Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Make it do or do without

OK. So I am one for challenges and numbers and goals, keeping track of how many projects and skeins I can knit up and how fast, taking inventory of how much yarn I have, dividing that by how quickly I can knit, and realizing I can knit solely from stash for say the next 5 years, easy. Maybe you know what I am talking about. I would like to say I am no longer going to purchase new yarn until I can knit down what I already have, but let's be serious. Knitting is a creative outlet; part of that is finding something you love and figuring out what to do with it (ahem... or rediscovering something you already have). Plus, I love my local yarn stores (hello Stitchin' Post and Spinning Room! I am sure I will see you soon).

But I have been challenging myself to use what I already have first. It's either that or go out and find more storage containers, or start replacing the dishes in the cupboards with yarns. But there is one project that I do not have the yarn for, and I cannot get this project out of my mind. I am in love with those stripey knee socks everyone is knitting out of the noro sock yarns. I think they would look just perfect on my feet by the next time the snow falls. My bedroom, after all, barely makes it above 50 in the wintertime, so I must use all that I have in my warmth arsenal. I sleep with 8 blankets, 3 cats, a music man and yes, wool socks. I think those nice stripey knee socks are just what I need to see as I relunctantly pull back the covers on those frosty mornings.

But what is a girl with no noro sock yarn and too much stash to do?

Are you guessing?

If you are thinking that I tried to dye my own nearly noro sock yarn, you would be correct.

Lucky for me, I stocked up on blank sock yarn last summer. And I am newly addicted to dyeing with koolaid. It started with one skein and a packet of grape. Now, I am walking around my house wondering how well pillowcases and curtains will take dye. And thinking of changing my new favorite colors to "ice blue raspberry lemonade" and "strawberry".

So my basic steps were to measure out 12-36 loops around from my hand to my elbow for each section, wrapping them around themselves and tying some scrap yarn through them to kind of hold them together during the process. I left a good yard of extra yarn between each section and had 20 (twenty!) total sections. I lined them up in brownie pans and soaked / washed them. I created a map of the loops - their number of loops and location in the pan, and the color I wanted them dyed. I was hoping for a gradual color change so had solid color koolaids separated by a mix of the two. So say, orange solid, a mix of orange and strawberry followed by a strawberry solid. And I dyed from the lighter colors first, and any of the mixed loops I dyed twice - lighter to darker. I was hoping for a heathered tie-dye look.

And this is about when I realized the real noro is worth every penny (although they have probably figured out a better way than I).

Overall, I am happy with the results. It definitely doesn't replace or even come close to replicating the wonderful noro, but I am excited to see how this knits up. And the colors are definitely cheery. The fiber is soft.

As you can see, the dye process itself didn't quite go as planned. There were a few pitfalls. Tropical punch packets look just like ice blue lemonade. I was mixing blue and suddenly had purple. Instead of starting over, I went for it, since a mix was what I was ultimately going for. Unfortunately the results were not. Strawberry and tropical punch are almost indistinguishable and both overpower whatever color is underneath (good to know for future projects; wish I had known that before this one).

However, the blue / green, blue / yellow, purple / blue and purple / red came out very well, and tempt me to give this another shot. As long as I wrap the loops a bit better next time to avoid the hour and a half I took unknotting one section. (You read that right). Proof that I can be patient.


1 comment:

  1. I'm just gonna start callin' you Ms. Ingenuity! Even if the process didn't go exactly as you'd imagined, what you ended up with is so charming! Can't wait to see your next effort. I love that you're trying to commit to your stash--I'm doing the same!