Monday, February 29, 2016

Dip Dyed Variegated Yarn
(Click on photos to enlarge)
I love variegated yarns but not how most of them typically pool or flash.  I usually paint my skeins for variegated yarns but wanted to come up with an easier way.  So here’s what I came up with and it worked relatively well for the first time out.  There's always room for improvement but it did give me a variegated fabric without pooling or flashing, this time anyway.  Atleast there's less chance of weird patterning but the final effect will depend on number of cast on stitches and gauge.

First, I wound my yarn into a skein on my DIY niddy noddy, loosely tied it off to prevent tangling, prepped the yarn by sozzling/rinsing with a bit of dish soap and soaking in water for atleast an hour while I prepped the dye bath.


I then hung the damp skein over 3 long knitting needles, the loops don't have to be perfectly sized lengths.  I adjusted the amount of dye bath in my kettle to allow for a bit less than half of the yarn to be submerged.  Then I lowered the yarn into the kettle, using the knitting needles as a ‘rack’ to hold the yarn in place.  The level of dye bath can be adjusted by adding water, while the yarn is not submerged in the dye bath.  After most of the dye has been absorbed, I removed the yarn and added more water to raise the mix level to about halfway and relowered the yarn.  My theory would've worked but think I had too much dye left in order to get a tonal effect that I wanted.

Then I covered the pot and brought the temp up to 180 deg for 30 min, removed the yarn and added 2 tsp vinegar, resubmerged the yarn and let simmer for another 15 min or so.
When the dye had been completely absorbed and set, I removed the yarn into a dish, let it cool and rehung the yarn over the knitting needles with the already dyed sections on top.  I skewered the end sections with another knitting needle to hold them up also.

I lowered into the 2nd color dye bath and repeated the heating process.  For this session, I removed the yarn and added enough water to the dye bath to overlap the colors, then resubmerged the yarn but an undyed section could be left in the middle for painting with a third color.  But I’d need to wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and steam to set the color if I painted later.  Or the middle section could be left undyed, depending on the effect and color scheme you want.
Have fun with it!!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Flat Seam in 2x2 Ribbing
(Click on photos to enlarge)
I normally use 1x1 ribbing in my socks but I’ve had occasion to use a 2x2 for slippers, caps or mittens so I worked out a seam that is totally reversible and pretty good to look at.  It takes advantage of one of the Bickford methods which I am so fond of.  This is a particularly great seam for items like hats, socks or sleeve cuffs that may be folded over.  You may want to practice the technique before using it in the real thing, however it’s not hard at all once ya get into the groove.
The needle setup for this example is below.  The outermost needle on both sides must be on the main bed.  So plan your cast on accordingly.
.    . .     . .     . .     .  (Main Bed)
  . .    . .     . .     . .    (Ribber Bed) 

First off, you must be able to identify the loop stitches and the knot stitches along the side.  This seam is worked from the public side, so fold over the ribbing edges into a tube or butt up the edges of a flat garment.  My sample is intended to be a circular sock cuff so this is how I set up the needles on each bed of my machine.  I used my SK860 midgauge machine and Caron Simply Soft in this sample so the stitches would be more easily seen.  

So let’s get going on the technique.  You'll be working with the stitches on the outermost edges of your fabric.  From the top down, insert your needle and yarn thru a knot stitch and pull through.  Do not pull your stitching too tightly.  You are trying to match the stitch size of your knitting and you don't want your seam to pucker.


Then on the other side of the fabric, insert your needle and yarn from the bottom of the corresponding loop stitch and pull up.
On the same side, insert your needle from top down through the next knot stitch and pull yarn through.

On the other side of the fabric, insert your needle and yarn from the bottom of the next loop stitch and pull yarn up.  Continue in this manner for the full length of your seam.
When you get comfy with this method, you'll be able to go down thru the knot on one side and up thru the loop of the opposite side in one step. 

This seam is particularly nice for items or garments with foldover cuffs because the back side looks just as nice as the public side, with no bulky seam.  You won't have to turn your work and seam from one side for the cuff and the other side for the main fabric.