Friday, November 9, 2012

Overdyeing

When I last wrote, I had two secret projects in progress.  Now they're both done.  Well, all done but one tiny finishing touch... and the washing, which I plan to do closer to Christmas.

It feels good to have those off my plate!  ...But now I'm working on a new set of secret projects!  So...

(Secret projects.  So dull to blog about.  Even duller to read about, I'm sure.  Sorry!)

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I decided to knit a hat using some of that wool yarn I dyed however-long-ago-it-was.   I'd been wanting to do that for a while, but I was hesitant to start.  It had been a while since I knit my first hat, so I needed to refresh myself on the magic loop method... (I've never used dpn and don't even own a set.)  Once I got started, it came back to me pretty fast.  All but two aspects.

First, ladders.  I was having trouble with laddering at the place where I joined the cast-on stitches.  I must've cast on, joined, despaired, and ripped it all out four or five times before I finally decided it was good enough.  Tip to Future Me:  Don't pull too tight, but hold the two sides as close as possible.  Also, don't be too critical.  Chances are, it'll even out and be invisible after a few more rounds!

Second, where does the working yarn "come from"?  This video helped with that, as it demonstrates how to drape the yarn over the back of the (back) needle so that you don't end up with the working yarn trapped inside the magic loop. 

I was considering trying a tubular cast-on, this time, but in then end, I stayed in my comfort zone-- i.e. long-tail.  I'm only really comfortable with the long-tail cast-on, but I'd like to eventually try something different.  Maybe next time. 

The pattern I used is the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret in orange kettle-dyed-style Fishermen's Wool.  I did make a mistake and have to rip back several rounds.  (I misread the second round of cables, so instead of off-setting that round by three, the cables wound up right on top of the last round.  Oops.)  I'm actually pretty proud of myself for being able to rip it back to a specific point and get it back on the needles correctly (as opposed to having to restart from scratch).

I really enjoyed knitting this pattern.  It would be a nice intro to cabling, I think.  (However, I did find it easier to use a cable needle with this pattern, even though with smaller cables I've found cabling without a cable needle faster.) 

I still have to weave in the ends.  There are only two of them, but I'm nowhere near comfortable weaving ends in knitting, so I'm still putting it off.  Once I've done that, I'll try to take a few decent photos.  It's not easy to take good photos of a hat, in my experience-- particularly if you don't care to pose in the hat yourself.  I don't have any volunteers handy for modeling (because I doubt Donald would want to model a ladies' hat).  What I need is a mannequin head. (g)

In the meantime, here's a very blurry photo:


Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret


Well, scratch most of what I just said about photos.  Donald took a few photos for me (kindly doing his best to show me in a more flattering light than I could probably achieve on my own)-- so here are a few photos of the hat (with the loose ends tucked under, out of sight).

Star-Crossed Slouch Beret

Star-Crossed Slouch Beret

I was wearing it a bit weirdly in these photos, but didn't realize it until after loading them onto the computer.  Wasn't willing to go back out for another photo session, so they'll have to do (for now, at least).  I normally probably wouldn't wear it quite like this (like a mushroom, in other words (g)).  Most people seem to wear it pulled flat on top, with more slouch/droop at the back-- but of course you can wear it anyway you like.  :o) 

Like a lot of us, I have a hard time not being overly critical of my appearance-- including the way a hat looks on me.  But once it get cold enough, I don't worry so much; as long as my ears are warm, I'm happy. ;o)

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While looking around on Ravelry, researching the pattern and the yarn for that hat, I came across another hat pattern I'd like to try.  This one's crochet, so even though it's constructed of slow-progress single crochet, it should be quick to whip up on a whim.  

The pattern is Elegant Hat-- a brimmed cloche with a crocheted band and bow (which I'm sure could be left off or replaced with a ribbon, silk flower, crocheted flower, etc. as desired).  Some of the project photos look great; some... well, they're not as appealing to me, personally.  I think I like the ones that are plenty big enough.  If it fits like a beanie, I find it less flattering. 

I found some yarn in my stash that I think would work well for this pattern-- a couple of clearance-scored skeins of I Love This Wool (which 93% wool, 7% nylon/polyamide).  The color was one I've never really loved.  "Seal brown"-- which was a very slightly reddish brown.  I don't really dislike the color in itself, but for a hat, I thought it might be too close to my hair color to look nice.  (Why bother making and wearing a hat no-one will be able to see?  Warmth?  Nah... (g)) 

In any case, it gave me an excuse to try to overdye it.  (I've been wanting to play with dyes again for a long time.)  Medium-dark brown isn't ideal for dyeing, but why not try?

The results are very subtle, but I think it's pretty-- definitely nicer than the flat, single-tone "Seal Brown".  

I neglected to photograph the yarn before overdyeing it, but there are photos available online, if you're interested in googling it or looking here on Ravelry. (Sorry, the link only works for Ravelry members.)

Here are a couple of "after" photos:


Overdyed Brown Yarn

Overdyed Brown Yarn

...So, I like it, but I'm still not sure I'll use it for a hat.  We'll see.  In any case, I like it more now than before I dyed it.