Friday, April 28, 2006

Gotta keep my fans happy

So, somebody suggested that maybe I didn't give enough detail after building up great suspense about my intended dyeing exploits.
Here's what I did:
I wound off about 440 yds of cotton using two chairs spaced so that I ONLY had to wind the yarn 134 times around the backs of them. (Please oh please son, get Mommy a swift for Mother's Day.) Everyone warned me to tie the hank to avoid tangling later, but not too tight, so the dye and stuff would soak in. Apparently, I am one uptight gal, and what I thought was loose was still too tight.
SO, I set up in the kitchen with the ONE whole sheet of newsprint left in the house. (Pause here to thank Hestia for not causing me to dye my kitchen counter green in all my hubris.)
Note: lots of technical jargon ahead.
I mixed up the soda ash separate from the dye like the instructions said, and dunked my hank, which promptly shrivelled up to half its original size. Something to do with the lycra, but whatever. I swished it around until it was surely completely soaked, got it out and squished out the stuff, and arranged it between my "dyepots". (Those would be little ziploc containers.) I had dark green, really weak dark green, dark green mixed with cyan, and dark green mixed with yellow. I used a spoon to ladle the colors randomly over the hank, and had great consternation when I noticed that the dye wasn't taking near the ties, and in some places in the middle of the hank. I then got the bright idea to ladle some of the soda stuff over the yarn, which helped. Then when it had mixed with the puddles of dye under the yarn, I took the ties off and smooshed the white part into the puddles and rubbed the dye on my fingers into the middle of the hank, and basically just tried to get every white section exposed to the dye/soda puddles.
(It should be abundantly clear why my skein is so, um, mottled.)
Anyway, I left it as long as I could stand it, then wrapped it up in the plastic wrap and put it in the garage on some paper towels. The dye was so dark, it was nearly black, so I was kinda expecting a mess. Some people say to steam it to set the dye, but I didn't see that part in the instructions, and wasn't sure that applied to cotton anyway. (If it does, and I should, feel free to lemme know.)
I waited about a day, then unwrapped, rinsedrinsedrinsedrinsedrinsed, and hung my little hank to dry.
He's not what I thought I'd end up with, but I love him completely. If I'm not mistaken, Project Spectrum is green for May, so I shall start my socks promptly on May Day. A friend warned me that dyeing was addictive, and she was right. I have been plans to dye another whole skein this weekend, making use of the tie-dye effect on purpose this time. (Hey, if you didn't have a swift, you'd do one at a time too.)
Mebbe I'll even do two. I have lilac dye, and cyan, magenta and yellow left to play with. I want to do something with the lilac, cyan and magenta, and my friend sent me a link to a site about how to mix colors (to which I would link here if I had it handy, sorry) so I might try to make something completely different.
In the meantime, though, I have re-cast-on for Frill, I have all the back episodes of Cast-On downloaded, and I plan to do some serious knitting this weekend.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


My sockpal socks are DONE! YAY!
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Yarn: hand-dyed merino by Two Loops
Needles: Susan Bates size 0 DPNs
Pattern: generic toe-up by Wendy, ribbing added by me to keep my brain from melting.

This was fun, and I hope my sockpal likes them.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Dyed in the...

Yup, I dyed myself some cotton sock yarn.
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I am deeply in love with an art that allows you to make beautiful things with absolutely no knowledge or talent, and a set of vague instructions. The happy accidents that conspired to make this yarn mean I will owe the universe later, but I don't care, this is good stuff, and I can't wait to have socks made of this stuff. I hope I made enough.

I also decided I needed to have A Piece of Vermont. Specifically, Blue Columbine.
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Is it not the most gorgeous thing?
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This is wool, so I'm doing a test. If I can't wear these, I'll likely cry, and maybe I might give them to someone else. Maybe I'll just keep them to pet and look at.

And lastly, we're in the home stretch. This is good, because I have 8 days.
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Friday, April 21, 2006

Geek Squad

Apparently, I qualify:

I am nerdier than 85% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

I was actually surprised to score so high. I mean, I know I'm a nerd and all, but since they didn't offer "knitting, duh" as an answer for the "what do you do on Friday night question", I missed out on some points. And I thought for sure I'd be disqualified for using Windows and IE. I mean, really, the only person who gets nerd points for using those is Bill Gates himself. And I bet he uses Firefox.

Anyway, on the knitting front, last night I finished the Fibonacci sequence Gracie square (oh, yeah, maybe that has something to do with my score) and the King Charles Brocade square. I'm not actually sure it's the right pattern - it's what I came up with after looking at Franklin's regicide scarf. I like it. Tonight, I spend time "creatively shrinking" things. I made six squares: two pink wool, two lavender wool, and two variegated cotton. I do believe only one of those six is actually 5X5. All the others are too large, by about 1/4" to 1/2", unblocked. I know blocking wool causes it to stretch some, so you can see my dilemma. Gotsta lose some inches on my squares. Tomorrow, a pic, if I can manage to get all the ends woven and all blocked nicely.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


So, I am feeling a little jealous of Margene and Norma and Jessie, who live where it's cold and are actually getting to see the earth reborn with the tiny shoots and the new buds. They have a spring that's colder than my winter. Of course, when they blog about how bloody cold it is and how they have to wear a whole sheep's worth of wool to get out and about in the dead of winter, and I'm wearing sandals and short sleeves in January, I feel the urge to gloat. Well, they can gloat at ME now, because it's been in the 90s all week. >sigh<
Anyway, I'm about to ship off my first set of blocks to Cynthia for Grace. Since my son was born, my superstitions have kinda gone a little nuts, so I feel like when I see other babies in trouble, maybe I should lend a hand and help out, and maybe the universe will see fit to spare my baby troubles. When you do good deeds, do you still get good karma if you're doing them for selfish reasons? I would never wish that someone else would be sick to spare my son, but isn't it okay to wish that no one, including my son, should be sick?
I find it funny to see what kind of mommy I've become. I know many first-time moms who freak about the sniffles, or that the sheets don't match the dust ruffle just right, or that OMG someone gave the baby some baby food before he was six months old. I thought I would be like that, but really, I figured out that none of that matters (to me). I am much more laid back than I thought I would be, and I can really enjoy him sitting with me, and enjoy his joy at being able to sit, without worrying that maybe he's behind the rest of his peers, because they sat up at 5.5 months, and my son was 6 months. The thing that does get me is the inability to protect him from unseen things, the worry that I'm not adequate for the terrible things that are out there. I have a recurring dream in which he's fallen into murky water, and I know I have time to save him, but I can't find him. In my dream I can feel his utter disappointment that I let him down, that mommy couldn't save him this time. Even now, just writing about it, the terror that grips me is pervasive, and my whole body is tense. I would gladly give my life for my boy, and live in utter fear that there is something out there that might happen to him, where my life still wouldn't be enough. This is when I start making deals with the universe.
Damn, I think I need to knit more and stop writing all this heavy stuff. Sorry.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Happy Chocolate Fest

Well, Easter weekend has come and gone. We managed to make our way through it with a minimum of fanfare or chocolate. The Bug is too little for such things, and constantly-dieting me and diabetic-DH don't need the stuff around. Instead, we visited family and had overload of angel food cake with strawberries. That's much better.
NO knitting this weekend. I am so in love with those little project Grace squares that I bought more yarn to make "boy" blankets (she's opened up the requests to include all colors) and now the springy happy fat pastel yarn makes the sock yarn seem dingy and tired. I don't want to work on the socks, but I only have two weeks left! AAAAHHHHHHHHH. I'm almost to the heel of the second sock, so I'm not too far away, but it's killing my brain. I have to trick myself into working on it - like, I can't work on any Gracie squares until I knit an inch or two. Maybe tonight I will get some mental fortitude and turn the heel. Then I can just sit at the SnB tomorrow and knit ribbing until my brain melts and runs out my ears.
(Enjoy that visual.)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happy Anniversary to ME!

Today is the 4th anniversary of the beautiful morning I woke up, threw on a lacy dress (after having a breakfast of beer and more beer), curled my hair, and said, "I do." It has been a blissful four years. Yes, there have been occasional rough patches, but DH and I like offroading. This morning he gave me a beautiful pair of dainty earrings, and there are still two presents waiting on the table. The only thing that might possibly mar this day (besides the headache that's currently centered over my right eye) is the fact that his gift hasn't arrived in the mail yet. I have to go home and check for it at lunchtime. Fortunately, I keep wrapping paper in my office for just such a gift emergency.
Anyway, probably no knitting for me today!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Here there be knitwear!

Hooray! I finished four things since last I posted. First and foremost, I'm halfway to finishing the sockpal socks! One down, one started. Also, I whipped out three squares for Grace and Simone. I still have quite a bit of yarn left, so I'd like to do several more. If I could find a good stitch dictionary, I'd have no problems, but I'm kinda coming up with these on my own. Here is a shot of all four items, posing with my geranium and Fluffy's toes:
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(There was a time I didn't think that poor geranium would make it, but just look at it go!)
Here's a closeup of the sock and a better view of the ribbing. It didn't come out quite the way I'd envisioned, but I still like it. It may look more like I'd intended once I block it. This picture shows the truest colors for this yarn.
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This picture shows the items a little better, and you can see the three different Gracie blocks better. The pink and purple are JoAnn Sensations, Belleza Collection, Tesoro, 100% wool and softer than soft. The variegated is Bernat CottonTots, and I must say I'm not entirely a fan. I did like the way the colors arranged themselves... Love that wool, though - I'll use that again.
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And here's a picture to show you that common household items can be used for knitting or fibery pursuits:
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Using the top of a beer bottle to wind center-pull balls. It works great.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Warming Grace

So, I know there are a gazillion charity knitting projects out there. Probably even more than that. But this one struck a chord with me, so off I go:
Two Wooden Sticks and a Ball of Wool: Warming Grace
This little girl has cancer, and her aunt is asking for 5" squares of pink cotton or wool to make her a blanket. She met her best friend in chemo, so BF needs a blanket too. Who can resist sick children in need of blankets? Especially when all it will cost you is a swatch?
So anyway, I put out the word to the local SnB - people who want to participate can give me their squares and I'll mail them all as one package. Other Tucson-area knitters are welcome to toss me their squares as well. See the link above for the details.
The yarn I am using is JoAnn Sensations, Belleza Collection, Tesoro in pink and purple. So far I've knit half a square and haven't made a dent in the ball, so I could probably get more than two out of these two balls. (Normally I don't like the store brand yarn, but this stuff is soft! I'd use it again if I could wear wool. Next charity project...)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Knitting content ahead!

Yes, it's true. I have a pic of something I'm knitting. Can you guess what it is? Why of COURSE it's my sock pal sock! Here it is, last night, with a lifeline in for trying-on purposes:

The colors aren't entirely true, but close. I love this sock. I love it even more now that I figured out that if I snug up my purls, the ribbing actually comes out looking nice:

Ignore the colors - I had to adjust the brightness of the photo because the white sheet and the white leg would have seared your corneas right out, otherwise. Anyway, here you can see the ribbing, and it's nice and straight and even, which is a first in my knitting life.

I have a few more inches of ribbing to go before I can start the next one. I am knitting on these exclusively, just because if I don't I'll miss the deadline. I'll get sucked into something else and will think, "Oh, I have a whole month, I have time." NONONONONO, I must finish these so my pal won't feel sad and unloved. I'm already going to miss Aussie Cooper's birthday, and probably Sis's as well. >sigh< Bad knitter, I am.

Here's one little flower I forgot to post last time - it counts for March and April, through the clever combination of pink and yellow. It's a blurry little flor, due to a slight breeze that hit it right when I snapped the pic, but it's still pretty. Thanks, nature!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Late to the Project Spectrum Party

I didn't think I'd participate in this one much, since I like to play with whatever color strikes my fancy at the time. However, it occurred to me that I'd seen an awful lot of orange and yellow around in the last few days, and it cheered me up. So, here I am, one month late:
Pansies in my back yard

Snapdragons (I think) in my front yard

And for Sandi, Gorgeous Arizona Sunset #15,983,098,523

(This one is more for last month's color, but it's pretty and it's my blog.)

Yarny content to come later!