Saturday, October 30, 2010

The quiet desperation of autumn, with FOs

Hello, fall term. Goodbye spare time -- or energy to accomplish anything if I had such a thing as spare time. Evening classes to teach, 12-hour days, a conference to prepare for... is it too late to take up spot welding?

It's on cold, damp mornings when I'm throwing lunch together and tripping over the cats who are all demanding, "Feed us, pet us, don't leeeeeave, meowmy!" that I have these fantasies about how I'll just spin and knit and pet the cats all day and somehow the money to buy the cat food and pay the mortgage and the vet bills will just appear. A little fairy with a kitten's face and carrying yarn will wave her magic knitting needles and a winning lottery ticket will flutter out of the air... then reality sets in and I'm on the road with all the other grumpy people. Thank goodness for audiobooks. I can listen to knitting-related books even if I can't knit at the moment.

Still, I recently finished and plied about 550 yards of approximately laceweight, from two hanks of Cormo wool roving with little nubs of silk in it.

This would have been splendid spun up as a fluffy woolen-spun worsted as well. As it is, it's a soft, nubby yarn with just a hint of the lanolin still in it. It will probably end up as a lace scarf, stole, or shawl.

Stephania had a quiet little spindle spinning party where we watched part of the Respect the Spindle DVD, and I picked up my finished hand-painted sock blank:

I think it came out very well indeed. Now to pick out a pattern that will go well with the wide stripes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

This is the cat...

This is the cat

Who is not fat

Who sat on the mat

And that was that.

No matter what we put on the floor around here, a cat will come and sit on it. Soft blocking mats were irresistible. It took some persuasion to get Belle off of them and the item to be blocked onto them -- pix of that item coming soon.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

On Wool and Dyeing

Elizabeth Kuebler Ross, stand aside. We're gonna make dyeing -- dyeing with an E mind you -- into a very good time. Stephania of Three Fates Knitting invited some of us to her basement studio in her new house for a sock blank and yarn dyeing class.

Here, Stephania gets seriously down to business, gloving up and putting on the apron in the middle of her alchemical lab.

First, some deep pondering. Which to use, which to use...

For us rank beginners, a set of the primary colors that we can mix to make what we want will suffice.

Once the solutions were ready, Stephania also had some KnitPicks sock blanks soaking, as well as some yarn for one of the party who wanted to hand paint yarn.

Once we had our dyes mixed in cups, with some vinegar added, we laid our blanks out over plastic wrap in paint trays and set to with sponge brushes. Eloise is poised and ready.

I went for stripes in shades of purple, with blue, green, and chestnut brown.

Patch shares my preferred colorways. She did her stripes in blue, purple, and green, and carefully painted both back and front for complete coverage.

Eloise went for an autumn theme in oranges and browns,

while Snarfy went totally autumn on a skein of aran yarn.

Mia did a monochrome dye job on a skein of laceweight.

Heck yeah, this is fun!

Once everything was painted up, it was wrapped in plastic wrap and put in the steamer to steam. I'll get my results when we all meet for knitting this afternoon. Now we're hoping this is just the first class of many, 'cause once you get your hands into the dye, you're already thinking, "Now for the next project..." Hmm, hand painted roving, fleece, hmmm...

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