Monday, August 06, 2007

Natural Dye- Part 2- Dyebath Prep

Now on to the dyeing....... several months later. I am a really bad blog author. Life gets in the way.....That and I DO stuff more than I WRITE about doing it.
First off, a safety warning :-)
NEVER combine a copper mordant and baking soda to raise the pH and cabbage dye. It WILL explode. So there. Don't ask how I found this out. That's the last time I tried concurrent mordanting. The wool turned out a really nice aqua, though

It exploded all over the side of my house, and carried an electrical charge, to boot. You'd think someone with a background in chemistry would have thought before making a weak battery and attempting to boil it, but NOOOOOOOO..........

Moving right along..... So we talked about the different mordants and their effects. Now, there are a few different ways to dye your fiber. We're going to cover three.

First thing, you want to make your dyebath. It's a bit more complicated with natural dyes than with acid dyes. For flowers, you can do dyebath prep and dyeing all in one step, see below.

To start with, you want to use dried materials (except flowers and berries, which are better to use fresh or frozen, but fresh or dried, they fade). Many woods and nuts will give you shades of brown. Many also contain their own tannins, so are great on cotton. Walnut of course gives you a good brown, and can be used with iron as an after-mordant to get black. Some heartwoods, such as brazilwood, logwood, and osage orange will give you really bright tones. I found that has a great selection of dyestuffs cheap. They're an artists' supply house.
Most leaves will give you somewhere between a really weak yellowy-green to brown. The only good way to get a great green is really with yellow overdyed with blue :-( I'm not a huge indigo fan (it's a lot of time, and I'm not patient), so that limits my color palette. Cabbage makes a good blue though, and can be used over yellow.
You want to chop up your dye material to get as much surface area as possible for the dye to extract from. In case of bugs, you want to put them through a coffee grinder (NOT one you use for food) Flowers and berries I don't chop, the juice/sap gets everywhere and wastes the dye material.

In the case of anything but flowers, bugs, and berries, let it soak overnight. FOR DYEING WITH BUGS, such as cochineal, lac, and kermes, they can just be ground and boiled. Scale insects make neat dye. I imagine that any bug that makes a neat color when you squish it can be used once you dry it and grind it. Just be aware that it takes a lot of bugs to make an ounce, and that you may just get icky brown. Heat on medium till you get a gentle boil, let it stay there for about 15-20 minutes, drain off the dye, re cover your dyestuff with water, boil again, and so forth and so on till you aren't getting anymore dye. I will wait for shades to get lighter, and keep each shade in a separate glass jar to work from, that way I can dye skeins separately to get lovely gradated colors. It's especially great if you're doing something for embroidery or fair isle work. You can get 5 or 6 different depths of the same shade, which means lovely coordinating colors for doing shading. Keep your dyebath in a glass jar, and use it that day. This is what I got from the cochineal dyebath I used for pinks and reds, left in its jar on a dark shelf for most of a week and then used.

For flowers, I use the coffeepot method Don't knock it, it works!!
I take an old coffee pot I got from the thrift shop, I put a little water in the base to keep my fiber from scorching, and put the mordanted fiber in the pot. I fill the filter with my dyestuff, fill the reservoir with water (PLEASE take into account the volume of fiber and pre-added water when filling the reservoir. I once had dye all over my kitchen because I filled the reservoir too full) and then set it to make a pot of coffee. The hot water extracts the dye from the flowers without overdoing it and turning the color. The hot liquid hits the fiber and dyes it, and once all the dye is extracted, the warmer on the bottom of the pot keeps the "dyepot" at a nice gentle heat to keep the flower dyes from turning funny colors. I was dyeing with blue malva once, and when I first extracted the dye, it's this great rich violet color. Thirty minutes later it turned to reddish, then mucky brown. You have to use the flowers quick. Voila, you're done, you rinse. This one I did on tussah silk, mordanted with tin, with weld, and I used the soaking liquid from my madder for the water in the reservoir

The madder water gave it a lovely peachy tint.
This method works well with bugs, too. Sometimes I'll get the bug dyestuff almost totally exhausted, and then use it in the coffeepot to get the last little bit of dye out, or I'll toss it in with another color to make an orange with weld, for instance.

For everything else......

Once you've soaked it overnight, drain out your dyestuffs, and either keep or discard your soak water. Sometimes I'll use it with something else to richen the color. Usually, it's much duller than the actual dyebath will be, and adding it to the dyebath will dull your finished results. Put your dyestuff in a pot, and cover with fresh water. I use filtered water to keep any weird stuff from messing up my colors. Bring it to a low boil over medium heat, and boil for about 10-15 minutes for berries, and up to 45 minutes for some woods. Strain off the dye into a glass jar, re-cover with water, and repeat. Like I said above with the bugs, you can keep each repeat separate. You can even use the triple threat method to make the same yarn several shades of the same color (obviously, using the different dyes in different jars, rather than different mordants).*****Alkanet (also known as anchusa and dyers' bugloss) should be extracted in alcohol, not water, and Annatto should be done in oil. In neither case do you need to pre-soak.***** Now you have a dyebath. So what to do with it?

Vat Dyeing
This is the next easiest way to dye. You put your dyebath back in the same pot (obviously, after rinsing out any dyestuff bits left). Then you chuck in your pre-mordanted and RINSED fiber. Leave it until its the right shade. Take it out and rinse it. One way I will sometimes vat dye is to take all my "coordinating" dyestuffs, like shades of red and purple, or red and yellow, or yellows and browns, etc etc etc, and chuck them all in the pot once I've extracted all that I need from them, and see what kind of mix I get. Then I just strain out all the dyestuff with one of those wok strainers, and toss in my fiber. I did it with logwood, cochineal, and madder and got a great navy black

Still to come.... handpainting in the oven with natural dyes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Natural Dye Three Ways... Part 1

Most of what I dye/sell is hand painted with natural dyes. I know when I was learning, most of the info available was only in books, not websites, so I thought I'd put up a tute on how I do it. Part one is all about mordants. Mordant comes from "mordere", which means "to bite". A mordant is necessary with most dyes to allow them to chemically bond to the fiber. Otherwise, the dye molecules just lay on top of the fiber molecules, and will rinse off. The mordant chemically prepares and opens up the fiber to bond with the dye. It's like the peanut butter between two pieces of bread.
1- Vinegar is a mordant. Vinegar is a pH modifier, NOT a mordant. Some dyes require certain pH to strike, such as acid dyes, and even some natural dyes do best in an acid environment. Plus, weak acetic acid like vinegar will help keep your wool from degrading. The acid helps "open up" some fibers, making them more receptive to mordanting and dyeing. It will, however, completely kill off, or "make fugitive" a lot of natural dyes if overused. You can also use vinegar and ammonia to change the colors you get from some pH reactive dyes. Do please be aware that just because the dye itself changed color, that doesn't mean that it will look any different once set on the fiber. Acid makes pinker, Alkali makes bluer.
2- Mordants for natural dyeing are very toxic. Maybe not so much a myth as an exaggeration. Yes, the metal salts used as mordants are toxic in their concentrated, powdered form. No, you do NOT want to breathe in the dust, or allow your children or pets near them. Common sense, people, wear gloves and a mask!! That said, the concentrations in which they are used are not nearly so bad. For a pound of fiber, you're going to want to dilute around only 1/2 an OUNCE of mordant (with the exception of alum, which you're going to need around 1-2 ounces. But Alum isn't toxic to begin with, so there!!) Once the mordant bath is expended, it is pretty harmless.
3- More is better. More mordant does NOT mean better color, it means destroyed fiber. Using too much mordant weakens and makes brittle your fibers. In some cases, it even makes them slimy. EWWWWWWW. Not so good.
4- Mordants are hard to use/too much trouble. Mordants take only a little bit of time to use, and without them, your natural dyeing is doomed to failure. You can even mordant by dissolving your mordant in water and leaving the fiber and mordant in the sun for a day or so while you let your dyestuff soak. Playing around with mordants opens up your range of available colors and techniques dramatically

There are a few commonly used mordants, and some less commonly used ones. The most common are

(Aluminum Potassium Sulfate): Pretty much, alum is the easiest to find and use, it is less toxic, and it gives what we will call the "base" color. It doesn't change the base color of your fiber. You can find alum, made by McCormick, in the canning or spice section at most grocery stores. You don't need a lot of it, and you can easily solar mordant with it. You want to dissolve your alum in lots of hot water, put it in your chosen vessel (pot, crockpot, solar dyeing oven, whatever, we'll discuss it later), put in your fiber, and that is it.

Copper (Copper Sulfate): Copper will turn your fiber a light aqua-to-greenish color. It is neat even by itself as a color. It can be used with yellows to get soft greens, to make blues and greens more turquoise, and to make "sadder" warm tones. Sometimes referred to in medieval recipes as "flowers of copper".

Iron (Ferrous Sulfate): Ehhhhh, some people class this as a "color modifier" not a true mordant. Makes stuff greyer/darker. Used with indigo or logwood, or even sometimes walnut, to get black. Known in medieval dyeing recipes as "copperas", SO DON'T ASSUME COPPERAS MEANS COPPER. You can pre-mordant with this like you normally would, but a lot of folks just use it after dyeing to grey it up. Used alone, iron will darken your fiber. I don't ever use it by itself as a pre-mordant. I only use it with something else, or afterwards to modify.

And some less common, but still widely used ones are

Chrome (Potassium Dichromate): *TOXIC* This mordant is one of my faves. I ONLY solar mordant with this one, and never let it in the house. Chrome by itself turns the fiber yellow. It will make your colors richer in tone, and gives them a kind of antique-y look. I.E.-the pinks and lilacs from cochineal and logwood on tin become purple and dark blue. Here's some sock yarn dyed with those, done with the oven method.

Tin (Stannous Chloride): Brightens colors. Tin does not change the base color of your fiber. Tin will give you the brightest, clearest reds/yellows/oranges, and can be used with cochineal to give hot pink. It's my most favoritest mordant ever because I like the bright shinies, and it turns the mordant bath opalescent. oooooohhhhh, pretty. Here's the same kind of yarn, dyed with the oven method in the same pan, at the same time, but mordanted with tin

What is pink here was the purple on the other, and what is purple here was the blue on the other.

Tannins: There are various sources of tannins, the most widely used one being Tara Powder. Tanins are usually used with cellulose fiber, not protein. Since cellulose fibers are harder to dye, in addition to the mordant, tannins help the dye bond to the fiber. They can be added in to your regular mordant bath when dyeing plant fibers, or done as a separate step if you're going to have wool in the mordant bath. Tannins can darken your fiber. Alum-Tannin-Alum is the best way to mordant on linens. Yes, it's three separate steps, but linen is a pain to dye otherwise.

I buy most of my mordants from chemical supply places on ebay. Do a search (description included), for the chemical name of the one you want....

llow me to suggest that you have dedicated mordanting vessels, and that you work outside. Most of the natural dyes, I'm not terribly concerned about letting in the kitchen, especially since a great many of them are herbs and spices that are already in my kitchen. I won't mordant in the kitchen, though.
The basic method is :
Dissolve your mordant in a pot of warm water, LOTS of water (you need to let your fiber have plenty of space to move around, or the mordant can't attach everywhere), set it on the burner, and add fiber. Let it mordant for around 1/2 an hour on medium heat, then remove the fiber and RINSE RINSE RINSE. Remember, the mordant makes a chemical change, so rinsing won't hurt it, but too much mordant will. Having excess mordant in your dyebath can also give you less than stellar results, especially if you're trying to use different mordants at the same time. Excess molecules of mordant will float around and reattach in odd places, and in general play heck with your attempts to get even coloration, so RINSE.

You can also do solar mordanting. You want a vessel that is fairly flat, reflective inside dark outside helps too. Mix up your mordant solution, put your fiber in the vessel, and cover with mordant solution. Cover the whole shebang with plastic wrap and leave it alone for a few hours to a few days, depending on how hot and sunny it is. There are some great existing tutorials on solar dyeing on the web that discuss how long to leave fiber. After it's "done", rinse out your fiber. This is the method I use for BIG batches and anything chrome.

I have mordanting crockpots. I plug them in in the shed, leave them alone for half an hour, and then I'm good to start. You have to let the water get good and hot BEFORE you add fiber, and then leave it on the high setting for 1/2 an hour, just like on the stove. I have one crockpot for each mordant, picked up for $3 each at the thrift store. Remember to rinse, and rinse out your crockpots well so you don't end up with deposits of metal salts. This can make the crockpot explode. I had a crockpot that got metal salt deposits, and the next time I used it, it got a crack along the deposit line, and the metallic liquid got into the base and then the whole ceramic part shattered. Kind of neat to explode a crockpot (I'll talk about the other explosion next post), but nonetheless, a bad idea.

This is one of my absolute favorites. Basically, you take your fiber or hank of yarn, and have it dunked into three separate mordants at once. I use the smaller size Ball jars and my dyeing microwave. I put the ball jars with mordant bath in the microwave on the turntable. Then I take slightly damp fiber in a skein (with roving I wind it into a skein around my elbow and use as is, with yarn I usually double the skein first), and stick one end of the skein in one jar, then the next section into the next jar, then the rest of the skein into the third jar. Stick it in the microwave for about 3 minutes, let it rest, another three minutes, rest, and another three. The need thing is, capillary action makes the mordants creep up the yarn, so they'll mix in the places that aren't actually submerged in any jar. The reason to do this is that then you can vat dye and get a subtly handpainted, shaded look. In some cases, the difference is drastic, in some, not so much.

You can see the pinkish violet, the dull purple, and the blueviolet sections on this one, even after it was re-skeined.

oncurrent mordanting will give you somewhat unpredictable results, so even if you're really pressed for time I wouldn't recommend it. In concurrent mordanting, you add the mordant to the dyebath, toss in the fiber, and hope for the best. There are a few problems here
1- That can SERIOUSLY change the color of your dyebath and fiber.
2- This is the big one. You have dye molecules and mordant molecules all fighting for the same sites on the fiber to attach to. If the dye gets there first, the mordant can't attach, and then the dye will just rinse right off. Your results will be splotchy at best.

If you're going to take the time to natural dye, you have to know that it is NOT a fast process. Trying to rush it by skipping mordanting ( or doing a poor job of it) will make your results not nearly so nice, and it is one of the things that turns a lot of people off of natural dyeing. Once you have your mordanting skills down, your results will be much more predictable and professional.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

DIY hackle

So, I needed a hackle, and they're really expensive. I ordered the "spinner's choice" hackle from pacific wool and fiber, and what it is is just a pine board with THICK, rough nails stuck through every 5/8". I sent it back, and figured, hey, a board with nails I can do!! I got a 1x2 piece of red oak, 48" long, and cut it in half, so I had two 24" pieces. I left 2" of space to either side to attach the clamps, without nails. On the remaining 20", I first marked lines running the length of the board, 3/4" from each edge. That left 1/2" in the center of the board. Along one line, I marked every 1/2", and on the other line, I staggered it 1/4" off, so I had offset lines, and marked every 1/2". I drilled pilot holes, put 3 1/2" THIN nails through, and tapped them all the way in. Then I took the other piece of board and Gorilla Glued it to the bottom of the piece with nails, so the nail heads were enclosed, and gorilla glued. The finished piece

I stained it with an alkanet stain

A drill press would have let me set the nails perfectly straight, but this one works perfectly well. I made a diz with a piece of 1/2" PVC, cut to a 1 1/2" length and then split down the center of the tube, so I had two half pipes. I drilled a 1/4" hole in one, which is a bit too big, and then a smaller hole in the other. I sanded everything all up, and it works as well as the pricier hackle that I had for my combs.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A bed of roses

I have been doing a lot of natural dyeing, but haven't seen roses mentioned anywhere as a source of a GOOD dye. A few places mention them as not being lightfast, and giving a range of pale pinks. I had 2 dozen roses starting to wilt, though, in a lovely deep red tone, so I decided to try, I figured, what can it hurt, right? Most flowers give the best colors if you steep them sun tea style, too much heat can destroy the pigment.
BRIEF TUTORIAL (not meant to be a natural dyeing tute, just how to get the rose color.)

I took my 2 dozen petals ,put them in a BIG jar, crushed them up with a fondue fork (hey, it reached to the bottom of the jar, ok!!) and covered them with water, put the lid on the jar and left it outside for 4 days, shaking it every day to prevent mold. The 5th day, I dyed some pre-mordanted fibers with the resulting liquid. I mordanted with tin for 1/2 hour, rinsed VERY well, put the fiber in lingerie bags , and put the fiber, the dyewater AND ROSES from the jar, and enough water to fill the crockpot into my crockpot and set it on low. (the lingerie bag was to keep the rose petal bits from getting meshed into the fiber). The silk cap was done in 3 minutes of dyeing. The dark linen was done in 1/2 hour, two days later (I poured the dyebath back into the jar and let it sit some more. The dye got darker, and is STILL not exhausted.) After the first one (the sock yarn, 15 minutes) turned out so well, I just kept putting stuff in . Here's what I got


Superwash merino

Silk cap

merino/seacell (started out life natural tan)

Merino/bamboo sock yarn

tussah silk (started out life natural tan)

I tried some soysilk, and it literally did not take up ANY DYE AT ALL. I left it in overnight, even, and nothing happened.

I called the florist and asked if they added any preservatives or dyes to their roses, since I figured that they MUST have added dyes, since this is well over a pound of fiber, and flowers usually need up to 400% by weight for deep tones. I had 3 oz (fresh) of roses. They assured me that indeed, they did not add anything to their roses. I doubt that claim, but I'll let it go, I just won't count on being able to duplicate it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Belle Epoque Socks

So, I loved Knitty's Belle Epoque. I even made one. I got this exquisite hand dyed mohair blend. It was all these lovely variegated earth tones. Now, I'm not a small girl. Like, AT ALL. I finished my beautiful garment, with lovingly picked out ribbon. It was exquisite, it was perfect. I blocked it. I tried it on. The lovely variegated browns, and fuzzy yarn, and loose fit of the garment, made me look like a Wookie. With mange.
I was heartbroken, because, of course, the yarn wouldn't even rip out, and it was $124 of handdyed splendor, that was now utterly useless. It sits, in the back of my closet, unworn, forever.
I really liked doing the crocus bud stitch pattern though. I had seen it in a few stitch pattern books, and liked it, and I had loved doing it, and the way it looked with the 1x1 ribbing. So, I figured, why not use another gloriously handdyed yarn, and use the same stitch, and make socks? Socks can't make you look like Bigfoot.

The Crocus Bud pattern can be found here

2 skeins Apple Laine Apple Pie yarn in "Carnival"
size 2 needles

Cast on 60 stitches. Work in 1x1 ribbing for 12 rounds.

Next Rnd: K1, P1, knit to last 3 stitches, P1, K1, P1

Keeping these five stitches in ribbing, begin round 1 of Crocus Bud Pattern.
Work ankle for 9 repeats of pattern, keeping those five center back stitches ribbed.

Begin heel:
Knit 15, turn
Purl 31, turn
I did the first two rows in stockinette, so the pattern stitch wouldn't get distorted.
Work across these 31 stitches in garter stitch (either slipping the edge stitch or keeping it in garter, whichever you like for a heel flap) till there are 8 ridges on the right side. I like a VERY shallow heel flap, and then a turned heel. You can of course, also substitute your own favorite heel.
RS: Knit 30, wrap and turn
WS: Knit 29, W+T
RS: Knit 27, W+T
WS: Knit25, W+T
work back and forth, losing two stitches every time, till there are only 5 stitches left unwrapped in the middle.
Knit 6, picking up the wrap as you come to it, W+T
Knit 7, picking up the wrap as you come to it, W+T
Knit 9, picking up wraps, W+T
Knit 11, picking up wraps, W+T
continue on wrapping and turning, knitting up two wraps each time, till you get back to the last wrapped stitch on the right side of the heel, knit it up, pick up 10 stitches along the side of the heel flap, work across the foot in Crocus Bud Pattern, pick up 10 stitches along other side of heel flap, pick up last wrap, knit to center of heel.
Work one round even, keeping your instep in pattern, then begin decreasing at the end of needle 1 and beginning of needle 4 every other row until you get rid of those extra 10 stitches, again, maintaining your instep Crocus Budpattern.

Work the foot till desired length (I did 18 pattern repeats for my huge feet), then knit one round

Begin toe:
I used a round toe, and did mirrored toes for each foot.
*Knit 8, K2tog* around
Knit a round
*Knit 7, K2tog* around
Knit a round
so forth and so on till 6 stitches remain, run the yarn end through those six stitches and weave in ends

*SSK, Knit 8* around
Knit a round
*SSK, Knit 7* around
Knit a round
so forth and so on till 6 stitches remain, run the yarn end through those six stitches and weave in ends


Friday, March 09, 2007

crisscross strap SWS slippers

So, new pattern today. slippers made from Patons SoyWoolStripes, done toe up. I used a short row toe like that of Knitty's twinkletoes, but they're all in garter, ribbing around the top, and then the straps crisscross. They're very comfy, and they stretch to fit a lot of feet. I have women's size 11 US feet, and they fit me (mind you, I like my slippers kind of tight, instead of loose) My sister with size 10 feet has a pair, and she wanted hers 1/2 an inch longer than the pattern, since she likes loose slippers. Do keep that in mind when knitting. They stretch a lot, so knit them a bit shorter than you think you need, unless you like really loose slippers. The other thing is that, to be honest, off the foot they look like strange elf shoes

Materials: 1 ball and a bit Patons SWS, worsted weight wool/soysilk, 1oo meters/110 yards.
Size 5 DPNS

Gauge: 6 stitches and 7 ridges/inch in garter stitch

Provisionally cast on
24 stitches. Knit 1 row.
Knit 22, turn
Knit 20, turn
Knit 18, turn
Knit 16, turn
Knit 14, turn
Knit 12, turn
Knit 10, turn
Knit 8, turn
Knit 6, turn
Knit 4, turn

Knit 5, turn
Knit 6, turn
Knit 8, turn
Knit 10, turn
Knit 12, turn
Knit 14, turn
Knit 16, turn
Knit 18, turn
Knit 20, turn

Knit 23, unzip provisional cast on, knit across 24 cast on stitches, join into round
Purl next round, picking up last wrap
Work in garter in the round for 10 ridges
Leave center 16 stitches on a piece of waste yarn.
Work garter back and forth for 43 rows (or till desired length. Look at 43 rows. That stretches to fit my monster feet!!)
Knit 20, turn
Knit 8, turn
Knit 9, turn
Knit 10, turn
Knit 10, K2 tog, turn
Knit 10, K2 tog, turn
repeat the K10, K2tog, turn until you have only 12 stitches left on your needle

Right Side (if you aren't on the RS, knit a row on those 12 stitches, no big deal)
Knit those 12 stitches, pick up and knit 22 stitches along the side, knit the 16 stitches on the holder, pick up and knit 22 along the other side. This is the end of the round
Work K1 P1 ribbing around for 6 rounds.

Bind off 12 stitches, knit 3, bind off 16 stitches, knit 3, bind off 16 stitches, knit 3, bind off 16 stitches, knit 3

Starting with the last 3 stitches you knit, work a 3 stitch garter stitch strap long enough to meet the front opposite side, graft the stitches together

Join yarn at the other heel side 3 stitches, and work a matching strap, again grafting it to the 3 live stitches at the opposite toe end.

That's it. These were pretty easy, they worked up in an evening, they didn't take a lot of yarn, and they'll fit just about anybody.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Recycled silk lace shawl

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Drunken Daisy Stitch Lace Shawl-
Gauge isn't a big deal here. I got my recycled silk from EBay, and a bunch of sellers sell stuff that will give you massively different thicknesses/amounts of twist/gauge.It's a shawl, so, if you get big or small, no big deal. I used most of 500 grams of silk for this.
I used size 13 needles
Now, I worked in Daisy stitch; the basic method of which is

1 (RS): Knit
2 (WS): k1, *(in next 3 stitches, p3tog without dropping them from the left needle, yo, p3tog again), k1*. Repeat from * to * across row.
3: Knit
Row 4: k1, p1, k1 *(in next 3 stitches, p3tog without dropping them from the left needle, yo, p3tog again), k1* Repeat from * to * across row, end p1, k1.

The shawl pattern:

CO 5 stitches
ROW 1: (WS)slip 1, YO, work daisy (P3tog without dropping, yo, p3tog again in same stitches), knit 1
ROW 2: (RS) Slip 1, YO, knit to last two stitches, Knit the YO from previous row TBL, knit 1. You'll do row 2 for all your RS rows.
ROW 3: Sl 1, YO, work in daisy stitch (starting from the beginning of the instructions, not centering over the previous row) to last 2 stitches, P the YO from previous row TBL, Knit 1 Repeat row 3 for all WS rows.
Just starting from the beginning of the stitch pattern instructions instead of carefully making sure that all of your daisies line up exactly will get you daisies that are staggered somewhat. I liked that look, though the stitch pattern really shows very little in the sari silk, it sort of looks like snarls. Plus, the off-brand silk came apart executing the P3togs at times. I would probably do it in a different yarn next time. I liked the idea of the deconstructed look of the silk with the staggered daisies, but it didn't work out as well as hoped. If you wanted to do it keeping them nice and straight, just keep all the extra stitches in ribbing on WS, knit on RS, until you have enough for another full multiple.
The other thing you might want to do is crochet around all the edges. The shawl did stretch out terribly the first time I wore it, it ended up being a VERY narrow triangle, so I re-blocked it and crocheted around the edges.

Rio De La Plata raglan tunic

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Raglan Sleeve Tunic- top down, in the round
Basically, you can use any of the top-down raglan calculators out there. I used the Sweater Wizard software. I just slightly modified the basic crew neck raglan, as shown in the instructions below.

Size: 39"
Needles- US 9 32" circular
Gauge: 4 sts and 6.5 rows/in

Cast on 76 sts, and work flat for now
Row 1, RS: K2, pm,k1,pm, knit 14, pm,k1,pm, knit 40, pm,k1,pm, knit 14, pm,k1,pm, knit 2
Row 2, and all WS rows till collar shaping is done: purl

Row 3: Knit 1, M1, Knit 1, YO, slip marker,knit one,slip marker, YO, knit to next marker, YO, slip marker,knit one,slip marker, YO, knit to next marker, YO, slip marker,knit one,slip marker, YO, knit to next marker, YO, slip marker,knit one,slip marker, YO, Knit 1, M1, Knit 1

Row 5: Knit 1, Make 1, Knit to marker, slip marker, Knit 1, slip marker, Knit to marker, slip marker, Knit 1, slip marker, Knit to marker, slip marker, Knit 1, slip marker, Knit to marker, slip marker, Knit 1, slip marker, Knit to last stitch, m1, knit 1

Row 7: Knit 1, M1, knit to marker, YO, slip marker,knit one,slip marker, YO,knit to next marker, YO, slip marker,knit one,slip marker, YO,knit to next marker, YO, slip marker,knit one,slip marker, YO,knit to next marker, YO, slip marker,knit one,slip marker, YO, Knit to last stitch, M1, K1

Continue, alternating rows 5 and 7 as your RS rows, till you have 7 stitches before first marker.
Next RS row: CO 16 stitches, knit to next marker, YO, slip marker,knit one,slip marker, YO, knit to next marker, YO, slip marker,knit one,slip marker, YO, knit to next marker, YO, slip marker,knit one,slip marker, YO, knit to next marker, YO, slip marker,knit one,slip marker, YO, knit to end
Next row: CO 16 sts, purl (slipping markers)to last 5 stitches, work in seed stitch

Now, keeping your first and last 5 stitches in seed stitch, continue working flat, increasing at seam stitches every other RS row (every fourth row) till you have your neck as deep as you'd like. I did mine for 5". Then join to work in the round, keeping those center 10 stitches in seed for five rnds.
When you have 14 sets of increases (just count the YO eyelets going down), put your sleeve stitches on a holder, cast on 12 stitches at each armhole, and keep working your tube, adding shaping if it suits you. I wanted a loose sweater, so I had no shaping. When you get to the dsired length, work your 10 side stitches in seed for 5 rows, then divide for front and back, keeping your 5 edge stitches in seed, till vents are as long as you'd like, then work 5 rows of seed and cast off.
Pick back up the stitches on the holder (I did my sleeves two on two circular style, to make sure that they matched), pick up 12 stitches from the armhole, and begin knitting in the round. I did my decreases every 10 rounds to the elbow, then left them straight, so they would look like they flared. When I got to the wrist, I worked the center 10 stitches in seed for five rows, divided to work back and forth, keeping 5 in seed to each side, and worked another3", then worked all stitches in seed for 5 rows and bound off.

I picked up all along the neck edge, including five stitches from the front seed stitch, and worked in seed stitch for five rows and bound off. I then worked single crochet all along the neck edge, down the plackets, and was done.

red fuzzy baby socks

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Materials: Approximately 1 oz fingering weight wool, small amount mohair, size 0 and size 1 dpns


With size 0 needles, cast on 36 stitches with the mohair yarn.

Work in K1P1 rib for 10 rounds.

Switch to fingering weight wool, and size 1 needles.

Work in stockinette for 15 rounds


Knit across 9 stitches, then turn back and purl 18.

Row 1: Sl 1 K 1 across

Row 2: Sl 1 P across

Work for 10 rows.

Turn heel:

Row 1: K 11, SSK, K1, turn

Row 2: Sl 1 P 5, P2 tog, P 1, turn

Row 3: Sl 1, K to 1 before space, SSK, K1, turn

Row 4: Sl 1, P to 1 before space, P2 tog, P 1

Continue Rows 3&4 until all stitches worked (10 stitches remain)

K across, pick up 9 stitches and running thread along heel flap, knit across instep, pick up running thread and nine stitches along other side.

Begin gusset decreases.

Rnd 1:

Ndl 1: K across to last 3, K2tog, K1

Ndls 2&3: K across

Ndl 4: K1, SSK, K across

Rnd 2: K all needles

Repeat until there are 38 stitches remaining.

Work in stockinette for 10 rounds.

Begin toe decreases.

Rnd 1:

Ndls 1&3: K across to last 3 sts, K 2 tog, K1

Ndls 2&4: K1, SSK, K across

Rnd 2: K all needles

Repeat until you have 7 stitches on needles 1&4, and 6 on needles 2&3. Then decrease every round until there are 3 stitches on 1&4, and 2 on needles 2&3. re-arrange your stitches so that you have an even number on top and bottom. graft closed, make another sock!

Yay more happy pattern goodness!!!