Archive for the “dyeing” Category

I have a problem with Ravelry.

No, no, wait - before you run me out of town, hear me out! This is my problem: There are so many awesome patterns available that I'd never have known about, if it weren't for Ravelry. And if I didn't know about them, I wouldn't want to knit them all. But now I do know about them, and I do want to knit them all.

For example, the Oktoberfest sock. I mean, really, it's a sock kit with a pattern that makes your socks look like glasses of beer. The kit comes with beer-coloured yarn in three different flavours, and it even has a foamy white head. How absolutely awesome is this sock? Of course I want to knit this (psst, anyone who buys me gifts, I like the "Irish Red" colourway and I'd need the large size) but even if I got it now, it might be Oktoberfest 2013 before I get to wear the socks. That doesn't stop me from wanting it every time I see the pattern come up in one of the banner ads. (Picture is from the Holiday Yarns website.)

Here's one I just found today: a twelve inch doll, knitted in the round, with adorable foofy hair and even a little belly button. I bet I know a three and a half year old nieceling who might like a little doll so that she can play Mommy when her twin siblings are born next spring. But I also bet I know that I can't take on any more time-based knitting commitments in the foreseeable future. Arrgh, if only I could take a month off work to sequester myself with yarn.

So much to knit... so little time!

I did not knit at all last night. Instead I had a good conversation with Pirate-Husband while we dragged a string around on the floor for the kittens to play with. It was 100%, absolutely, incredibly worth it. They are adorable little monsters. I hope they won't be too mad at us next weekend when we drop them off at the vet's to be fixed. They'll be gone from Saturday through Monday, and the house will seem so empty without them!

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There is something interesting about making friends in the SCA or at Pennsic: that is that we rarely get to know each other very well, and yet we would consider ourselves to be close. For example, I have known Baroness Gaerwen for at least six or seven years. She is one of the first people to greet me when I arrive on site, she plies me with drinks at the Saints Marg and Rita party, and although I have no idea what her "real" name is, I would definitely say that we are friends.

So why didn't I know that she is into dyeing and spinning?

Well, it could be that she doesn't do these things at Pennsic, but it could be that it never came up... until Saturday night, when she told us that she is being inducted into the Order of the Laurel (the highest level award for arts and sciences) for her work in fiber arts. She even does proper indigo dyeing. How awesome is that? I am going to ask her to take a look at my spinning and give me a lesson or three, if she has the time.

And another SCA friend, Alaric, makes beautiful drop spindles with stone whorls. I will have to try them out and see if he has one that's about .75 ounces which fits my hand well. He did say he had some lighter ones in stock.

There are several fiber arts classes being offered at Pennsic University this year, amongst the thousand or so offerings. Everything from beginning drop spinning to fiber prep to non-wool fibers to how sheep were raised in medieval times. If you're interested in checking out the class list, you can see it here.

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Spindle with NickelI picked up this half-ounce drop spindle in gaboon ebony and african rosewood from the Spanish Peacock on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, I started spinning some laceweight from a sample of merino I'd gotten from Sheepish Creations, because I just had to try it out. On Monday, even though it wasn't Tuesday, I spun some more with it. And now that it's Spinning Tuesday, I'm debating whether to keep on with the drop spindle, or do some wheel-spinning today. I could also spin on the other spindle, which is half-full of some gray-green mystery fiber. Or I could take out the drum carder and work on processing some more of the alpaca fleece... technically that's not exactly spinning, but it's fiber prep *for* spinning, so I think it counts.

SpindleLaceweight takes a long time to spin. Longer than I'd thought. I'm not very fast at this, and I'm glad I decided to try the spindle with just a half-ounce of wool. I have no idea how much laceweight yarn I'll get from this, but hopefully it will be enough to knit something small. Meanwhile, it's really good practice at drafting finely. The fiber is dyed in a rainbowish progression. I split it in half down the middle, weighing to be sure I got it right. I'll spin each half in the same direction, then ply them together. Hopefully the colors match up somewhere!

spindle_fullThis year I want to try dyeing my own yarn and fiber. I would love to experiment with my own colors, and possibly even sell some of my work on Etsy. I've had the shop set up for a while, and it's been empty since day one. Maybe if I get really good, I could sell some of my handspun yarn. I have some ideas for other things to sell, too. 2009 is looking to be a creative year!

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Yesterday was gray and drizzly, and I didn't accomplish much in the way of knitting. I did catch up with friends for a bit, and had a lovely dinner with Pirate-Husband of chicken, sweet potato, and acorn squash over couscous... but no knitting! This morning was black and rainy, my commute took twenty minutes longer than it should, and I'm a little grumpy about it. In order to make myself feel better, I'm looking at my stash on Ravelry.

(I also ordered a three-pack of Malbec from wine.woot to make myself feel better, but that's not as closely related to yarn and fiber... though it's just as relaxing!)

So anyway, my stash. It's so soothing to look at it, even in pictures, even without the tactile pleasures. I can imagine what I'll knit or spin, I can envision the excitement of casting on and the accomplishment of binding off, the curiosity to see how dyed top will spin up and the milestones of filling a bobbin, plying, washing, and parading the finished yarn around the house.

I'm starting to plan out my 2009 fiber arts. Mom's gloves should be done in two weeks (I'm being realistic; I can knit a glove in a week but my hands will hate me for it) and my socks should hopefully be finished in the next few weeks after that. Maybe I can get both of those projects done before the New Year!

Two fairly complex projects need to be worked on. The first is the Pomatomus socks; I have no excuse for not having those complete already. The next is Napramach, a colorwork bag for friend Angie, who has made me some beautiful SCA garb. I have the yarn and am thoroughly intimidated by the pattern.

Two sock designs are percolating in my head. One is the written-up pattern for the with numbers for a smaller size worked out, and a new name of "Brother's Socks." The second is the design I started in the sock class I took with Cookie A. back in September, which is much more elaborate. I'm going to name it "Verdant."

2009 will also be a year for spinning. I can't justify the purchase of a second wheel until I'm spending more time at the one I have. And I can't justify the purchase of more top/roving until I've spun up some of what I have. The Yarn Harlot says that Tuesdays are for spinning, so perhaps I will take her advice and schedule time that's specifically for turning fluff into usable yarn. I would really like to have a pair of socks made from my own handspun. I also have a dream of a lace shawl from my own handspun, but I'm not touching those rolags until I'm more confident in my ability to spin smooth, fine yarn.

It's possible that 2009 will be a year for dyeing. There's only one room in the house that hasn't been unpacked and set up yet, and that's the crafts room. Well, right now it's a boxes-and-laundry room. The washer and dryer are going to stay right where they are, but there's no reason that the rest of the room can't be set up for arts and crafts! I'd like to arrange a fiber station with areas for both carding and dyeing.

Ahh, I'm feeling better already...

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