Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Sari Silk Bag Pattern

I wrote this pattern a few years ago. I set up a knitting website called The Knitting Room but it never really got off the ground. I've long since closed the website but the pattern was linked on Ravelry so I kept the file on my webspace. After a recent (and rather annoying) malware attack I was forced to tidy up my files so I've moved the pattern here. Enjoy!

Sari Silk Bag PDF

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Tutorial on Dyeing Blanks

I thought I'd write up a little tutorial on how I dye my wool blanks. I'm by no menas and expert dyer but I do like to muck in and have fun! If you have any questions, tips or suggestions please leave a comment. Enjoy!

Mrs Flowerpot's Tutorial for Dyeing Wool Blanks

First preapre your blank. You can knit your own on a knitting machine or buy ready made sock blanks. Wash the blank and either spin it on the wool setting on your washing machine or roll it in a towel to squeeze the excess moisture out of it. You want the blank to be damp, not wet.

Prepare your work surface. I cover my kitchen table with a roll of bubble wrap and place a couple of old towels on top. The towels help absorb the moisture from the dyes so the colours don't run.

Lay out your blank on the towels. Stocking stitch blanks have a tendancy to curl up so I pin mine out purl side up with blocking pins.

Prepare your dyes. You can use any kind of dye suitable for wool from Kool Aid to professional acid dyes.

Start painting! I use a turkey baster but you can use a foam tipped brush or squeezy bottles with a nozzle on. You want to cover the wool with colour but try not to get it dripping wet. The towel will soak up some of the liquid but colours will run if you get it too wet.

By pinning the blank purl side up you can use the lines of bumps to get nice straight lines for your stripes.

When you've covered the blank in dye take out all the pins and roll up the blank in cling film and set the dye by steaming it or nuking it in the microwave - just do whatever you would normally do to a hand painted skein of yarn.

When it's cool, wash, rinse and dry and then you're ready to knit! You can knit straight from the blank or if you're a complete perfectionist you can reskein the yarn and re-soak it to get rid of the kinks. Hopefully you should have perfect self striping wool :D

Friday, 29 May 2009

Suburban Graffiti!

I have a new knitting machine, but I'm not using it to make clothes - I'm using it to dye wool! I used the knitting machine to knit the wool into blanks then I dyed the wool in stripes so when it's knitted up it will be self striping and hopefully will look fantastic.

To the trained eye it might look like a bit of a bodge job, but that was actually the effect I was going for - the random graffiti effect and the natural heathering will give the yarn a very unique and completely unrepeateable character. Ic an't wait to knit with it!!!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Dyeing for the impatient!

I love dyeing wool but I'm not the most patient person on the planet. I'm spontaneous, when I get an idea in my head I have to try it and I want to try it now - not in 2 hours time after I've soaked the wool...

I've been experimenting and have come up with some short cuts for instant gratification dyeing. I've got 2 main methods I use now and both take less than an hour from start to finish.

The Hand painted Microwave method.

You need:
a microwave
cling film
an old towel
a big table
a plastic table cloth
food colouring
citric acid or white vinegar
a turkey baster

1) Soak wool in warm water with a drop of detergent
2) Prep kitchen table with plastic table cloth, cling film and old towel
3) Mix up dyes. I disolve Sugarflair paste in a solution of hot water with 1/2 teaspon of citric acid (alternatively you can use a glug of white vinegar).
4) Lay out wool on towel and paint with dyes using turkey baster. Turn wool over to ensure full coverage on the back.
5) Pick up wool, remove towel and wrap up wool in clingfilm.
6) Roll the wrapped wool into a coil and put it in a microwave safe bowl.
7) Zap the wool in the microwave on DEFROST for 2 minutes, let it rest 2 minutes then zap it on DEFROST for another 2 minutes.
8) Go make a cup of coffee and wait for the wool to cool down a bit.
9) When you've finished your coffee unwrap wool and hang it up to cool it down quickly, on an airer over the bath is a good place as it catches the drips.
10) Clean up the mess you've made in the kitchen while the wool is cooling.
11) When the wool is cool, gently rinse it in warm water, put it in a small laundry bag and spin it in the washing machine on the slowest speed setting.
12) Hang the wool to dry, I either put it on the line or in the airing cupboard.

The Stove Top Method

You can use this for wool or fibre. You can use it to create some lovely semi solid colourways.

You need:
wool yarn or fibre
a big stock pot with a lid
gas or electric hob
food colouring
citric acid or white vinegar
a turkey baster

1) Soak your wool or fibre in warm water.
2) Fill the stock pot about 2" deep with warm water
3) Mix up your dyes with hot water and 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid (or a glug of white vinegar)
4) Put your wet wool into the pot. Arrange it so it's in a single layer for the best coverage.
5) Turn on the heat under the pot. You need a gentle heat so have it on the lowest setting.
6) Paint the wool with your dyes using a turkey baster. You might want to turn the wool over to get good coverage or just stick the baster into the wool and squirt the dye to get it to the bottom.
7) Simmer the wool on the lowest heat setting for about 30 minutes.
8) Spend about 30 minutes browsing stuff on Ravelry.
9) The water in the pan should now be clear, if it is pour it out of the pan and leave the wool to cool.
10) Make a coffee and go look at Ravelry again.
11) When the wool is cool, rinse it in warm water, spin it in the washing machine on the lowest speed and hang it to dry.

Voila! Hand dyed yarn in under an hour!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Stock Pot Dyeing

I invested the princely sum of a tenner in a huge stock pot form Wilko's the other day with a mind to do some dyeing. I usually dye stuff in the microwave which is fine for spun yarns but I tend to felt fibre which is not good. I read a few tutorials and thought I'd give it a go!

The first thing I did was some superwash merino fibre. It was mega thirsty for the dye so I just kept squirting more colours in and turning the fibre until I got decent coverage. I'm really pleased with how it's turned out.

Next I tried some organic merino dk. I had hoped that it would turn out more blue but I had a bit too uch liquid in the pan and the green travelled - I still like the result though, a lovely green semi solid.

Next I tried some more organic merino dk, this time in shades of lemon, peach and pink. It's much more orange irl and looks so zingy, perfect for spring. Now all I need is a few more hours in the day so I can get it made up into some fabulous garments!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Rainbow Daze

I've been doing a lot of playing recently. I've been experimenting with different dyeing techniques (and generally making a big mess in my kitchen!) I saw a competition on the I'd Dye For Britian group on Ravelry for Spiral Dyeing so I thought I'd give it a go.

My attempts at dyeing wool fibre so far have been a little sketchy. Only I could manage to felt superwash! Anyway, I followed a great tutorial and managed to create some pretty cool rainbow fibre - AND I DIDN'T FELT IT! Woo hoo!

I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I can't wait to spin it!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Turning Japanese!

A couple of days ago I took delivery of a very special parcel. I was given some money for my birthday so I spent it on Japanese craft books. I bought a book of childrens dressmaking patterns, a crochet accessories book and a sashiko embroidery book. They are fantastic! I can't read Japanese but the directions are so clear it's very easy to understand. Now I just need more hours in the day to do all the projects!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

New Shoes!

I have a thing for shoes. I like shoes but I sometimes have trouble getting ones that fit me right because I have short, wide feet.

Recently I've had the urge to buy some red shoes. I found this pair of Hush Puppies on eBay and thought I'd put in a bid for them. I didn't think I'd win but I did! A brand new pair of Hush Puppies in red leather for only £13!!! Bargain! They arrived today and they fit perfectly (please excuse the purple socks, I know they don't exactly go with red shoes but I was too excited to change them). The bestest thing is they are Hush Puppies Harmony range, they are eco friendly and made from recycled materials. Happiness = new red shoes!

:D :D :D

Saturday, 14 February 2009

I NEED this bag!

I have my little obsessions, currently I'm on a major Japanese kick. I am buying Japanese books and fabrics, playing Japanese games, cooking Japanese food and even learning some of the language! I am particularly loving Japanese craft books, they are so far ahead of what you can get here in the UK or USA. I love their attention to detail, the simplicity of the designs and the cuteness without been too cutesy if you know what I mean.

On my quest to buy more Japanese craft books I visited BIG MISTAKE! Ok, I could have maxed out the credit card several times over with all the wonderful stuff they sell there. I was good and only ordered 3 books but I did stumble across their sister website YesStyle. It's full of asian fashion and accessories. As much as I love the clothes I no longer have the figure to fit into them, so I started browsing the accessories and fell in love with this bag.

It's not Japanese (it's from Hong Kong) but it's just so brilliant! They do puppies, bunnies and pandas too. Better hide the credit cards as I feel another shopping spree coming on!

Friday, 23 January 2009

I've been busy with my sewing machine again. I got a wonderful pattern book for Christmas full of girly clothes and I decided to make this top for my daughter Emily. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, especially seeing as the pattern was quite a challenge. The pattern book was called Girly Style Wardrobe and it's written entirely in Japanese! Now I don't know much Japanese but thankfully the instructions are in the form of wonderfully drawn pictures so it wasn't that hard to figure out. I think it's pretty cute and so does Emily!