Saturday, March 19, 2005

to dye for, part 3

mmm.. dye party... 3 more pounds of yarn and a couple of pounds of roving, all prettied up and drying in my bathroom and on the porch. I think we may have accidentally dyed the porch a few different colors today.

Things we learned:

  • Steam Dyeing is a very good way to dye roving. Less mess, less unintended felting, better color bands.

  • When steam dyeing, lots of dye will sneak out of the packets and into the pot, so don't use your pasta pot thinking the dye is contained and you'll still be able to use the pot for cooking.

  • Colonial Blue from Prochem doesn't take very well.

  • Mohair blends eat up color beautifully.

  • Fingernails also absorb color well, even when wearing gloves.

  • Superwash sock yarn doesn't eat up color unless you force feed it.

  • After 5 hours or so of dyeing, your back will hurt.

  • Putting dyes in plastic squeeze bottles saves a lot of grief.

  • Keeping the squeeze bottles in a Grooming Box makes them easier to carry back down to the basement.

  • You can never have too many layers of newspaper protecting the counter.

Friday, March 18, 2005

nearing completion, yet no pictures...

My camera has run off to Michigan with the boy. Have no fear - both are scheduled to return. Until then, alas, no new pictures.

It's too bad, too, because after being stuck in traffic for an hour longer than usual on my morning commute, Clapotis is almost done. I think I'm down to 9 stitch repeats. Campus is a ghost town, so I think I'll sit outside and knit for awhile this afternoon in the springiness. The few days as winter is ending when you can really tell that spring is likely going to stay are some of my favorites, so I should savor them while I can.

More dyeing is likely this weekend. The creamy colored wool in my living room is taunting me, and I think I'll start work on another Clapotis on the plane to Chicago, where I will visit my family next weekend. Maybe greens with a bit of yellow and blue, if I can get the blue dye to take for a change. This time, I'm going to dye the wool with shorter "stripes" so that it looks more mottled than patterened, I think. We'll see if the dyes agree to that plan. It's always an adventure.

Friday, March 11, 2005


I am wary of talking about my job in a public forum, but, thanks to the flexibility of working in academia, I think I can at least mention it without getting myself fired. I work at a college near Baltimore, Maryland. Specifically, I advise students, helping them choose classes, figuring out how soon they can graduate, working with them through medical school applications -- good stuff like that. Right now, we're in a lull period on campus. It's a week and a day before Spring Break, students are studying for midterms, and there isn't much going on in my office. So, on Thursday afternoon, I pack up some work that I can do in the comfort of my pajamas, and put in my 8 hours or so over the course of the weekend, which lasts from Friday through Sunday. It's a good deal, to only go in 4 days a week. Additionally, I'm currently working 8-6 M, 8-5 W and 8-3 TR, which also makes two of my days feel blissfully short.

So, today, I will drink some coffee, spin, do some work, knit, watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD, and maybe work a bit more. And hopefully go for a bike ride. My spinning is all rovings that Paula and I dyed last weekend, and most of it is springy, to get me in the mood for the new season, if winter ever finally lets go:

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Clapping Along

My Clapotis begins:

I dyed some Henry's Attic Kona Superwash Merino, which makes my Clapotis of a lighter, thinner yarn variety, and I'm knitting it on 7s instead of 8s, at 4.5 stitches per inch, which is almost the gauge that the pattern calls for.

It's a fun project, but I like all of the beginnings of bias-knit projects, because they go so darn fast. I now have sixty-something stitches on the needles, and can see the rows setting themselves up to be dropped, and the rows are taking considerably longer. Even so, definitely a worthwhile project.

Monday, March 07, 2005

yarn chosen

I have enough yarn to make a skinnier, airier version of Clapotis. My yarn is a sock-weight 2-ply merino superwash, all prettily dyed up yesterday:

The picture makes it look like there's a lot more red than there is -- just the pieces of the yarn that got highlighted, I guess. The actual colors are maroon, reddish-purple, bluish green, green, and blueish purple. As soon as it dries, I will swatch and knit. I will also have to figure out which yarns were dyed in which dye baths, so that I can switch back and forth between them and make everything nice and blendy.

Highlights from the February DyeFest can now be purchased at, and the new ones will go up after jetsetting Paula returns from her whirlwind European tour.

I have almost finished the lengthwise scarf as well, just in time to wear it with a springy light purple cashmere sweater that my mother sent for valentine's day (my family is notoriously a couple of weeks behind on care packages, but I'm not complaining, 'cause any care package is welcome at any time).

And now, it's time for bed!

Friday, March 04, 2005

clapotis color conundrum

So I've purchased some Kona Superwash Merino, undyed, from which to craft a Clapotis. I can achieve most colors with my dye collection, so now I just have to decide what color to Clapotis with. I already have a Charlotte in purples, so I guess I should stray from my usual base color, or at least mix it up quite a bit with some other shades and hues. I'll likely wear it with either black or earthy tones. I'm considering something in browns and greens, but I'm not sure that I trust my ability to mix brown dye... Suggestions? Links to your favorite variegated yarns?

Thursday, March 03, 2005

mds&w-along, of sorts

Mia is putting together a list of blog-type people going to Maryland Sheep and Wool on its very own blog. There is talk of meeting, and of tote bags. Granted, I only know of Mia through Lauren, who I've never even met, but it'd be nice to put some faces to names! And bags! Whee!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

in case you were curious

I've knitted this as a bias-knit, as an alternating 2 rows of each yarn garter stitch on big and not-big needles, and holding the two together. I think I've settled on 4 rows of the solid stuff, alternated with a row of drop stitch with the fancy yarn, like this:

Speaking in pattern, that means:

R1-4: K across
R5: k1, yo across
R6: K across, dropping purl stitches

I also think it's going to look better lengthwise, which means ripping out one more time.