colourwork


One Day Rainbow Thrummed Mittens

Ow.

rainbow_midFor real, these mittens shall forever be known as the cause of my inevitable carpal tunnel. The problem isn’t the mittens really, but rather my insane choice to try to knit these mittens in one day. I started them one saturday morning, just casually knitting and managed to finish one by the early/mid afternoon. Plenty of the day left! Maybe I can finish the other one too!

I’m an idiot.

I mean, yes, of course I could. There are lots of things I COULD do, like smash lightbulbs on my face, or shave curse words into cats, but should I? No. No I shouldn’t. I need to stop and think harder over the “SHOULD I” question. Because in this case I probably shouldn’t have.

Signs that I should have stopped:

  • I developed knitting blisters on the sides of my palm where my needle rubs. The solution CLEARLY was to put on protective bandaids to reduce the friction. No thoughts of stopping.

    rainbow_thrums_for_days

    I also had to make all the thrums, which was a feat of its own

  • During the couple “breaks” (and I use that term very very loosely, since the breaks were only long enough to pee or eat something) I found it increasingly difficult and painful to bend some of my fingers.
  • Wrist pain. Wrist pain that started before I had even finished the first mitten and only got worse as the day went on.
  • A cramp in my hip/butt muscles from the weird way I sit when I knit.

Did I heed any of these signs? No. No I did not. These mittens became a matter of knititng HONOUR. I turned in to some sort of weird knitting Klingon, with a fatalistic “Perhaps today is a good day to die!” attitude. Nothing was going to stop me from finishing these mittens in one day.

 

12 hours, over 300 thrums, a handful of Advil, and five bandaids later, I finished them.

rainbow_finished

I spent the day after popping advil and having ice packs on my wrists while my husband repeatedly reminded me that I did this to myself and that that I had no one else to blame for the pain and discomfort I was in. I wasn’t able to knit for days because of the pain in my wrists and fingers, but you know… I’m still proud of having done it. And the mittens are undeniably warm and beautiful. I just love them.


I played chicken, and the chicken won.

The first mitten before I removed and frogged the flap and tore back and redid the grey edging bindoff.

I am not a fan of playing yarn chicken. I know, in the grand scheme of things yarn chicken isn’t exactly the most badass or risky of behaviours, but it is outstandingly annoying when you end up NOT having enough yarn to finish a project as you planned. And yet, despite my hatred of yarn chicken, I played it.

My Tri-Blend set is so fabulous I can hardly breathe, and looking at the yarn I had left over after I finished the cowl I thought for SURE I’d have enough yarn to make some matching mittens. So I went ahead and just started knitting. I finished one and declared it pretty damned cool. I had some things I wasn’t 100% on, like the thickness of the icord bindoff around the top (which I frogged and redid as just a normal bindoff, looks way better), but overall I totally liked it.

I went to start the second one I had a moment of “Oh crud…” because the amount of blue yarn I had left seemed extremely insufficient for the second mitten. “Maybe it is more than it looks!” I said to myself, steeped in denial and misplaced optimism, and I started the second mitt.

Yeah, no. It was exactly as much as it looked. I was down to INCHES to spare when I was finishing the thumb, so no way in hell did I have enough for the finger flappy bit. My husband said to just knit the flap using the yellow, saying it wouldn’t matter if they weren’t exactly the same. I scoffed at this suggestion, declaring that I put too damned much work into this set, I was NOT going to settle for an unmatching imperfect pair of mittens after all this.

This is all I have left from the three skeins I bought in PEI. Notice how the blue is just a ramen-noodle resembling mess. I haven’t properly balled it up after frogging the first flap.

I had no choice.

I carefully detached the flap from the first mitten and frogged it. I now have two matching fingerless mitts with no finger flap, and yeah, I could just leave them this way but that would defeat the purpose since I’m aiming to make a super warm set to battle the cold cold Canadian winter weather. Fingerless mitts = frostbite. So my plan now is to redo the flaps, each flap being its own little tri-blend gradient. My plan is to go Grey – Yellow – Blue so that when I attach the flap to the mitt it will be blue on blue and therefore look tidier. I’m also going to actually WEIGH the blue yarn to make sure I have an equal/even amount of yarn for both flap.

Even then, I’m pretty sure I am going to come very close to using up every little bit of this yarn. I have hardly any blue left, even less grey, and a bit more yellow, but still! I feel sort of proud for so completely using up the three original skeins of yarn I got from MacAusland’s Woolen Mill. I continue to be very happy with this yarn and I continue to totally regret not buying more of it when I had the chance. The only thing I can say against it is that when I soaked and blocked my hat and cowl there was a surprising amount of colour in the water from the blue and yellow yarns, but honestly that isn’t a huge deal for me.


My hands were able to make what my brain was picturing

Friends, I have done the impossible. I was looking at the awesome yarns I bought while in PEI (namely the three skeins I got from MacAusland’s Woolen Mill) and had this vision in my mind of a hat.

Not just any hat.

A bonnet.

And this bonnet would have the three colours of yarn transition through the around-the-face band, and then again across the main head part of the hat.

This vision was epic and despite the fact that NEVER has any vision of mine ever come to fruition, I decided to go ahead and try it…

BAM! DONE! LIKE A BOSS!

Okay, for real, I am insanely proud of this stupid hat. Twelve hours of work and look what I made!!! Hells yeah! So, as per usual, I have some notes:

  1. Yes, obviously it is roughly based around EZ bonnet pattern and it was inspired by the Neon Ski Bonnets I’ve knit (1, 2). I’m not going to pretend I invented any sort of super creative brand new construction because I didn’t. I mean, its a bonnet. This is not groundbreaking stuff.

    It has a weird bump in the back yellow part NOT because of the hat but because I had a weird bun/pony tail and it was sort of making a weird bulge. NOT the hats fault!

  2. THAT SAID, I did this entirely on the fly without referring to any patterns while I made it, so it is definitely my own creation in that way.
  3. Because I made it up as I went there are some things I would have done a bit differently, like making the main hat part a bit deeper to accommodate my huge noggin. I was able to block it out a bit bigger so it isn’t a big deal, but I will be altering the pattern when I write it up to account for that.
  4. I did make a specific and personal addition to the pattern, and that was to do some shortrows on the back of the hat along the bottom so that the back of the hat extended a bit farther down my head. You can see where I did this in the blue and yellow stripes along the bottom. It has a bit of an 80’s vibe that I didn’t plan but really love.
  5. I also did an i-cord bindoff along the bottom just to give it a more finished look AND because I wanted more practice doing an i-cord bindoff. I-cord bind off is tedious as hell but I really like the end result.
  6. Obviously, my main “I maked this!” creative contribution to this project is the colourwork that I did. I still can’t believe how well it turned out for just sort of doing it on the fly and just hoping it turned out okay. I LOVE the band, and I love how the back of the hat ended up. Not many hats look as cool as this hat does from the back.

 

So this is what I did in just two days (roughly 12 hours of work). I feel crazy accomplished, and sweet mercy do I ever love this hat. This is possibly my favourite completed project to date. Currently working on a matching cowl, and if I have enough yarn I also hope to making some matching mittens for the trifecta of awesomeness!!! WOO!

 

ETA: Matching Cowl done! Check it out!


Spotlight – Star Wars Storm Trooper Hat

Star Wars is a “thing” in my household. I’ve always liked Star Wars, but my husband… he LOVES Star Wars. He owns every film in I think triplicate, INCLUDING the three original films on LASER DISK! LASER DISK!!!! To be able to watch them he had to buy a flipping laser disk player! Just let that set in for a moment. In addition to that he has built himself a scale model of a Super Star Destroyer (with no instructions, just made it up on his own). We incorporated Star Wars references in our wedding vows, and I even had the bag piper play us out to the theme to Star Wars  (yes, on bagpipes) as a surprise for my husband. The laser disk thing I can’t get past, but you know, I can’t fault his level of dedication. I have probably done similar uber fandom things before, especially in relation to Harry Potter.

Today is May 4th, as in “May the fourth be with you”, aka. Star Wars day, and in honour of this event I looked back in my favourites and found one of the first things I favourited back when I first joined Ravelry – The Star Wars Storm Trooper Hat by Sheila Toy Stromberg. I think this hat is obviously crazy dorky and nerdy, but it is also just FUN. And free. I loves me a free pattern. And you know, while I really like the storm trooper motif, what I think what it brings it up to 11 (and makes it extra appropriate for today) is the “MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU” written around the circumference. This is a pattern that I got excited about at the beginning of my Ravelry membership, and it is a pattern I look back on fairly regularly with a bit of a “Soon….” sort of attitude. My husband is a dweeb and doesn’t wear toques (a failed Canadian, I know) so knitting him this hat would be useless as he would never wear it, but for me? Yeah, I’d wear it.

Happy May the Fourth day, everyone!


EXPERIMENT: Dying my own yarn (part 1)

After making my felted slippers and a pair of felted mittens for my kid I am pretty hooked on it. I love how fast they are to knit (slippers made in one day, mittens made in one evening) and I love the texture and warmth of the felted items. Plus, tossing these extra huge items in to the washer and just hoping they turn out is thoroughly entertaining, though nerve wracking. So far I have only used the basic Lion’s Brand Fisherman’s Wool in Oak Tweed and the end result in terms of colour is a bit blah. Fine, but not exactly exciting. I have decided to turn this up to eleven and use different coloured yarns for felting. But not only that, I am dying my own yarn! SHABAM!

If you mind having your hands turn colours you may want to wear gloves when do dye. My hands are bright green at the moment because I did not.

 

I’m being far from scientific or exacting with this, but I did record some basic values.

  • 4 balls of Fisherman’s Wool (Oak Tweed), each ball weighing 40g
  • Blue dye (1 tsp Wilton’s blue dye, 3 cups of hot water, 1 tbsp vinegar)
  • Yellow dye (1 tsp Wilton’s yellow dye, 3 cups of hot water, 1tbsp vinegar).
Looks pretty disgusting, frankly...

Super classy and professional dye method! ha ha ha

I briefly soaked the balls in water to try to saturate them a bit and then placed them in ziplock baggies with the dye, 2 in each bag. I let them sit there in the dye for ~15 minutes, squishing them occasionally to try to get the dye to penetrate but being very careful not to agitate them too much in case they felted. I then took them out of the dye (which I have saved in jars for later) and put them new baggies (one for the yellow balls, one for the blue balls). I microwaved the wet dye soaked balls for 1:30minutes each and they are now sitting in their baggies at home cooling off and (hopefully) having the dye really take.

Everything I have read online says that dye bonds with wool at 180 degrees Fahrenheit (80 degrees Celsius) and that you must make sure your dye reaches that temperature.

I’m vaguely concerned over how much the blue will take, I have read a number of things that indicates that blue can be tricky. Fingers crossed though. I can’t wait to get home this evening to see what I have made!

 

Part two of my yarn dying experiment

Part three of my yarn dying experiment