Thursday, February 26, 2009


My brain has been on overdrive for the past couple of weeks and it seems to be moving a lot faster than my body, my fingers, can keep up with!

Since my last post, I've delved a little further into the world of dyeing. I think its almost as much fun as knitting! I have a few more color ideas that I'll work on more after I've finished knitting my newest project, which has been inspired by this:

While watching Grey's Anatomy on 2/12, I saw someone wearing the beautiful Sylvan Scene cardigan from Anthropologie's fall catalogue. I hadn't paid much attention to it before, but I knew while watching the episode that I would at the very least try to knit something largely inspired by it. Upon further research - the sweater is sold out online, so I dug around on ebay - I realized how amazingly complicated this sweater is. I thought about what elements of the sweater I liked the most and began the design process.

So far, the things I have knit without patterns have been directly inspired by store-bought pieces, and I have tried to design and knit them in a way that is more or less an exact copy. The creation of this sweater has been completely different. I've had a lot more fun this time with improvising and adding my own details. The finished result may not resemble it's inspiration much at all, but it has been an awesome experiment in how an idea evolves.

At this point, I have knitted most of the body. I will do the collar next, then the sleeves. I am contemplating at this point whether to add a ruffled trim at the bottom hem, both for extra length and extra quirkiness! Here's a sketch of where I'm going with it:

I'm going to block tonight, and hopefully I'll start the collar within the next few days. I'm aiming to be finished with this in about a week. Of course, I do work much better without deadlines.....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Uncharted Territory

The past few weeks have proven unproductive in my knitting world. I have had a few ideas but no new projects have materialized. I think it may be time for me to dust off the cobwebs and just come up with something.

Turning to yarn for some inspiration, I have discovered how amazing hand-dyed and hand-painted yarns are. Besides, maybe a small project will lead me into something larger. Last weekend, I bought a skein of Stefanie Japel's newest batch of bamboo, the Hope colorway (she came up with it while watching the inauguration). It hasn't arrived yet, but I am so excited to crank out a little spring scarf as soon as it gets here. But I joked to my husband that it may be too pretty to knit!

Looking through all of her photos of the colorways she has made got me thinking that I'd like to experiment. So I did a little research and got some ideas of different methods and tools. Not to my surprise, my town's selection of products for such an experiment wasn't great. But since this was just a practice trial, I made use of what I could find.

I looked through many hand dyed yarns on Ravelry and came up with some colors I'd like to try. Here's my first attempt, before & after:

I'm pretty happy with my first hand-dyed hank! I used some inexpensive 100% mercerized cotton, which took the dye almost too good. I was hoping for more muted colors, not pastel, just not so bright. The real test will be how a knitted item turns out. I'm looking through cowl patterns, and I think I've decided to try the Darkside Cowl first. I may wait for my second hank to dry and use it first, since I think it turned out better.

Here's number two, in the same colors, at a different concentration:

I like the way the brown came out better with this one. I've washed it again since this picture was taken, in the hopes that I could fade the colors slightly. I'll have to wait to see if it worked until it finishes drying.

Here are a couple of pics of the process:

I'm already thinking of new colors to use next time!