Seeking Ravenclaw

I just couldn’t find the right yarn, so I dyed my own. My co-worker asked me to make a pair of socks for her daughter for Christmas, made in the colours of her Hogwarts House, Ravenclaw.  I was heading to Toronto last week and thought, since I’m on Queen Street, I’ll take a trip to Romni. Surely, they should have some self-striping yarn in blue and grey/silver. Romni has rows upon rows of yarn, but I couldn’t find the right yarn.  I found something close, though:

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This is Regia 4-fädig, and I think it was part of a sports-team/college colours line, but it was a blue (check) self striping (check) sock yarn (check). It just wasn’t grey.  Halfway between buying it and walking to my car, I thought it could be fun to try and dye it, making the white grey and hopefully making the blue a little deeper.  If it works, awesome! If not, it was an experiment and I’d have a blue and something self-striping yarn that could become socks sometime down the line.

Unfortunately, grey is a really challenging colour to achieve with food dyes as most grey/black colours are comprised of many different colours to look black.  Example, when I dyed yarn for my Captain America shawl, they grey looks great in the slow cooker, but when it dried, it became obvious the colours broke, giving a variegated purple/green look.

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It was pretty, and it looks great in the finished shawl, but this certainly wasn’t what I was trying to achieve.

As the Regia soaked, I experimented with a few colour combos. Ultimately, I was happiest with the look of Americolor Soft Gel Paste in ‘Slate.’  You can test your dye by dipping paper towels into what you’ve prepared.  All the Wilton tests were giving off too much green, but this one looked like it would be a muted grey with a hint of green/blue halo. I held my breath, added the dye to the slow cooker, and walked away, lest I compulsively checked the crock pot every three minutes or so.

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To prepare the dye, I used 1 cup of water, 2 tbsp of vinegar, and about 1/4 tsp of the Americolor gel (fun fact, I had to type ‘color’ about four times to spell it the American way). Ultimately, I prepared the dye twice, so it had about 1/2 tsp of the colour added.

The finished skein?

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I am rather pleased! There’s only the hint of a green hue, but overall, it’s grey and blue and oh-so-Ravenclaw!

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Heat Wave

I’d like to know who is propagating the myth that Canada is a cold country, because for the last week or two, southern Ontario has been hit with a heat wave. Temperatures are in the 30sC and feeling like 40sC (which, thanks to a handy conversion online, I can tell you is high 80s/90s in Fahrenheit). It’s hot. It’s especially hot for someone who doesn’t have air conditioning, and while I was able to fare quite well in the first few days, I very quickly lost the battle in trying to keep my house at a normal, comfortable living temperature.  New fans have been purchased, I relish my time at work with AC, and I’ve gone to a movie or two to escape the heat.  It was also quite lucky that we got a reprieve over the weekend and it cooled off somewhat, but summer has most certainly arrived, and she’s come with a vengeance!

This heat has also affected my knitting behaviours. My Doodler shawl, made with wool blend yarns, had to be put aside because working the the fibres was like a strange form of cruelty to myself.  Instead, I’m gravitating towards cottons. My Boxy sweater has come along with me to a few movies.  It’s knit in the round over what feels like a bazillion stitches, and right now I’m working towards almost a foot and a half in plain stockinette. It’s a perfect movie project, being worked in Berroco’s Weekend.  Also getting some attention as of late is my Sanibel Cowl, worked in Cascade’s Ultra Pima Paints.  I’m so in love with these colours, which is why I bought the skein to begin with.  I also adore how soft Ultra Pima feels, with excellent drape.  I’m looking forward to finishing this project, although I have a feeling wearing it won’t be possible until the first few autumnal days.


So, to that person who goes around asking Canadians if they live in igloos and take their dog sled to work, please, come visit the Greater Toronto Area. Not an igloo in sight, although one would be a welcome relief from the heat.

Happy knitting!

My Perfect Cowl

I have a new favourite knitting project, and I think I’m a wee bit obsessed.  Since delving into this knitting obsession hobby, I’ve become a big fan of shawls, scarves and any other neck accessory (neck-cessory?).  The problem with shawls is that throughout the day, they shift, they slouch, they constantly need to be adjusted.

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Enter the bandana cowl. Guys, they are, in my very humble opinion, the perfect cowl. They have interest with the shape – they look like a shawl, but without the fuss of constantly fiddling with the ends.  If you choose a simple pattern, the yarn can shine, like with my Escarpment Cowl.  The yarn was the fabulous Mineville Wool Project Merino DK Single, named in honour of the Ontario Science Centre, and the colours were truly the star with the rich blues and greens.  The simplicity of the pattern, designed by Shireen Nadir of Blue Brick Yarns, truly showcases the yarns.  It was designed in mind for her Blue Brick gradients – if you haven’t checked out this indie Canadian dyer yet, please head over to her website.  My apologies in advance to your bank account.


Even with a more intricate pattern, like Tipsoo Cowl by britt schmiesing, which somehow just FLEW off my needles a few weeks ago, the yarn still can be the star is naturally is (it’s Indigodragonfly, because I know you were curious) and yet the pattern allows for texture difference and adds interest to a knitter who may not always like the appeal of endless rounds of simple stockinette.

I’ve been endlessly searching Ravelry for more patterns of this structure.  I’m hoping to become comfortable enough with the construction of this accessory to perhaps experience to with my own designs. I end up wearing most shawls wrapped around my neck.  These bandana cowls allow for the same look of a shawl without the bulk and without the fuss.  Like I said, my perfect cowl.