Tag Archives: yarn

Something about color shifting…

I’ve been away.

And my computer is still dying and/or I haven’t figured out what is wrong with it, but most likely it’s dying.

I finished that gradient spin – kept it as a single and fulled/felted it.

color-change-spin

(The color is more accurate in the linked post.)

I was thinking of knitting it up as a superhero cape to get through my trumpdisgust but I’m still not in love with the colors, though there is enough blaze orange for something to be worn in the woods during hunting season (but I don’t usually wear handknit shawl/scarf things in the woods due to snagage) but maybe something sorta tacky/vintage in a feather and fan/old shale…?

And I found a vintage cardigan at the thrift store earlier in the autumn that I thought my brother would like.

color-change-green

Even the clerk commented on its blinding lime…

color-change-brown

But when I got it in natural light, it was excrement colored mustard and brown.

At some point I had something to say about sneaky color changing and artificial light – I’ve purchased more than one set of lovely pale sage green sheets only to find that they’re nicotine-stain yellow in the daytime bedroom – and worry about the color lies being fed to our brains, but that rant is somewhere behind.

And I need to buy more lamps.

 

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Restoring ReStore yarn

I often look for yarn at thrift stores, but rarely find anything other than acrylic.

(And not the better acrylics that I would consider using for charity knitting and whatnot – the nasty stuff that is most often bright obnoxious red or an inexplicable white.)

During the last few months of winter and early spring, despite periods of beautiful weather, the weekends were often nasty, so we fell into a near weekly ReStore habit. We brought home a few more books, a few tchotchkes I’ll probably end up selling online, weights that had regular use for only a few weeks, and some vinyl records – but never the little piece of furniture or two we were actually seeking. But on the last trip, I spied some good yarn – some luxury stuff, and a decent amount of lovely rustic tweed for 50 cents each.

The tweed was a sad victim of carpet beetles – some of the balls had the telltale broken ends without any mothly webbing – I carefully examined each, left three behind and snatched up two that seemed to be in the clear, along with a ball and skein of the soft stuff.

Since I knew the bastard beetles had been near the yarn, I didn’t take any chances – wrapped the yarn tight before leaving the store, stuck it in a zip lock bag outside, threw the shopping bag into the recycling outside, then tossed it in the freezer for a week. Then let it warm up for another, then froze it again, then warmed it again – all the time shaking vigorously to see if anything fell out.

restore yarn - freeze

But all seemed well, so I re-skeined it all to wash. No breakages either, so I felt better knowing that these were spared from direct attack.

restore yarn - lux

The yarn on the right was wound into a ball too tightly – might be hard to see, but it was thinner and flattened a bit, but it was still nearly the full skein.

restore yarn - donegal det

And the tweed is a lovely teal. My camera can’t shoot teal, but this is close, and the raspberry bit of tweed is accurate and shows its era…

restore yarn label

Yep, here we are back in the ’80s (maybe early ’90s, sometimes knitting style lagged) but I love teal, so I’ll put up with the raspberry. I won’t, however, put up with back buttoning garments – I can still feel the buttons jabbing in between my spine knuckles on a hard-backed chair…

restore yarn - wash

They both had a nice long soak, followed by another vinegary one, then spun out and dried.

restore yarn washed and dry

And they’re back to a pleasant fluffy, beetle-free state.

Technically, this failed my yarn buying ban, but it was only $2 total – the two skeins of Road to China alone would have been over $30, and though the color is lovely, but a little too fleshy by itself, I’ll probably combine it with a few other complimentary things in the stash – it might become part of a luxe scrappy stole. And I’ve got a small collection of tweed that needed a bit more to become something, and these two new skeins should complete it – if not, it would pair well with handspun, or make for some nice mittens.

On the one hand, I don’t believe a knitter should pass along infested yarn or risk infesting a thrift, but on the other, I’m glad this wasn’t just thrown away…

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Latest Lacy Baktus

Spring came on early- warm and dry.

I wasn’t ready – a few nights were outside of my comfort zone – and working outside for more than quarter hour required rehydration at the ready.

But then it went back to its proper cold and damp state and required woolens.

I realized if I hurried along my latest baktus, I’d actually be able to wear it immediately instead of packing it away for the autumn.

latest baktus with sweater

And so I did and have been – it still needs to be blocked, but the weather might turn warm again before it dries…

In the meantime, I’m cozy with it-

or all three…

latest baktus triple

They’re becoming invasive in my woolen collection…

And in outdoor news, the march of the invasives in our yard continues…

latest purple yard

This front yard patch of bugleweed is doubled from last year, soldiering through the lesser celandine.

I gave up fighting the ground invasives unless I hear about something magical and effective, but natural and easy – and perhaps the bugleweed will take over my ultimate nemesis the Japanese stiltgrass – I do like the intense blue too, and I don’t think it’s technically invasive, just non-native and aggressive, so I wouldn’t mind if it took over that part of the yard completely…

latest lilac

And the lilac is doing so much better after its year free of Chinese wisteria. I’ve left a tiny patch of that stuff to attempt to train, but perhaps that isn’t responsible – it would just take one untended season and the stuff would take over the hillside again.

Pray for me as I go in for the first of several annual poison ivy tear-outs soon too – too bad that is the only native stuff.

And now I should return to the knitting I’ve ignored for the baktus – none of that will be ready to wear in these last cool days…

(perhaps not even by the time the cool weather returns in a few months…)

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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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British boobs; Fitting in

For the last couple of years, I’ve been knitting from my stash almost exclusively. The lids of all the tubs* close easily now – no sitting on them to get the pleasant snap of shutness – and the general clutter of my workroom has one or two fewer auxiliary bags and small boxes of random balls and skeins. Stress, impatience, curiosity, and occasionally need has had me on an accessory-making binge for most of the time too. But to make a real dent in the stash, I need to finally commit to a few sweater/jacket projects.

But I’ve already got a couple sweaters on the needles that have been languishing for nearly (or over) two years… mostly because of fit issues – I’ve cleared the busts comfortably, but I’m left with bagging armpits, or the need to decrease too much and have to completely re-do the pattern’s math…

I’m late getting the memo that most (many?) women are wearing the wrong bra size. I’m  also several decades late in accepting that I’ve got protruding mounds of flesh in an inconvenient spot when I so dearly prayed (and kneaded bread) for them as a tween. I finally got some late sprouts that didn’t quite fill out the darts in a shirt, but didn’t entirely deflate them either, in my late teens and I was content with the shape of things into my early 20s. Then they grew and grew and grew and I didn’t gain other weight or have babies or nurse babies or do anything with intention that would increase their size so I grudgingly started to minimize with ugly wide strapped chest appliances and things stayed under control for a bit…

(As an aside: genetics are not in my favor on either side…

gran and sis

…and for too long I’ve teased my mother that she needed a belt rather than a bra, so what comes around, ‘yo…)

So now I’m knitting, and in theory if you make your own clothes, you can make them to fit every weird nook and cranny of your own body. But I’m math-challenged (and ashamed of it) and focus-challenged and I’d love to be able to just knit a pattern as written, only adding in a bit of extra length as the extent of my modifications. I really like a few patterns from British designers but all of the bust shaping seems impossibly high (and waists impossibly short). I’ve been watching several British mysteries and dramas and noticed that man of the women do in fact largely have high breasts. But that doesn’t make sense – an entire island of people can’t share the same tiny pool of high-breasted genetics (in most cases)…

*****

Recently, I tried to buy a suit. I’ve tried to buy a suit many times over my life, and always end up with separate jackets and trousers. I can find woolly tweedy jackets (mostly from the ’70s) at the thrifts that fit well, but I’ve only had two proper “business” jackets fit well in my lifetime. I got rid of one that had gone shiny along the seams during the last move, and when I went to put on the other, my favorite, the best jacket ever that’s gone on countless conference talks, interviews, and other business-dress bullshit activities, I found a couple of little holes. I tried to fix the holes, but N noticed and tried to brush them off, but they didn’t bulge. So my only jacket is unwearable for the times when appearances count most (perhaps it’s still okay for conferences in my field). I panicked and hit the nearest ladies-wear shops. The Spring lines were already on the racks, and I’m not going to wear pink, or red, or bright blue when I’m trying to look “professional.” I’m also not going to plunk $200 on a polyester suit made in China, but I felt like I had no other choice. I tried on pants and eventually found some long enough (I’m too short for talls, but too tall for regulars) and then I started trying on the matching jackets… And kept returning for more… Then a salesperson started helping me. Then she suggested I wear a different bra and go online to order the tall jacket that they didn’t stock in the store. (None of that was helpful at the moment, and I got away with a thrifted cashmere twinset and thrifted “business” trousers out of my closet for my clothing need at the time.)

But the “different bra” stuck a bit in my craw – the salesperson wasn’t the friendliest, so I took it as an insult, but she had a point – rather the jacket had points, and they were too high for me. I can’t afford to (or would generally rather not) go to one of the fancier shops or department stores to get properly fitted, so I pulled up a number of online fitting calculators and lassoed myself with tape measures. I came up with a magic number and letter that reads more like a bin number in a warehouse store than a bra size. I went online to the brand of minimizers I usually buy and didn’t see either number or letter and got the closest one instead. And for fucks sake, things are starting to get into places where they should have been. But the fit still isn’t perfect, so I’m on the hunt for the right size and I’m finding that the British brands have the wider variety of sizes that the common American brands do not. So what we have here is a cluster of tiny countries of women wearing appropriate-sized bras and a giant capitalist consumer-driven one that does not?

So now I’ve got an appropriately supported rack on the days I wear my one new bra and my sweaters fit well, my shirts stay buttoned, and on all other days I’m better off  wearing clothing with more ease and bagginess. To compound things though, middle-age is shifting things around a bit and I’m left dubious if something that fits well now will fit a week or two out of the month, or next year, so I’m hesitant to knit fitted garments, or garments that fit right, right now….

But this is all a bit ridiculous, so instead of making some fancy fitted sweaters out of my limited quantities of yarn that I’ve been hording for such purpose, I’m going to make some giant glorious neck things (that also do well to drape over other things on their unsupported days).

IMGP1282 - Copy

(I’ve been holding on to this small stash of cashmere in an awesome purpley-brown that I got on an unbelievable sale but was still more than I typically spend for a skein of wool, to make a very fitted, very elegant v-neck three-quarter length sleeved sweater, but fuck it, I’m about to crack it open for a Paris toujours shawl/scarf instead.)

And I’m only looking at patterns for the bigger bulkier sweaters and coats that embrace frumpiness, coziness, and shape shiftiness…

(And I’ll possibly make a giant blanket.)

(And I still need a suit).

*My goal isn’t too solid, but I’d like to get the commercial yarn stash down to 3 not-quite full tubs – one with a few sweater/blanket quantities, one with sock yarns and random bits of superwash for gifts, and one for whatever – mostly the nicer skein or two I pick up at festivals… (and of course handspun and unraveled sweaters have additional storage…)

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Hats n’at

fragile

The mood around here is still fragile as is the bulb for our UV water filter that thankfully arrived unscathed despite the mail carrier’s disregard of descriptions…

(Tick one more learned home routine maintenance task off the list and have an extra cookie for not paying a ridiculously inflated service fee… And pray to the water company that one day soon they’ll put in lines up here…)

early spring

Despite over two feet of snow and ice and more snow and gallons of rain within the last month, Spring has been determined and strong…

turnsquare-thickstripe

The hats are nearly all done – and all done with Cascade 220 superwash scraps, a yarn which I’ll no longer buy now that it is manufactured in China, but I’ve yet to find a suitable replacement – something soft, comes in a array of colors, washable, and reasonably priced…

redbubble-bag

And lest you forget my Redbubble shop (I did) but after over a year, I finally sold one floor sander sticker and was reminded of it. But I won’t get paid for said sticker until I earn at least $20. Curious about the quality of their products, I finally ordered my own tote in the veggie weenie series (it’s the medium size 16″ x 16″).

redbubble-bag detail

And it’s a good thing – not great, but useful and much better quality than those 99 cent weird fabric-ish grocery bags, though not as sturdy as canvas, but very lightweight. It’s a woven poly lined in a poly that at first glance I thought was cotton… The photo is somewhat soft and abstracted this large, but perhaps less titillating for it which could be good if easily embarrassed, but then again, it’s just a carrot for chrissakes. They’re made in USA, but I don’t know the fabric origin, nor much of anything about the company, so I’m not going to crow about it too much. But I like it for carrying packages to the post office and it’s held up well so far.

I’ll probably shut this shop down in a bit though – kinda pointless to keep it up since it was mostly a gag to begin with…

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It’s a froggy party

I’ve had to undo, rip, frog and re-knit too many things against my will in the last few months.

I made a mistake in one slow-going sweater that I thought I could live with because I am accepting and generous of flaws that make an item look handmade, but this one was big enough that it would be stupid to let something like that go in something that was still going to eat up a lot of my time, so now it is even slower-going and I’m just now back at the point where I was in the autumn.

The other problems in other projects were ones of poor focus, forgetfulness, inadequate lighting, and a desperate need for an updated eyeglasses prescription.

I rather like to unravel things, but the last few rows in a still-actively-knitting piece are quite nerve-wracking, and I hate putting the stitches back on the needles.

So after too much forced-frogging, I thought I’d cheer myself up with some empowered unraveling.

Remember this?

Baktus on rock

It wasn’t going anywhere – I hadn’t touched it for a couple of years and I knew it was developing problems – I spun the troublesome yarn much thicker toward the end, so I would have to go up a needle size or two when knitting it, which would have thrown the shape of the piece off too much (or I’d have to suffer through knitting something getting too stiff and loosing drape). So I’ll start again on a different shaped pattern that will allow the needles and gauge to grow (like a increasing-only triangle) or alternate balls of the thicker and thinner yarn throughout a piece. (I may need to wash the sand, dirt, and pine needles out of it first since it was knit mostly outdoors.)

An aside: I’m also currently not loving the way YOs look with handspun – a little too wonky – but I still love the lacy baktus, and love trucking away on my current one.

froggy-before

I had no regrets when I took it off the needles, so frogging was the right choice.

froggy-during

I love noodles from every continent, so yarn in this stage makes me hungry.

froggy after

And it is back to balls.

While mohair isn’t fun to frog, and I was seeking pleasure only, this wasn’t too bad after all, and I’ve got the satisfaction that I didn’t let it sit around too long. (Though it will be some time before I knit with it).

frog-fuzzy cakes

I can’t believe this was once an entire adult-sized sweater. The amount of yarn seems so tiny and weighs almost nothing – makes me wish I had the tolerance for knitting and wearing lace weight.

(Tolerance isn’t the right word for wearing – something more along the line of destructionlessness…)

frog-bag

And that partial sock became food for my latest sock.

frog-foot

(It did fit though, so at least I know I need 80 stitches for a sock on US 0 needles, not that I plan to make any any time soon…)

I usually prefer unraveling commercial sweaters in the warmer months so I can do it outside and reduce the fuzzy dust in the house. But with a few days at 70F in December, it was warmer outside than in (but now it is truly winter and cold as non-yarn balls).

frog-yellow

So I finished unraveling and washing a sweater of a good shade of yellow (wool with a pinch of nylon and a subtle tweed) that I’d like to turn into an open-front cardigan, much like an old commercial one I’ve got…

(And yes, I did start a Paulie too, but haven’t touched it in ages – I’m just not an enthusiastic fingering weight sweater knitter.)

froggy-round yellow

Though I’m not sure I have quite enough to make it as long and and roomy and butt-covering as I’d like – it’s a bit over 1,300 yards, so it should be enough for something mostly stockinette and without a generous collar. I’m still trying trying to figure out a good pattern for it – I don’t have the brain-power at the moment to significantly modify anything, so I’m looking for something top-down, probably on size US6 needles, but I still need to swatch so that could change.

And I also might change my mind about wanting it to button up or just flap around…

And I’ve got a bamboo yarn in my stash of a similar color that I was also planning on turning into a summery open front cardigan thingie… they’ll have to duke it out to see who comes first…

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