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Finally Some Knitting - My Hitofude Cardigan


Finally Some Knitting - My Hitofude Cardigan

It seems to me that interesting sweater construction is very much a trend in modern knitwear design. I'm grateful for this, as knitting the same sweater recipe with different numbers over and over can get a little dull. The Hitofude Cardigan by Hiroko Fukatsu is anything but boring, and has a new-to-me construction that provided a fun challenge.


The whole point of Hitofude is that you can knit the entire thing without breaking your yarn. It begins as a rectangle, morphs into a shrug, gains a border, and then grows a gorgeous flared skirt, all while maintaining a simple but gorgeous lace pattern. It's a pattern that requires a little trust on the knitter's part, but pays off with a lovely reward that is part sweater, part shrug and part shawl. 

I used Swans Island Merino Fingering in the Beetroot colourway. I couldn't have asked for a softer, lighter yarn or a better match for the garment. The yardage required by the pattern is quite low, while the yardage provided by the yarn is surprisingly high. I had three skeins, and despite making a sweater that comfortably fits about a 2X, I have the better part of one left over.


I'll be the first to admit the style of the sweater doesn't make me look thinner. If that's a concern for you, take it into account. It's very drapey and looks its best on a more willowy figure. It is, however, a gorgeous item of clothing, and I'm going to wear what I want, regardless of whether it makes me look like I've lost five pounds.


My only complaint about the whole process is that the yarn, which is naturally dyed organic Merino wool, bleeds like a stuck (blue) pig. It's indigo based, and unfortunately indigo is a dye that comes off on your hands and needles as you work. This is just a part of the nature of indigo, and no fault of the dyer, but it's distracting and irritating all the same. I did some research on indigo to see if I could reduce the mess, and the short answer is no. If you want to hear more of what I learned, check out episode four of my podcast, towards the end of the recording.

I wish you could buy a single pair of shoes in two different sizes. Come on left foot, why you gotta be so short?

I wish you could buy a single pair of shoes in two different sizes. Come on left foot, why you gotta be so short?

Isn't it a pretty thing? I love this whole outfit, actually. The shoes, which I bought a week ago for a whole $19 at Target, are the first purely pretty sandals I've owned in years and years. I feel like there need to be more pretty shoes in my future. And possibly a pedicure of some sort - my feet look grumpy.


While I was taking outfit pictures I also grabbed a shot of our lilac tree. Isn't it a beauty? It doesn't have the same distinctive scent as a purple lilac, but it's lovely all the same. Thank goodness for spring.



Behind the Scenes

I've been hard at work in lots of stealthy ways these days. I've been updating the pattern listings on the website - hopefully you will find them more informative now. I may tweak them further still to add more info. I have also rebranded all my patterns so they have updated contact info and are all stored in the same program. They look so matchy now! If you've purchased a pattern of mine you should have received an email informing you of the updated files.



And because I can't only do clerical work, I've also been spinning and dyeing like a madwoman so that there will be all sorts of wonderful offerings available at Fibres West. I think you'll like what I've been up to!


That's some gorgeous Moon Snail in the pots, soaking up a last layer of dye. Love it! That giant yarn there is a fantastic handspun that I have 7 whole skeins of. If I can bear to share it with you, that is. Hmm.

I promise I'll be able to focus on projects and fun blogging again soon! 



Almost There!

I spent my weekend doing this:

Sock yarn rinsing in the sink after being dyed

and this:

Photo taken in the light box I made yesterday for taking pictures of items for sale.

Which means there will be yarn in the Everything Old store very soon!

We also took Rei to the petting zoo, which was a great hit, but I foolishly forgot to bring some sort of camera. I'll take pictures next time.

ps. I hope you like the new blog background - I think it makes it much easier to see pictures, and it feels more bright and spring-ish, which is a nice change.



Time to Dye

I went dye crazy last weekend. Obviously you are dying (see what I did there) to see what I came up with.

I'm calling this one 'My Little Pony.' It's two ounces of white corriedale top, dyed with Wilton's icing dyes in Rose, Delphinium Blue, Coral, and Burgundy. I got a little bit carried away with the pink - I had meant to do a grey blue with shots of pink. Restraint FAIL.

This is Cathedral Grove; a 75 merino 25 nylon sock yarn dyed with Wilton's Leaf Green, Kelly Green, Buttercup Yellow, and a little black. I was trying for a shady forest floor, and I'm pleased with the results.

I named this one New Vegas - before I re-skeined it, I was amazed at how much it reminded me of the Vegas strip in the latest instalment of the Fallout franchise. It's the same yarn base as the green sock yarn, dyed with Wilton's and Club House food colouring. I used so many colours (it's tricky to get just the right shade of brown) that I've forgotten exactly what they were. I tie-dyed it and then hand painted it.

This is my very first handspun - it was a salmon-cinnamon colour that just wasn't singing for me, so I overdyed it with Wilton's Buttercup Yellow, Copper, and Rose. I love it now, but it's pretty itchy and only about sixty yards, so I'll have to find a special little project for it.

An excellent way to spend a Saturday - I was supposed to clean the house. Ha. Take that, clean house.



A Good Day to Dye

I have a new obsession that I am


to share with the world: using food grade dyes to create fabulous hand dyed yarns. Kettle dyed and hand painted yarns are really fun to work with, depending on your project of course, but they are often prohibitively expensive for those of us whose yarn choices are


by relative (read: comfortable Canadian) poverty. If you dye your own yarn you get twice the creative fun out of your purchases, and a finished product that nobody else has. One day I'll learn to spin, giving myself three times the fun, but not just yet.

Skeins hanging to dry

Food dyes (I have used Kool Aid, Wiltons icing dyes, and Club House food colouring) are great because you don't need any gear aside from your usual cooking supplies. Other dyes are really rather toxic and you wouldn't want someone in your household to...


after preparing food in a contaminated pot.

"Earthling" - Lemon Lime and Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade Kool Aid (slow cooker)

I won't bother writing out a tutorial for you - there are so many great ones available on the interwebs. I took most of my information from this

Knitty article

but picked up tidbits in other places too. I used Cascade

Ecological Wool

in ecru and Lion Brand

Fishermen's Wool

in oatmeal as base yarns for these first attempts, and I'm hoping to get some Knit Picks


Sock yarn some day to try out. Food dyes only stick to animal fibres - you need other dyes for plant fibres. Fibre blends can produce some pretty neat results as the dye will stick to some components of your base yarn but not others.

"Calcifer" - Orange and Strawberry Kiwi Kool Aid, overdyed with yellow and red Club House food colouring (stove top, microwave)

I did learn a few things in my dye experience that deserve passing along:

  • I tried 3 heat methods - stovetop in a HUGE pot, smallish slow cooker, and microwave. The big pot was great for even all over colour as the yarn had lots of room to swim. The crockpot did a fabulous multicolour kettle dye. Microwaving is fastest, easiest, has the least cleanup time, and works for handpaints as well as kettle dyes.
  • If you don't have gloves, don't worry. Your hands go really awesome colours and it washes off after two or so days.
  • Yarn that looks fabulous in the skein may knit up catastrophically. Live and learn I guess.
  • Overdye your failed attempts. You have nothing to lose and you may get something really great. Overdying gives your yarn depth of colour and can either tone down or brighten up a skein beautifully.
  • If you tie your skein too tightly, dye can't get in under the ties. Sometimes this looks good. Other times it looks very bad.
  • Naming your colourways is great. I would go so far as to say it is a necessity. Do it. Photograph them too.
  • If you drop your purse with canisters of Wiltons loose in the bottom, they will probably crack and leak.
  • If you use Kool Aid, the smell lingers. If you knit that yarn into wool covers for cloth diapers, your baby's dirty bum will smell a bit like fruit. With this experience under your belt you will have a serious aversion to the consumption of Kool Aid and to simulated fruit flavours in general. This is probably a good thing.

"Lakshmi" - Wiltons Burgundy, Rose, and Delphinium Blue. Stunning in the skein, HIDEOUS knitted up. (microwave)

"Lakshmi 2.0" - overdyed with red food colouring. Knits up beautifully. (microwave)

"Lucky Charm" - Cherry, Orange, Lemon Lime, Ice Blue, and Grape Kool Aid; yellow food colouring (microwave)

"TwiHard" - Wiltons Burgundy and Delphinium Blue (microwave)