Knitting Like A Sailor

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I'm dying over here!

It started out with these two skeins. Both from the same place, and I really like the yarn. The colors left a lot to be desired, in my opinion. The one on the left is nine hundredish yards of an alpaca cormo blend, the one on the right is 1600 yards of cormo/angora/cashmere. Lefty was supposed to be handpainted in a colorway called wildflowers, righty was supposed to be mulberry colored. What they are is...Not what I wanted at all. So, after whining to Kae, and more whining to Kae, I broke out the books and figured out what I could do with them.
*insert lots of pictures of dyeing process here*
What? You don't see them? Huh...Neither do I. Oh yeah, that's right, when I went to transfer them from camera to computer, I lost half the batch. Sorry. I do have one that was salvaged, but it's kinda blurry. That's not the same yarn? Why...You're right! If you go to a very well known website that rhymes with picnic's and look at a lace weight yarn they have whose name rhymes with swimmer, you just might find that yarn in the bowl on that page.
oh, and here's another picture of the "mulberry" yarn with a handspun skein of debouillet merino. Luscious stuff, that.
*insert more pics of dye process here, la dee da... *
Basically, I used a prochem washfast acid dyes sample kit that included synthrapol, albegal set, glaubers salt, ammonium sulfate, and citric acid crystals (hey, Kae, guess what? The crystals don't have all the dust that gave me issues when I used the powder. Fancy that!)
oh, here's some rhymes with picnic's peruvian worsted weight yarn that I dyed a while back. Now, I never used to use all those fancy additives, dye powder and a crapload of vinegar was peachykeen with me. Until I realized huh, I'm not getting the results I want near often enough. Like this batch, they were all supposed to me the medium color, bottom right of the photo. Instead, I have a whole sweaters worth of yarn, in three distinct colors. Orchid (light color) Raspberry (medium shade) and Rose Wine (dark shade) and all of them have lots of variegation. Mottled, tri-colored Rogue, anyone? Don't all of you jump through the screen now.
So anyway, when I did up those skeins, I mixed up the dye, glugged in the vinegar, cranked up the heat, and when it was good and steaming, I added the skeins in. Now, I had soaked the skeins in separate containers in groups of five, so they were added in groups of five. The dye struck pretty much instantly, it took nearly two hours to get that much depth of color on the orchid skeins. Learn from my mistake, all the fancy crap has a purpose. I think of them as a safety net.
Anywhoo, back to the funkin fug that was the laceweight. I had to think about what I could do using the colors they already were. Now, I'm not a color theorist, but I do know that when I overdye, things seem to work out better if I use a primary shade. Blue is popular with me, I find blue quite attractive, I don't often buy orange tones yarns so the resulting colors usually turn out in the blue/green/purple ranges. Red is another okay one, although I find that it's picky on what it will cover, and I have to watch the pot closely or it goes from pretty to mud fairly quick. I decided to go with blue over the "wildflowers" and a red violet over the "mulberry", aiming for a dark plum. I measured and mixed, soaked, stirred it all up, put the yarn in, then popped it on the stove. The "wildflower" came out a beautiful, brilliant sapphire with dark forest and royal purple variations. The "mulberry" came out a loverly maroon, on the brown side. Um, so not what I was aiming for. What went wrong with this one? I think I had the pot a little too high so it struck faster than I thought it would(it was the first skein) so it sat on the stove cooking longer than it should have, and when I was mixing the dye, I cut back on the blue, figuring the violet would pick up for it. It didn't. So, back into the dye pot with a couple of teaspoons of bright blue, and a smidge of jet black. It was a nice, inky midnight blue, and it did just the trick.

A lovely, wine Burgundy with some small shots of purple from where the skeins were tied a little tight (it's a BIG skein). This all was done on Saturday. Yesterday I did up the alpaca/silk lace weight in the eye searing turquoise colorway. I went with green. Now, I didn't expect it to turn green, I was aiming more for a variegated teal colorway, and that's pretty much what I got, although it's varied shades of blue-green rather than teal, and there is a difference between the two. I can show it to you but I can't put it to words, sorry. I think that were I to do this again I might try a yellow green dye, but I'm quite happy with it. Anyway, here's that one.
well, actually it's two skeins, but you get the idea.
Now, what did I do while all this dyeing was going on last night?

windywindywindy. I named the pic OW, but in reality, my arms were tired, but not sore, and there was no stiffness or soreness today at all. I credit my Strauch ball winder with that, it's a marvelous machine once I popped the feet off. They're clear cushy silicone jobbers, and they allowed the winder too much movement. One fell off, I popped off the other three, and voila, a stable, steady machine that is a pleasure to use.
Yes, every ball in that picture was wound from the skein by moi over the course of about 7 hours, including the break for supper. I had some aggressions to get out. All gone now :)
Ooo...Shall I do a little flash stashing? That pic up there constitutes most of my lace weight collection. Well, the commercial stuff, anyway. On the left we have the pink mass of the ex-rogue yarn, two skeins of pink and one of blue/purple from, the wine Burgundy laceweight, the sapphire alpaca/cormo laceweight, some sockweights in the middle, There is handpainted opal in rosehips, chtx2 in the peacock colorway, a skein of dale baby ull I dyed under the inspiration of the peacock cth, opal rainforest in parrot, two skeins of pingouin wool/nylon sock yarn that I overdyed from a medium grey to a charcoal to better contrast with the pale silver grey I'm suing it with in a fi sock, a skein of some variegated acrylic blend called marbles or something or other that I want to make a sweater for one of the kids out of (I have a couple of more of them, but they're still in their neat little center pull skeins) various assorted alpaca lace and merino lace, I'm sure if you kept open the rhymes with Picnic website, you too can find such yummy yarns, more handpaintedyarn laceweight, those two green balls of it just above the ball winder are from my excellent sp7 pal, Lisa. Oh, that glaringly white ball of yarn? It's actually ecru, and it's cobweb weight 80/20 merino silk. I have 5 ounces of it, enough for two large shawls. That's about two ounces right there. I bought it from the knitters underground a couple of years ago but they no longer carry it. Jean Miles used it in a few of her creations, if you care to go peruse her lace pages, and recommended it highly. Actually, I like to go peruse her pages anyway, she has some lovely knitting there.
Hey, there's still a pic hanging out down here. What is this? Some sort of a yellowy-green merino laceweight. Hmm...I wonder what this would look like with a dollop of forest green and a dash of jet black....

Friday, April 21, 2006

Nerdy News

I'm working on a fair sized post regarding what I've been up to, fiber-wise. I'll probably post it tonight, or perhaps tomorrow night. I've my first final tomorrow, it's the Anatomy and Physiology Lab Practical. I predict lots of Mt Dew in my immediate future.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Looky Here!

It's Hedgie! Fully felted and ready to rrrrrrrruuuumble! Here we catch him perusing the blogs and Look! He's at Ideaphoria, catching up on what's been happening with her since she sent him off into the world to be all that he could be. *
Thanks Karen and Jewel, the kit was a lot of fun to make (and a super fast knit!), and Hedgie has been a lot of fun to play with, both the kids and I agree. I opted for stuffing him with leftover scraps of yarn, so he's less squishy than some, but since he's already been sat upon, more than once, I think the resiliance will be a good thing.

Spring break started today, the teachers were all reminiscing about relaxing, taking trips, drunken parties and such. The students were all looking at each other wondering if graduation automatically erased the fact that finals start the week after spring break from their minds. Not having class just means I have that much more time to study. And write. And PowerPoint. I'm about burnt out on power point and I still need a few more slides to flesh it out.
On the spinning front, everything has sat idle, I've looked at my tools and petted some fibers but I'm honest enough with myself to know that anything I tried to spin would be screwed up because my mind wouldn't stay on it and I'd wind up reciting the urine production process instead.
On the knitting front, I was working up a pair of socks in my own design, toe up with short row toes and heels, and then an old shale type lace cuff, both socks knitted at the same time. I reached the cuff, figured out I didn't like tha pattern over the amount of stitches I had, increased a full repeat, liked that better, tried them on and realized that the foot of the sock needed more stitches, so they went to the frog pond. I think I'm going to knit the yarn into a pair from Nancy Bush's knitting on the road, probably the conway socks, and knit the ones I want to design from some knitpicks plain sock yarn that I have. The STR that I was using is too precious to rip and knit only to rip and knit some more like I tend to do when I'm noodling around with my own ideas. I'm thinking about the shaped arch in meg swanson's knitting, with a french toe from nancy bush and a little barbara walker lace tossed in for good measure. We'll see.
Have a good week!

*The picture doesn't accurately portray Hedgie in all his glory. I finally figured out why everything is yellowish even when I play with the pictures on the computer. I take the vast majority of my pictures in my bedroom, where the walls are painted pale orange, the sheets are gold, the blanket is a dark cream, etc. Everything has a yellowed cast! LOL I never said I was the sharpest crayon in the box.

Friday, April 07, 2006

I can't believe I knit the whoooole thing...

The hedgie kit I won arrived yesterday. Thanks again Jewel! I think you must have already been at the post office waiting when I sent you my address, it got here that fast.
Speaking of, it had the cutest packaging, with ribbons and a really pretty card attached. Note the past tense. I didn't even pause for a picture. Would you like to see it now? Well, you can't. Blogger is wearing it's asshat this morning, apparently. You'll have to go here. I'll wait. HmmmHmmmHmmm *checking watch* Oh hi, welcome back.
All done but the felting. I have no idea how I managed to knit the whole thing in one day. Well, actually, I do, but it didn't seem like I was getting that much of it done. I cast on around ten this morning, worked on it for a bit, took it with me to the dr's office, and then just worked on it between the kids, supper, a make-up exam, class, and managed to finish the front and pick up the stitches for the back. the back took the longest, I started on that at 8:30, and finished it at 12:30. I was going to quit at midnight but I was sooo close.
Tomorrow, my first felting experience. Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


My secret pal! Hi Lisa! Go, visit, I'm sure she'll be tickled pink to have more visitors. She's striving to survive spring break with both teenaged sons intact, I wish her well. And, I found out where she got the wonderful soap that I've been bathing with. Her store. Isn't that fabulous? Send your friends, I highly recommend the Summer Bouquet.
I've been bad about blogging her last gift and a pretty card with a sweet, chatty letter that she sent me. The other female in my house saw the gorgeous butterflies on the card, squeed thank you! and took off with it. I did convince her to give it back to me long enough to get it out of the envelope and actually read the card, barely, but it's now firmly stowed away in her underpants drawer. I'm not really interested in the kind of traffic the picture of an underpants drawer belonging to a small female child would generate, so I didn't take one to post, but I did steal this pic. This represents the two (!) skeins of gorgeous emerald lace weight wool from hand painted yarn. I have the start of an idea for these little pretties, and it doesn't even include caressing them with my clutching hands and crooning my preeessssscccciiioooouuuussssss to them. Well, not my standards....
I'd also like to introduce you to the lady I sent presents to, Kae. Kae is an awesome person. She's working on getting a small dye business going, I can't wait until she's set up for business and I can get my hands on her ToT sock yarns. Prrrrrreeeeessscccciiioooo.... oops, sorry, s'cuse me. *ahem* moving on...
I've decided that I'm not going to enter any more contests. I've won three this year. In the first, I was runner up for the best joke at Fillyjonk's blog and won a good sized box of sock yarns, handy dandy yellow post-its (Erica, if you read this, the post-its have been put to use again and again, thank you so much! Your impulse has been so handy I went and bought more lest I run out of these Pressscccio I mean useful items.) pencils, and she decorated the box with Squee!! producing stickers. Yes, parts of the box now reside in the smaller females underpants drawer. I'm wondering if there's much room for underpants in there any more? Kae, Erica is from your region of the map, different city though.
The second contest I won was the Name Wendy's New Pink RaZR Phone and Headset contest. I again was second runner up (we actually entered the same name, the other lady was faster with the email though) for the entry Pinky and the Brain. (Do I really need to link to one of the most famous bloggers? Oooookayfine Rob, here's her blog) My prize is two skeins of Lorna's laces sock yarn in the Somerset colorway.
The third contest I entered was a guess what this is a picture of contest. I actually won this one, thanks to Mia the cat's obvious good taste. Thanks Jewel, I'm looking forward to new little fuzzies! I have a feeling they'll fit quite well (and if not will be pounded until they do) into a certain four year olds' underpants drawer, quite likely accompanied with lot's of Squees! Maybe I'll mosey on over to AC Moore after the kit arrives and see if I can find something in pink to make it with first, because while any fuzzy will rock, a PINK fuzzy, obviously, rocks harder! and mom will be allowed to keep the plain jane normal (read DORKY) colored one.
Actually, gwen's not that bad. She always asks, most of the time she remembers to say please and thank you, and I frequently get a kiss and a "you're the best, mom" for anything she gets to tuck into her drawer. I'm not kidding about the Squees! though. They're usually accompanied with hand clasping/clapping, bouncing and bright shiny excitement. Her enthusiasm knows no bounds, it's a beautiful thing, which is probably why I've caught myself considering pink sparkly craptastic toys at the store lately. Gotta get my Squee! fix, don'tcha know. Anyway, as much as I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the Secret Pal exchange, I think I'm going to sit number 8 out. I didn't have as much time as I thought I was going to to blog, and I feel as though I did a disservice to Lisa's great efforts. I thoroughly enjoyed everything, really! However, we're coming up on final exams, I'm up to my seat in papers to write, and I just won't have the time. I'll be back for number 9 hopefully. And yup, I will be back. I've met two great new people, ones I hope to keep be in contact with for a very long time. And that's probably the best gift of all :) Night!