Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kilt Hose!

Due to requests for more specifics than I gave in my last post, here are my prices for hand-made, custom-sized kilt hose.

  • Standard kilt hose: ribbed cuff and knit body in any single color - $65
  • Cabled hose: ribbed cuff and cable work in any single color (my design choice) - $85
  • Simplified Balmoral hose: three-color entrelac cuff and single-color body in any colors(pics coming soon) - $110
  • Argyle kilt hose: ribbed cuff and three-color argyle body in any colors- $140
  • Balmoral hose: two-color entrelac with two small stripes and single-color body in any colors- $140
  • Any other custom work priced based on time and complexity (contact me)
Prices updated to reflect yarn costs, etc.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Kilt Hose Ideas

With the opening of my list to new orders I have been thinking about more possibilities for those interested in my wares. All of my kilt hose orders thus far have either been for plain-knit, simplified balmoral, or argyle kilt hose. I have one order for tartan hose, which are similar to argyle, but the possibilities really are endless. I'm great at cable knitting and even design custom cables. Color work is another possibility for distinctive hose, with options such as diced cuffs as well as shepherd's plaid and other fair isle-style color patterns. I also design colorwork to order, so that you can incorporate initials, designs, etc. into your hose. I encourage everybody to think creatively when it comes to kilt hose, and feel free to contact me any time to communicate about custom work.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Okay, you win!

Despite closing my waiting list several months ago, the order requests continue to pour in. Since I have a second knitter, and since my customers insist they don't mind the wait, I am going to re-open my waiting list. I will continue to take payment as I get ready to start orders and I will continue to say that you should expect to wait a year for your order. Please try not to flood me too terribly. Christmas is coming, after all, and I have a whole family waiting for knitted goods, since the rule in our family is that all Christmas gifts must be home-made.

Monday, September 1, 2008

New Gear (in which Diane is a craft maven)

I have been daydreaming for a long time about the perfect knitting needle case, a fabric affair that has pockets of different sizes that I can roll up and tie shut. Yesterday, I finally made that dream a reality. I am in love with my new needle case! Here it is all closed up with my sewing machine (an antique Singer Featherweight that is my pride and joy) and opened with my gear inside:

Monday, August 25, 2008

My gorgeous yarn experiments!

Now that my yarn is dry and finished I just have to share a few more photos. Here is the yarn in skeins, and then, because I couldn't help but play with it, wrapped into balls and ready to knit. The color's not quite right in the second image, but you get the idea. Sunshine and candy canes, people!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yarn Dyeing with Powdered Juice Drinks

I have long wanted to experiment with doing my own yarn dyeing. I had the chance to give it a try this weekend thanks to a few lucky thrift store finds. Both the yarns I got were old and the color just slightly off from what it had once been. Luckily, neither had moth holes or other moth damage, and both were 100% wool.

Kool-aid dyeing is simple... one package of kool-aid per ounce of yarn (to saturate, that is). The drink is acidic enough that no additional acid is needed, and you don't even need that much heat to set the dye.

My first attempt was with a pale yellow worsted weight wool, about three ounces, and some orange kool-aid. I decided both experiments were going to be monochromatic, but I wanted something unique. The yarn was already in a long skein, so I tied it in a few places and I was ready to go!

I mixed up the kool-aid in a large pan (2 quarts of water, 1 package kool-aid, no sugar, of course). I only used one package because I still wanted a fair amount of the original color to show through, with a bit of perking up. Then I put the pan on the stove on low heat.

I submerged about 1/4 of the yarn and waited 15 minutes, submerged another 1/4, etc. until the whole thing was submerged. Another 15 minutes, and the water was completely clear, all dye absorbed. I then rinsed the yarn in cold water and hung it to dry.

The process with the second skein was similar (moved to my mom's house for this one, though). I had one ounce of lace-weight pastel pink wool, which I wound into a long skein (about 1.5 yards in length) and tied with thread. The dye was Disney Cool Splashers mix in strawberry flavor. I wanted a more uniform gradient on this one, so I submerged two-inch sections every five minutes. Because I had a smaller amount of wool, all the dye didn't get absorbed, but a fair bit did!

Anyway, this technique is really easy and fun, and you can get all kinds of different results by using tye-die techniques, using squirt bottles to paint stripes on the yarn, etc. It's pretty fool-proof, and I'd be glad to answer any questions. As soon as my yarn dries I'll take pictures of the finished balls and whatever projects they eventually become. Yay!

The knitting continues

Well, as August winds down and the days start getting shorter my thoughts are turning once again to sweaters and scarves for myself, something I have accepted will probably never happen. The waiting list is gradually decreasing and my knitting minions are improving their skills, though who knows if they will use them for good or for evil.

I am still making a fair bit of business for myself selling patterns. The bonnet pattern has been available for some time through Ravelry and through me directly, and I recently released a very customizable kilt hose pattern as well. I have a pattern for knitted fingerless gloves with mitten flaps, which I have so far only made for gifts, and if anybody would like a copy of that, it is also for sale. All patterns cost $3.

In other news, I have some major yarn lust these days, and it is hard to keep myself from buying new yarn for myself (though I have quite a large stash of quite nice fibers), especially now that Noro has released kureyon as a sock yarn in the same gorgeous palettes as its worsted weight version. It's a bit steep at $20 a ball, but a ball is enough for a pair of socks, and it is hand-painted and amazing. If you would like to pay me in sock yarn, feel free. I am a sock addict. Nothing is as satisfying to me as a pair of socks.

I am also getting to use my knitting skills in new ways. I am teaching a friend from dance class to knit, with the goal of eventual kilt hose for her husband. He's the one whose hose I repaired several months ago. I am doing more repair work on sweaters, socks, etc. and learning more about how to make projects that survive abuse. I have been in talks with my employer for over six months now (I'm a social worker) about using knitting classes as a way to help improve concentration and teach relaxation techniques (not to mention math skills). Any activity where hands are busy so minds can wander is a great help to the sort of clients I deal with.

That's the latest from Russet Lodge. I plan to do much more Fair Isle and Intarsia colorwork in the near future. I need to do something useful with all the leftovers from my projects filling up my yarn stash. Any good suggestions? When in doubt, I usually just look to Knitty.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A little knitting chuckle

I saw this cartoon today and had a little laugh since it's so true...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Russet Lodge: The Real Life Story!

For those who don't know, I named my knitting blog Russet Lodge Knits after a series of comedy sketches by the venerable Catherine Tate displaying a refuge/home for harrassed redheads called russet lodge. When I was doing some vanity googling I came across this article from The Times Online, and it was eerily appropriate.

Family forced to flee just for being ginger
Andrew Norfolk

A family of six have fled two homes after enduring a vicious hate campaign, apparently prompted by the colour of their hair.

Kevin and Barbara Chapman say that anti-ginger prejudice has led to their property being vandalised and their four youngest children being subjected to a litany of cruel taunts, verbal abuse and bullying.

The Chapmans and their children, who are from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, have a blaze of red hair which, they claim, has reduced them to living like fugitives in the city. Their plight carries uncomfortable echoes of the Catherine Tate sketch in which a group of ginger-haired outcasts find safety in a refuge after being ostractised by society.

Another victim of hair-colour prejudice, the Premiership footballer Dave Kitson, of Reading, claimed two years ago that fans who made fun of his red hair were as bad as racists.

This year, David Cameron, the Conservative leader, dismissed his homeland security spokesman after a race-row scandal. Patrick Mercer, a former Army colonel, had said that soldiers with red hair were given a “far harder time” than blacks and that comments like “Come on you black bastard” and “Come on you ginger bastard” were “the way it is in the Army”.

The Chapmans – who have nine children, with only the four youngest living at home – appear unable to find sanctuary anywhere Newcastle. At each new home – three in the past three years – their windows have been smashed, graffiti has been sprayed on their walls and the children, aged between 10 and 13, have been physically attacked.

Mr Chapman, 49, has reported several incidents to the police and – after the slogan “Ginger Is Gay” was daubed on their home this week – is in discussion with council housing officers over another move.

He says that the taunts of neighbours, adults and children, have become so bad that his 11-year-old son, also called Kevin, contemplated suicide. Last week the boy was assaulted by a girl in the street who punched him several times and left him with a black eye.

“Kevin’s never even seen a life yet and he’s been driven to this. The abuse we have to endure is just disgusting,” Mr Chapman said.

“It started more than three years ago, when the kids started getting bullied by local lads over the colour of their hair. They’ve been punched, kicked and thrown over a hedge. Every time they go out, these gangs have got to them. We can’t even go to the local shops, which are only two minutes away, because the kids get all their stuff taken off them.”

The younger children have attended three primary schools in the past three years as the Chapmans moved from their old home in the Walker area of the city, first to Newbiggin Hall and then, a year ago, to Kenton Bar. The couple’s 10-year-old daughter, Ryelle, said: “Every time we make new friends we just end up getting bullied and it happens every time we leave the house.”

A Newcastle City Council spokesman said that housing staff were aware of the family’s plight and were discussing it.

Mr Chapman said the council had suggested that he should dye his family’s hair, which outraged him because he had brought up his children “to be proud of themselves . . . and the way they look”. The spokesman said that the dye suggestion had initially been made by Mr Chapman and that the housing officer’s response had merely been: “You could always do that.”

The Catherine Tate sketch:

Inside Russet Lodge, the shelter for ginger-haired people:
Sandra: Being ginger is who I am; why should I deny that?
Rita: You shouldn’t. And that’s why we’re here. We have all sorts of gingers here. Gingers in denial, confused gingers, even militant gingers. But they have one thing in common. They don’t need to fear the outside world. They’re all welcome to stay here in peace and harmony. . . . Duracell, ginger nut, carrot top, copper nob. We’re used to getting that kind of abuse every day out there. People asking us to move away from areas where food is being prepared. Total strangers assuming we’re Scottish. Forever trawling the streets, trying to find a hairdresser’s that isn’t fully booked. Well, not in here. This is a safe haven for everyone and everything ginger. Let’s keep it that way.

As darkness falls outside the Russet Lodge refuge, a crowd gathers with flaming torches, carrying placards bearing the slogans “No Gingers!” and “Not In My Village”.

As the title credits roll, they are heard chanting: “Gingers Out! Gingers Out!”

Monday, July 14, 2008

With a heavy heart and mixed feelings...

I just realized while going back through old orders that my wait time is up to nearly a year! This means I am not spending enough time knitting and am taking on more projects than I can handle. While I feverishly train my husband to knit bonnets and help with orders and continue my busy and challenging life the orders keep coming at a slow and steady pace.

It is with all this in mind that I have decided to stop taking new orders for a while. I will still be selling patterns and will consider pattern design on a case-by-case basis. However, I simply cannot keep up with the volume of orders I have received, and I feel it unfair to ask anybody to wait a year for a $45 hat. When my waiting list time is back down between 8 and 12 weeks I will open it up to new orders.

I would like to thank all of my clients for their patience with me. I'm only one woman, and hand-knitting takes a lot of time. When you add chronic tendonitis and carpal tunnel (due in large part to knitting) and a full-time job, the time stretches on ever longer. If you have any questions or comments about this feel free to send them my way, and if you know any knitters who would like to make a little cash, definitely send them my way. Thank you to all my customers so far. If you're on the list, you're still on it. If you're not on it yet, watch this space.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Kilt hose = happiness

Well, kilt hose have been consuming my life lately. Firstly, I am SO thrilled that I have finally finished and mailed the Isle of Skye Argyle hose. Here are reviews on X Marks the Scot, Brotherhood of the Kilt, and The Kilt Forum. Isn't my customer dashing in them?

Right now I'm also working on The Endless Bonnet, in addition to my first knitted doily (from a book of 1940s doily patterns courtesy of a friend), and also repairing two pairs of kilt hose for a friend of mine who happens to do piping and Scottish Country Dance. The hose appear to be hand-made (though why anybody would make 100% acrylic hose by hand is beyond me) and look like someone blew the ends out of the toes with dynamite. They won't be perfect, but they'll be strong and they don't look nearly as bad as how he'd tried to repair them with thread. In short, I can rescue those kilt hose you can't bear to part with.

I've updated my waiting list and I really am trying to plough through all the back orders so the wait time isn't so long. Sadly, I recently over-felted several bonnets and am now in the process of re-making them. If you'd like a child-size bonnet, contact me. I have two.

I have been looking in vain for an online version of the article in Interweave Knits about the bonnets. I have my hard copy, and I may give in and scan it. It's very interesting.

As always, contact me for patterns, knitted wear, etc. I won't bite. :)