#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.

 

#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.

#wanderlustjumper #einrumyarn #madewithloops

Towards the end of last summer postman Eric dropped off a rather large parcel all the way from Iceland. To my delight it contained many gorgeous colourful balls of Einrum yarn, you can imagine my joy!

#wanderlustjumper #einrumyarn #madewithloops

Designing something using this beautiful yarn had been on my list for a while, now I had no excuse and so I set to work.

A jumper it was going to be, that was obvious from the start. I could see it clearly in my head and before long “Wanderlust” was born.

Wanderlust was inspired by my love of travelling and discovering new places and the jumper is entirely knitted in the round starting with the Yoke and thus travelling around the world. No sewing up at all and finished with an applied I-cord at the neck-line, for which full instructions are given, completes a relaxing knitting experience.

Even if you have never knitted a top-down jumper before, you can easily manage this project, as long as you can knit and purl…you are on your way.

#wanderlustjumper #einrumyarn #madewithloops

The beautiful Einrum+2 Yarn from Iceland, 80% Icelandic Wool/20% Silk, is simply gorgeous to work with. Warm, yet lofty, with just the right amount of drape and a little sheen, makes garments snug and cosy and will see you right though the cooler months of the year. Equally, this jumper will become your go-to for cooler evenings in the summer.

#wanderlustjumper #einrumyarn #madewithloops

The pattern comes with full instructions and is available to download in either English or German from the usual places, with all links in the right hand column of this blog.

The Yarn is available from Claudia at Wollsinn, just click on this link HERE 

I really hope you like it and I would love to hear your thoughts on this, my very first published garment design.

Wish me luck!

X.

 

 

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