Friday, May 30, 2008


I've been spinning. In fact, I spent an entire day at the wheel. You can ask PH.
PH: Yep.
This was the BFL that I dyed the other day. This is the only handspun that I could get a decent photo of. I'll have to try again with the others. I spun some purple mystery roving and some natural. Then, I decided to finish another UFO! The Lace Dream Stole!
I have yet to get a good photo of it in all its blocked glory. This will have to do for now.
I am now working on another UFO. The Dropstitch Shawl, a free Knitpicks pattern. It is going so fast. I'll be done with it very soon! Then, maybe I'll spin some more!
PH: Oh, joy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Bird in the Hand...

Le Peacock!

Here's the Blue-Faced Leicester that I dyed after the shawl. I used the turquoise and poured in some royal blue and some violet. I am spinning it up now.
This little monkey came home with DH today! More monkeys for me! My DH is such a sweetheart to surprise me and to think of adding to my great wall of ape. DH has been away on business for five days. Now you know how I accomplished so much and lived to blog about it! Between the knitting and spinning and dyeing, I've also been altering a dress pattern to fit and doing a bit, just a bit, of cleaning and hiking. Oh, and, Natalie, I have finally, just today, finished spinning the last of the "big blue ball"! Hooray! I think I'm getting a little tired of blue, although I love it. I have lots more wool to dye, so I think I'm going to try for some very different colorways. I may try to dye some fleece in different colors and card them up into heathers. Gotta get out my dye books!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Can a Bird Change Its Feathers?

A peacock can! Here's a reminder of what the Peacock Feathers Shawl looked like in its natural, scariegated colorway. Ewwwwwe!

Prepare to be amazed!

I tried everything, but I couldn't get accurate shots of the dye swatches. The colors turned out so much deeper and more saturated than they look on the computer. They came out a deep teal, and intense, jewel-like royal blue and a dark, deep-sea turquoise. The teal came out the most monochromatic, probably because it was the same color as the darkest color already in the yarn. The royal blue swatch had subtle darker shades in it where the blue covered the teal, but it was mostly one color. The turquoise swatch had the most variations in it, but they were still so subtle that it just looked like it was a trick of the light. It seemed to almost glow.

Well, I decided to ask my trusty assistant, PH, to give me his opinion.

PH: Yeah, so what do you want me to do with these things?

Me: I just want you to give me your opinion. What color would you dye this shawl if it were yours?

PH: Look at me. I'm short, hairy and orange. In case you haven't noticed, I'm a cat. And, besides that, I'm a guy.

Me: I'll give you canned food.

PH: (SWIPE!) I like these two. Let's make a deal. Throw in some cat treats and I'll narrow it down to one.

In the end, we both decided on the same color. So, back to the laboratory....

That little enamel pot that I did the test swatches in was a great find. I found it in the camping section of Wall-eye World. It's a great size for small batches.

I tried to do some fancy calculations to try to get the same result with the much larger shawl that I did with the little swatch. It came out a bit lighter, so I let it cool a bit and took it out and mixed up another batch of dye. But, as I spread the shawl out and started looking at it in the sunlight, I started to really like it the way it was. The stripey variegation was gone and you could really see the lace pattern, but there was still some color variation. Very peacock. Well, have a look for yourself!

The photos still seem a bit light, but if you click on them and make them big, you can get an idea. When you see it in person, it looks like light playing over irridescent bird feathers. Only it's yarn! Heh. I like it. It's purdy. Oh, and, by the way, PH and I decided on turquoise.

Tomorrow, I'll post a picture of the roving I dyed with the second batch of dye that I didn't use. You know, I don't think I've ever posted about spinning on this blog. Well, I guess that'll have to change. Spinning, coming up sometime this week!


The dye.
The complicated, scientific, heating apparatus.

The swatches.

I waited so long to post, now I'm too sleepy. It was a good day. More on these tomorrow and better pictures, too. I ran out of sunlight, you see.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Just Bootieful!

I started a pair of baby booties last night. This morning, I finished them. They are a gift! They're made with Regia sock yarn, in what I call a baby-neutral colorway, which means it has so many colors in it that you could hurt your brain trying to decide whether they should be for a boy or a girl. I enjoyed knitting these, and I'm going to make more of them for some other new babies. I almost always have leftover sock yarn after knitting a pair of adult socks. The pattern is, Christine's Baby Booties, it's easily memorized, and you can find it here.

Here they are, resting on an UF(Q)O. Unfinished quilted Object. I think they're pretty cute. Oh, and one of the reasons that I chose this pattern was that they are supposed to be constructed in a way that makes them stay on better than most baby booties. A plus for moms with bouncing babies and kickers, I guess.

I searched for someone to model these lovely booties. PH was too busy catching up on some reading.

So...I perused the "Wall of Ape". It was like something out of Cinderella, but I found the perfect fit. She's, attractive gorilla. Cough, cough. Actually looks like an old supervisor of mine.

Meet, Lily!

I think I may start an Ape of the Week. Maybe Simian Sunday?

Here's a close up. The booties are very stretchy and comfortably accommodate even Lily's hand-like feet.

I hope the new baby will enjoy them.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Preparing the Plumage

I made some little swatches today for testing the overdye colors. The big one was the actual swatch for the knitting of the Peacock Feathers Shawl itself. I learned the value of swatching when I made the, Shetland Tea Shawl, the brown one at the top of the page, and it came out an entire foot smaller in diameter than it was supposed to. Needless to say, I hadn't swatched. Now, look, another advantage of swatching! Less work for me today! Now, why on Earth did I go through with knitting this shawl, in the first place, after looking at that swatch and seeing the scareigated lace, I have no idea. But, I think it will be a fun experiment, so I don't mind too much.

I've also pulled out another UFO. The Lace Dream Stole, from The Best of Knitter's Shawls and Scarves. I have less than six pattern repeats left to knit, but each repeat is thirty-two rows long. It is a beautiful pattern, Ostrich Plumes, but it is a huge stole and pretty dull to knit. I worked on that a bit today. It's going to be pretty in this fuzzy, pink mohair, a little scratchy, though. PH doesn't mind.

Lace Dream.

I leave you with a photo I took of the Tennessee state flower.

The wild iris. Pretty, no?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Another Post? So Soon?

What do you think?

This is a comfy sock I made from Drooling-Over-Yarn-Laura's sock yarn in a colorway called "Something Unusual". As I suspected, the colors go great with jeans. Great dye job, Laura! I think I will call them my, Drooling Socks. The second one is nearly completed.

I know that the socks I "designed" are, really, extremely simple ones, just socks with cables running down the sides, but I was thinking that I might try to write it out, for practice. If I do that, would anyone give me feedback on whether or not the pattern makes sense and is easy to follow? Then, I can work towards something more complicated. Please, please, please?

I did finish knitting the Peacock Feathers Shawl in the scareigated yarn. Here it is in its shriveled and unblocked state.

Here's what I am going to do to salvage it. I am going to knit some simple swatches with the leftover yarn and overdye them with different shades of blue and blue-green. I have sapphire, turquoise, teal and navy, acid dyes. I'll post the swatches so you can see the results and help me make up my mind. It will be an experiment. I hope it works.

PH made a bird buddy! He and this morning dove entertained each other on and off for an entire afternoon. The dove would come to the window, look in and call, until PH would come running and join him. Then, they would just sit and stare at each other. They did this over and over. I found this friend much more enjoyable than the skink PH carried into the house the other day, and let go.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Lure of Lace

It's been so long since I've posted. Thanks to those of you that haven't given up on me and e-mailed. DH and I are settling in here and things are starting to feel normal again and not like I am on some extended vacation. For a time there was no knitting being done, though there was yarn buying, but I am making up for that, now.

I am in a state of finish-itis, which I suppose is better than being in a state of start-tis. But, perhaps, this finish-itis has come upon me because of the guilt I know I would feel if I let the start-itis that is lurking behind it come to the forefront before finishing some more ufo's! But, before I tell you what I'm working on, let me show you a few yarn acquisitions.

I had to find out what all the noise about Tofutsies was about. That was my first purchase. You can see it was around Easter time. This is from my new LYS in Knoxville.

On a trip to Lexington, I found some sock yarn for DH. He's a drab color kind of guy.

Back in Knoxville, I found some really gorgeous lace weight called Jojoland Harmony. The colors seem to blend like trekking in an ombre fashion. I can't wait to find the perfect lace pattern. I've seen some really pretty things people have made out of it on Ravelry. The other sparkly stuff was on sale. I know I'll find something to do with it one day.

So what have I been working on? I put away the wrap sweater for a little while, because I've been itching to work on some lace again. I made some progress on my Heere Be Dragone shawl.

I am actually, farther along than this photo shows. I've started the wings. This pattern is so much fun. Every part of the creature is made from a different textured lace stitch. I am not so much fond of dragons as I was interested in learning the techniques used in this kind of pictoral lace knitting. The horizontal stitch is my favorite thing I learned from this shawl and it's so useful.

I was almost tempted to use lifelines making this shawl, but being kind of lazy and never using them before, I've just been knitting happily (and sometimes frustratingly) along. I find fixing lace mistakes kind of fun and challenging, especially if you have to drop (on purpose or not on purpose) down some stitches to repair something a row or two down. What a weirdo! The most difficult thing for me is to remember while knitting this pattern is that on the even numbered rows you still have to pay close attention to the last charted row, because there are some stitches that have to be slipped and they are not marked on the even row.

Yesterday, I put this shawl (which I am calling, The Green Dragon, in honor of the tavern by the same name in, Hobbiton, from Tolkien's trilogy) aside in order to finish the Peacock Feathers Shawl that I started long ago. I am now on the border, and should be done with it tonight. This is that variegated mess that I will be over-dying in order to bring the gorgeous lace pattern back out to the forefront.

Next post, which will be very soon, maybe even tonight, I will show you what I have been up to with yarn purchased from Laura at Drooling Over Yarn.