Adventures in Yarn Dyeing

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Well, friends, it was bound to happen: I'm addicted to creating my own yarn.

For Christmas, Nick bought me a yarn dyeing kit from Walnut Farm Designs that came with three hanks of naked yarn, four dye colors of my choice, instructions, and various other supplies needed for a first dyeing experience. I've talked about trying my hand at dyeing yarn for at least a year - probably longer because I'm obsessed with indie dyers (if you couldn't tell by the fact I buy from them almost exclusively) - which means it was high time I put myself to the test. At someone else's expense.

Not surprisingly, Nick wasn't keen on just buying me more yarn for Christmas, so this satisfied two needs: 1) he could get me a gift that was something I'd use and b) I need more yarn, always. It was a good compromise, although I'm sure part of the reason he agreed was to keep me out of his hair for a few hours while I played color chemist. I'm also 99% positive he didn't think I'd actually use it, so he was okay with getting me something that would be shoved away instead of taking up valuable counter space in our kitchen.

He was wrong.

Last Saturday, Nick went away for a couple hours, so I dove in. Of course, I couldn't just dye the yarn a solid color because I love the road fraught with difficulty. I needed yarn that spoke to me and represented who I am, even if it turned out terribly.

I needed SPECKLES.

So I used a combination of spray bottles and sprinkling to create the look I wanted. Although NONE of the yarns came out exactly as I'd envisioned, I still like the results. Even more, I loved the process. While it won't be happening immediately, there will be more naked yarn and dyes purchased someday soon.

Do I plan on selling hand-dyed yarn? I'm not sure. The thought's crossed my mind, but I'm too much of a n00b to have a process in place that allows me to mass produce. Plus, I don't trust myself yet. We'll see how my first project turns out!

And in case you're wondering - NO! I will never abandon the indie dyers I've grown to love over the years. Perhaps a full list of my recommended dyers is due, eh?

PS: If you haven't already, be sure to check out my new knitting-only Instagram, @jennlikesyarn! I've been trying to update with my project statuses every couple days, so you'll see more frequent (and real-time) updates there than on the blog. Plus, I'll probably respond to comments ;)

In the meantime, I'm:

Listening to: Pod Save America
Knitting: Hygge Socks

Finished: Little Cotton Rabbits Bunny + New Instagram

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For years, I've been following the Little Cotton Rabbits blog, dreaming of the day I'd either have enough talent to make a bunny myself or the good fortune to purchase one from the source.

Needless to say, I lost my mind a little (in a good way) when she released her bunny pattern awhile back, which means I purchased it immediately

But I still consider myself more an intermediate knitter than advanced, and to me, the Little Cotton Rabbits creatures seemed beyond my skill set. Except I'm trying this new thing where I stop doubting myself with everything and plunged into a wee bunny project for my mom's birthday.

Here's the deets:

Pattern: Bunny Girl in a Dotty Dress by Julie Williams
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish DK
Project Link: Ravelry

I quickly discovered I loved making this bunny - it was faster than I thought (even with seaming, which I shockingly didn't mind) and I loved stuffing the face to make it look as fat and happy as I envisioned. It didn't take long for her to come to life in my hands.

So all-in-all, I'd consider her a success; I even got commissioned to knit two more! All she needs now is a name. My mom and I are looking for inspiration, so feel free to throw your hat in the ring with suggestions :)

PS: I started a knitting-only instagram account that you can find here: https://www.instagram.com/jennlikesyarn/ - I'd love if you could join me in my adventures!

Oh! Loops 2017 Harry Potter KAL

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Who else is participating in Oh! Loops' annual Harry Potter KAL?!

For those of you not in the know, this KAL has been going on for a few years and is one of the most fun a-longs I've ever participated in. I signed up two years ago and loved every second, although I didn't sign up last year because life got away from me and I just didn't have time.

But it's really great: you order HP-themed yarn from Oh! Loops and accordingly get sorted into any one of the four houses for a friendly three-month knitting competition. I, of course, am now in Ravenclaw, which was nothing if not a happy coincidence. I got sorted according to Pottermore not more than a few months ago and discovered I am, in fact, a Ravenclaw. Being a nerd, I'm proud of that. Why? According to Wikia:

"Members of this house are characterised by their wit, learning, and wisdom."

...And I love being categorized by any of the above. Suffice it to say, I'm excited to knit for this house in particular.

The two skeins I picked up are called "Don't Call Me Nymphadora" (an 80/30 SW Merino/Nylon mix) and "Snape Loves Lily" (an 85/15 SW Merino/NEP Tweed combo). I'm not sure what I'll knit with them yet, but I do plan to use them for the challenges, which should be posted soon. The tweed could be used as socks, but I don't want to hide it on my feet; it's too pretty!

If you want to follow along, you can check out the #hpkal2017 or #harrypotterkal2017 hashtags over on Instagram.

PS: Nick and I tried the jelly beans and are both thrilled and appalled to say they taste exactly as described in the movie. I mistakenly picked a yummy-looking pink one that turned out to be earthworm-flavored. I'm still recovering from the trauma.

PPS: Speaking of Ravenclaw, one of my favorite indie dyers (Dragon Hoard Yarn) is putting out Harry Potter advent calendars this year and she's let us choose our houses. You can probably guess that I chose Ravenclaw, meaning I'll get house-centric goodies with my calendar. I'd link you to the calendar to order, but she sold out fast!

PPPS: And in other advent calendar news, I've also ordered an Opal one for 2017. This impulse buy will be my first Opal advent calendar and I'm more than pumped for it to arrive on my doorstep (all the way from the UK for a fairly good price). The 2017 Christmas season is going to be more than enough fun for me!

Finished: Skywave Shawl

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I'm typing this to you, dear blog readers, at the onset of either a cold or a horrific allergy attack. I'm hoping it's the later because it means the madness will end tomorrow, but I fear I'm coming down with something (and I'm not happy about it.

Yet here I am, pouring my yarn-filled little heart out to you as I finish up another project.

Apparently, I'm in a shawl phase, as I've finished a second in as many months and started a third.

I'm not complaining. Shawls are fun "larger" projects and make for perfect fall scarves. In other words, they're my favorite things to knit up this time of year (I'd say socks are my favorite, but they're my favorite projects for any time of year).

I LOVE how this shawl worked up, despite its many mistakes. Well, I shouldn't say many. I forgot that each "scale" requires two pattern repeats and only did one repeat about halfway through. I'd already tinked back enough rows after having forgotten four rows of garter stitch and couldn't bring myself to rip out two full repeats, so the mistake survives. I'm sure nobody else (other than maybe a fellow knitter) would notice. And if you do notice, you're probably standing too close to me and I'm seething about it.

I also liked how there are two versions: one with the pattern repeat all the way through the pattern, and another with the lace only working up at the edges - it's up to you based on your preferences. I, for one, was feeling particularly sadistic, so I worked the lace all throughout.

This shawl has been following me around since June, when I took it on my girlfriends BSB Vegas excursion as a plane distraction, so it's nice to finally have those needles free again.

Project Info:

Pattern: Skywave
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Gradient
Colorway: Hula Girl

In the meantime, I'm:

Knitting: Golden Ray
Reading: The Book Thief - I just joined an all-new local book club that some friends of mine and I are starting up and this is our first read. I can't believe I've made it this far in love without picking it up, but I'm so glad I finally did.
Listening to: My Favorite Murder (podcast)
Watching: The entire Harry Potter series because it's that time of year, isn't it?

Finished: Vanilla Latte Socks

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Taking a quick work break to update you guys on my latest pair of finished socks (you're welcome).

This past weekend was a long weekend, so I finally had some time to sit down and start sorting through my craft room. Despite doing a massive purge of older, crappier yarn in colors I'd never use, I realized something:

I have WAY TOO MUCH YARN.

Not a phrase I ever expected to come out of my mouth, but there it is.

How do I know this? Because I have nowhere to put it all. I cleared off an additional shelf on my giant bookcase to use as hank storage and I still have hanks flying around the hallway, waiting for a home.

I also realized I have a deep-rooted affinity for Knit Picks Felici.

All of this led me to decide I need to be knitting more. Way more. Especially with Felici.

Cue these socks. They're a super basic Vanilla Latte pattern, which is actually a pattern I used when I first learned to knit socks, so they're interesting enough that I didn't get bored. Self-striping socks always seem to move quickly, anyway, but these really flew off my needles (I only worked on them for a few days).

Details:

Yarn: Knit Picks Felici
Colorway: Pinata
Pattern: Vanilla Latte Socks
Heel: Fish Lips Kiss

And so begins another work week. Sort of. It's a short week to begin with thanks to Labor Day, but I'm also taking Friday off to head to Cape Cod for a bachelorette. Don't worry - I plan on taking loads of knitting with me for the car ride ;)

In the meantime, I'm:

Knitting: Skywave (this is nearly done)
Reading: Just finished The Blinds and have nothing going at the moment. Any recommendations?