Sunday, 31 July 2011

Dye Day

Mo and I have been planning to have a dye day for quite a while. We decided to round up some of our bare or natural yarn and roving so we could dye it. It so happens that Marion was in town this weekend and could join us.
I lined all the dyes up on the deck railing.
Here is some superwash merino pencil roving laid out ready to paint. I actually used squirt bottles first and then filled in with the foam brushes.
Marion's trusty camp stove once again was used to boil the water in our dye pot to steam the yarn. The dyes set with acid (vinegar) and heat (steam).
Once we painted our yarn we rolled it in the Saran Wrap longways then rolled it up like a jellyroll and popped it into the ZipLoc bag. We have learned to write our name on the bag, what the fibre is and when we put it in the pot. Then we put the lid on the pot and steam the yarn for an hour.
While the yarn is steaming we are painting the next batch.

Once the yarn is steamed, I used my fireplace tongs to pull each bag out of the pot and put the bags on the ground. I then carefully open the bag and if possible roll it out to cool. The yarn is left for 1/2 hour or so to cool before handling and then rinsed to remove any residual dye. It is surprising how little residual dye there is. Mostly it was the blue dyes that rinsed out the most.
Then we squeezed as much water out of the yarn and hung it up to dry.
Once they were almost dry, we thought it would look very arty to line the hanks up on the fence in rainbow order. Remember ROY G BIV? Mo chanted it a few times for us.
Our roving needed a bit more care so it wouldn't felt - not a lot of handling. Basically we swung the rinsed roving out and swung it around in one of my large lingerie bags (letting centrifugal force work for us like a salad spinner) and then just spread it out on newspaper on the lawn. This is Mo's pencil roving using Spruce. It's the perfect colour for the Peacock Feathers Stole I want to knit. I just need to find 1000m of laceweight to dye with the spruce.
Not everything worked out perfectly. I call this 'Clown Barf'. I may have to overdye it. Yeesh! So much for using Hot Fuschia and Chartreuse.I did, however have success with the pencil roving. I used Sapphire Blue and Sun Yellow. The green is the result of the meeting (bleeding) of the two colours.
And this is some of my handspun that I wanted to experiment with. I used Chestnut, Spruce,
and Russet. It's only about 180 yards of worsted weight so should make a nice neck warmer or pair of hand warmers.
Marion overdyed some medium blue yarn with some Sapphire Blue for a tonal result.
This is KnitPicks bare superwash fingering weight yarn. It's soft and fluffy.
And this is some Misti Alpaca Hand Painted Lace that I overdyed to a desired raspberry colour from a beige-ish blah.
Dyeing yarn is a lot of fun. It takes quite a bit of preparation but the results are sure worth it.
From the left: Geri's tonal purple KnitPicks superwash fingering, Marion's overdyed blue sock yarn, Mo's tonal blue handspun, Mo's teal roving, Marion's 5 hanks from emerald green to yellow, Mo's golden Malabrigo sock yarn and her gold and russet roving, Geri's tonal raspberry Misti Alpaca Hand Dyed overdyed yarn.

Monday, 25 July 2011

FO's 'n Stuff

Skip's niece had a baby back in February. I wanted to knit little Kyle a sweater and found some sock yarn on sale for the job. I used this pattern which is sized for a baby 0 - 3 months of age. As Kyle has already surpassed that age, I thought he'd need a sweater in the winter around his first birthday. It is knit seamlessly from the top down. I used larger needles to knit it bigger and made it a bit longer than the pattern calls for.

I also found a cute little hat to knit with matching yarn. I took the gauge from the sweater and used the same size needles. I increased to only 108 sts for the body of the hat. It was a very quick, fairly mindless knit, once the increases were finished.
And here's the set.
The colour is truer in the first photo.

I also have about 1/4 of a rectangular entrelac scarf knit with the Dianna Shawl pattern as a guide.
I had some Noro Kureyon sock yarn kicking around that I used for it. The yarn is not terribly soft but I'll rinse it with hair conditioner when I'm soaking it before blocking.

I've also been working on a Forest Ridge Shawl from Spring + Summer 2011 Knitty using Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend. I may run out of yarn but I'm pretty sure I can get more.

It was hard to photograph this time of the evening but here are a couple of shots.
The colours in this one are truer.
The scarf has three triangles so should sit nicely on the shoulders and also should drape well around the neck.

Last Saturday I attended the Spin In at The Black Lamb in Port Hope. It was a pretty warm day but cooler than the temperatures at home, 65km to the west. We sat under tents and happily spun and yakked the day away. About 18 in all showed up.
My spinning friend, Jody (pictured in third from the left in the green ball cap above), was there, too but we didn't get much chance to chat as we weren't able to sit next to each other.

I met two ladies who will be doing the UK knitting tour with us - friends of Laurie, pictured below in green with her back to me.
Three of us are satisfied owners of Ashford Joy wheels.

The Tour de Fleece is over now. I didn't do as much spinning as I'd hoped but I did more had I not participated at all.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


At the first meeting that I attended of the Trillium Embroidery Guild in November 2008 one of the members gave a workshop on Kumihimo, Japanese Braiding. She was well organized, explained the technique very clearly and had discs ready that she had created for us to practice the technique ourselves. After the meeting, I filed the information away for future reference.

Today, I dug the handout out and downloaded the template to make my own disc. I used the top of a margarine container and used this template to cut the notches.
I taped it onto the margarine container lid and cut around the circle and then snipped at each line.

There are lots of YouTube videos on the subject.

I used 8 strands (four strands folded in half and tied a knot creating a loop) of Cascade 220 yarn in two colours and began braiding according to the instructions. After about an hour and a half, I had 17" of braid completed. I tied off the end and snipped the ends evenly.
What impressed me most was how even the braiding was.

One can use any size cord or yarn. This one used 8 strands of worsted weight yarn and yielded a cord almost 1/4" thick. If I had used four different colours, they would have twisted in order.

These cords can be used for drawstrings, ties for hats, hangers or finishing around small framed needlework pieces, ties or trims, etc.

It would be a very inexpensive craft for kids. Adding a ring in the loop and a shorter braid, it would make a key ring. One could make a friendship bracelet with longer cord. With very long strands of yarn or cord, one could make a lanyard.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Lots o' Fun

We had an enjoyable and busy weekend. On Friday, we had our friends, David and Susan, over for dinner. I have been doing a lot of late 'spring cleaning' and finished things up for their visit. I spent the day shopping, baking peanut butter cookies (which I forgot to serve), prepping things for dinner, etc.

After dinner we went to see the new movie Woody Allen wrote and directed, "Midnight in Paris". It stars Owen Wilson in the characteristic Woody Allen role, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates and the first lady of France, Carla Bruni. It was an interesting premise, very Woody Allen-ish in style and overall very delightful. The sound-track was also great.

During dinner and after the show, we discussed the next cruise holiday we want to book and David and Susan are keenly interested as well.

On Saturday, Skip and I got up early and took the GO train into The Big City to go to the one theatre that is showing the 3D documentary "Cave of Forgotten Dreams". It is about a cave that was discovered in 1994 in France that contains the earliest cave paintings ever discovered dating back to 30,000 - 32,000 years ago.

Before that, we went to Romni Wools so I could see if I could get the Malabrigo sock yarn to finish the Maia shawl that I've been working on.
Huzzah! They had the colourway I needed and it was a close enough match to the one I already had. While there I grabbed a couple of balls of sale sock yarn to knit a baby sweater for one of Skip's nieces. While paying, I was very pleased to learn that everything was 20% off because of the TTC Knitalong.

We had lunch across the street (Queen West) at Harlem and then walked to the theatre on King West just east of Mountain Equipment Co-op.

While walking along Queen, I spotted this eponymous laundromat.
After the movie, we walked to Brookstone Place to have a light dinner at the Marché (formerly Mövenpik Marché, formerly Richtree). Then we hopped on the GO train and were home by 6pm.

Today we stayed home.

I didn't do any spinning today. However, I did work a bit on the baby cardigan with the sock yarn. While I was working on the yoke portion of the top-down raglan sweater, I realized that even though it is a baby's sweater, because of the fingering weight yarn, it will probably have as many stitches as an adult cardigan. What was I thinking? I could have purchased DK weight yarn. Oh well. I'm only 6 rows away from where I put the sleeve stitches on waste yarn and join the fronts to the back to knit the rest of the body.

Although I haven't been the best blogger or spinner lately, I have been getting a lot of housework and organizing done. Believe me, it's been long overdue.

Scooter is with us as he is attending summer school to upgrade one of his Math marks. I think it's going OK and he's free at 2:15pm each day. He'll be done a week Tuesday and FREE for the rest of the summer.

I've also been working on the Slippery Socks and am about 20 rows from finishing the leg and can start the heel. Maybe I'll post some knitting photos tomorrow.

Friday, 8 July 2011

My Bad

I didn't get any spinning done at all today. I didn't even do any knitting!! I spent the day doing housework, shopping and prepping dinner for company. Then we all went to the movies. I was pleasantly surprised by the new Woody Allen (written and directed) movie, "Midnight in Paris", starring Owen Wilson, Rachael McAdams, Kathy Bates and Carla Bruni. If you love Paris, art or literature, you'll enjoy the movie.

Tomorrow Skip and I are going into The Big City to see `Cave of Forgotten Dreams' - some indie movie Skip heard about. It's a documentary about the Chauvet Cave in France.

For sure, I'll resume spinning activity after supper tomorrow.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Results of Day 3

I got most of the rest of the roving spun. I have a little less than an ounce (26g) left to spin.
I frogged the socks I started yesterday because I didn't like how they looked with the slipped stitch cable pattern. Instead I selected a yarn that was hand-painted but didn't have much dark/light contrast - just various shades of navy blue.

Results of Day 2

I plied the cat fur that I spun yesterday. It turned out to be 24g , 67 yd. and DK weight 2ply yarn.
I also did more spinning of the purple, turquoise and lemon grass roving from Waterloo Wools.

In the afternoon, I attended a lovely outdoor concert of the band I used to play in. It was hot out, but there were lots of shade trees to sit under and a nice breeze. I'm not sure why but I was pooped last night after supper and spent most of the evening watching TV in a horizontal position. I even went to be early but was awake at 6:30am ready to take on the day.

I'm home from Zumba and some shopping and after getting cleaned up I'll get back to spinning.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Tour de Fleece - Results of Day 1

I spent the afternoon at The Black Lamb in Port Hope using Laurie's electric drum carder. I wanted to get all the dog and cat fibre carded so I could start right in on spinning it. It took three hours but I got it all done.

To feed it into the carder, I needed to pull apart any matts. This took about half of my time, especially the cat fur, some of which was so matted I couldn't even pull it apart so I only got about 1/2 oz of it done.

Laurie and I chatted about our upcoming UK knitting tour from Aug. 30 - Sept. 10, 2011. She's going with 3 friends and I'm going with my friend, Marion. There will be 23 in our group altogether. We discussed how cold we think it might be in Glasgow at the beginning of September (where our tour starts) and what layers of clothes we're going to take. We also talked about what knitting we're going to take with us and agreed on a couple of sock projects and possibly a lace project of some kind. All of which will squish up nicely in a Zip-loc bag for storage.

After supper I sat down to spin the cat fur. Here is the necessary equipment (other than my Ashford Joy wheel) I amassed for the task.
Knowing how fluffy and annoying the cat fur would be to work with (it matts if you look at it the wrong way) I got it all done - all 17g of it. Not a lot to show for all that effort.
However, I know the dog fur will be a lot easier and way more fun to spin. The fibres are MUCH longer. One dog is a golden-doodle and I've spun some of its fur before. Another dog is an Old English Sheepdog. I think the third dog is a Golden Retriever. I hope to get all the dog fur spun by the end of this week. Then I can devote myself to my own lovely fibre.

There was one mishap, however. One of my hand carders flipped off the table and landed on my foot, puncturing the skin and drawing one drop of blood. This is the photo after I wiped the blood away. It was 'merely a flesh wound' and hardly slowed me down at all. (Please excuse my unsightly bunion).
I should probably cut back on the wine consumption during future rides. Silly me, I thought it would help keep my electrolyte balance.

In summary... (I had to post the collage photo so I could post it on Ravelry)

Tour de Fleece 2011

I have been finishing up some UFOs so I can clear the decks for the Tour de Fleece. It is my first year in the T de F and I've joined several teams: Peleton 2011, North Border Spinners, Team Sasquatch and Team Canada. It's also the first year I'll be really paying attention to the Tour de France.

One UFO I completed last night was Gudrun Johnston's "Crofter's Cowl".
Now that I have my July sock finished for my Pull Up Your Socks group. I'm going to cast on for August's. This is one pattern I'm considering. I'm trying to knit down some of my sock yarn stash as I keep buying souvenir sock yarn.

I have some fibre that a knitting friend gave me that consists of the fur from three of her dogs and her cat. I'm heading out to Port Hope to The Black Lamb to use her drum carder to get the fur ready to spin, otherwise, I'll be spending hours hand-carding it.

I have lots of bags of fibre to spin so should have plenty to keep me busy. Here's some hand-painted roving I picked up at the Knitter's Frolic that I started on to warm up for the Tour de Fleece.Allons!

Friday, 1 July 2011

O! Canada

Our country is 144 years old today. Skip and I don't have any big plans to celebrate. We're just hanging out at home, doing some not-too-annoying chores and enjoying the fabulous weather. It's great to live in a 'glorious and free' land and (as one of my Facebook friends stated) to have the right to celebrate any way I wish.
I wish you all a safe, happy and festive Canada Day.