Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dyeing by the Lock

All those white locks looked pretty boring to me so I just had to add some color to them. I did not want to spend months spinning only white again. Been there. Done that. Over it.

I wanted them to be a pale pink but I had to worry about how to add the color without disturbing the locks.
I gave them a dunk in some very diluted Jacquard Fire Red dye and then piled them up on trays that I could microwave. The Mister's love of Chinese food keeps us well stocked in these plastic containers. I used the lids.

 I stacked all the trays on top of each other and them put them all in one zip lock bag and gave them a 20 minute steaming of 2 minutes on and 2 minutes of rest.

The dyeing worked very well but I still have no idea if they are actually clean enough to spin. The sun has to do its job for a few days before I'll know if all this work was worth it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lock by Lock

I was lurking in the Fiber Prep group the other day when I read the advice someone was giving someone else about washing Cormo. Whenever I see the word Cormo in a thread I click on it because I still have several bags of the incredibly greasy stuff in the shed from my washing disaster during the Tour de Fleece back in 2010. Clean Cormo is the best thing ever, but getting it clean without ruining the fiber is near impossible.

The person giving the advice was saying to wash one lock at a time with a thick, hot soap dunk and a bar of soap. I was intrigued.

 It seemed pretty simple until I tried to do it. The water was very hot and the locks turned into slippery little things that were very hard to hold onto-and it is VERY important that you hold onto them tightly. If you drop them, the locks fall apart when they hit the water.

After the dunking, you rub them carefully across a bar of mild soap to work up a good lather.

After the soaping, I laid them out and gave them a gentle squish to get it through all the fibers.I enjoyed this immensely.

I hung them over the sink divider to drain...

...followed by a rinse with more boiling hot water.

 The final step was to give them another hot rinse with tap water and a gentle squeeze to remove the excess while holding them very carefully to preserve the lock formation as much as possible.

 By now my hands were too pruney to continue so I had to come up with another way to do this.


Now I have a bunch of little white locks that I hope are clean enough to spin-but I am not done with them yet. Come back tomorrow to see what came next.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Falling Out of Love

I knew it was too good to be true. I was knitting happily along on my Color Affection and then I got to the final section of short rows and three color stripes. For once the short rows are not the problem. It is the tangling of the three colors as you wrap them up the side. It is everything I hate about color work. If I didn't love the way it looks so much I would be putting this in a serious time out.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Hooking

I made a second flower motif. So far so good. The chart is not so hard to follow after you work your way through one of the motifs. Looking at these photos, I am not so sure my color choices were the best but I'm sticking with them. I could never manage all these new stitches and color changes at the same time.

Joining the motifs was a bit of a head scratcher that also turned out easier than I thought it was. I can hear all you hookers out there snickering at my horrible stitches. They are awful but I am just learning. I can see improvement as I go so I have a feeling this shawl is going to be really terrible at one end and much nicer at the other.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Spreading the Color Infection

Color Affection by Veera Välimäki
I am having too much fun working on this. I can see why so many people are making them. They are so simple and so clever at the same time.

I am using a mod that I read about in other people's project notes. I am adding a yo in between the first 2 stitches of each row to give a stretch to the edge that will have to be blocked in order to achieve its length. It also adds a pretty edging. I only have 4 more turquoise stripes before I go into that final long striped section. Let's see if I am still so enthusiastic when I have hundreds more stitches on the needles.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dyeing Singles-Again

I had one lonely half bobbin of Corrie singles leftover from all that plying for sock yarn I did a while back.

Last summer I had The Mister make me some plastic niddy-noddys that I could use for dyeing.

You can paint on dye one strand at a time this way. I use a fork in one hand and the brush in the other to get the dye into the middle.

After my most recent dyeing disasters, I stuck to two colors that I knew would not look terrible mixing and mingling-yellow and orange.

At the last minute I added a touch of navy blue which I immediately regretted and then steamed the whole mess in the microwave 2 minutes on and 2 minutes off for about 20 minutes.

When the singles were dry I wound them into a center pull ball and then plied it taking one strand from the outside and one from the inside.

 This is always risky business with delicate singles so I give a big sigh of relief when I get to that end  loop without a tangle or a break.

For all that work I was rewarded with a cute little 50 gram skein of extremely variegated yarn.

 Not bad, since all those singles were originally destined for the trash.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Light of Day

The old Lillihammer came out of the closet for the first time in over a year. The new yarn bowl needed to have something to do and this is where it could do its job best.

While working on my stranding in this mitten, I had an epiphany. If it works here it would surely work on the ancient Lillehammer which had become a real drudge to work on.

Out of shear terror, I was wrapping everything. See all the tiny bumps at the top of the photo? They are the old wraps. My yarn was always twisted and I had to switch hands all the time which is no fun. Near the stitch marker are my new floats.

I can't see any difference in the stitches from the front at all. Now the thing is a real pleasure to knit. It is practically flying off the needles-sort of. It's still a complicated pattern but I can truthfully say I really enjoy picking it up. Too bad the darn thing is too small.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hiding the Jogs

I have one of my "purse" socks done. By that I mean the socks that live in my purse. They are my emergency knits. I never leave home without them.

They are also rescue socks because I rescued them from the frog pond. They used to be Jaywalkers. Now they are striped. By using a tweed and a variegated yarn, I discovered the secret to jogless stripes that doesn't involve any stitch manipulation at all. The jogs are there. Look closely. The tweedy bits and the polka dot yarn do a pretty darn good job of camouflaging them, don't they?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Color Affection by Veera Välimäki
I need to stay away from the Yarn Harlot's blog. Every time she knits something, I want it and I have a closet full of never started projects to prove it.

I resisted making one of these for as long as I could-but it kept coming back to haunt me every time I took a stroll through the stash. I have the yarn. In fact, I have enough stashed fingering weight to make LOTS of these little striped shawls. In spite of a million things already started, I am casting this on tonight. I need to get over this bug-me and about 3000 other knitters. It's an epidemic. Somebody call a doctor.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Dad is a newbie to this crafting thing. He is always whining that we have too many projects going and that we never finish anything. He doesn't understand why we can't stick to one thing at a time.

Today he got to experience that rush you get when all at once things get done. His Labor of Love quilt is finally ready for quilting. He was pretty happy about that.

 His crazy Thangles quilt is also ready for batting and backing. He also has several more that just need some finishing touches.

Hopefully he has caught on to the method of my madness. Monogamy isn't for everyone.

Monday, May 21, 2012


My three pretty skeins of Kid Mohair and Silk that I bought at the Sheep and Wool Fest just got all wound up.

It is lovely stuff-all thin and fuzzy. It's as soft as Mohair can be.

I am going to try and crochet a flower motif shawl out of it.

 This one as a matter of fact, without all the color changes. I don't want to weave in all those ends.

Don't ask me how I know that Mohair doesn't frog well. It certainly doesn't so there will be no fixing of boo boos.

When I was done I had something that looked a lot like a really bad doily that someone's grandma had made in the 60's. I think I have a few packed away somewhere but no matter how bad they are-they are still better than this. I am going to keep my fingers crossed that when I get a few more different colored flowers attached it won't look quite so awful.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

First Wash

The new Romney X and Jacob are having another good soak. They spent the last 24 hours in cold water now they are in some very hot water and a whole lot of Dawn detergent.

After three washes the Jacob looks lovely just as it is...

...and the Romney X looks like a rainbow. I couldn't resist adding a little dye to it to see how it takes it-and it seems to take it just fine.