2011, Gifts

Secret Santa

We had a Secret Santa gift exchange in our Ravelry group. This was my first crafty Secret Santa, so I was nervous how I would do. I wanted to make sure I pick things that my giftee would like and appreciate. I did a lot of post-stalking and went over her questionnaire with a fine tooth comb and made a list of things she likes and does not like. Armed with this list, I headed over to Staples which has become my favorite destination for crafty and stationery shopping. I spent a good one hour in shopping and sorting and I finally had my gift package ready.

 

Blocking pins, a notepad, some paper clips and pins in a magnetic box, post its and a crayon pen, stamping block and glitter for my swap partner’s daughter. I also packed some chocolates for the little girl. And since no gift package for a knitter is complete without yarn, I included a skein of luscious, duke silk yarn.

I am really happy my partner appreciated the things I picked for her.

And for my gift! This is what I received from Vinita. She put so much thought into this gift that she has sent me everything I needed. She must have done some serious post-stalking and research on me.

She sent yummy Knit Picks yarn in a lovely shade of green, a DIY photo frame calendar, lots of cute buttons, a box to hold my button stash (seriously, how thoughtful can someone be!) , a notepad, a handmade card and toys for my three year old. I opened the box and took out one thing after the other and exclaiming every time ‘oh wow, oh wow’. I was breathless by the end of it and if Vinita was around, I would given her one bear hug.

My first crafty Secret Santa was a huge success. I played Santa to someone and made her happy and was blown away with the thoughtful gifts from my Santa. Cannot wait for the next Christmas. Too bad the wait is too long!

2011, Dyeing

Where I Dyed

We crafters can never be faithful to one craft. It is not unusual for knitters to branch out to spinning, dyeing or even rearing sheep. Knitters over here, as in India, have our own set of challenges to pick up a new hobby: lack of raw material, lack of tools and experienced crafters around. All these problems were solved when it comes to dyeing. One of our Bangalore crafters discovered the availability of undyed mohair in a store on Commercial Street. All of us flocked to get our hands on that mohair and we all ended up with a hank or two. Next obvious step was to dye it. Another courageous crafter, Di, got her hands dirty (or should I say colored) and learnt the process of dyeing. She even experimented with natural dyes, which was a huge success. Di was kind enough to host a DAL (Dye-A-Long) for us where she would hold our hands and teach us dyeing. A meet-up was planned and as it usually happens, I had to drop out because of personal commitments. Di sent me detailed instructions so that I could do dye the yarn on my own.

Step 1: Mordant

I did not have access to natural dyes, so I dyed both my hanks using food colors. I mordanted the first hank with vinegar. Used about 200 ml. of vinegar in half a bucket of water. Soaked the yarn and left it overnight with occasional stirring in between. Hung the yarn out to dry. With the second hank, I initially soaked it in alum solution hoping to use natural dyes with it, but when that did not work out, I re-mordanted this hank with vinegar. I was extra cautious and tied the hank at several places so that the yarn does not tangle up later.

Step 2: Color it Pretty

Following Di’s detailed instructions was a cakewalk. I laid out newspaper and a polythene sheet on my kitchen counter. Mixed the powder dye with water. Poured it over the hank and rubbed it in (with gloved hands) until I was satisfied with the color. I wanted a deep, rich color, so I used up almost 2 boxes of powdered dye. The green one was a no brainer. It absorbed the color fast and became more even as I gave the hank a gentle rub.

The orange one gave me a bit of trouble. Could be because it was previously mordanted with alum, but the color did not spread fast enough through the hank. I struggled to get the color evened out, but I like the tonal effect of the end result.

Step 3: Zap it

I bundled up the hank in cling film and microwaved it on high for 3 minutes. Let the hank cool down to room temperature and zap it for 3 minutes again. Repeated this a total of three times. I followed this faithfully for the green hank, but when it came to the second one, I found the bundling yarn in cling film part really mess. I dumped the hank in a big enough microwave safe bowl, put the lid on and zapped it. I almost expected the microwave to blow up, but it didn’t! I did not end up with a (dis)colored bowl either, so all is well.

Step 4: Wash

After both the hanks cooled down to room temperature, I soaked them in water and let them rest for 5 minutes. Washed them clean in running to let all the extra dye wash away. After some 3-4 washes, the color stopped bleeding and the hanks were put out for drying.

Step 5: Show off

And here are the beauties. Love, love, love how they turned out. Both the hanks have a tonal effect which I love. I can’t wait to cast on with this yarn. A KAL is planned in the next month and am waiting with bated breath.

A big thank you to Di who wrote out such detailed instructions that any noob could follow it.

Mordanted with vinegar, dyed with apple green powdered dye
Mordanted with alum, re-mordanted with vinegar, dyed with a mix of lemon yellow and kesar orange powdered dye

Now that I have picked up dyeing with food colors, I want to try my hand at natural dyeing. There is also the drop spindle waiting for me to pick up spinning. Hmmm… too many crafts and too little time.

2011, Baby, New Design, New Pattern

As Sweet As Honey Baby Blanket: Take 2

I have added more sizes for As Sweet As Honey Baby Blanket. The blanket comes in 3 sizes now.

Stroller Blanket: 22″ x 30″

This is the smallest and is perfect for draping over the baby in a car seat or a stroller. Easy to manage and carry around and of course, quickest to knit up.

Receiving Blanket: 28″ x 36″

Big enough to swaddle a baby and keep it warm, but small enough to make it easy to carry around.

Crib Blanket: 36″ x 52″

The biggest size available, can be used for years to come, a perfect present (as well as these items for gift).

Happy Knitting!

Photo copyright: Knitcircus

As Sweet As Honey Baby Blanket

2011, Singapore, Stash, Yarn shopping

Yarn shopping in Singapore

When we decided to go to Singapore for a vacation, one of the first things I did was to look up yarn stores! As much as I wanted to have fun visiting various attractions, I wanted to experience a real LYS and also add to my ever growing stash. I got all the details from the very helpful Singapore Knitters group on Ravelry and off I went yarn shopping.

  • Spotlight

My first stop was Spotlight in Plaza Singapura. It is very conveniently located: get off at Dhoby Ghaut station and there is an exit which takes you to the mall Plaza Singapura. They have a good collection of yarn. I could spot lots of cotton and blends, bamboo and blends and for warmth, they seem to prefer acrylics over wools.

One of the yarn aisles in Spotlight. Can you spot the swatches hanging?

They had neatly arranged aisles of yarn, swatches knit up with selected yarns, knitting and crochet supplies: buttons, needles, hooks, measuring tapes and lots of books.

 My loot from Spotlight:

Patons Big Baby 4 ply acrylic-nylon blend. I might be considered crazy for buying acrylic yarn when we get it in such abundance here, but this is the softest acrylic I have seen and it is in variegated colors.

Bella Baby Layette, DK weight bamboo-wool blend. It comes in such variety of colors and each colorway is so pretty. I had a hard time deciding what color to buy and I finally picked up these two lovelies. Still not sure what these will become, but I am happy including them in my stash.

  • Golden Dragon Store

My next stop was Golden Dragon Store in China Town. Their website has clear directions but unfortunately, the exit that we were supposed to take was closed down, so it was a long hunt for us until we tracked down the store. Most of the people here didn’t help and the fact that there are two buildings with the same name added to the confusion. The hunt was worth it because this store has such dizzying variety of yarn and supplies that one can easily get lost here.

A yarn aisle in Golden Dragon Store
Beads in all colors and sizes
Buttons, buttons, buttons…
They even had fiber for spinning!
Knitting class in progress. The staff helps out people with pattern instructions and such

And the meager amount I fished from this ocean:

Acrylic-nylon blend, DK weight. I know, I know, acrylic again!

 Sirdar Snuggly Kisses, soft acrylic blend, comes in self striping colors.

Finally some merino!

Sublime 100% merino DK weight. Every color is so vibrant and attractive. I picked this up and hope to make a fair isle vest for Ninad.

Buttons. Noticed the paw buttons?
  • Daiso

My last stop was Daiso, the cheap, Japanese store. This store is worth a visit, not for the yarn, but for the innovative items it sells. I picked up some acrylic mohair yarn and some buttons.

Soft acrylic mohair, comes in subtle hues
Some cute buttons
And some eyes

Visiting a brick and mortar LYS was such a high point of my Singapore trip. I only wish I had picked up some more yarn and supplies. Shhh… don’t tell my husband I said so!

2011, giveaway

Giveaway Winner

Thanks to everybody who entered the pattern giveaway. I used random.org to pick a winner and it picked this:

Comment #2, which makes Kathie Bowman our winner. Kathie, you have not left your Ravelry username in the comment, so I am going to email you to get your Rav ID. Check your email and reply.

This was a fun giveaway. Thanks everybody for participating. I am planning on another giveaway soon. Watch this blog!

2011, giveaway

Tee Cruise Pattern Giveaway

I am giving away a copy of my newly released pattern Tee Cruise. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me tell you Tee Cruise is a seamless, raglan sleeved tee, knit top-down with contrast color button-bands and fold-up bands. It comes in a wide range of sizes: 12mo – 12yo. If you would like to win a copy of this pattern, read the rules below.

Ravelry Pattern: Tee Cruise by Anjali M.
Yarn Suggested: Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted
Needle Size: US #7 4.5 mm

Rules:
1. Mandatory entry: Leave a comment on this post to enter the giveaway.
2. One additional entry each if you blog about this giveaway, tweet about it or talk about it on facebook. Leave a separate comment for each and provide a link.
3. The pattern will be gifted through Ravelry Pattern Store. So, this is open for Ravelry users only, though I doubt there is any knitter out there who is not on Ravelry yet.
4. Contest ends on August 15th. Winner will be randomly picked and announced on the blog after August 15th.

Good luck everyone.

Edit: Comments are now closed. Winner is announced. Thanks for looking!

2011, Child, pattern

New Pattern: Tee Cruise

Remember the contest I hosted on my blog sometime back in which I asked suggestions for a name for a new pattern? The pattern is now christened Tee Cruise. That means Lori (Indulgence on Ravelry) from Things from Strings is our winner. Lori, thanks so much for your suggestion. It conveys everything I wanted to through this pattern. I have sent you the pattern as a Ravelry gift. Hope you enjoy knitting it!

I had a lot of wonderful suggestions and many names were shortlisted and Tee Cruise won by a small margin. Since I had so many great suggestions, I do not want to disappoint the others, so I will have a pattern giveaway soon.

The pattern’s idea originated way back in March when summer was starting (in this part of the world). The pattern has come a long way from ideation to pattern proposal to getting yarn and making the prototype. In the end, I have a very satisfied feeling that the pattern turned out exactly like what I had in mind.

Special thanks to Nupur and Kashmira for helping me in getting the yarn. Thanks to this pattern, I met a wonderful crafter and now can call her my friend.

Ravelry Pattern: Tee Cruise by Anjali M.
Yarn Suggested: Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted
Needle Size: US #7 4.5 mm

Tee Cruise is a summer gift to encourage a child to go out and play, because don’t you know, it’s summer? This summer tee is perfect to play under the blue sky and roll over the green grass. The folded up sleeve bands and the contrast colored placket add the right amount of jazz to appear cool by the pool under the scorching sun.

The tee is knit from top down from the neckline and knit flat until the placket opening. The body is then joined in round. The collar and button bands are knitted later by picking up stitches. The sleeve bands are knitted by picking stitches from under the sleeve edge and the end is sewed on in place. It comes in a good range of sizes: 12 months, 2T, 4T, 6, 8, 10, 12. For more details, visit the Ravelry pattern page: Tee Cruise.

Keep watching this space because I will be back with a giveaway.