KnitPicks, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Socks, Wool, Yarn

Taking Advantage of the Summer Like Weather

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday and today have been way to hot, yesterday got up to 90 and today got up to 91.

Yesterday I really didn’t feel like washing socks, but today I made it happen and then put them out on the line to dry.

It still amazes me, even after all the pairs of socks I have knit up using KnitPicks Palette Yarn, as to how much excess dye remains in the socks once they have been dyed. It might also have to do with the processing, and the chemicals used to spin the wool.

I know when I work with it, it is so rough and stiff, and once I wash the socks I have knit up, that stiffness from the waxes and whatever else they treat it with is gone, so it softens up and is no longer so stiff. With those waxes and chemicals that come out, as does the excess dye that is left behind in the wool after the dying process.

I really learned about excess dyes, waxes and other chemicals put into natural fibers in the processing, dying and spinning process while I was working at the studio. When I had only been working with Acrylic and Fishermen’s Wool, I never really realized or thought about the fact that yarns were processed with waxes and such to make them easier to work with. It wasn’t until I was working with Cashmere and my hands would be sticky in under 15 minutes from the amount of waxes and such in some of the yarns that it dawned on me. Now that I am working with more natural fibers for my own projects its not so much that my hands are getting sticky, its more a before and after being washed effect and seeing what comes out of the yarns when I am washing them. The stroll yarn doesn’t seem to have as much excess dye left behind, as compared to the Palette.

I had washed the cobblestone heather pair of stroll socks I had knit up as well as the pair of ash palette socks. While the cobblestone heather socks are darker, the ash socks had so much excess dye come out, and it was this weird blueish grey color. It was weird.

I do like using the warm weather to my advantage when I have socks that need to be washed. I never tumble dry wool, I always block it, and let it air dry. I like washing on the warm days, because the items that I washed dry a lot quicker, and I don’t have to bring them in at the end of the day still damp and try to figure out where to put them up so they can continue drying. I like bringing them in at the end of the day, or a few hours later if I wash them in the morning and it’s particularly warm / hot that day, they dry super quick.

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Knitting, Socks, Wool

Washing Socks in Winter

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Beings that today is about as nice as it is going to be for a while, I decided to wash the two pairs of socks I had in my to be washed bucket. These are socks I had finished Knitting since summer ended, and the weather cooled off, and the rain set in.

While it is only 45 degrees Fahrenheit / 7 degrees Celsius, as well as windy (the East Wind picked up yesterday), it has been sunny and dry the past few days. This time of year, the East Wind is strong and cold.

Why did I decide to wash socks in the winter anyway?

Well, beings that it has been dry and sunny for the past few days, the air isn’t quite as saturated with moisture, as well as having the strong East Wind, and it being above freezing; It will at least help air the wet sheep smell as well as the wool wash smell out of the socks before I bring them inside later this evening to really work on drying.

I prefer my socks to get fresh air when they are just washed to keep the wet sheep smell to a minimum in the house and to help the socks. I love the way laundry and stuff smells when it is allowed to hang out on the line even for a bit.

I do realize this time of year, my socks won’t really get dry outside, on days like today, they won’t get any wetter, and the wind may help start getting them dry. I also love the way they smell when they come in from outside, as well as reducing the wet animal smell inside the house.

If it was pouring rain, or the temperatures were near or below freezing, I wouldn’t have bothered washing socks. I just wanted to get another couple pairs washed while I had a small window to do so. By the time spring rolls around with a nice sunny dry day that is warm enough to completely dry socks outside, I am likely to have more pairs than I have sock blockers for.

Inspiration, KnitPicks, Knitting, Wool, Yarn, Yarn Reviews

Quick Start on a new pair of Socks

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This evening I ripped off the sock I had been working on for the past week, because I didn’t like how the sock was knitting up on the needles. That yarn didn’t have much give and was creating holes where there shouldn’t be. I have had this happen with a different yarn of a similar weight and texture. I can honestly say I not a fan of thinner sock yarn.

With that being said, at around 8:30 this evening I started a new pair of socks with a different yarn. I have had good luck knitting socks with KnitPicks yarn up until this point. Granted I have only knit up socks using the Palette yarn so far. The new pair I cast on, I am knitting up from the Hawthorne Fingering yarn (that yarn I ripped off was of a different brand).

I am amazed at how quickly this yarn is knitting up. In the matter of a couple hours, I am already a quarter of the way done with the cuff of this sock. The colorway I am using of the Hawthorne Fingering is Laurelhurst.

When I was looking at the Hawthorne Fingering Yarn online, I quickly realized that all the color names are of the different neighborhoods here in Portland (the city I grew up in). Not only is that cool, but Hawthorne is the name of one of the major Boulevards here in Southeast Portland, as well as the business district / neighborhood that Hawthorne Blvd runs through, as well as the bridge that carries Hawthorne Blvd across the river to the west side of the city. Here on the east side Hawthorne and Madison are two different streets (and for a ways they are one way streets with Hawthorne carrying the west bound traffic and Madison the east bound. On the West side of the river Madison is the street that the feeds onto the Hawthorne Bridge.

While KnitPicks is an international brand with a corporate headquarters across the other river in Vancouver, Washington. I love the fact that they have yarn named after places I know.

So far (I am only 10 rows in) the only down side I am finding with the Hawthorne Fingering yarn is that is seems to be rather stiff. I am hoping the stiffness/ scratchiness issues are due to the waxes and stuff used in the spinning process and to help it to knit up easier. I am hoping that this issue will be taken care of once the final project is washed the first time.

Knitting, Socks

Knitting up socks while the weather is hot

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This summer I have been working on socks, and I am trying to get as many pairs done as I can while the temperatures are warm enough to dry my socks in a matter of a few hours.

When the weather cools off to the point where it would take a long time to dry my socks outside, or is to wet to dry them outside, out of respect for those I live with, I plan to wait on washing them until it is warm enough outside to dry them. Not everyone likes the smell of wet sheep.

I currently have a pair of socks drying out on the line as we speak, beings that it is currently 94 degrees outside.

I probably have another month to month and a half before the weather is too cold and wet to dry socks outside. Early to Mid-October can still have some nice sunny days with temperatures in the upper 60’s to low 70’s. With the weather going to be cooling off, even on the nice warmer days of late September and October, my socks will still have to be outside on the line the full day.

Knitting, Socks, Wool, Yarn

Drying Washed Knits Outside

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Now that the warm weather is upon us, whenever I get a pair of socks done, I wait until there is going to be a sunny day with a high temperature above 80 degrees Fahrenheit and preferably below 30% humidity, to wash and dry them. I like to pin my just washed socks to sock blockers and hang them outside on the clothes line to dry. It’s not as easy and takes longer to dry them in the winter, and I have to find an alternative way to hang them to dry. I have yet to really wash a lot of socks in the colder months, though I have a few ideas of how to dry them during that period of time, which if I resort to, I will have to write about and post pictures of. Beings that the weather is more ideal for hanging washed socks outside to dry, I am able to do so.

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I love being able to hang my socks out side to dry on hot summer days, because they dry a lot faster, and there is something about hanging outside that helps decrease the amount of wool wash scent that is left in the socks when I bring them in. While I love the scent of Eucalan Wrapture Woolwash, but sometimes it can still be very strong and over powering. I have noticed that when I am able to let whatever I have washed with it, dry outside, the scent that is left behind is not as strong as tends to be when I have to let it dry indoors.

While I personally detest the heat, and am currently camping out in a nice cool, air conditioned house (because it is 95 degrees outside), it has been a perfect day to wash and then hang socks out to dry. While I would typically say I would rather be at the beach, the beach is as bad as it is here in the valley, which is weird. It shouldn’t be 95 degrees on the Oregon Coast, 75 maybe, but 95 is just down right nuts. It’s crazy when the coast is hotter than Eastern Oregon, which was the case in some places today.

Knitting

Summer is only good for….

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As of writing this, it is barely noon and already 81 degrees Fahrenheit, which means it is a perfect day for drying socks outside. That, and growing fruit are the only things this weather is good for.

Right now I am glad I have socks to work on, so I don’t have something bulky and warm like a sweater or my wrap (once it gets longer), sitting on my lap heating me up even more than I already am. While I know 81 isn’t hot for most people, for me it feels like an oven, especially since the humidity is sitting at 51%.

Friday and a bit of Saturday I did make some progress on my wrap, as well as the socks I am making out of the Turquoise Cascade Heritage Sock Yarn that I have. I am currently working on the heel flap of the second sock.

I decided to go ahead and wash the pair of socks I had knit up using regal KnitPicks Palette Yarn. Every time I wash a pair of socks for the first time, I am always amazed at how much excess dye is in the yarn. It has made me wonder if they rinse the yarn after they dye it, or if they pull the yarn out of the dye, dry it and then wind it up without rinsing the excess dye out. But that is part of why I always wash what I knit before I wear/use it. I don’t want the excess dye or the waxes and other chemicals they use in the dying and processing to come off on my food clothes, or in my boots. Washing whatever I knit up also helps to soften up what I have made and make it so it is not stiff or not as stiff as it was before I washed it (again getting all the waxes and stuff out that makes it stiff).

One thing I have noticed about wool and other natural fibers (like cotton), is that they tend to soften up once they are washed. While you can get a bit of an idea of how the yarn will feel in the store, you don’t get a true idea until you have knit it up and washed, blocked and dried it.

So I am trying to make the best use of summer, and work on knitting up as many pairs of socks as I can. I still have a lot of sock yarn waiting to be knit up into socks.

Knitting, Scarves, Skills, Tips, Wool, Yarn, Yarn Reviews

Always Wash Dyed Wool Before Wearing

Hey Everyone! 

Today I learned a very important lesson today, and I learned it without doing it the hard way, and without ruining any of my clothes. 

Today I learned that you should always wash dyed wool before you wear it. 

How did I learn this lesson you may ask, well I will tell you.

I had knit up an eyelet scarf with my birthday yarn, so today I decided I would get it washed (which I like to do anyway with wool) and then blocked, so I had taken it down to the wash basin in the laundry room and took my Wrapture wool wash with me, and I went to squeeze it out before rinsing the Wrapture out, and out came this pinkish liquid. I was like “dude! What on earth? Oh the dye bled. At least I am washing it by itself and before I wore it. Dodged a bullet there”. 

Yeah, so the dyes can bleed or have so much excess dye still dried in the wool that you don’t notice it, but once it is wet, look out. It can, would, could and will stain clothes and potentially rub off on your nice clothes. 

And hand wash the wool in a bucket or washtub gently. 

So glad I learned that lesson before I ruined my good clothes.