Monday, 14 December 2009

Nearly Christmas already and new job

The time seems to have flown by this autumn. It is always a busy time with teaching and knitting shows but this year seems to have been busier than usual. At least that is my excuse for not writing anything for ages.

This year for the first time I had a stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace.I offered to run a knitting surgery. The show went very well (apart from a disaster with my lap top and a cup of coffee) and I was kept busy with answering peoples' questions but quite a few people didn't realise I was there to help.

I also sold my patterns from the stand so I had a number of very good (and long suffering) friends who came to help me man the stand each day. these are a few pictures of the stand with my friend Ilana helping.

Well we all survived the show so I am now set to do a knitting surgery all over again but this time at the Stitch and Creative Craft Show at Sandown Park in January.
The stress and hassle of doing a show is a bit like childbirth. At the time you think 'I'm never going to do this again' but a month or so on you start thinking 'it wasn't that bad'! I will probably contact Twisted Threads to ask them if they would like me to run the surgery again next year.
Life has also been very busy as I have a new knitting job. I am the editor for a new hobby website which has videos of knitting techniques and interviews with people involved in different aspects of knitting. I have been doing most of the technique demonstrations so there is rather a lot of me but we have filmed interviews with a number of people including Woolly Wormhead, and Alison Murray of the Gingerbread House among other things. It has been great to meet these people and I now need to plan who to ask next year!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Knitting shops in France

On my holiday in France I did manage to find some yarn shops although most of them are also cloths shops. We were staying in the Charente region of France

We found a Phildar shop in Cognac so I bought some 100% bamboo yarn and some 75% cotton 25% seacell to try. I'm always interested to see if the know manufacturers are producing yarns using new fibres. Most do have a bamboo yarn now but I haven't seen much in the way of seacell mix yarns.

There was also a Phildar shop in the Intermarche Hyper market at Chalais. We also found two yarn shops in Riberac (in the Dordogne region). One shop was also a fabric, patchwork and tapestry shop with Katia yarns. The other shop (which was also a cloths shop) sold Berger de France, some Katia and another French brand I hadn't seen before called Cheval Blanc. They did a cotton bamboo mix so I got some balls of this as well.

When I get around to knitting samples I will post some pictures.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Top Down Jumper competed

So much for thinking I could access and update my old blog. It seems that as I now have a google account I have to sign in with this account and can no longer sign in to my old blog with my other email address. Someone who knows more about blogger could probably tell me how to change this or at least combine the 2 blogs but I don't have the time or energy at the moment to try and work it out myself! Bloody computers!!!!

Anyway to get onto pleasanter things i have finished my top down jumper so am posting pics of the finished garment. I'm not totally happy with the way the colour pools but it does look as though it is a part of the design, almost as if there was one pattern for the yoke and another for the lower part of the jumper.

I knitted the body section of the jumper and then went back and knitted the sleeves and neckband. I tried it on again after finishing the sleeves and neckband and decided that the jumper wasn't long enough so unpicked the cast off and border and knitted the body section till it was the longer length I wanted.

I've used moss stitch (seed stitch) for the borders but with garter stitch either side of the moss stitch to make the edging look more like a braid. I think it works quite well. I also used a 'make 1' increase for the raglan seam lines as I wanted to create the look of a classic fully fashioned raglan seam. On the whole I am happy with the finished garment and it fits well which is the main point of knitting from the top.

I've just started a cardigan from the top which is a variation on my design published in the July '09 issue of Knitting magazine. The cardigan in the magazine was knitted in Garn Studio cotton viscose 4ply but I am knitting the new cardigan in a cotton linen mix from Knitting4fun which is a DK weight. I am also making it with longer sleeves although I haven't decided yet whether they will be long sleeves or 3/4 length, but I don't have to make that decision yet. I'll try and get around to posting pictures of this garment in progress as well.

Monday, 27 July 2009

The vagaries of Blogger and Dyeing Yarns

Having spent ages trying to access my old blog (I now have a google account so can't seem to access my old blog linked to my old email) I've decided to give in and start a new blog with the same name as the old one but with a different URL!!

Sometimes I hate computers!!!!

Anyway after all that I wanted to post about the yarns I dyed a few weeks ago. In the workshop I was showing how to rainbow dye with both acid and fibre reactive dyes and also how to paint dye with acid dyes and how to use the plastic bag method with fibre reactive dyes.

This first group of 3 yarns where all dyed with acid dyes using the rainbow dyeing method i.e. the wet skeins where put in a pan with a small amount of water and the dye powders sprinkled over them. Although alt the time the dye seemed quite strong the finished colours are quite muted. The large skein at the top was Norfork Horn wool, the middle skein was 100% soya yarn, Just Soya from Sirdar which was already a stone colour and the bottom skein was 100% smooth mohair.

These next 2 yarns are both bamboo, one tape yarn and one plyed yarn, both have been dyed with Fibre Reactive dyes. The skeins where soaked in water first and then the dyes where painted on with a sponge brush.

These 2 yarns are also dyed with Fibre reactive dyes. The top skein was bamboo and the bottom skein is Just Soya, from Sirdar in a stone colour. I didn't make sure the dye was pushed all the way through the fibres so there are areas of undyed yarn.

It was interesting to compare the 2 skeins of soya yarn as one was dyed with acid dyes (for protein) and one was dyed with Fibre Reactive dyes (for cellulose fibres). Neither of the colours where particularly strong but that might also be due to the fact the yarn has already been dyed once.

These 2 skeins of green yarn are bamboo and cotton soya mix dyed with Fibre Reactive dyes using the plastic bag method. The wet skeins where put in a plastic bag with the dye and chemicals already added. The skeins where 'mashed' for about 5 minutes or so until all the liquid was absorbed into the yarn and then left for about 30 minutes before being rinsed. Both skeins took the colour well.

This skein is cashgora yarn dyed with acid dyes which where painted on. Once the dye was applied the skein was wrapped in clingfilm and steamed for 30 minutes. Cashgora which is a variation of angora goat takes dye in a similar way to mohair i.e. good depth of colour and also has a sheen.

This last picture is of some milk fibre tops which has been painted with acid dyes and then steamed to fix the dye. I haven't tried to spin the top yet so I don't know if the dye process has had any effect on the spinning handling of the fibre. I'll post something about this if I ever get around to spinning it.

It was a good day on the whole and I think the students enjoyed the dat as well.