Tag Archives: superwash

Driving away

I had a full day of good bad luck recently.

The brakes in my car went out while I was driving…

…out of the state car inspection garage.

(Moments later, I’d have been on the highway, instead, I coasted into an uphill parking spot just outside the garage – and still passed the inspection!)

I had many other errands planned that day, but had to wait for a tow truck instead.

But I’d brought some knitting along at the last moment, so I had something to do while waiting.

I’d just downgraded our automobile club membership from the longest towing allowance because we hadn’t used it in years and the yearly fee is much higher now than where we used to be.

But it was still enough towing to get me back to my town.

I didn’t wear a coat when I’d left the house that morning because it was sunny and I would be running in and out of places.

But when I started the long walk home from the garage, it dropped 15 degrees and started snowing.

But I had inexplicably put on walking shoes instead of my usual clogs that morning, so at least my feet were fine.

The garage called to say my entire brake line was rusted out and my car would be in the shop for days.

And N had just left town for a three-day weekend with his.

So I was stranded in the house, which is where I’d normally prefer to be most of the time, but I was unmoored and annoyed to not be able to do the stupid running around crap I’d planned do, so with my thoughts on autos, and mood bend on frustration, I ripped out the van sock and removed the offending skein to overdye it.

van redo-before

I only had violet and yellow food coloring gels and a smattering of stinky drink mix on hand.

I wanted the neon to go away, and I was still going to knit it with the other burgundy/cranberry/orange yarn, so as long as I could turn it into some form of purple or brown, or a favorite of mine, purpley-brown, or at least just all toned the hell down, all would be fine.

van redo-dyeing

I started off with just the violet, but it turned the yarn very dull and almost grey – acceptably muted, but surprisingly unpleasant (I usually like muddy, dull, muted colors). So I jabbed in some yellow and liked that it was heading to a brown. But then for entirely unknown reasons, I tossed in a packet of grape drink mix.

I decided that fake grape is the only drink mix stink I can somewhat, just barely, not quite really, tolerate.

But I got something acceptably purple-ish.

van redo-rinse

And rinsing the whole shebang was fun – the colors broke in the wash, so at first the rinse water was pink, then cyan, and then green when I remembered to pick up the camera.

There was still some color left in the pot so I tossed in some natural white (not quite cream) roving for shits and giggles.

van redo - sop color

And it cam out an intense orchid that I would hate to wear alone, but will be a nice occasional addition in a spin.

van sopped

The yarn came out mildly nasty on its own, and has a bit of that lifeless dullness that comes with food color dyeing…

van redye

and you can see the areas I jabbed in the yellow vs. the violet…

van redye det

 but it’s just what this pair of socks needed for me to take off with them again.

van new sock

(While I’m waiting to get my car out of the shop… and on the water treatment equipment repair guys, and my new tooth, and now possibly the washer repair person or new delivery, and the lumber delivery that we planned before everything else went to hell… this is becoming a helluva expensive month.)

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Filed under dyeing, knitting, spinning

Camo for crocuses in the snow; Blizzard socks

blizzard-zepplins

Our cars decided that they wanted to become zeppelins during last week’s blizzard.

blizzard-shoveling

And N had an excuse to break out his awesome vintage plaid wool pants.

blizzard-sock inside

And I had the time to sit on my ass and finish my latest socks while watching the snow fall and then get shoveled away while my toes stayed propped up and toasty.

(Yes, that is snow piled against the window, even after it was knocked down several times – the storm wanted darkness).

blizzard-sock before

But I too eventually went to war with the frozen shit – donning my swants over some wool long johns and stomping my way to uncover various vents and utility meters and paths to compost piles and sheds and garbage cans…

blizzard-sock after

(And I really should have put on my gaiters first.)

When I was making the socks, the colors reminded me of crocuses popping up through the snow. The multi-colored yarn also came from a market in a town in Abruzzo known for its saffron crop.

Now I see that they are perfectly coordinated with my snowshoes.

They could have been longer.

They could be warmer.

Next time maybe I’ll drop another needle size while holding the yarn doubled, but I’m starting to think I just need 100% wool socks – screw the bit of polyamide and/or nylon which I think is the culprit for clamminess…

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Bite this three times

I finished my Trilobite hat.

trilobite-quarter

I haven’t left the fence I’m on about it though – I still think the top portion is a bit small, and it’s definitely a hair-smasher – but I will have to wait for winter to see if howling winds will still reach my ears through the doubled brim, and if more frequent wear will relax the superwash yarn a bit more (it’s a lovely variegated teal, despite what these pics might show, from the now defunct Schaefer Yarn Co.).

I have enough coldish weather hats, so in order for this to continue to survive as-is, it must work as a freezing weather hat.

Before finishing the brim, I soaked the top part to see if a good block would loosen it up – I had the perfect hat-shaped bowl to use so I didn’t have to take it off the needles – and then a ridiculously hot afternoon dried the whole shebang in a few hours, so I was able to resume knitting that night – and the soak relaxed it a bit, but not quite as much as I’d hoped…

trilobite-wash

But the thing that most bothers me about the hat is that the trilobites don’t look like my trilobites. I could ramble on about idyllic afternoons of my childhood spent scouring the creek behind our house for fossils, but not today.

But the ultimate fossil-hunting prize was a triolobite – most often rolly-polly stand alone little guys.

trilobite-real

They’ve got this smug lippy carp-like expression going on, and their backs have three wide stripy bands – or you know, lobes – what they’re named for after all…

trilobite-three

I tried to figure out the order of these vs. the clearly different order for which the pattern was written, but I got frustrated, then distracted…

But if I do end up re-knitting it for a better fit, I’ll make the center lobe much fatter somehow to look more like my guys.

trilobite-fail

(Taking picture of one’s own head when too lazy to get out the tripod or too impatient to wait until others return home, results in an increase of time wasted due to editing out 10x more image failures more often than not…

And when will I figure out the camera settings, or the editing, to render accurate color…?)

 

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Fancy feets

It’s been several months since I had an actual sock on the needles.

I’m working on a simple sock yarn cardigan that was small enough to be travel knitting for a time, but has since outgrown my everyday bag and will probably take me years to finish…

fancy feets

N treated me to a fancy feast in NYC for my birthday last month and I finally began a new sock on the train home. (I went up earlier in the day for a work thing and wisely tucked the yarn into my bag in case there was a gap in the work moments – I don’t normally bring yarn to dinner).

This is my last ball of 6-ply sock yarn and I’m a bit sad about that – I still have plenty of sock yarn in my stash, but hands down, I like the thicker stuff much better (even though I’m not crazy about these colors, but at least green is involved) and I’m still on the longest non-buying spree of my yarn life (except for that stupid neon stuff) that I hope to stretch into next year, or hell, maybe even the following, or the one after that too…

But only a day after I committed those words to the screen, I caved and ordered two more balls (on the cheap, of course).

Balls usually come in pairs, right?

(Well, I guess not in the ball sports, but I’m not much of a sports fan.)

fancy feets-more

But this really isn’t about stash-building, it’s more like a work-in-progress waiting in the wings, and I know my trusted pattern* works for me, and I gave the other pair I made earlier this year away, so my conscious is clear.

fancy feets tiny needles

I also got some absurdly teeny 9″ US0 size circulars to try out on the rest of my sock yarn stash – I like knitting and wearing the thicker yarn (though I also like wearing thin wool socks in the warmer months, but commercially-made thinness – an impossible weight for me to knit) so I’m not holding my breath that I’ll fall in love with knitting and wearing the light fingering weight yarn, but I do love a repetitive round and round and round and round and round on circulars, so who knows… But I knit a little tighter on circulars than dpns, so I won’t be too keen if that skews my stitch numbers too much. And not to mention I’ve got big paws and these are sized for child labor or the dainty bird-like lady…

If these don’t work out, the rest of the skinny stash (held double, of course, or maybe triple…) is probably destined to become a throw blanket…

*My favorite/trusty sock is 64 stitches of the light sport-weight yarn on US2 dpns (got a high instep) with provisional cast on from ankle down, a slipped stitch heel flap, reducing 4 stitches on the foot, then picked up and knit ankle up. After one ankle/foot is done, I make the other on another set of dpns. Then I wind the yarn into a center-pull ball if it isn’t already and take turns knitting each cuff up from each end of yarn, so it’s sorta two at a time and no leftover yarn.

And I still haven’t settled on how many stitches I need when dropping down to US1 or US0 needles…

For the sake of keeping notes, I’m thinking the following might work for me:

US2 – 64 sts

US1.5 – 68 sts

US1 – 72 sts

US0 – 80 sts

But 80 stitches is 20% more sock that I usually make, so that doesn’t sound too promising…

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Jadeite

I used to collect vintage dishes.

I use the past tense because I haven’t bought a whole set since the late 1990s, but an occasional cup and saucer will still come home with me.

I still have most of the dishes, though I’m too scared and sick to unpack them since the Great Box Avalanche in our late apartment.

I’m also paranoid to use them now because I learned that some might have lead – yes, even restaurantware can have some – and I’ve probably caused myself mild brain death from the years I used them.  I bought a lead testing kit, but misplaced it in the move.

We used to have easy access to Fiestaware seconds and so we’ve got a rather large dinner party worth of the stuff and I don’t use anything else these days, nor do I expect I’ll ever want anything else (except for a piece or two in a new colorway or to replace the occasional broken piece).

Fiesta-forever

I used to tell myself that buying vintage dishware was an investment, because for a tiny period of time it was – Ebay was just getting rolling and things like Fireking’s Jadeite went for unreasonable amounts of cash.  My books for grad school and some bulk rice and beans were paid with my Ebay earnings…

Until a year, or maybe even just a few months later, when the market was flooded…

Today, my old crap isn’t worth too much more than what I paid for it at the pricier thrift stores, and isn’t really worth the bother of packing and shipping to sell online (or even to unpack it for some proper photos).

But I still really love the stuff – I love the colors, and the sturdy materials, and most of all, I love the size – modern plates are too damn big.  And I drink espresso, so the coffee cups might be a little small for today’s average American Joe, but they’re perfect for a double shot.

So I’m thinking about dishware because I finally finished spinning my “Jadeite” wool.

PRS-Jadeite3

The last in a trilogy of Pigeonroof Studios superwash merino roving that I bought last year and intended to knit together in the same project.  I’m still pretty sure I’ll make a shawl/scarf or perhaps a sweater yoke of all of them, but maybe I should make a tablecloth instead….?

Nah.

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The hat with the incurable case of wanderlust and amazing feats of reproduction

We got a surprise in the mail last week.

botanic is back

N’s favorite hat came back after being left behind in our August vacation cabin.  I wasn’t too terribly upset when he lost it – I felt sympathy for him, but not anger because he lost something I made.

(And this isn’t the first time he left it behind somewhere – it regularly has alone time far away from us.)

It was the first of a series of Botanic hats from Stephen West that I’ve made over the years.  N picked the pattern too – riffled though a big box of printed ones while I tactilely browsed in a LYS in the state where we now live, but haven’t been back to since (it’s a good shop but a bit far away still).  But when I made it, I messed up by making an unnecessary and unsightly seam where you alternate between the two colors – in fact, I messed it up on more than one hat, but this was the first before I knew it was wrong, and the one that didn’t get ripped out.

botanic with seam showing

And though I love knitting with you, oh Malabrigo, you really suck in the long term.  I pay too much for you to collapse in a miss-spent pile of pills, though I did get this batch of yarn with my customer loyalty discount (meaning I’d spent too much previously) at my old beloved LYS.

And the pattern has a weird habit of scrunching upwards and flailing outwards – so even though it’s long enough just off the needles, a few weeks later it exposes the ears.

So even though I have to routinely pick and brush and shave the hat, I was willing to make him another in the same yarn (I have some left anyway) only this time without the mistaken join seam thing that annoys the hell outta me every time I see it.  But he didn’t want a longer brim on the new one – this is mostly an indoor hat to keep his hair out of his face and take off a bit of chill, and to wear to bed which is where it usually likes to go rogue and fling itself between the wall and the bed frame.

My other Botanic hats were one for one of my brothers out of Cascade 220 superwash in two shades of green.

(And yes, my blog banner was on this same chair with the yarn for N’s first hat).

botanic in progress

This is is the unnecessary seam issue I’d had (you have to drop the the old yarn before picking up the new rather than wrapping around it) so this hat got ripped and re-made.

botanic mistake

And I had enough yarn left for another for N, though he doesn’t like this one quite as much as the other – but I like it more since the yarn is virtually pill-less, though more prone to stretching out…

botanic -green

Then one for me.  Oddly, the grey of the ribs is the same as the non-rib part in N’s first one – it’s my favorite colorway in the yarn – “Pearl Ten” – and though the color is greyish, tanish, lavenderish, in his hat it turned tan, and in mine it looks grey (and he calls his hat his “brown hat”).  I think the peach color in mine is “Applewood.”

Botanic-me

One day I might add more length to the brim, though I too like to wear mine indoors or only when it is just a little bit cold – I can’t tolerate exposed lobes even within 15 or so degrees of freezing…

botanic in the mist

And finally, one for an old friend at work who underwent chemo.

botanic for coop

I didn’t know if he was a wool person or not, so this is a synthetic blend, and though a single color defeats the purpose of this pattern, the texture is still interesting, and it is especially soft when the ribs are worn on the outside.

If you count the green one I ripped and re-knit, I’ve made this hat 6 times – my most knitted pattern besides my vanilla sock recipe.

So I’m slightly relieved to not have to make a replacement hat for N, but can you truly replace a “favorite” something anyway?  A new one might be a little more tight or loose or feel generally different without the several years wear (and probably not enough washing).  So I have to deal with looking at that ugly-ass seam again.

But I do enjoy making this hat and really like that it is reversible, so I’m sure another will find itself on my needles again…

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Fried that squash blossom

Good god, this was a long suffering spin.

PRS-zucchini&blossom

And I blathered on so much about it…

Last year, I was thrilled to buy the wool – Pigeonroof Studios superwash merino in “zucchini blossom.”

Pigeon zucchini

I started to spin it.

PRS zucchini

I fantasized about pairing it with other yarn from my stash to become some sturdy socks.

PRS-squashblossom

I realized I spun the first bobbin backwards, so I got irritated and put it away.

I started spinning it again during last year’s Tour de Fleece.

I cut my thumb.

TdF-Wipeout

I blamed the wool and put it away.

I got it out to finally finish for this year’s Tour de Fleece.

PRS-zucchini-TdF2014

I made a three-ply and thought all was fine.

PRS-zucchini-3ply

I ran out of one of my three plies.

PRS-zucchini-not3ply

I am now done.

PRS-zucchiniwashed

I have 258 yards of a heavy fingering/light sport wonky 3ply, and 114 yards of a light fingering/fingering wonky 2ply.

PRS-zucchinitangle

(And we won’t speak of this).

And I’ll shut up about now until I have a finished item from it…

if I ever have one at all…

(Incidentally, I did fry up those blossoms and it was a mushy miserable failure, as are most of my neglected zucchini plants which are lousy with stupid male blooms).

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