Tag Archives: PPaola

A PPaola to dye for – a tutorial

I know…it’s been a long time since I last wrote here.  I was busy with a very welcome commission and then nursing a cold – such a bad one I didn’t even want to knit!

Anyway, I had promised the test knitters that once we were done with PPaola, I’d post a tutorial on how to dye the finished stole.  The photos were taken some time ago, but like I said, I was busy doing some other (not so fun) things.

Here is the image of the second PPaola I knit.  It was done with Franklin sock yarn, using AB beads instead of nupps. (I tried everything I could think of, but blogger insists on placing the image sideways).  You can find the specs for this one here.

This was my first time “painting” a knit item and I probably made a bunch of mistakes, but it was fun and easy to do.

Since it was the dead of winter (and I don’t have much space outside anyway), I did all the dyeing on my dinning room table.
You’ll need old newspapers and some plastic (I used the real big grocery bags).  There were two colors used to get the result you see above – Evergreen and Blue Spruce.  I used Country Classic Wool Dyes, but you can use anything you got handy.  You’ll also need a few jars to put the dyes in and one or two foam brushes.

We’ll start by soaking the item in water for at least half an hour.  A few tips here:  if you used coned yarn to knit your item, you’ll probably need to take whatever sizing the used on the yarn off – so, first soak it in very hot water (DO NOT AGITATE!!!).  I used a few drops of dish detergent on the water as I wanted the colors to “run” a bit – soap lower the surface tension.
After letting the stole soak for a good time, I made my first mistake: I took the excess water out by using the spinning cycle of my washer…because of that the yarn didn’t quite work as a wicker as I wanted it to.  If I were to do it again, I’d just squeeze the excess water out with my hands.
On the other hand, by spinning it on the washer I didn’t get a big mess of puddles in the carpet 😉

     Now, cover your working surface with newspapers and plastic and lay your item on top of it.  Spread the area you will be working next so you can cover the surface with the dyes.
I did the painting in steps, but if you want to (and have enough available space) you can paint it all at once and then set the dye.

Dip the foam brush into one of the dyes and paint your knitting.
Since I had never done this before, at first I was using strokes, as you would in real painting, but then it occurred to me that it could lead to felting.  I then began dabbing the brush on the fabric.
On the photo above I painted the center of the flower using Blue Spruce and then came over with the Evergreen on the center.
     At this point I took the stole over to the crock pot to set the dye.  As I said, you can do all the painting and then set it, but I wasn’t really sure of what I was doing and so did it the very hard way (TM).
I was hoping that the excess dye would bleed to the rest of the stole, but alas, it was knit with superwash (my experience with it is that it takes all the dye you put on it).

Once the dye was set (very fast as it is superwash yarn), I took the excess water out one more time and painted the next set of petals using the Evergreen color.
Remember don’t rub your brush over the fabric, instead dab it.  The foam brush holds a lot of dye and you can get a good area done with you just squeeze it down against the knitting.

You will notice on the picture that there are a few stains where a few drops of dye fell off the place I wanted them to be.  It didn’t bother me, as I was going to overdye the whole thing after it was painted anyway.  If you want a more precise result, cover the areas you aren’t working on with some plastic.
This PPaola took another trip to the crock pot to set the dye again, the excess water was taken off (again) and it went back to the table for the last painted areas.

       At this stage, I painted the edgings with the darker green at the very border and the lighter one below it.

I painted both edging the same way and took the stole to the crock pot one last time.  This time around, I added some dye to the water so I could get the whole piece to have an overdyed color.

Because of my choice of yarn, size of the item and size of crock pot, I had to take it out a few times and add some more dye to the water.  I then let the dye set for an hour or so, turned the crock pot off and let PPaola sit in the “bath” until the next day.

A few disclaimers before I show you a close up of the finished item.  If you’ve never dyed before, please take a look at some tutorials to get you going with the basics of dyeing, like temperature, acidity and whatnot, as I didn’t talk about it here.
I like very saturated colors, to get the shade you want you’ll have to try different concentration of dyes.  Did I mention you shouldn’t rub your brush against the yarn?

You can buy the pattern for PPaola here and try your hand at dyeing, but of course, you can also try this technique with anything else you knit.

Time flies even if you don’t have fun

I finally managed to release the pattern for PPaola.   The test knitting took way longer than what I’ve imagined and since (sadly) I can’t turn off life when I have other things to do, it wasn’t all fun and games.

So, after a few personal crisis averted and/or solved, the holidays, the pursue of a personal goal (still on going) you can finally buy it here.

I’ve done a second one using Franklin sock yarn and beads instead of nupps.  Working on the second one I had at least one aha moment, which will become another post.  I used undyed yarn on the second stole and took pictures of the dyeing process (to become a tutorial).
I haven’t taken pics of the second version yet, as I’m waiting for a good day to take photos of the finished stole.

Check list

I usually don’t write about what I plan to do because I feel like if I do, I end up not knitting what I had planned. 😛
Oddly, this time around I managed to knit some of the things I said I would…Maybe times are changing, maybe it is the stars’ alignment…I don’t care, I got some stuff done and it’s good. :)

This first picture is the hat I knit for the UPS guy. I used the method described on Knitting from the top, by Barbara Walker. I thought this stitch was called brioche in English – I was wrong. According to some of the stitch dictionaries I have, it’s called a fisherman rib. Whatever you call it, it’s a nice, lofty, warm stitch.
It took me a few tries until I got the number of stitches right – I still have the one I did before, which is suited for a giant…
Once I got the numbers right, it was a breeze. I love how it feels and am now in the process of talking Joel into a pair of socks done with this stitch. The second photo shows how the increases make a swirl.

To the right you see the black hoodie in progress. I need to finish the sleeves, add some i-cord on the right side of the front and sew in the zipper.
Joel’s nephew is into Ninjas right now and I thought that a “ninja kit” that could also be used as normal clothes would be a good idea. I’m also knitting a black scarf to go with it, for when I get bored with the sea of ST st.
I might also knit a pair of flip top mittens to go with the kit, but I’m still thinking about it.
The “pattern” for this one is the incredible, custom-fit raglan sweater. There is very little math involved and once you get the numbers right, you can do almost anything.

The idea of using short row heels for a hoodie has been brewing around in my head for a while, so I took the chance and tried it out. It does work, but I have to say I got lucky. Next time I use this technique for a hood, I’d knit a few more rows back and forth before starting the short rows. This one fits, but it could be longer.

Please forgive me for all the hair you can see on the hoodie – between Joel, I and the two cats, I’m not sure who sheds most. I try to take the hair out, only to find out, a few minutes later, that there is more hair on the item than what I took out. Eventually I give up on trying, as I’d go crazy and the knitting wouldn’t be done.
A good wash and a lint brush will take care of those pesky hairs before I wrap the finished item up.

To end this post, here is the photo of the flip top mittens I did.  I use an adaptation of the Urban Necessity gloves.  My version doesn’t have fingers nor the cables on the back and I do a crazy bind off on the top of the cap.

So…checking my gift list, we have already a bunch of little, silly gifts for the BIL (I might end up knitting him mittens as I have a need to add something useful to the other gifts – besides, it’s a fast knit).
I’ve already gave Joel one gift (is there anything better than a “just because” gift?) and there a few more on the way.
The silly part of the nephew’s gifts are the items on the ninja kit – which are being worked on.  I still want to make him a notebook that will go with the serious gift we’ll give him.
There are three or four little boxes that will eventually find their way over seas and even though we weren’t supposed to, we also bought my in-laws a very necessary gift.
I guess we are doing our part to keep UPS, USPS and the Fedex people busy 😉

One of the test knitters just finished knitting PPaola, at least two others are very close to finishing too.  With the holidays coming, I don’t expect much work to be done, but that’s fine.  I still have one correction to make to the document and maybe some fine tuning.  I wanted, initially, to have the pattern available before Christmas – of course, it won’t happen.  I’m not worried, though.  It will get done when it gets done and hopefully with as little mistakes as humanly possible.