Sunday, September 30, 2007

Purchases from TKGA

I went to the TKGA show in Oakland yesterday. My promise to myself was that I would not add to the fiber or yarn stash. I kind of kept this promise.

Schaefer Anne I couldn't resist this skein of Schaefer Anne. I'm thinking it will become a Chevron scarf.

Spindlewood Co. featherweight spindle SpindleWood Co. Maple burl whorl I also bought a new square mini featherweight SpindleWood Co. maple burl with Brazilian cherry shaft. It's so cute and that was a big factor in the decision to purchase it. I really enjoy spinning on my wheel more than on a spindle. But I don't have room to collect wheels; however, I do have room for a few more spindles.

Other purchases were 200 braids to twist, knot, loop, or weave, a copy of The Crystal Cove Pullover pattern from Just One More Row and a copy of Myrna pattern from White Lies Designs.

Bobbin 10 of wine merino On the spinning front, I finished bobbin number 10 of the wine-colored merino yesterday and started spinning up the last 8 oz. bump today.

I'm off to finish knitting the ribbing on the first sleeve of the top down sweater. I'm really liking it. Oh, and to check on the bread in the oven.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fourth time is a charm

Ballet neck in progress Or, I hope so. The top down sweater is progressing nicely. Apparently, I had to have many duh moments for the process to gel for me. The Misti Alpaca worsted has held up well considering one skein has been re-knit four times now. I'm past the neck shaping; although you can't tell from the photo because being stockinette it is curling like mad. I've got the front, right sleeve and back holding on two 32" circular needles while I knit the left sleeve.

Sleeve of ballet neck I started the left sleeve on a 16" needle and just changed to's going pretty fast. I haven't fully decided on how tapered the sleeve will be. What I like about this method of sweater knitting is that I can make that decision later. Just I can adjust the body length based on how much yarn I have left to work with when I get to that point. I can see using this method with my handspun for that reason.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A vistit to the frog pond

Beginning-ballet neck My attempts to get the neckline right on this sweater haven't worked out so far. Last night I got as far as about an inch on the left sleeve and just wasn't liking what I was seeing. So the yarn and I took a little trip to the frog pond. Even though I said that if this attempt didn't work out I would find a commercial pattern, I just can't give up. So I am going to give it another try. If that doesn't work, I'm going to put this yarn in time out and start the Rowan Felted Tweed I bought at Stash today for Salina in Rowan's Vintage Style. The colorway is a dark plummy color called Bilberry.

I've been asked by one of my daughter's friends to knit her another pair of socks as the first pair I knit her no longer fit. She saw the Broadripple socks and decided that she wants a pair. I have some Cascade Fixation in my stash in a watery blue and will use that. Teenagers--when do they stop growing!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm a lemming!

Or, am I a sheep? I received my invitation to Ravelry a few days ago. Today I finally had an opportunity to poke around a bit. Like many people, I found myself sucked in. I've only posted my profile (marlowec) and a few of my finished projects. I can see how one can easily spend hours or days browsing and joining groups. However, this has brought up a question for me. Do I want to spend much time (any time?) drooling over other people projects or work on my own? I realize that this is not as ponderous as "to be or not to be?" and that the kingdom of Denmark or any other kingdom is not at stake. But it does present a conflict in my life and I probably shouldn't spend much, if any, time thinking about it. So tonight, I'm going to continue my quest for the perfect neckline for my top down sweater. (I would post a picture but it looks like all of nothing.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Same lesson learned again

I cast-on the Misti Alpaca worsted again last night. Only to have to rip it out again; this time because I twisted the additional stitches I had cast on for the front neck. So, I ripped it out yet again. Cast-on again and got about three rows into it when I changed my mind about the front neck shaping (I know, I'm fickle). I'm going to rip out these three rows and try again. Hopefully, the fourth time will be charm for me. One of these days I'm going to really learn that I shouldn't try to knit a sweater that I mentally envision when I'm tired. If the fourth go round doesn't work, remind me to find a pattern and line by line instructions!

Monday, September 17, 2007


Friday night before going off to sleep, I was quite undecided about going to the California Wool & Fiber Festival in Boonville. I really didn't need to add to the fiber stash and I really didn't want to drive by myself. After dragging myself out of bed and walking the dog Saturday morning, I said to myself "why not go? What have I got to lose? Besides, it will be pretty up there and you are most decidedly gloomy here." So hopping in the car, Peet's coffee in hand, I drove to Boonville. On the way, I listened to a few podcasts and some of my favorite music. The two hour drive when by quickly. And it was a really pretty drive; especially the last 27 miles once I turned off 101 onto Highway 128.

I visited with Brooke and Maia at the Sincere Sheep booth. Kristine was there also. I few minutes later I ran into Kristine again at the Carolina Homespun booth. I did add to the stash. Here's the haul:

Indigo dyed merino from Maia
Indigo dyed merino by Maia

Baby camel tussah top from Herndon Creek Farm
Baby camel and tussah top from Herndon Creek Farm

Targhee batts from Merry Meadows Farm
Targhee batts from Merry Meadow Farm

Finally, I rinsed my indigo dipped fibers this weekend.
Indigo dyed fiber
The green is merino dyed with onion skins and then dipped a few times in indigo. The blue is merino tencel dipped five or six times in indigo. The purple-y is blue faced leicester dyed with lac and madder then dipped in indigo. The brown-y gray, which is more gray in real life, is merino that was dyed with fustic and then over dyed with logwood gray. I'm quite pleased with the results.

Also started knitting some Misti Alpaca worsted into a sweater, using Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top as a guideline since I'm making this up as I go. I had knit almost two skeins before I had a lightbulb moment and realized that the neck as I had cast on wasn't right. In fact, it was downright funky looking. Once I understood where I had gone wrong, I ripped all the way back and cast on again. Lesson learned: don't cast on for a raglan as if it is a set in sleeve.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Finished Chevron Scarf I finished my Chevron Scarf on Wednesday. I'm pleased with how it turned out. Right after I wove in the ends, I started knitting a swatch out of Misti Alpaca Worsted to find the right needle size for the sweater I have in mind. I'm using Barbara Walker's Knitting From the Top to guide me in making the pattern as I go along.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Indigo dyeing

Indigo stock Yesterday I mixed up my indigo stock using indigo powder from Earthues. It turned the appropriate sickly yellow, which reminds me of clean motor oil. Needless to say, I was pleased. I had an irrational fear that I would not get this right without my spinning and natural dyeing teacher there to hold my hand. To riff Sally Field, it worked; it really, really worked. So just be sure it really worked, I let it sit overnight. I didn't want to be cursed and find out that it had re-oxygenated and turned blue. The dye fairy was on my side. It stayed motor oil yellow.

Soaking in preparation for the indigo pot Last night, I set the fiber to soak. 2 oz. each of undyed merino tencel blend, BFL, and merino. I had previously dyed the merino with onion skins. While pleased with the color, it's not one that looks especially good next to my skin. The BFL was originally dyed with lac then over dyed with madder. I was feeling so-so about the color and thought a dip in indigo might help me get over it.

Indigo dyeing set up Today after my morning walk to Peet's on Piedmont, I set up my makeshift indigo dyeing kitchen, which happens to be my balcony. Last week I bought an inexpensive hotplate just for this purpose--I don't want an indigo kitchen after all! I'm using an old stock pot that I've had forever as a dedicated indigo pot. My black solar dyeing tub is set up to hold the fiber once I remove it from the dye pot. I knew it was a great investment when I bought it. I've got a tub of clean water next to the solar dyeing tub so I can rinse my gloved hands and not turn the handle of the sliding screen blue if I needed to go inside.

Undyed merino tencel first indigo dip Onion skin dyed merino first indigo dip Lac-madder BFL first indigo dip Each of these photos shows the result after one dip in the indigo pot. I ended up dipping the undyed merino tencel about five times. I dipped the yellow four or five times and the red around seven times. I didn't keep good track of the numbers of dips; I just went for color I like. Right now, the fiber is resting in a plastic bag. I'll probably let age a week before I rinse it. You may ask why I rest it, and it is a good question. The only answer I can give is that this is what Claudia told me to do when I learned indigo dyeing from her. So I follow her lead.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Muffins and knitting

Espresso Banana Muffins I made Espresso Banana Muffins last night. The recipe is from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson. The recipe calls for toasted walnuts. So I dutifully got a bag of walnut halves out of the freezer and spread the amount called for on a rimmed cookie sheet and put them in the oven to toast. Only I promptly forgot about them until they smelled way too toasty. The walnuts went in the trash and I proceeded to make the muffins without them. These are really good--not heavy the way some natural foods muffins can be. I'll make these again. Definitely, yummy.

Chevron Scarf Chevron scaf detail I started a Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I know that a lot of people have knit this and that I'm rather late to the game. I'm using some Twisted Sisters Daktari that I bought at the Knit Cafe two summers ago--the colors are less bright than in the close up photo. I didn't know what I was going to use it for at the time. It has kept a happy place in the stash waiting for the right project to come along. It didn't occur to me to use it for the Chevron Scarf until I saw some Daktari knitted up in a chevron pattern at Article Pract. I only have two skeins of this yarn so my scarf will not be mega long as the original but that is okay with me.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The end of summer

My firm was gracious enough to close early the Friday before Labor Day weekend. I used the few extra hours to go to Target and buy another storage bin for my growing fiber stash. Of course, I didn't reorganize the stash right away. I have a character flaw that will not allow me to make use of things like storage bins right away; I must contemplate storage for awhile, secure in the knowledge that the bins are waiting for me.

monkey socks Saturday I was busy. I finished my Monkey Socks. I really like the way they turned out. I would knit this pattern again if there weren't so many other sock patterns I want to knit. I really just used the pattern for the lace pattern and followed my standard sock recipe. So the Monkeys helped make a small dent in the yarn stash. Yeah!

Wine colored merino singles I spun up about 4 oz. of the wine colored merino sliver, which means I have a little less than a pound left to spin. I'm really enjoying spinning this. I just have to figure out what sweater pattern I want to make when I'm done.

Solar dyeing set up I painted some merino tencel sliver to solar dye. At the right is my solar dyeing set up. A black plastic tub from Ace Hardware, a piece of plexiglass and c-clamps. I left this out until late Monday afternoon.

Sunday was a mellow day. I drove down the coast with a friend. We stopped for a few hours at a beach about a mile below Pigeon Point Lighthouse. It was windy but the sun felt really good. Plus, it was fabulously clear. On the way home, we stopped at Duarte's Tavern for pie and coffee. I love the pie there; the crust is the best.

Almost solid orange Almost solid brown On Monday, I got out the dye pot to overdye some sock yarn I was no longer happy with. The orange was originally a hot pour of burnt orange leaving sizable spots of white. So I overdyed it with aztec gold and got this almost solid orange. The brown was my very first experiment of dyeing with KoolAid--originally, I dyed it with orange KoolAid. It was a bit too candied colored for my tastes. So I overdyed with brown. Now it is a lovely brown with hints of reddish brown. I'm really happy with how these turned out.

I also started knitting a Chevron Scarf using some Twisted Sisters handpainted Daktari I bought at the Knit Cafe two summers ago. I've been waiting for the right project to come along for this yarn, which is slubbed cotton. I love how it is working up. I don't have a photo yet; I'll post one soon.

Spring handpainted roving This is how the solar dyed handpaint turned out. I'm calling this Spring. The colors are so much softer than if I had steam set the dye. The green broke a little bit, but I'm fine with it. This is going to become sock yarn. But first, I am going to finish spinning the wine-colored merino.