July 30, 2008

Frog pond


This ball of crinkled red yarn was once this:

red front progress

Alas, the sock did not fit. And the US0 size needles with all those cables made a dense fabric that I wasn't too fond of.

I think I'll reattempt these socks with US1 needles, but for now I think I need a break from all the teenytiny cables. Sweetheart socks: we'll meet again.

July 29, 2008

The opposite of greeny blue

...if we were being sticklers I guess it would be reddish orange, but since none of us are (are we?) this'll do:

wollmeise 005

Orangey, fuschiay, red. Aka, Wollmeise's Rosenrot. My camera hates red (Nikonians feel my pain!) so this doesn't even begin to capture the fabulousness that is this yarn.

For non-knitters (or maybe even a few knitters untouched by Wollmeisemania) the specialness of this yarn may need some explaining. The Wollmeise is a one-woman dyeing operation. She is famous for her incredibly saturated, luscious, and creative dyeing. So famous, in fact, that she can't even begin to keep her yarn in stock. Shop updates cause knitterly stampedes. I had all but given up on ever seeing a Wollmeise yarn in person.

But then: luck! I put one of my Sundara yarns up for trade on Ravelry and the first offer I got was for the skein of Rosenrot. Heck yes, I'll take that trade!

The yarn arrived yesterday (as did the Sundara to my trading partner) and I'll admit it: I gasped a little when I opened the package. The color is that intense. I have it sitting on my desk right now and every now and then I pick it up to gaze into the richness.

Oh. And? There are 574 yards of it. With many sock yarns averaging 350 yards, that's an astounding amount of yarn. This yarn will have to find a very special pattern match. (but first I predict it will sit in a prized position in the stash for a good long time.)

And now for some (gasp!) knitting. Yes, knitting.
Yesterday I pushed through a slightly irritating part of the shawl-collared vest and I feel much better. After the chevron pattern you have to increase for the ribbing in a snail-paced row of k1, m1, p1, m1. UGH. I had already messed it up once and ripped back so I was now determined. An increase row will not get the better of me!! So now I'm happily cruising along again in mindless 2x2 ribbing.

And there are some socks.


At first the pooling and spiraling of the colors in this yarn made me crazy, but now I kind of like the quirkiness of it. The colors and high contrast variagation are so not my normal pallet and I find the change of pace charming. I'm embracing the pooling, and don't you try to talk me out of it.

July 28, 2008


I just popped on here to check if I actually like the photo I took of the seafoam spinning, and it hit me when I saw the photo in the context of the blog. Yeah - no shock that I like those colors. The background? The banner? This should have been mighty, mighty obvious to me. I clearly have a greeny blue thing going on. I mean: two of my darned WPIs are greeny blue!


Tomorrow: the opposite of greeny blueness. No! Really!


seafoam 003
These colors? I love them. I'm glad my dyeing accidentally produced this.
I'm spinning it quite fine, hoping for a light fingering weight 2-ply to make something lacey with.
And with that, I'm going back to it.

Knitting? What knitting?

Back in time...

... remember this roving? Part of my first dyeing experiment?

june weekend 030

Well I finally spun it up and it became about 150 yards of this:

brown kool aid
I'm happy with it, especially considering the wacky combination wheel/spindle process that I used. I think it'll make a lovely snuggly hat at some point.

And no, I haven't been knitting much. A lot has been going on and all of my projects are at a point that requires a bit of concentration. Hopefully today I can push through some of these snags so I can start making progress again. The call of the spinning wheel is strong, though...

July 24, 2008


Last week I got a little enthusiastic about undyed roving.

four pounds
Phew. That's one pound of merino, one pound South African fine, and two pounds of BFL, all from Hello Yarn, all destined to be dyed and spun.

My first project was to dye some merino to compliment the lavender stuff from a few weeks ago. I had a bit of the green dye left so I tried an immersion dyeing for that. No good. There was too little dye and it ended up barely making a change in the color of the roving. D'oh!

So then I thought (and this is where I forget the power of beginners luck in my previous success) hey! I mixed that green once. Surely I can do it again!


The dye ended up being much stronger and much more blue than my previous green. It also separated a bit, which I don't understand. The process was basically the same, but this time I ended up with stronger blue bits, and stronger green bits. Hm.

So this roving definitely won't be finding its way into the same project as the lavender yarn. Sigh. But, frankly, I think it's kind of pretty. I can't put my finger on it but it reminds me of something... something oceany.

blue roving

July 21, 2008

warning: no yarny content

Yes, I'm posting something non-knitting-or-spinning in my knitting blog.
I just got back from fiddle camp (the annual meeting of the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America) which was an incredibly good time.
For my fibery buddies, I thought you might be interested to see this photo. For one of the evening parties many people wear their bunads (the national costumes in norway) and I never miss an opportunity to whip mine out. It belonged to my great-aunt and has really beautiful embroidery, hence it's presence in this crafty blog.

Time for bunad

Yes, it was 85 degrees and I was wearing a black wool dress. phew.

July 16, 2008

Lavender complete

first wheel spun


I ended up with roughly 200 yards, and I'm really pleased with the yarn. It's lofty (some might say underspun...) and the color is just what I was going for. For the first yarn on my wheel, I'm pretty pleased!

July 15, 2008

Yarny Tuesday

Look what arrived yesterday!
felted tweed
Stack o' yarn. Is there anything better? Two guesses for what this is going to be. (Shhhh... Shana. don't tell)

I pulled the brown Corriedale singles off my drop spindle yesterday (it'll be obvious why in a bit) and overall I'm happy with how it turned out. I think I'll spin the second batch on my wheel, though, since it took me maaaany hours to make this small amount.

7-15 001

I needed the drop spindle for a project. After dyeing my first wheel-spun singles I saw that there were a few massively under spun sections. Since I have specific plans for this yarn and I really want it to be usable and pretty, I popped the skein of singles on my swift and ran through the whole thing on my spindle, fixing the major problems as I went. It took for-freaking-ever and I hope to never do that again. But it was worth it. Now my two lavender singles are ready for plying!

7-15 014

July 14, 2008

Sunday night spinning

Last night Shana came over for dinner and an evening of spinning. It was cozy and relaxing. Alex worked on a crossword on the couch, calling out tricky clues, while Shana and I chatted and spun up a storm.

lavender evening 003

I love the contrast between our wheels - sleek light wood modern with a whirring sound, and dark old traditional style with a (charming!) creak.

I managed to spin up all the dyed roving from the weekend, filling my bobbin to the max.
lavender evening 006

I dyed the other singles so tonight.... I ply!

July 13, 2008

Been dyeing

As I sat spinning my plain merino roving the yesterday morning I thought: I'd like to dye this so it looks like my favorite plant: lavendar. Right. Time for another bout of learning.
I had ordered an acid dye sampler kit that came with the primaries and black. I have zero experience mixing colors so I read as much as I could on the internet, made some trips around town to get some acid dye appropriate cookware (and a respirator), and got to it.
I snagged a few leaves from my lavender out front, but the blooms have already faded in the heat so I had to work from memory on the color of the flowers. Since I had already spun a bobbin full of plain singles I decided I would immersion dye that with a medium saturation purple and then paint the other half of the un-spun roving using three different saturations each of purple and green. I wanted leave enough white that when I plied them together it would look heathered.

I played with the colors, going very gut-based since it was hard to tell what it would look like in the dark dye solutions. I decided that the purple would be more blue than red and have a touch of black. The green would also be more blue than yellow, and have a hefty dose of black.

lavendershoot 004

I'm pleased as pie. The photo doesn't capture it exactly but the colors worked out! I'm amazed. The week of luck continues, I guess. It's super encouraging to have success mixing these colors out of red, blue, yellow, and black and I hope to cook up all kinds of color mixes in the future!

This morning I immersion dyed the singles. I'm a bit nervous about that since I don't know how it'll work out to ply after setting the twist. Hm. But I'm very happy with the color and can't wait to see how this all works out!

Off to start spinning my lavender yarn...

July 11, 2008


Happiest squaaaaaak I ever heard.

Lucky Day.

Look who joined the household:

wheel 010

Yesterday I saw a craigslist ad for this wheel, listing it at $100. I went out to look at it, thinking it would be fairly broken down but maybe I could poach the flyer for my mom's wheel.

I got there, and the wheel was in shockingly good condition. I bought it on the spot.
With a rigged up driveband, here's the proof of how lucky I got:
wheel 019

What are the chances of that?
I have a lot to learn about spinning on a double-drive wheel, and doubtlessly the wheel will improve with some cleaning, care, and adjustments. But WOW. I have a working wheel.

The man I bought it from knew very little about the wheel. His mother bought it from an antique shop on Cape Cod in the 1950s, but she wasn't a spinner so it sat there looking pretty ever since.

Clearly, though, someone made a good deal of yarn on this wheel at some point.
wheel 020
That's a groove on the flyer from where the spun single passes through the orifice and onto the bobbin. When I first saw it I teared up and was overwhelmed with the feeling of connection and sheer luck.

I hope to learn more about the history of the wheel, since I have no idea how old it is or where it came from. I have a bit of a project in finding bobbins that will work or, more likely, finding someone to make me bobbins that will work.

Having this wheel also allows me to take the careful time necessary to do a good job of restoring my mother's wheel. It's a project worth doing, and now that I have a working wheel I can have the patience to find the best helpers and the best information for getting that wheel back in order.

Now you'll have to excuse me - I have some spinning to do.

July 10, 2008

Brown Sugar over Buttermilk

Here's the last installment of the Sundarapalooza.
sundara 007
It's called Brown Sugar over Buttermilk and is one of her permanent colors. I'm not quite sure about this one yet... maybe this is part of a theme of me not being confident in my evaluation of browns. The whole thing is more mustardy than I was expecting and I'm not quite sure what to make of it. My husband called it "edgy" which certainly doesn't help clarify!
I'll hang on to it for a while and if it grows on me I'll knit it up. If not, I'll try to trade it for some other Sundara color.

Today I'm taking my old spinning wheel to Barbara (of Stony Mountain Fibers) to get her advice. I'm eager to hear what she has to say, good or bad. Either way I'm ready to move on to the next phase of the project!

July 8, 2008

Tuscan Rose over Lemon

sundara 009
Another luscious color from Sundara. The socks this will knit into will definitely be for me. I don't think I could let go of those colors. Swoon!

I did a bit of spindle spinning today with my brown BFL that I dyed with some burgundy and orange. I'd written off the color a few weeks ago but it has regrown on me. With browns the line between pretty and eeeeech challenges my taste. Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but no one likes something that looks like last night's dinner revisted.
That was gross. I apologize. If you need to get the image out of your head, stare at Sundara's gorgeous yarn for a while.

July 7, 2008

Sundara yarn

Oh my. A couple of weeks ago I managed to score some sock yarn from Sundara's new website during an update. I just returned from vacation and found the package and WOWZA. This woman's dyeing skills definitely live up to they hype! I can't wait to knit with this, but I also plan on spending some quality time gazing at the skeins.
I'm going to post the yarns one at a time (three total) so check back if you want to see more pretty yarn.

This is the one limited edition sock yarn I managed to snag. For the uninitiated, that means this color is gone for good and Sundara won't be dyeing it again. It's called sky over lilac and I looooooooooove it.

sundara 017

It's hard to capture this in photos, but when I compared this yarn to some of my other sockyarn stash I saw all the varieties of colors in Sundara's dyeing. It's not just three or four different blues. It's a whole range of delicious variations. I tried to count and gave up around six. Better to just soak in the colors anyway.

The vest is growing slowly but surely.
sundara 028
Somehow I think that because this doesn't have sleeves it should take way less time than a sweater. I mean, shouldn't I be done already?? Bah. But the yarn is soft and it was a great project to work on while drinking gin and tonics with my toes in the sand. Ah...