May 28, 2013

Make Baby Hats!

As the weather turns warmer, and children are heading home for the summer from school, and vacations get added to the calendar, and you keep waiting for your lazy summer to begin ... don't let your knitting fall off the needles to languish at the bottom of your bag!

I always think my summers are going to be calm, perfect for tons of knitting. In fact, my summer is already full of family, zoo trips, a toddler who has decided bedtime is for running around his room in circles, tons of fresh fruit, wrestling matches and couch forts. And while I couldn't be happier, I'm finding less and less time for knitting.

Instead of letting my knitting languish untouched and unloved, I've decided to take drastic measures. I've taken all the yarn out of my knitting bag, put it into the yarn closet, and replaced it with as much sport weight baby-friendly yarn as I could stuff in! My plan for the summer is to make as many baby hats as I can, keeping one on the needles at all times.

I'm modifying my Sandoval hat pattern for this purpose, as I know it by heart and so can knit away until a hat practically falls off the needles on its own. I can knit during movies and while we're riding in the car to birthday parties. I can work a few stitches while we wait for dinner and while I camp out in front of Owen's door at bedtime since he's just figured out how to open it (escape artist jobs in his future, I'm sure of it) and thinks its hilarious to sneak downstairs when he's supposed to be sleeping.

The hats will all be sent to babies in Africa (more on this as a few more things get finalized), and I'm hoping I'll make a big dent in my stash in the process. And my knitting won't languish unloved this summer, not if I've got anything to say about it!

May 6, 2013

I Dyed Wool In My Crock Pot -- And You Can, Too!

Over the weekend I took the plunge and dyed some wool yarn in my crock pot -- with Kool Aid! For years knitterly friends have been trying to convince me to do this, but I've always held back. What if I ruined the yarn? What if it turned out horrible? No, I'm far too type-A for that. Until this weekend. When I needed some yarn in a color I didn't have. And I finally gave in.

For the record, dyeing yarn in a crock pot is by far the easiest thing I've done in several years. You basically put the yarn in, put the Kool Aid in, and let it sit for a few hours. Pat it as dry as you can, then hang it up overnight. For those looking for pictures and some more information, here you go!  


Step 1: Place your skeined up natural or white wool into a crock pot full of water. Let the yarn soak for a few minutes, then turn the crock pot on high. Let the yarn soak this way for 15 minutes.  


Step 2: Add the Kool Aid and then let it sit. To add the color, you mix one packet of unsweetened Kool Aid for every ounce of yarn you have. I mixed it in a cup with a small bit of water and then poured it into the crock pot. Very, very carefully, give the water a spin. You don't want to agitate the wool too much as it's in hot water so it could felt, but you want the color to spread through all the water and touch all parts of the yarn. Then, you wait. You wait until the yarn has sucked all the color out of the water, and the water looks clear. About an hour in, I spun the yarn a bit to re-distribute it, make sure the yarn that had been on top was now on bottom to get a more even color. Then I waited some more.  


Step 3: Dry and skein your yarn! Once the yarn has soaked up all the water from the crock pot, I pulled it out and let it cool off in a colander. I rinsed it a bit, and then blotted it out in a towel. Then I simply hung it to dry overnight and skeined it back up! While the color isn't super even, I'm in love with my first attempt at dyeing yarn and can't wait to do it again! Oh, and I'll be sure to share the hat I make with this yarn!

May 1, 2013

May KAL: Hats For Brain Injury Patients


May's knit-along (KAL) brings us to a unique group, The Amazing Flying Squirrel Karma Team. This Ravelry group makes it their mission to spread loving-kindness to others using knitting and crochet, and has joined together to send hats to a lovely lady in Arizona who has gone through a number of brain surgeries due to her having Chiari Malformation (link provides more info than I ever could!).

I was contacted by a fellow Raveler about this group, asking if I could help send over hats. Keesha (the woman in the photos) collects hats for the other people at the clinic where she receives her treatment, and has a goal to have a free hat for everyone who enters. I was touched -- that someone would think to ask me if I would send a few hats, and again at my ability to spread the word here, hoping some of you may send hats as well!

Hats can be made in any size, either knitted or crocheted, and can be made using any fiber type (please mark them so Keesha can be aware for allergies). While I may think a wool hat would go unloved in the Arizona heat, people's bodies adapt to their environments, and when you have no hair after surgery you need all the warmth you can get ... this to say send wool hats if that's what you love working with!

To send hats, contact Keesha directly via her blog Chiari Malformation, or send her an e-mail at "daswunderkind@cox.net". I hope to send a dozen or so hats by the end of the month, and will share my knitting progress here on the blog (of course!). This month I'll be knitting from my Simple Slouch Hat and Rain Down Hat patterns for the most part, so grab a free copy of either if you'd like to use them as well!