Thursday, March 31, 2005

A gratuitous shot of Monkey Boy after a nap

More Dyeing

A week or so ago, I was browsing around Ebay and found an auction for some natural colored wool yarn that looked like it would be great for dyeing. I call it "Mystery Yarn" because I've never heard of the name and the seller didn't know how much yardage was on each ball. Since it was pretty cheap (opening bid was less then $10), I went ahead and bid on it. I ended up winning the auction and the yarn arrived a few days ago.

Here's a before picture of the yarn: It's 78% wool, 17% acrylic and the rest is nylon. It's pretty chuncky - the label says 2sts/in on US11. It's hard to see in the photo but there's a binder thread running thru the yarn. I wasn't sure if the binder was nylon or acrylic...the only way to find out would be to dye it.

Here's the same yarn skeined up after dyeing. I really like the way it came out! I was a little worried during the painting process because the yarn seemed very 'dry'. It just ate up my dye like crazy! And this was after I soaked it overnight, for goodness' sake.

But I think it turned out quite nicely. The binder thread must be the arcylic part beacause it didn't take up any of the dye at all. The nylon looks to be part of the binder too, because there's a tiny little bit of it that *did* dye, tho much lighter than the surrounding wool. I'm going to try and measure the yardage on these skeins tonight and maybe re-skein one or two to see how it looks.

I've been practicing more on my spindle. Let's just say that my 'yarn' is very thick and thin! LOL I decided to take my spindle w/me to the LYS for the Wednesday night Sit n Stitch. One of the wonderful ladies there, Laurie, is a spinner extraordinnaire and she was nice enough to help me out.

It turns out part of my problem was the fiber I was using. It was some "extra" fiber thrown into an Ebay order I had received and according to Laurie, it was nasty stuff: all short ends from someone's carding. No wonder I was having such a hard time drafting the stuff! Laurie also handdyes gorgeous rovings and she had some with her so we started practicing with that. What a difference that made!!! It was SO much easier to draft her rovings that my yarn immediately started looking better. Check out the stuff on my spindle and the yummy rovings she gifted me with:

She said next week she'd bring some undyed Blue Faced Leicester for me to take home and dye/spin. The rovings above are also BFL. I could tell right away that the BFL was going to be easier to work with. The mystery roving that I had been using before actually made my fingertips feel stripped of oils while the BFL is almost silky.

I'm still plugging away on my Noro Tank from the last issue of Vogue Knitting....

I actually have a little more of the front done and hopefully I'll get it all finished up this weekend. I'm nervous about how it'll fit over my nursing bustline....I followed the directions for the largest size (40 in) so it better fit! If course if it's ugleeeee I can always frog it and do something else with the Noro. I love this color (#84).

For the past couple of days we've had tons of butterflies flitting about. Turns out that we're on the migration path of the Painted Ladies and every 10 yrs or so there a lot more than usual. In about two weeks, we'll get another flush of butterflies because the eggs they laid will have hatched and those baby butterflies will be mature enough to migrate as well.

I can't believe how hot it is today. The Santa Ana winds are blowing in some heat along with all the typical dust. Luckily we don't get affected much by the winds here, but it makes it sooooo dry and hot outside. It's about 80 degress right now!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I got out some of the plain rovings that I received and starting playing with my Lanaset dyes. The top three rovings are various mixtures of blue and brown. The bottom roving is all shades of purple. I did all of them using the 'wrap in plastic and microwave' method.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Some knitting content....

I just picked up the Spring issue of Vogue Knitting and it's got some really lovely stuff in it. My "to knit" list is getting longer and longer!!! I *must* make this, this and this. I especially like the Lace Up Camisole. But the yarn is so darned expensive (being 100% silk and all) I looked around on the Net for a subsitute and found that King Cole Soft as Silk DK is similar in gauge even tho it's 100% acrylic. Then this morning I remembered that I actually have some King Cole in my stash as I had made a baby blanket for Monkey Boy out of it. So I'm going to go stash digging and see if I can't find those left over balls and knit up a gauge swatch.

Here it drop spindling kit from Inspiration yarns

The blue roving in the basket is from an ebay seller. The other 6 rovings were included in the kit. And yes, that's *my* yarn on the spindle. See how thick it is? At this point it looks more like twine than yarn! LOL If I tried to ply it, it would look like rope!

I've been spinning a little every night and I am very slowly getting the hang of it. As long as I predraft the heck out of my fibers, I can get a fairly thin yarn. At least I'm not dropping my spindle every few minutes anymore.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

I found these little marshmellow eggs by Peeps for Little Man to decorate....

The finished product.... I think it looks pretty good for a 2.75yr old!

Friday, March 25, 2005


Yesterday was a good mail day....I finally got my drop spindle kit, and my Lanaset dye sampler came too. I took pics of the drop spindle kit, but my Flash card reader is on the fritz so I have to wait for Hubby to upload them for me.

I spent about an hour last night playing with the drop spindle and I'm just barely starting to get the hang of it...I'm still using the park and draft method of spinning, which seems easier for me to get the hang off. I discovered that I'm using way too much fiber, so I really need to predraft and predraft some more. Most of the rovings I got with the kit are white so I will probably spend some time this weekend dying them with the Lanaset dyes.

Hubby helped Little Man dye some hardboiled eggs for Easter.

Can you tell that he used his hands to dye the eggs?

And of course, right after we were done dying, I wanted to use all those pretty colors on my yarn! LOL

Thursday, March 24, 2005

So many projects, so little time....

I have a bunch of WIPs, but when I got Adorable Knits for Tots , the first thing I wanted to make was the Star Sweater for Little Man. It calls for Rowan's Cotton Glace and since I'm a cheapskate I went straight to Elann to find a substitute. I ended up ordering some of the Elann's Endless Summer Collection Sonata $1.98 a ball, it sure beats $7.50/ball for the Cotton Glace. The gauge/weight and fiber content looks identical to me so hopefully it will work. Here's my lovely Elann shipment along with the book and pattern.

I've heard that there's an error in the pattern; it calls for size 5US needles, but you're supposed to use size 3US. If that's the case I'm really glad I'm doing this as a child's sweater and not an adult's!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

"You can take my life, but you can't take my freedom!!!" (a la Mel Gibson in "Braveheart")

Actually, this is what happens when your kiddo gets a hold of your green under-eye concealer LOL!

The fruits of my labor....two more hand dyed yarns. I'm calling the top colorway Curacao. The bottom one looks like Orange Sherbert to me.

Here's Curacao re-skeined to show off the varigation.

It always fascinates me to see how different the colors look when they're reskeined. Which do you like better, the original skein or the second one?

How much fun can you have with a cardboard box?

Why do kids love cardboard boxes so much? LOL Here's Little Man as a "robot"....


Cuz every robot needs eyes!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Some WIPs

The "Good Bias" shrug from the Spring issue of Interweave Knits. The pattern called for Mission Falls 1824 cotton, but I really don't like that yarn so I went with Berrocco's Softwist instead. The pattern looked really complicated but it's not that hard at all, just lots of repeats. I also used a lifeline for the first time on this project and it's saved me from the frogpond several times already. The shrug is worked from the cuff of one sleeve up to the shoulder, then you do the other sleeve the same way and graft them together at the back.

It's kind of hard to see in the photo, but the skinny part on the left is the sleeve. Where it gets wider will be the part going over my shoulders and around the back. At the top of the photo is my start on the second sleeve.

Here's Little Man's Shawl Collared Sweater from Debbie Bliss' Baby Knits for Beginners.

I'm using supersoft merino worsted from Handpainted Yarn.
You're looking at the back and the right front of the sweater (it's a cardigan). I have about 1/2 of the left front done and then it's time to sew seams and pick up stitches for the shawl collar. The funny thing about this Debbie Bliss book is how big the patterns are. I'm following the pattern for a 18month to 2yr old and the chest measurement says 31 inches. That's 31 inches around the child's chest, not 31 inches around the finished sweater! So I think this will fit Little Man just fine even tho he's nearly 3 yrs old.

I had more fun with dye this weekend. My SIL came over and we did some KoolAid dying. Well, we actually used KoolAid, Wilton's icing coloring and my new Gaywool Dyes. Not sure if that's the recommended usage but that's what we ended up with. We're both alive to tell the story so intermixing must have been ok.

Here's the finished product hanging in my garage and drying.

I know it's not knitting but....

Here are Monkey Boy's little baby toes:

Why are babies' feet so adorable? Toddlers' feet are pretty cute too...those little toes and fat ankles just make me mushy. Isn't it funny how kids have the cutest toes, but adult feet are just plain *ugleeee*?

Little Man models a FO...

This is a sweater from the Yarn Girls' Guide to Kid Knits. I used Sirdar Ultra Denim. It was a super quick and easy sweater and Little Man really likes wearing it. The very first time he wore it out, a lady approached me and tried to buy it right off his back. I like to think it's because of the model, not the sweater itself.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Yarn Porn Ahead...

A couple of weeks ago, the LYS had their infamous "bag sale". People come from all over the place to buy yarn. It's all steeply discounted but the catch is everything is in bags of 10 skeins- hence the name "bag sale". Basically the yarn is 50% off of retail.

They used to do the bag sales only twice a year but I guess they have so much yarn that they decided to have an extra sale. People are crazy at these things; last time I was 8.5 mos preggers so I didn't go- I was afraid someone would try to knock me over in their rush to get to the yarn. Also the LYS is near Leisure World , a huge retirement community so there are always little old ladies with their walkers and canes running into you. Though I heard tell of one of the aforementioned little old ladies who uses her walker as a ruse....she doesn't really need it and will dive into a bin of yarn if she sees something she likes. Scary stuff!

Anways, I braved the walkers and rabid yarn fiends and came up with some Austermann MicroLana in baby blue, and this stuff:

It's GGH Sombrero. A ribbony yarn with a slightly paper-like feel when you knit with it. I washed the swatch and it's much softer now. I think I might make a summery tank top out of it.

And I *finally* got my yarn from the Ebay seller 100purewool and here it is in all its glory. Isn't it the yummiest colorway? I think it's called "otono" (with the little doo-hickey accent over the N).

I'm pretty impressed with this yarn- I would say that it's just as soft as the worsted merino from , it's still a single ply, but a little more tightly spun than the stuff Marcos sells. The bad part is that 100purewool doesn't seem to have a US affiliate yet, so the yarn has to come all the way from Uruguay. It took about 3 weeks to get to me. And then it was sent registered mail so I had to go to the post office to pick it up. Plus the shipping is kinda high. ...tho the package had some really cool Uruguyan stamps on it. If 100purewool had cheaper/quicker shipping I would def. buy more stuff from them.

I'm not sure what I"m going to make from this, but Clapotis is singing its siren song to me right now. I think it would beautiful in this colorway. But then again, I was going to hand dye some fingering weight yarn of my own for another Clapper. Either I'm going to have to give away a couple of Clapoti (Clapotises?) or they're going to be like tribbles and start popping up everywhere.

BTW here's my Clapotis. I used the Shimmer yarn from Knitpicks.

It's laceweight so I doubled the yarn. I think it turned out quite nicely. It's not as heavy as a Clapper made out of worsted weight yarn but it's lovely for spring. I get comments on it everywhere I go.

Where o where is my spindle kit? WAAAAA I'm totally stalking the mailman now- whenever I hear this mail truck I immediately run to a window to see if he's gonna stop and leave me my spindle. *sigh*

I got some roving from Ebay that looks really yummy and I. WANT. MY. SPINDLE. and oh yeah, there's that small matter of learning how to use it...

Saturday, March 19, 2005

I was at Trader Joe's today and picked up two more of these little baskets. I first saw them about a month ago and was instantly hooked; they make great knitting baskets. They're lined with pockets inside and have a drawstring top to keep little fingers and dog noses out. Plus if it falls over in the car, knitting paraphenalia doesn't go flying everywhere.

Another nicety: they're really inexpensive. This is the medium size and it'll hold a sweater-sized project with no problems. It's only $8.99!

The funny thing is, when I first saw these baskets I mentioned to the cashier at TJ's that they would make great knitting baskets. So we have this discussion about how they work really well for holding projects and next thing I know she says she'll make a display to see if the baskets sell more quickly. Evidently they don't sell a lot of them as gift baskets.

Well, Yarn Lady is literally right behind this particular TJ's so lots of knitters shop at the market. I went in a week later & noticed that all the baskets were gone. I happened to get the same cashier and mentioned asked when more baskets would be coming in. She tells me that since they put up a display (cute little basket with yarn and needles sticking out), they've sold three cases of baskets. They normally sell 1 case a month! I told her it was all in the marketing....and hey, shouldn't I be getting a commission?

Same basket with some of my hand dyed yarn.

And here's the inside- there are pockets along all 4 sides of this one.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Knit N Play

A couple of the moms in my Mom's Group got together today for a "knit n play". Which is supposed to mean we knit while the kiddos play. What usually ends up happening is one or two of us will knit while someone else referees the toy-induced wrestling matches. I usually don't get much done during the KnPs, but they sure are fun for the kids.

I worked on Little Man's shawl collared sweater from Debblie Bliss' "Baby Knits for Beginners". I'm using some of the luscious worsted weight merino from in the Deep Earth colorway. This yarn is so yummy and I'm actually kinda bummed so many people know about it now. After the review on KR , Marcos at Handpainted yarn was inundated with orders and they sold out of all the merino within a few days.

I've been ordering from Marcos' website since last year and always got great stuff at great prices; now I'm afraid he'll close up the web shop and go retail or something. Or (gawd forbid) raise prices.

Ah well, off to put the kiddos to sleep for a nap and some knitting time of my own.

A better view of the yarn I dyed using Wilton's icing dyes...I got the undyed yarn from It's the worsted weight stuff. I

Yarn dyed with Wilton's icing dyes...

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Yikes, my first post...

I don't know why, but I decided to start a blog. Like I have time for this considering I have a 3 mo. old baby and a 2.75yr old kiddo. And a lover-ly hubby. And a portrait photography biz. And two dogs.

How do I relax? I knit. A lot. So much that Little Man (my 2.75yr old) already knows how to roll yarn into a ball using my ball winder and swift. He even tries to "knit" using the tips of his shoelaces when he's bored. I can't wait till he's old enough to actually learn how to old do kids have to be before they have the eye-hand coordination for that?

Anyways, I love knitting....and recently discovered that I love dying yarn as well. Now I've somehow fallen into trying out hand spinning. I'm impatiently awaiting my Beginner's Spinning Kit - the poor mailman thinks I'm stalking him from the way I watch his truck every day.

And of course here's the yarn I dyed this weekend....using Wilton's icing dyes that I painted on.