A finished object to start with:
Pattern: Berry Hill fingerless mittens (free Ravelry download)
Yarn: Hand-dyed Debbie Bliss Merino DK (1 ball)
Needles: 3.25mm dpns
I've decided that the best way to build up a pattern portfolio is to just start writing stuff down (or up). I certainly improvise enough stuff. These are just a very simple pair of fingerless mitts with the interest coming from the twisted rib in the cuff and at the knuckles and from the lovely shades in the yarn. I put it up on Ravelry on Saturday evening and was so chuffed to find that someone had already cast on a pair on Sunday.
Knitting these mittens from yarn that I hand-dyed last year reminded me how much I enjoy dyeing and knitting with stuff that I've hand-dyed.
Although not so much with these (one ball Rowan Pure Wool DK dyed with Supercook food dye) - I was going for another simple pair of hand-warmers but I've tried 6 stitch patterns so far and ripped back every one. This is the furthest point I got to before ripping back. The tension was so tight that it was hurting my hands to knit and to put the gloves on - not really ideal. I do love the stitch pattern though so I might try again with larger needles and more plain rows and stitches between the cables.
After dyeing one skein of variegated yarn I thought I'd follow Ellen and have a go at some stripes. I created a 5.6 metre skein by winding the yarn around the door handles in my flat. Ideally it would have been a bit longer but I thought I'd get in trouble if I made the bathroom inaccessible for the best part of an hour!
As I wanted stripes in 6 different colours (and I don't have 6 pans, let alone 6 rings on my hob) I decided to do these in mugs in the microwave.
I arranged the yarn in the mugs, added the water and cream of tartar (for mordant) and then put the microwave plate in the microwave before adding the dye* - it just seemed safer. Getting them out again was a bit hairy though.
The yarn dried in time for me to take it to Aliki's yesterday to wind up on her ball winder. I had lots of fun watching the woolly blur on the winder change from red through to purple.
The yarns in the background are from Oxford Kitchen Yarns (right) and All the Pretty Fibers (left). I have big plans for these.
After all the tense cable knitting and ripping I needed something really straightforward in order to knit away the frustration.
Luckily I now have the perfect yarn for rainbow Jaywalkers.
* Dyeing this yarn meant that I had the rainbow song stuck in my head all day - and it's not even a helpful guide to dyeing a spectrum, I nearly put purple and blue in the wrong way around.