.
After batch #2 was cooked and cooled, it also got a cool water bath for 5 minutes...
After draining the sink and squeezing out any water I was happy with these results too!
Here they both are hanging out to dry in my backyard.
Now, Gentle Knitter, doesn't it look more like Spring?
Now, I need to come up with names for my new yarns!
Yes, I'm still knitting away on Mike's sweater. You know, the sleeves have stopped growing! Just like that. I keep knitting and yet they appear to remain the same length!
And, yet, I persevere!
Have a great knitting week!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


As the crocus that pushes itself out of the chilly ground to welcome the not too distant arrival of spring, so do I, Gentle Knitter! Wallet in hand, I ventured out last weekend to do my civic duty to combat the current economic recession by attending my first Craft Show of the Season at Northampton Community College. My pal, Patty, designer of fabulous Firefly-Glass Studio jewelry, and her sweetheart of a sister Janene, designer of Blue Raven Beads had lots of beautiful pieces on hand! I finally decided to buy this beautiful glass beaded bracelet among her and Janene's selection of beautiful designs!. Meanwhile she kindly gifted me with that adorable Bunny Pin and a trio of glass buttons for a future knitting project, destination unknown at present time! See that ball of scrumptious yarn in the photo? Yarn Vendor Alert!!! It's named "Autumn Stroll" and it's BFL spun by new yarn entrepreneur Lindsay Gray. Go here to see her beautiful Saule yarns for sale! She's local, from Bethlehem, but relocating to other parts of the country this year. But, she'll be hearing from me again real soon, if you get my draft, uh, I mean drift!

Patty gave me these lovely buttons she made on Friday when I stopped by to give her her felted bowl.

I see them wearing a sweater someday!

What! You're asking when I find time to knit?

Waiting for DSL connections to be made, I knit away on square #14 of sixteen mitered squares for Knitting Ministry laprobe. I hate to sit waiting, so knitting makes me feel as if I'm not wasting time.

Unfortunately, all this knitting seriously impedes my ability to get get any reading done, even fiber based reading from my local library! I do manage to watch the movies while knitting, especially while working on Mike's sweater! I'm still in my British drama viewing phase, watching whatever Prime Suspect I can get my hands on! I can't believe this was broadcast 15 years ago on the BBC! And, Middlemarch is a great series! I need not worry about going through my Jane Austen withdrawal with backup like this!

Sweater Girl is still at it and I am seeing an end in sight!

Note the sewn on button band thus far. Really worth the effort!
Working on the sleeves too. Took it to my Father-in-law, Jerry's 70th birthday party Saturday night. No mistakes that I can tell, despite a bit of (ahem!)celebrating.

Isn't she darling?

This hat and booties knit with Peaches and Cream cotton-Spring Meadows. I CO 60 stitches for the hat with a #7 circ, joined, and knit in stockinette for 10 rows. Then, switching to a #6, I knit in K2, P2 rib for another 10 rows, for a total of 4 1/2 inches from rolled edge before doing my decreases. Topped it with a pink ribbon tied in a bow to match the booties. The booties were a Bernat free pattern.
I really like knitting these little sets with PNC for summer knitting projects. This will be my contribution to The Slate Belt Pregnancy Center, one of the charities the St. Joseph's Knitting Ministry regularly donates to.

Knitasha looks happy in her little spring set! The feather and fan baby afghan is not from my knitting hands, but was rescued for a $2 from a local thrift shop.

Happy belated!

Dyed my beer with Wilton's Cake Icing coloring!

We traditionally partake of the corn beef and cabbage and enjoy our annual viewing of Mike's favorite movie, The Quiet Man. These are my two Not-So-Quiet-Men.

Have a terrific knitting week!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Please excuse the poor quality photo, but I wanted to provide evidence that I am, indeed, dedicated to my mission to complete Mike's Christmas Sweater by his March 31 st birthday.

Exhibit A: the sewing on the button band-button side. A tedious process, more so than I care to admit, but I am pleased with how nicely picking up the bars along the outer edge joins the garter band to the sweater body.
Thanks Jeanie and Eileen for the sweater consultation last Wednesday night at Kraemers Yarn Shop.

If you, Gentle Knitter, live in the Lehigh Valley, you should really try to visit this great yarn shop! Located on Main St. in Nazareth, PA, and undergoing renovations, this shop is run by friendly, helpful people who sell great yarn made on site at reasonable prices. Go here to see the yarns they offer.

A present for Patty...

My high school chum, Patty, a new knitter and fabulous glass jewelry designer, has gifted me so many times with her creations that it's high time that I returned the favor! I had some Wilton icing dyed and Koolaid dyed wools from last year stashed, waiting for inspiration. I made this Felted Oblong Basket so she can display some of her jewelry at the upcoming craft show at Easton High School. The base is a crocheted (!) that I just kept increasing at both sides until I got the base size I wanted and from there I just knit in the round till I reasoned it was tall enough to shrink to a shallow depth. I started with a crocheted chain of 50. I popped it into a pillowcase and agitated for 4 cycles in hot, sudsy water, checking frequently for desired felting/shrinking, put it through a rinse cycle and then a final spin. I know some don't recommend machine spinning your felted pieces, but I always do without any adverse effects so far. I'm edgy that way! Oh, and cheap too! I have a collection of yarn sample bits and pieces that I've acquired from yarn shops and manufacturers over the years. I took some of these and threaded through the unfelted bag at random points to get the splashes of linear color you see on the finished bag. Just an experiment. Not all to visible in the photo, but maybe better seen on closeup? I like the results and that I was able to reduce my scrappie yarn sample collection!

Neapolitan Ice Cream anyone?

Must still knit my dishcloths, but needed to revisit the beloved Log Cabin Dishcloth to play! I knit this one on size 6 needles and use leftovers from stash. When I ran out of the brown and pink variegated I merely continued with the pastel pink ( top of cloth).Then I made the right turn, picked up stitches on the next side, knit one row and then bound off. I repeated the process on the remaining 2 sides. Now, what to do with it, as it doesn't match my kitchen. Does it really matter? It's so pretty!

Found Treasures....

These are the squares that were discovered among the bags of yarn donated to my Knitting Ministry Group. All of them are 7 inches, just the right size needed for Grammie Pammie's Ghana Project Afghans! Must get them in the mail to her this week!

My Furry Treasure...

Sweet kitty dreams to all you knitty kitties out there!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Or, as Chelsea is clearly implying, SUCK IT UP SISTER!

The reasons for my temporary blues?

Driven, as if we were trying to score tickets to an Elton John concert, ( yes, I AM that old!)Patty, my high school chum, and I spent over one hour Monday morn huddled over our keyboards furiously trying to acquire tickets for the Dalai Lama's July 13th afternoon teaching session at Lehigh U.

No such luck! Though, any and all empathy will be greatly appreciated!

But, was further wounded today when I found out over morning coffee, while reading the Morning Call, THAT HE SOLD OUT IN 15 MINUTES!!!!!!!

GGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRR! Catholic guilt kicked in as I wondered...did I do something to adversely effect my Karma?

It was just not meant to be.

As was this too, Gentle Knitter.....

I earned a Knitting Scout Badge.

The Badge of Rejection

Yes, now it can be revealed that Donna, of Knitwitz and Sew Much More
and I collaborated on a Knitty.com entry for their most recent issue.

Donna designed that neat ribbed and purl stitched ruffled fingerless glove positioned to the bottom right of the photo. She had invited me to design a scarf to compliment her creation. Since I wanted to showcase the ruffle as much as possible; thinking it would get lost on a longer knitted scarf, I designed a shorter scarf to serve as both a buttoned neck warmer, AND a head warmer too. A multifunctional knitted piece. Five little black buttons are visible on closeup.
A little campy, I'll admit,
But, certainly comparable to some of the other (ahem!) INTERESTING AND UNUSUAL Knitty submissions of the past.

I plan to finish knitting the mate to the fingerless glove and then wear the entire ensemble at a future date! You can see a photo of Donna's darling daughter model our entry here. Of, course, I will be the OLDER, MATRONLY VERSION of that photo!

I admit, I do have feelings about this rejection:

Thus, a moment of Haiku.

Loser that I am,

Addis, plucked from hopeful hands,

Stab at knitting heart.


Moving on to some small, but meaningful only to me, successes of the past week:

I finished the arduous, IMHO, task of frogging the shoulder seams and the bind offs of Mike's sweater in order to re-do them in the 3 Needle Bind Off Technique. As you can see, the seams look very nice and both sides of the shoulders have equal tension, eliminating that prior droopy , uneven shoulder look. Next, I'll start sewing on the button side band up to the back of the cardi neck and mark my button placements.

Church Knitting for charity.

Some dishcloths I completed last week. Managed to knit both from one ball of SNC. Thrifty me! Wet blocked. Will bring to knitting Ministry meeting tonight.

Mitered Squares Love:
Although I have about 14 nine inch squares finished, I'm posting this older photo of the earliest squares laid out randomly for Chelsea's approval. My spare bedroom is a very convenient Yarn Room/ workshop for all my knitterly projects. The bed is frequently used as a work table, or yarn holding area.

Baby Gifts:

A variation on the Log Cabin dishcloth, modified for a baby bib. Dishcloth pattern is posted (for free!) here.

Take notice: I crochet! These little valentines were fun and quick to make. Go here.


ScHead Warmer:

Was in the mood to play dress up with the manni heads. Modeling my multifunctional ( my buzz word) design that is offered in my knitting class at NACC.

Scarf + Head = ScHead Warmer! Or, maybe a Ned Warmer?


I seem to be fixated a bit lately on Grandma's Favorite Dishcloth pattern and valentine hearts, but wanted to combine the both. I've seen a few similar patterns for large and thick pot holders and rugs that require you to knit with several strands in hand, but not suitable for a smaller scale dish cloth. So, with a little tweaking of the concept, I came up with this dishcloth. Anyone interested in the pattern particulars? Let me know and I'll write it up at a later date!
Hope your week is long on knitting and short on disappointments!