#colouratmyfingertips #madewithloops #dyeingworkshop

A couple of posts ago I was telling you about the fabulous dyeing workshops I attended and how I got to dye my first ever sock blank. Up to that point I had only ever heard of sock blanks but never actually taken much notice.

Why would anyone unravel something that is already perfectly knitted, only to knit it up again? that’s exactly what I thought too, but let me tell you a little more about it:

#sockblank #sockknitting #madewithloops.co.uk

So, what exactly is a sock blank? In short, it is a rectangle knitted by a machine designed to be unraveled in order to knit from the unraveled yarn. The edge of the sock blank is not cast off, it’s loose so that you can knit from it, pulling the stitches out as you go.  To me a sock blank looks a bit like an unfinished scarf with live, loose stitches at each end and they are a perfect canvas to try all manner of dyeing methods: gradients, stripes or random splashes of colour, the list is endless.

There are two types of sock blanks available to purchase:

  • A regular sock blank with just one strand of working yarn
  • A double knit sock blank with two strands of working yarn — perfect for knitters who like to knit two socks at a time

In essence a sock blank is no different than a skein of Yarn except that you can start knitting from it straight away, no winding of yarn required whatsoever – you are just pulling the working yarn right from the blank.

It’s important to know that sock blanks can only be unraveled on one side. The other side has a lock stitch and won’t let you smoothly unravel. The best way to know which side is the right side for unraveling is to give the yarn a tug. If it pulls freely, then you’ve got the right end.

#sockblank #sockknitting #madewithloops.co.uk

The yarn will be crimped as it is released from the stitches in the sock blank and your finished piece may look a little “rustic” or “textured”. I quite like this look but any unevenness disappears after the first wash.

Sock blanks contain the same amount of meterage as the average skein of sock yarn, about 400m and like other yarn sock blanks have labels to indicate the fibre content.

Have I got you interested yet? I am totally smitten and must say that these pretty blanks may just be my new best friends!

#sockblank #sockknitting #madewithloops.co.uk

They are easy to throw into your knitting bag and take on the go without the worry of the yarn getting tangled and as they are not in a ball form they won’t roll off tables and under chairs either. And don’t let the name fool you, socks may well be the most popular choice of what to knit from them, but cowls, mittens, hats, shawls etc. are all great possibilities to enjoy working from a sock blank too.

Have you ever knitted from a sock blanket? or have I tempted you to give it a try? Either way, I would love to hear about it.

XO.

 

 

#makelightcolour #yellow #madewithloops.co.uk

What does the Easter weekend remind you of? Chocolate eggs and rabbits wrapped up in coloured foil, hot cross buns, a dash to that favourite holiday or camping spot, a good rest and a bit of fun with the family?

If we look back in history to the events that Easter commemorates, we see a weekend that stands out as a beacon and it was no holiday!

The usual Christian emphasis at Easter is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. As Christians we celebrate Easter and the story of a God determined to rescue a planet that is out of control.

We hardly need to be reminded that we live in a troubled world, as watching the nightly television news gives us a dose of the world’s woes. Easter speaks to us of rescue, of renewal and of the way to peace, it tells the story of a God who made the world, saw it crumble and proceeds to put it back in shape.

Believer or not, Easter is about a new beginning, a fresh start. Spring is finally here and everything is coming back to life.  After the cold and dark Winter months there is sunshine and warmth and soon fresh green leaves will sprout, flowers will bloom and colour will be everywhere.

Whatever it is that makes Easter a special time for you, hunting Easter eggs, baking delicious cakes or coming together as a family, I hope you will find a special moment to rejoice in new beginnings and maybe find some time for a little crochet.

Here is Granny Bloom just for you…

 

All you need is some Yarn and a hook. I used DK Yarn and a 4.5mm hook

(UK Terms used)

Ch8, ss to form a ring

Rnd 1: Ch3 (counts as tr), 2tr into ring, 6ch, ss to top of tr just made, *3tr into ring, 6ch, ss to top of tr just made; rep from * 6 times, ss to join (8- 6ch-sp’s)

Fasten off. Join new colour at any 6ch-sp.

Rnd 2: *12tr in 6ch-sp, skip 1tr, ss to next tr; rep from * around, ss to join (8 petals)

Fasten off. Working from behind petals join new colour by ss to st just fastened off.

Rnd 3: Dc into same st, *5ch, dc in next ss of prev rnd, 3ch, dc in next ss of prev rnd; rep from * around, ss to join.

Rnd 4: SS to first 5ch-sp, 3ch (counts as tr), [2tr, 3ch, 3tr] in same sp, 3tr into 3ch-sp, *[3tr, 3ch, 3tr] in next 5ch-sp, 3tr in next 3ch-sp; rep from * around, ss to join.

Rnd 5: Ch3 (counts as tr), 1tr in each of next 2sts, [2tr, 1ch, 2tr] into corner sp, *1tr in each of next 9sts, [2tr, 1ch, 2tr] in corner sp; rep from * twice, 1tr in each of next 6sts, ss to join.

Fasten off. Join new colour (I used first colour) at any st.

Rnd 6: Work 1dc in each st around, working 3dc in corner sp.

Weave in all ends.

Pasg Hapus – Happy Easter wherever you are!

XO.

 

#colouratmyfingertips #madewithloops #dyeingworkshop

My love for all things textile began when I was a little girl in Germany and I was taught to knit and crochet by my grandmother’s. Ever since then I have had a close relationship with yarn and colour, and in recent years I have been lucky enough to fulfil a long dream turning my passion into a small business.

Living in Wales means being surrounded by sheep and I have watched them grow, being shorn, the fleeces being washed and carded and I have been on a spinning course learning how to transform fibre into yarn. There was only one thing missing: Learning how to dye!

My chance to go full circle came when a friend of mine invited me to accompany her to Denmark where she was teaching a three-day workshop on dyeing yarn using natural and synthetic dyes. Of course I jumped at the chance!

The Baltic coast holds a special place in my heart having spent many childhood holidays there with my family. To this day I favour simple design lines  that are often influenced by Scandinavian styles and I was looking forward to the trip with joy in my heart. The venue for the week was high up in northern Denmark in a beautiful setting, with a specially planted dyeing garden, that was in full bloom during the workshop, and had it’s own dragon spewing water.

#colouratmyfingertips #madewithloops #dyeingworkshop

During the next few days we were given an overview of dyeing with natural materials such as logwood chips, walnut and cochineal beetles, as well as using  some ready made synthetic powders. We were taught the importance of setting up the workspace, dye baths and preparation of yarn ready for dyeing.

The importance of choosing dyestuff and yarn carefully became clear to us very quickly as we learned that it is comparable with choosing ingredients for a favourite recipe: Everything must be in harmony with each other in order to get the result you hope for and end up with beautifully coloured yarn that you will want to work with.

As I prefer working with natural fibres I chose two different yarns to dye: 100% Baby Alpaca and an 80% Wool/20% Silk Mix. I tried various techniques of dyeing, some more messy (walnut bath) than others, and I also used some of the dye baths more than once achieving  strong to faded colours perfect for ombre knitting.

After working with natural as well as synthetic dyestuff, practising anything from circus bright’s to subdued and tonal colours, the icing on the cake was trying our hands at indigo dying. For this exercise I chose to dye a beautiful lofty Kid Mohair yarn, and not only was the playing with tie-dyeing indigo immense fun;  the end result was stunning!

#colouratmyfingertips #madewithloops #dyeingworkshop

The final icing on the cake was the dyeing of a sock blank! You may well wonder what a sock blank is all about or what to do with it…believe me when I say that they are seriously addictive and there is absolutely no preparation needed. No attaching yarn winder and swift to the table as there is no winding needed. You just start at one corner, cast on and knit away! (More in the next post)

#colouratmyfingertips #madewithloops #dyeingworkshop

Sadly as always when you are having so much fun time flies by and before we knew it we had to tidy and wrap it all up. During these few days I made new friends, laughed a lot and learned a lot, and by the end of it I came away with a suitcase full of yarn all hand-dyed by me and just waiting to be made into beautiful items.

#colouratmyfingertips #madewithloops #dyeingworkshop

Come back soon to find out more about sock blanket knitting!

XO.

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