Blue Stripes

I had last week off the day job and lots of knitting time, enough time to finish a pair of socks. Critical to this was my husband also having the week off… so I actually got to sit occasionally, and not just run after children all week. Bliss. I read a whole book in 3 days too:)

Last year I knit a pair of socks for my Aunt, the family matriarch. When I saw her in July she was very complimentary of her hand knit socks, and (kindly) asked for more. When I asked what colour she’d like, she said ‘any’.

stripey bluesYarn: Dublin Dye Swing Sock

I think blue qualifies as any, so these are going to her. She’s visiting me this month, and it’ll be nice for her to have a fresh pair of socks before winter really sets in. Pattern is the usual, make it up as I go along. This time toe up, the exact oposite of the traditional top down sock with a slipped stitch heel. I could easily have done these top down, but I thought black toes made more sense than light blue, and that’s as good a reason as any. I’ve probably got enough yarn left for fingerless mitts, she may get some to match if I get around to it.

That is the same wall I took last year’s sock photo against. Apparently the ivy is not so slowly taking over. And here we thought we were winning the battle.

Second verse, same as the first

I am a little way into my blue stripey socks, and they are just not stripey enough. I did know that would happen when I dyed it, but obviously totally ignored it.

blue socksSo when I got a bit bored, I did another skein. More stripes. Rainbow stripes.

rainbow in progress

My problem is the skeining. It’s a real pain to get it back into a ball or a skein. Very labour intensive. I’m sure there’s a trick out there, because lots of people do stripes and I can’t imagine they take hours to reskein each one. Do they?

rainbowStill, the end result is very pretty, and will be lots of fun to knit with. I think my red is a bit too pink, and my orange maybe a bit to red. But I’ve wanted to do a rainbow for a long time, and it’s fun to play with the primaries

The only problem? A real bitch to get back into a sensible state. I need to find a way to do the skeining easily.

Still

Experiment results

I’d been thinking about this one for a while, but earlier in the week this skein finally went into the dye pot. It looks pretty normal in the before picture.

experimentingBut with a little work, I’ve got some beautiful self striping yarn.

gradientIt goes from dark to light and back again, all in the same skein. And it wasn’t as hard as I worried it might be, although to do it again I’m going to have to work out the winding a bit better. My plan is to make toe up, two at a time socks. One from the outside and one from the middle. That should give me two exactly identical striped socks.

two at a timeBy plan, of course I mean I’ve cast on already. I think I’m in love.

Studio Tour

Dublin Dye has had several homes over it’s lifetime. We started in the studio over This is Knit. From there we moved on to Elana’s ‘cottage’, the converted garage beside her house. But about 2 years ago that suddenly became unuseable, so I had to move. Fast.

shedNow the studio resides in my back garden, just there past the barbeque. I did a bit of shopping, and ended up fitting in (and fitting out) a 2*4 metre metal shed in the garden. Thankfully we have a relatively big garden (by Dublin city standards anyway), and room for such a thing!

kitchen sinkInside I’ve got a slightly ramshackle kitchen, which was kindly ‘donated’ by my in law’s in law’s, who had replaced theirs recently with something a bit more modern. An electrician and a plumber paid me a visit, and I was up and running! It is working out great to have the studio at home, because I can run in and out while minding the kids or cooking the dinner. The little ones are well used to me telling them ‘I’ve just got to run out to the shed for a minute, no fighting!’

shelvesAt the other end, I have storage. Lots of yarn, both dyed and undyed. And some tools and toys, because you can’t have a shed in the garden without everyone else trying to take it over. There’s even a snowman stuffed under the shelves, and usually a small bicycle or two shoved down this end as well.

potsI really like the skylight, it’s in the perfect location to see the yarn colour. I mostly use the pots for yarn, although the crock pots get used for roving. I’ve also used the ‘exposed beams’ to string a washing line back and forth across the ceiling, so I can hang yarn inside somewhere other than my diningroom on a rainy day.

So what’s cooking in the shed today?

experimentingThis skein doesn’t look like much, but it is the subject of a little experiment. If it goes well, it’s going to make some fabulous socks for my aunt.

It’s in my blood

My mother worked in a craft shop for years. She would spend days in my primary school teaching my class how to make beaded Christmas ornaments (starting with ones like this, which I taught my daughter to make this year). And she taught my how to knit.

But my family crafting history goes back farther, and when I was visiting family in July I got a chance to take a look at some of it. My paternal grandmother was a great crafter. When she died, This was what I ask for from her house,

granny quiltthe crochet quilt she kept on her sofa for as long as I can remember. When one square wore out, she replaced it from the box of yarn ends she kept beside the sofa. The second one is the one her sister made, it also passed to me when she died.

When I was visiting my uncle this year, I got to see her loom, which he’d set up in his workshop.

antique loomHe had no idea how it worked, or if it was complete, but he did know it was hand made by a distant relative, and that my grandmother had bought it from him at least 70 years ago. My whole reasoning for borrowing the guild loom earlier this year was to see if I could figure out my grandmother’s one. Unfortunately the heddles are missing/not assembled, and the reed is pretty rusted. But it’s repairable, and eventually useable. And beautiful, I think. Like this hand made boat shuttle.

boat shuttleThe counterbalances (it’s a counterbalance loom, hadn’t seen one like this before)

counterbalanceAnd the wheel at the end of the roller.

beamI hope eventually to get the loom up and running, but since it and I are thousands of miles apart, it will take a while. years probably! If I had more room in my home, I’d bring it here. But unfortunately it’s big, and my house isn’t.

As for my own weaving project, I did finish, and it was a great learning experience. I highly recommend giving it a try if you get a chance (and you do have a chance, you can rent the loom from the guild!)

woven scarf

So Sew

Apparently I take the same point of view on sewing as I do on knitting. That is, I don’t necessarily need a pattern when I have an idea. Like for this doll buggy. I’d been thinking for a while that it’s a bit knackered, and could use replacing.

old buggyThe reason it’s so knackered? Someone didn’t realise it’s not rated for over 10kgs:)

andrew buggy(He thought he was showing off the picture)

But then recently I realised I have a machine, and lots of fabric, and the doll deserves better than that.

new buggy closeAnd she has a new candy cane buggy liner. I started with two squares, trimmed corners where necessary, and added some elastic and ribbon. all stuff out of the stash (the benefit of a stash of not just wool) so free as well.

new buggyI’ve told the little boy this one is just for the dolly, not for big kids. We’ll see if her listens. I’m tempted though to do a boy themed one as well. Cause why can’t boys have green dinosaur buggies?

When knitters travel

They (or at least, I, and Yarn Harlot, and others I’m sure) cast on socks. Preferably socks that don’t need a lot of thinking, so they can be knit on airplanes and airports and everywhere in between. So for my three weeks away, I cast on and knit socks. I finished these the day I got back home.

travel socks

Rarely do I want to wear knit socks in the middle of July do I want to wear knit socks. But a few times while I was knitting these I was hoping they’d be finished soon. But summer seems to have been poor on both sides of the North Atlantic this year. I got a few warm days in Ottawa, but not much else.

travel socks2Yarn: Dublin Dye Swing Sock in Kaleidoscope

Back in Dublin, I may be wearing these this weekend! For now, the etsy shop is open again, and This is Knit got restocked. Next week I’ll be dyeing for online, keep an eye out for the update next weekend.

Some Designers Design

I’ve been completely slacking off on the design side of things. I have a pattern or two I want to get out, but I’ve been swamped by the day job, and haven’t actually had a lot of knitting time. Hopefully things will improve over the summer, I’ve got a good bit of time off from that day job 🙂

Thankfully, some others have taken up the slack! Two designers released patterns with Dublin Dye yarn in the last week.

First is Sia, by German designer Tanja Loumai. This was done with a single skein of Silken Lace in the colour Spring. and Tanja is offering a discount with the code ‘Dublin Dye’ until Sunday.

The second is Plain Sailing by Jane Howorth, using a few skeins of Merino DK, in Midnight and Alge.

There’s also a SUMMER SALE going on over on the Etsy Shop. Use the code SUMMER2015 until the 7th of July! After that I’ll shut the shop for a week or two while I enjoy some proper down time 🙂

Weave

It was only a matter of time before the Weave Spin Dye Guild got me on the last craft – weaving. It’s something I’d been interested in trying for a while, but I got some news which gave me a push to learn. My grandmother’s 80 year old hand made loom has been dug out of my uncles and assembled, and donated to the local museum. But no one there knows how to work it, so when I go there for a visit, I’m supposed to help them figure it out. A daunting task, but it gave me a push to rent the guild loom for a month.

The first step is the warping board. Round and round the yarn goes, 170 times in my case.

warping boardThen setting up the warp on the loom took quite a while, but I followed the directions and googled occasionally for tips, and got it done.warped loomOnce the loom is properly warped, the weaving part goes pretty quick.

weavingI’m still getting the hang of it, but I’m pretty happy with it so far. I’m doing the stripes a bit random, since I’m not sure how far my yarn will go.

Check out the guild rental page if you’d like to give it a try!

White is boring

I went outside on the back step to take sock photos, because it was too late in the day for inside photos. I brought a white board to put the socks on, while the cat watched. I think her expression tells you all you need to know:

bored catBored cat is bored. I then distracted myself with twitter where I realised it’s ‘Tarmac Tuesday‘. Well, the front of the house does get more light at this time of day.

tarmacAnd it gives a slightly more interesting background.These are for my mother (who’s foot is a good bit smaller than mine) so sock blocker photos are required. I borrowed the blockers from Cathyqtpi for the Yarn Festival in March, and they are quite nice. I must find out where she got them (or if you’ve come to visit Cathy, you can leave a comment!)

tarmac socks2Yarn: Dublin Dye Swing Sock in Clear

I’ve knit a top down heel flap sock so often now that I no longer need a pattern. But I always credit them to Charlene Schurch, since her Sensational Knitted Socks is my go to basic sock resource. I think I got given the book by a friend who was moving back to the US, maybe 7 or 8 years ago? But it’s a really handy resource for sizes and standard patterns. Definitely one of my most frequently used knitting books. These are the Basic top down with a heel flap socks.

In dye news, there’s a new page over there on the left. Now that I’ve got more than one shop stocking my yarn, I can start a list 🙂  Dublin Bay Knitting in Oregon is now stocking Dublin Dye Swing Sock yarn, the first on the other side of the pond… Hopefully the first of many!