Sunday, June 24, 2007

Greetings Knitsibs! I have been listening to wayyyy too many podcasts - obviously including Brenda Dayne at Cast On. Overall, I'm impressed with the quality. So far my faves are, besides Cast On, Sticks and String (if only because David could read the dictionary in that lovely Aussie accent and I'd been enraptured), Socks in the City, and Lime and Violet. I also caught Christa Knits recently and it was quite enjoyable (particularly the slam poetry about Canada - I have a wierd appreciation for spoken word stuff - I think its the rhythm and cleverness mixed with performance artiness that appeals to me.

I met some folks!

I managed to get out to Knit night at Bridgehead in the Glebe...and finally got to meet in person the lovely Justine (winner of Blogiversary week 1 prize), Sarah and, finally!!! Leanne! A big hello also to Tara.

If any of you stop by...please say hello - it was wonderful to put faces to names and fondle everyone's yarn and projects! A huge thank you to Mairi who checked out my fair isle and said it wasn't too tight. Mairi is an amazing knitter and everytime I see her she has done something stunning. This time it was mittens that most Latvians would kill for. Gorgeous!!

I finished something!

So anyway, there's been a lot of podcast listening on the bus...which has led to the final finish on Madeline's Second Socks...

Pattern: Yarn Harlot sock recipe from Knitting Rules.
Needle size: depends on the day, I lost a few so I just grabbed whatever seemed close (thanks to Elizabeth Zimmerman for helping me relax about sock needle sizes when knitting on DPNs)
Yarn: Knitpicks Bare fingering weight - dyed by me last year in a first attempt at self-patterning yarn. I am pleased with how it turned out even though I have never really liked the way a) the colours ended up way too pastel and b) the stripes aren't big enough. But Madeline likes them so it doesn't matter. A close up:

And I bought something!!

As my last post hinted...there was a rather expensive accident at the Black Lamb in Port Hope. I can only say this...thank goodness I am not married anymore since this one would have severly strained relations for a good long while...

The short version of the story is that I tried out this wheel on a trip through last year and fell in love with it. I had already bought my Ashford Joy but had only had it a short time. It seemed a bit too early to be acquiring multiple wheels and maybe even upgrading somewhat.

I have been obsessing about the Little Gem EVER SINCE. I really believe that if 24 hours doesn't cure an obsession, then it might be a good idea to buy the item. 12 months is more than long enough to obsess about a wheel. And I will sell the Joy - either locally or the wonderful Laurie at the Black Lamb will take it on consignment.

So here is my new baby...

And the "messy but worth it" category

There has been some dyeing this week. I don't have pics of everything but I'll try to explain my process anyway. The goal was to get some more self-patterning sock yarn but with longer repeats than my last batch.

I started by winding my skein of Bare into a centre pull ball - at 440 yds thats a BIG ball...almost too big for the ball winder. Next, I tied off the outside end to a chair and started the aerobic part of the exercise - winding around my dining room table, into the living room, around the couch and back to the dining room table. Over and over and over and over...(lather, rinse, repeat)...and over.

Once done I take the unbelieveably huge circle and get three roughly equal lengths together and tie the - I'm not explaining this well so here's a visual aid...

Next I went looking for inspiration. I had taken a few books about colour out of the library. The one I chose this from is called "Couleurs de Provence" and its absolutely gorgeous. I love picture for the stark red poppy against the golden wheat.

I tried to reacreate the red and gold - and then find an inbetween shade for the third stripe.

Dye powder - bright red and sun yellow...

Mixed up dyes and my napkin test which doesn't show actual colour so much as tell me if the colour is going the way I want it to. In this case I was really looking for earth tones and ended up adding brown to deepen and soften the colour.

Here are the individual arms in their own jars sitting in my canner ready for steaming.

Once the colour had set I rinsed out the yarn and spun it out in the washing machine to get rid of the excess water. Then I hung it to dry. The last skein I dyed I tried to add the stripes before drying it and it turned out to be very frustrating and the dye ran up the yarn and I didn't have much control. This time I tried adding the dye to dry wool. It worked better but I need to find a happy medium - it was hard to get the dry wool to absorb the watery dye. So its true when they say wool is resistant.

Here was the set up for adding the patterning part to one stripe. I used the squeeze bottle to add an earthy green.

I wrapped the green and gold part in saran, put the other two stripe sections into jars and steamed it all again. Here it is after steaming enjoying a nice warm bath in water with a bit of shampoo to get rid of the stinkiness!

After a final spin, the skein is hanging to dry - this picture doesn't do the colour justice. I will get a better picture after I skein it.

Here is something I dyed earlier in the week...blues with...well I'm not sure what I ended up with. Not sure this will work as a good sock yarn - the difference between the blue and the green seems like it might be too much to me. I like the second photo better after the "arms" were separated and the whole thing was skeined properly.

So that's about it for this week. I am spinning some beautiful blue merino Fleece Artist roving and getting a feel for the new wheel. On the knitting front, a fair isle sweater (to be revealed in time) and Lizard Ridge (photos soon I hope - 3 1/2 squares down...21 1/2 to go).


Jeanne said...

Wow - you have been busy! Congrats on the new wheel - its beautiful! I love the yarn you dyed - just gorgeous!

Chriss said...

Oh my, haven't you been a busy girl! I like your colours and your technique is bang on. I hadn't thought about using the canning jars to separate the colours while steaming though. I usually wrap mine in plastic.

Very nice wheel(she squeals with jealousy)!

Leanne said...

It was so great to finally meet you! I hope it won't be the last time :-)