Monday, July 28, 2008

wrist warmers

I decided not to knit a soaker--the group has been running ads on Ravelry and perhaps other places, so I didn't want to limit my potential customer base to cloth diaper users with little girls who wear size mediums. So I knitted some wrist warmers instead:

I like 'em. I started making myself a pair two years ago, when I was working on the pattern, but I've only managed to make one. Is it wrong for me to hope they don't sell?

The link to the auction is here:

Friday, July 25, 2008

Zen String

Angelina of Zen String was my first yarn pusher, organizing the co-ops where I got my first undyed yarn, and dyeing me my first custom colorways. I don't buy from other dyers much anymore, seeing as my stash is already far beyond life expectancy, but once in a while I will cave and buy some of her lovely yarn.

In April, Angelina moved halfway across the country--but something happened and she and her four children have been without a permanent home since then. To help remedy this, the fine women of the Tiny Lady Cooperative are organizing a benefit for her, featuring her yarns.

The benefit starts July 29. I'm hoping to knit a soaker for it this weekend--but even if I don't manage to get it finished in time, please stop by and take a look at some of these wonderful items, and help a friend in need.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

victory is mine!

After writing my post last night, I sorted out the bits dyed by independent dyers and e-mailed a friend who expressed interest last year in those types of scraps. Then I posted on one of my online boards and offered the remainder to anyone who might be interested, for the cost of shipping.

Who knew there would be so many people interested? I just packaged up 18 mini and full-size skeins, weighing in at about 2 lbs. I put some more scraps into a bag for the kiddo's preschool. I stuffed the things that I absolutely could not part with (1.5 toddler socks, a barely-started felted bag project, some scraps for a baby hat for the friend who dyed the yarn) into an old diaper bag. Now I have a tote for all the new undyed yarn. Yay!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

living in the shadow of the Great Yarn Depression

My yarn stash is out of control. A couple of months ago, I managed to sort it into entire skeins, which have completely filled a Lane cedar chest, and scraps, which are in a giant Rubbermaid tote. (This is just the dyed yarn; the undyed yarn has its own tote system.)

The scraps are my main problem now. I did get rid of a bunch of them by giving them to my kiddo's preschool to use for art projects and such. But other partial skeins are too big to just toss--I might use it for a hat someday! Or I might finish that other mitten/sock sometime. That yarn over there would be great for felting, if I ever manage to find time to work on that design that's been rattling around my head for two years. Well, that skein, yeah, I'll probably never use it, but someone else might--I ought to just photograph it and list it for sale. You name the scrap, I've got a good reason for keeping it.

I got another 10 lbs of undyed yarn today and I've got another six showing up shortly. I need this freaking tote to be empty so that I can use it for yarn I'm actually going to do something with. But I just can't let go.

It's not like the Great Yarn Depression is going to hit my household anytime soon. I don't know where this instinctive horror of getting rid of yarn is coming from.

Monday, July 21, 2008

dyer's woad

My friend Lisa gave me a couple of books for my birthday this year, A Dyer's Garden and A Weaver's Garden. I don't have nearly enough yard space to raise any of these plants (the books estimate needing as many as 24 plants to dye a scant 4 oz of yarn), but I've gotten interested in the idea of using ones that are noxious weeds around here. They're plentiful and I'd be doing the rest of the ecosystem a favor by using them for something practical.

I love indigo, but given that it thrives in places like South Carolina and southeast Asia, I can't make a go of growing it here. Dyer's woad has the same chemical (though in smaller amounts) and grows in Great Britain--a similar climate to here. The catch is that to use woad in a non-commercial form that would avoid the use of lye and such, the leaves must be absolutely fresh, so I have to go foraging for them.

So I looked up dyer's woad and it is classified as a Class A noxious weed in this county--a real nasty. I e-mailed the local noxious weed control coordinator, who is a friend of mine, to see if she could recommend any likely patches.

Alas! Except for one tiny patch in Kittitas County, she says that dyer's woad has been eradicated from Washington state. Quite an achievement--usually Class A weeds are unstoppable--but I am selfishly sad for my big plans ending up in the toilet.

She did say that it is still found in Idaho, where I'll be camping next week. I think I'm going to have to lug along some yarn and a dyepot, just in case. Otherwise, I'll probably be experimenting with purple loosestrife and Scotch broom, which are two nasties that are taking over the countryside.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Honeycrisp, take 2

A while ago, I dyed an experimental colorway, Honeycrisp, to match this gorgeous knitting bag by Debbie of Beach Plum Kids:

We ended up going with a different colorway, Lark:

So I was free to make the red in Honeycrisp a little darker and richer. I also cut down on the amount of yellow and green. Here's the result, hand-dyed on Flying Cloud:

It turned out just how I wanted it, right down to the dusty green, just like an apple leaf. And the yarn--oh, the yarn. Flying Cloud is so silky smooth, and a light bulky weight so it will work up quickly. It would make a fantastic sweater, except you'd never want to take it off.

Friday, July 18, 2008

waiting for the big brown truck

I am eagerly awaiting a UPS package full of yarn (it's not like I'm already drowning in yarn or anything), but the last time I got a shipping notification from this seller, it was a day before the package actually arrived. So I'm thinking there's probably another peculiar delay between the time they ship and the time the info gets into the system. I wish there were some way to track UPS packages coming to your house by entering your address, and seeing if anything was coming to you.

I took a few photos of my lovely soft Flying Cloud yarn, but they were pretty boring, so I dyed some up instead. I took another shot at Honeycrisp and this time I'm pretty happy with the result. Photos to come this weekend.

Monday, July 14, 2008

hellooooo, beautiful.

Five kilos of lovely fluffiness just appeared on my doorstep, accompanied by some sock yarn cousins. I've decided to name this particular yarn Flying Cloud. For some reason, I expected this to be plied, but it's bulky soft spun, so the name suits it even better than I thought.

Will update with a photo later--I'm in the middle of dyeing, but I am SO excited to get this yarn!

Monday, July 7, 2008

she shoots, she scores!

I just nabbed five kilos of bulky BFL/merino, beating two other addicts out by mere minutes. This blend is to die for--the unbeatable softness of merino combines with the strength and luster of Blue-Faced Leicester to form an uncannily silky and gorgeous yarn. It totally was not in my yarn budget but I just could not resist. I'm so excited to get it!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I have a friend who owns a local apple orchard. Their signature variety is Honeycrisp--one of my favorite eating apples, as sweet and crunchy as their name. When we were in Middlebury, VT a couple of years ago, we bought a 10-lb bag of Honeycrisps at the local farmers' market, intending to bring some home to my parents, whose idea of a good apple is a Red Delicious. Unfortunately, they never got to try one because they were all eaten before we made it back.

This is my first shot at a Honeycrisp colorway. I think I may try adding another shade of deeper red, and reducing the amount of green and yellow.