I might be quiet on the blog but I have definitely been making stuff.

Summer is a good time for a little arm candy. I love making simple and quick accessories. They take almost no time and no materials yet are always fun and pleading.

It is also a good time to be adventurous. I got these white skeins of sock yarn. Wound them into hanks/loops and dyed them.

I was hoping the colors would be this saturated.

Sadly they weren't. But still good.

I really want to knit a color affection shawl and I think these colors would look cool together.

I also hadn't made any toys in a while. So I made two.

I love crocheting them. But I also hate having to sew all the parts together.

 

But it is always worth it.

 

What have you been up to ?

Needles and Yarn, the yarn store in Kuwait {an Interview}

Last week I discovered a gem in Kuwait.  A little yarn store called Needles and Yarn.  The first thing you notice when you walk in is how sunny and bright it is.  With a huge window, the natural sunlight makes all the yarn look magical.  If you have ever bought yarn at a store that had no natural light, you probably went home and discovered that the colors were not what you thought.

I found out about Needles and Yarn thru instagram.  I asked the owner if I could interview her and she graciously said yes.

Yarn store Needles and Yarn in Kuwait

If you were expecting her to be an older woman then I am sorry to burst your bubble, Balqees is a young lady in her twenties who is also a software developer, obviously energetic and very passionate about yarn and the things you can make with it. Originally she was taught how to knit by her grandmother and then how to crochet by her mom and when she decided to start her own business she felt it had to be something she was passionate about so she opened a yarn store.

If you live in Kuwait and have tried to buy yarn you will already know that mainly Turkish and Chinese yarns are available.  When I first started buying yarn you couldn’t even find the Turkish yarn and it was mainly acrylics you could find.  While acrylics are great for some things, high quality luxury yarns really do make your fibre experience so much different.  And this is exactly where Needles and Yarn fills the void.  They stock Debbie Bliss, Adriafil and Louisa Harding yarns.  As for the needles in stock, they have Adi needles and hooks which are not available anywhere else in Kuwait.

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“My yarns are not available anywhere else in Kuwait” Balqees says, and she is absolutely correct.  The colors are just divine and the white shelving makes them pop even more.  A selection which is obviously curated by someone who loved yarn and enjoys using it.  They also offer free classes.

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Autism Shines image from ItsyBitsySpiderCrochet pattern available there too (just click on the image)

Their next workshop is on Monday the 29th of April is for Autism Awareness you can call 66699996 to reserve your place. For this yarn store, community is a very important factor. Because after all, a yarn store is a great place to meet people who enjoy your hobby. And the hobby we all share is a great way to give back to our communities.

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Like I said, the yarn is just gorgeous. I could spend hours just petting the yarn.  When I asked Balqees what she knits the most she said “Scarves, lots of scarves.”  And later she said how a wonderful yarn with a simple pattern can make something amazing.  And with the yarns she has, she is right.

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Needles and Yarn is a great example of the entrepreneurship  in Kuwait, young people who are deeply passionate about something and turning the passion into a business.  It is not just about a yarn store, it is about people stepping out of the box and doing something awesome.

I think if you are in Kuwait you really ought to give them a visit, even if you don’t knit or crochet.  You might be inspired to learn, and with their free workshops, you really have no excuse.  Here is their location:


View Needles And Yarn Store ابره وخيط للاقمشه in a larger map

The store is open Sat to Thurs from 9:30 – 1:30 pm and 4:30 – 8:30 pm

Rainbow yarn

I got two balls of Knit Picks Felici in Rainbow

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I have used it before to make:
Socks
Rainbow Socks
Fingerless Mittens
Rainbow Mittens Finished
And pencil sleeves
Pencil Sleeves

To say that I loved it would be an understatement. I did a little Ravelry searching and found some gorgeous projects made with it:

Baby Booties
.

Jaywalker socks
rainbow socks 012

Flippant
Modified Flippant

And a monster
slugs2 062

All of the images link back to the original image and the link takes you to the project page on ravelry so you can find out more.

If you had this yarn, what would you make?

What to knit with a single skein of handdyed sock yarn?

HandDyed Yarn

I have four very beautiful skeins of hand dyed yarn.  So beautiful in fact, that I am having trouble winding them into balls, let alone knitting them up.  But, at the end of the day it is just yarn, right? Right? Just say it is.

I asked ravelry and very pretty things came up

Screen Shot 2013-03-10 at 9.00.59 PM Screen Shot 2013-03-10 at 9.01.11 PM Screen Shot 2013-03-10 at 9.00.39 PMThe links for the searches {http://rav.to/YUyIqA http://rav.to/WCw4eR http://rav.to/ZcvZLn}

In general you need to look for patterns that will use the colors to their best advantage, stitches like moss, garter and slipped stitches usually work really nicely with hand dyed yarns.  Also look at the length of the color repeats, are they really short, long or just medium? Try a test swatch to see how many stitches before the colors change, try an large scale swatch if you are still unsure.

Most sock yarn skeins are 400 yards, that is enough to knit a small shawl, socks, hats, baby items and little toys.

Be brave, after all it is beautiful yarn that will be fun and enjoyable to knit.

Hand Dyeing Cotton Yarn – An Adventure and a tutorial

Hand dyed cotton yarn

I have been wanting to dye my own yarn for a long time, but always felt intimidated. I am not sure why I felt intimidated, I thought it would be too difficult, time consuming, expensive and messy. Well it is messy and a little time consuming but it is not that difficult or expensive. At least not the way I did it.

I had this ball of white Giza cotton that is fingering weight and I had never used it because it was really white and I had no idea what to do with it. A little trip to my local craft store and I was armed with a small tin of purple dye and a sachet of salt/fixer. Originally I wanted to use food coloring or Kool Aid because I was worried about toxicity and ventilation but after a little research it turns out that you can only use it to dye animal fibers (not plant fibers). I ordered two skeins of sock weight undyed yarn to try it but since I could only use cotton, I used the Dylon Cold.

I am going to walk you thru how I did it. I am not an expert and still have a lot to learn.

Materials

One tin of Dylon Cold or any type of reactive dye that you can find locally.
One sachet of fixer/salt
A kitchen sink
GOOD gloves
A container to do the dying in
Plastic wrap
Sponges or brushes (if you want to dye more than one color)

 

The Process

Getting the yarn ready

Turn it into a hank
This is what a hank looks like when it is twisted, if you untwist it, it just looks like a giant doughnut.
First you need to wrap your yarn into a hank without twisting it, which is basically just wrapping it in huge loops.  The first time I did this I wrapped around my hands.  It was exhausting and you can’t stop until you are done (no bathroom breaks) and it is really hard to get an even tension.  So I went out and got myself some PVC pipes and connectors and made a DIY Niddy Noddy.  Of course you could also wrap around chair backs or furniture or whatever rocks your boat.  But seriously the Niddy Noddy makes it really easy.  And it is so funny telling people you have a Niddy Noddy.

DIY Niddy Noddy
Isn’t that easier?

Then you need to tie your yarn in at least four different places so that it doesn’t get tangled while you are dying it.

How to tie your yarn
You can tie a simple knot, or weave scrap yarn around it. Use a different color for the ties so it is easier to find later.

Preparing the dye

I just added hot water to the fixer in a large glass bowl, dumped my yarn in and then added the dye.  I used a bamboo skewer to stir the mix then soaked my yarn in it for an hour.  You need to check the instructions on your dye to make sure you are doing it correctly because it might be different.  I stirred the yarn every 15 minutes to make sure it was all getting dye.  Wear good gloves when you are near the dye, I used bad plastic ones first because I didn’t want dye all over my thick kitchen gloves, turns out they were not quite good and I still have purple fingertips.  The dye didn’t stick to my gloves so don’t worry about it.

Mix dyes and add yarn
The color is so much more intense as a liquid and powder form, the colors are not as saturated on the yarn.
Wear good gloves
Wear gloves or you will end up with purple hands!
I would also suggest wearing an apron or an old t shirt that you wouldn’t mind getting stained because it does splash while you work.

After an hour, I took it out and rinsed it with water until the water ran clear. I then hung it on a wire hanger and put it on the bathroom shower curtain rod to dry. You could dry this outside if the weather is good it would probably dry much faster, but I don’t have that option. Once it was totally dry, I wrapped it into a center pull ball and it is ready to be knit. It is not evenly dyed but that is exactly what I wanted, I was going for a kettle dye effect and while it is not that tonal, it is fine for a first try.

Purple Yarn
Admire your work.

 

Experimenting

Now that you have realized that it is not so hard play with it.  I wanted to try dyeing with two colors at a time.

So I got two colors and two sponge brushes.

Get everything ready
I am working on the glass cover of my oven because that is the largest counter space I have in my tiny kitchen.

I covered the work surface with plastic wrap to protect it and mixed the dyes in plastic jars this time.

Yummy colors
Yaaay we are going to make a mess.

I invited my four year old to help (note: you really need to supervise if you are going to do this with a child, and while it is a lot of fun for them, you need to make sure they do not try to drink the dye or paint their bodies) We dipped the sponges in the dye and painted the yarn in sections with alternating colors.

Paint your yarn
Make sure that there is dye on all the yarn strands and that it has all been soaked up well.

I was using pink and blue so the places where they mixed were purple.

And just like before, I left it for an hour and then rinsed until it washed clear, hung it to dry and then wrapped it into a center pull ball.  I had leftover dye so I just threw in a hank in each dye jar to get two solid colors.

And enjoy your yarn.

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Next up

I really want to try self striping yarn, I did a bit of research and it doesn’t seem too hard, I think I can do it.  I also want to learn how to better control the saturation of colors.  This is so much fun, you really need to try it.

Further reading

Self striping yarn

Dyeing yarn

Gradient dyeing

Dyeing Plant Fibers

 

The sock yarn has arrived

I ordered sock yarn from Countess Ablaze on etsy and it arrived and I am in love.

My daughter asked for purple socks, and it seems to me that I actually like purple a lot I just never knew it.

The skeins come beautifully wrapped in printed burlap and buttoned up.  Not that they need any beautifying.

The colors are saturated and vibrant almost identical to the pictures online.

I can’t wait to start knitting these up into socks.

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It is 75% Superwash Wool  and 25% Nylon.  A single skein weighs 100g and is approximately 400m / 437yds, and since I like my cuffs nice and short I think I can make an adult sock and a little sock for the little person who wanted the purple socks in the first place.

What would you make?

7 colors, a total of 875 m of sports yarn
What would you make?
Color Me Happy Crochet Yarn

Color Me Happy Crochet Yarn