Monday, June 29, 2009


Basketweave. #19/20 in the Sampler Afghan.

The end is near, my friends. Well... the end before I have to put the blanket together and weave in all of the ends.... *sigh*

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The remnant pile keeps growing...

With every project I do, my pile of left over yarn keeps growing. I have some ideas of how to use up the left over yarns, such as a remnant blanket with the extra Wool-ease (see my hand dyed yarn in the upper left corner!). There is enough for another baby hat with the shine sport yarns, and maybe some oven mitts or coasters with the Wool of the Andes.

I'm not sure about mixing fibers, and I am always on the look out for fun, small projects. Any suggestions?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Surprise

I have been dancing around the lab this afternoon. Why, might you ask? My Peptide Beer Cozy pattern has been named Pattern of the Day for today!

Thank you, everyone, for visiting my humble blog.

Update 3:oo pm.
I just noticed that the pentapeptide backbone chart was the pattern of the day, yesterday!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


My colleague made Saartje's Booties for a friend, and they were so darling that I had to make a pair for my boyfriend's cousin's second child.

Materials I used: Small amounts of Knit Picks Shine Sport Yarn, Terracotta (cc) and River (mc). Size 2 (2.75) needles. 4 buttons (the extra shirt buttons that you get from hotel sewing kits worked perfectly!

Making the larger size in the pattern, my booties are about 3.5 inches long. These knit up so unbelievably fast that you could whip up a pair if in the morning with a baby shower that same afternoon. I like the blue/orange combination because it ends up being pretty gender neutral.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rainbow Colorway with Kool-Aid

In my dying experiments with Lion Brand Wool ease yarn, I decided to try mixing the colors a bit to make a rainbow colorway. I loosely followed the protocol from Pea Soup, but I did not use nearly as much food coloring as they did.

I started out with basic red, yellow and blue. I mixed either 2 packets Cherry, 2 packets Ice blue raspberry lemonade or 1 packet lemonade in 1/4 cup water. (I chose to use Kool-Aid as the acid for the dying project. Alternatively you could soak the yarn some % vinegar overnight which will help the dye take to the yarn. Kool-Aid smells fun, and it is nice starting with a bit of a pallet.) With a 10 mL syringe that I took from lab, I transferred 10-12 mL of each primary color into three smaller glasses.

I then mixed the colors as follows (where 1 refers to the Big cup):
  • Blue 1 - 10 drops of NEON blue
  • Blue 2 - 5 drops NEON purple
  • Blue 3 - 8 drops NEON pink, 5 drops NEON blue
  • Blue 4 - 5 drops green
  • Yellow 1 - 10 drops yellow
  • Yellow 2 - 5 drops NEON green
  • Yellow 3 - 2 drops yellow, 2 drops NEON green, 2 drops green
  • Yellow 4 - 3 drops yellow, 5 drops red
  • Red 1 - 10 drops red
  • Red 2 - 4 drops blue
  • Red 3 - 5 drops yellow
  • Red 4 - 6 drops NEON blue

I put some drops of each sample onto a paper towel to get a sense of their colors:

I decided to order the colors as follows to get a rainbow effect: R1, R2, R4, B2, B3, B1, B4, Y3, Y2, Y1, Y4, R3

I covered my kitchen table in trashbags, then put paper towels on top of the bags (to pick up any accidental spills), and then seran wrap on top of the paper towels (to facilitate the cooking step).

I applied the dye to sections of pre-soaked yarn (I soaked it in water overnight and I did not blot all of the water out before starting the dying process so the dye would spread easier.) The dye was absorbed into the section by lightly pressing on the section to make sure the color was consistent throughout. After all of the color was applied, I went back and pushed the dye into the portions inbetween two colors to minimize the amount of white remaining.

I wrapped the skein up in saran wrap as best as possible, put it on the plate and then covered that with more saran wrap. I zapped the yarn in the microwave on HIGH for 5 min and then allowed the yarn to cool until I could touch it comfortably. The yarn was zapped for another 5 min (I found that I had to pause the microwave every so often because I could hear something popping.) It may be necessary to add more water if the yarn starts to dry out.

Allow the yarn to cool, then rinse it until the water runs clear. Wash with mild soap and rinse thoroughly. Hang up to dry. The colors are less bright than when the dye was applied to the yarn, but there was very little dye that got rinsed out during the wash step. Once again, I am surprised about how well this 20% wool/80% acrylic yarn holds dye.

Look how pretty the final ball looks!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Teach Yourself Visually Knitting Design

Teach Yourself Visually Knitting Design: Working from a Master Pattern to Fashion Your Own Knits (Teach Yourself Visually) by Sharon Turner

This has master patterns for many types of projects, including Scarves and Shawls, Hats, Bags, Socks, Mittens, Gloves, Vests, and Sweaters. For example, in the Hats section, the book details the different kinds of brims, and different ways to shape the top. In each section, there are suggestions on how to adjust your stitch number to your gauge and hat size.

I think that this is a great addition to my library. A good reference when I find a pattern that is ALMOST perfect, but I want to tweak it a bit to fit my needs.

There are tutorials for different techniques throughout the book, so it could be helpful for a beginning knitter. After browsing this book, anyone can understand the purpose of different steps in patterns!

This book is a great reference, and I would recommend adding it to your own personal library. It is great to break down different patterns into their components, to help you adapt a pattern to fit your own needs.

This is currently the last book on my bookshelf to review. Stay tuned for reviews from my adventures at the Public Library!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Deathly Hallows Ear Flap Hat

Early this year, I searched for the perfect ear flap hat pattern, wanting to make one for my boyfriend. I finally located a pattern that works for him that would also be fun for me to make: The Deathly Hallows Fair Isle Hat. This pattern was inspired by the symbols of the deathly hallows (line - wand, circle - stone, triangle - cloak) in the seventh and final Harry Potter book. The look of this hat is subtle enough that you can wear a Harry Potter hat with only the people you choose to tell understanding.

Unfortunately,the pattern only included the knitting chart for the hat, and not a complete hat pattern. I constructed the ear flaps using two strands of WoTA yarn following the vinter lue pattern from
I then constructed the hat as follows: Cast on 108 sts on size 7 circular needles (six repeats of18 stitches). Earflaps were attached as described casting on necessary stitches to bring the total number to 108 (I picked up 21 stitches from each earflap, and the CO with the backwards loop method 33 sts on each side to get the correct number). The entire hat consumed two 50 g skeins of Fedora (MC), and less than one each of Lullaby and Winter Night. I knit one round in MC before starting the pattern.

As you can see from the picture, the top of the pattern was close the top of the head. I therefore did a quick decrease as follows:
  • K 1 round brown
  • K4 K2 tog blue
  • k1 round brown
  • K3 k2 tog blue
  • k1 round brown
  • K2 k2 tog blue
  • k1 round brown
  • K1 K2 tog blue
  • k1 round brown
  • K2 tog blue
  • k1 round brown
  • K1 K2 tog blue
  • k1 round brown
  • K2 tog blue
Finally, to block the curling edge, I loosely stitched the ends together, and soaked the entire hat in luke warm water. Once the hat was dry, I removed the stitches and the edge was flat!

I think this should meet the criteria of being hand made, super warm (The knit is so tight I do not think sewing fleece on the inside would make a significant improvement!)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Knitting and the Library

Have you ever found a pattern somewhere online, only to realize that you would have to buy an entire book to access a single pattern? (Sorry KnitPicks, you are very much at fault here!) In the days of the internet, it is easy to forget a great resource... the local library! When I was a kid, I was a frequent visitor to the local public library. Why should that change now that I'm an adult? Searching through the catalog of the Cambridge Public Library, I was able to locate every single knitting book I have been interested in flipping though.

New Plan: Go to the local branch, get a library card, start reserving knitting books online!

Update! Getting the library card was fast and easy. I've already filled up my queue with 18 different yarn-craft related books. I cannot wait!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Free Harry Potter Knitting Pattern Search

So I am aware that the book Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter exists, but I was curious what types of free patterns are available. (Especially since I found a HP wine cozy and I have made one of the scarves.) I am sure that there will be many scarf options, and I will not include them all.

My goal is to find some variety of projects, I am sure that there will be many that I cannot locate!

There are way more patterns than I expected. I would not be surprised if fans have not re-created every single woolen item shown in the HP movies!

To see more Harry Potter Knitting patterns, check out the article I wrote on Squidoo!