Friday, September 21, 2007

What I do in the wee hours...

I knit. Late at night, some time in August, the urge strikes. And I knit socks. I really, really love knitting socks. I love the tiny gauge, the lovely wool. My thoughtful Mom brought me this book a few months ago...and it may well replace all the other sock patterns I use! It's a really thorough, all knitting level book on socks. Charlene Schurch has written charts for all gauges and sizes, and has a 'class sock' lesson in the beginning in which you can learn the ropes of shaping by knitting a small sock.

My most recent pair here are the first ones I've ever knit with a textured stitch...I'm usually a 'let the yarn do all the work' type girl, using self striping and other fun yarns. After seeing how stripey yarns knit up with chevrons in the book, I just had to try it. Now I'm hooked on the idea of knitted lace. Darn. One more thing to try to make time for!

Just a note on the wool I'm's 100% wool treated with Aloe. It is the single nicest wool I've ever knit with (aside from 'way back as a kid when I didn't get all the lanolin out of the fleece and was knitting homespun). This wool was so gentle on my hands! I'll be buying more of it, once I can remember what it's called.(*later edit* It's Austermann Step Sock Wool - check it out)

The other thing I've been playing with a little here and there is painting silk. I ordered some Presist from Dharma Trading Company, and this is my first run around the block with it.

I put some of the Presist ( a water based resist formula) in a squeeze bottle and doodled around, then painted with diluted Dye-na-Flow. You can see here that the Presist is a warm coffee colour (it really reminded me of molasses!). I've got some ideas for how I can be a bit more controlled with it on the next round, but this worked really well for a first try.

The two photos here are after heat setting (with the iron...paper towels on BOTH sides of the silk for that) and after the first wash, before drying.

The Presist came out completely, without any difficulty. - when I wanted it to, too. Not before.

Below is a photo of the finished, dry and heat set silk. The colours were not as intense as I'd hoped, but now I know I need to try one without diluting the Dye-na-Flow and see what happens.

Becuase there was some leftover diluted yellow, I immersion dyed another piece of silk which I hope to now Presist and over dye (well, paint, actually. Presist won't stand up to immersion dying. It's water based and would all come out).

The best part about the silk painting is that I can do it in 10 minute spurts, here and there. It didn't take a whole 10 minutes to apply the Presist in the first place, may have taken 10 minutes the next day to paint the silk, a bit more than 10 minutes much later the same day to heat set the dye, a quick spin in the washing machine (while I was quilting), then a final press. This is my kind of craft.

So next on the agenda?

Presist some more silk so that I can let it sit and dry while I"m quilting.

Can't beat that.

Hope you're happy stitching,



Vicki W said...

The bad thing about reading blogs is that you get inspired to do things. Fortunately, I think I will not ever want to knit socks - yours are cute but it's not my bag. But the scarf painting - well that's another story! I think the scarf turned out great!

mikawendy said...

The silk painting looks really beautiful. A friend of mine does silk painting. She likes to throw salt on it before the color has set--it makes it have a free-form tone on tone spotted look to it, similar but not exactly like leopard spots. She also showed me how to paint an ice skating dress (cotton/lycra knit and polyester chiffon) with Piebo Setacolor paints.

Sewing Up A Storm said...

Lisa I love your socks! I dabble in knitting and so far have only done fairly simple things.

The silk painted scarf is beautiful. I tried silk painting once with a fabric dyeing group I was in. Mostly I dye cotton but have not done any for a couple of years..............I have to use some before I justify dyeing more.

Quilt Nut said...


very cute socks

Samantha said...

Love those socks! The yarn came out so well in that pattern!