Sunday, July 30, 2006

All the yarn

I finally got around to dying the rest of my dye-your-own yarn I've had sitting around for months.
I used both Koolaid and Paas easter egg dyes this time. Those dyes were a blast from the past - I haven't dyed easter eggs in years.

3 skeins of sock-weight yarn - this one is Paas blues and greens:
Paas orange and yellow, with cherry koolaid for the red:
Koolaid grape, orange, cherry, and black cherry (in various mixtures). This one is my favorite, and is much darker and browner than I could get the camera to replicate.

Two laceweight skeins. Paas pale green:

Paas turquoise and grape koolaid:

The whole hand-dying thing was fun, but I think it was a one time deal for me. I feel like my results are pretty amateurish looking and it was very hard or impossible to get the colors to come out the way I was picturing them in my head. This problem probably could have been avoided by mixing up a lot of colors ahead of time and doing test bits of yarn and waiting for those to dry, but I'm not a patient person. Actually I did try doing that with the first dying attempt, and managed to create a fused melted plasticy mess of yarn and saran wrap in the microwave, which I guess taught me the lesson to include more water the next time, but didn't teach me much about coloring.

This hand-dying thing seems best left to the professionals:
Cherry tree hill supersock mill end from emtnestr. The colors are so beautiful - this yarn is clearly in an entirely different class than my pastely koolaid experiments. I've started this with it:That's right, I've jumped on the Clapotis bandwagon, about 2 years later than everyone else.

Finally, I heart Knit Picks:

They were luckily carrying the same dyelots for the green and brown merino style for J's sweater, that I stupidly did not order nearly enough of. On top of that, Shine Sport in Orchid that will hopefully become a Picovoli (I'm jumping on bandwagons left and right here), and some Essential sock yarn in Pumpkin, for some Christmas socks for some lucky gentleman.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

les chausettes sont finies

The second pair of socks is finished! I am offically converted to this sock knitting thing.
Here are the fronts:

The side:They can even stand on the floor:

And, at that point, I tried to get a working close-up shot but after a few blurry ones I had to give up and tear the socks off, it is so frigging hot here. OK, it's only in the 80s and I am officially a wimp, but yesterday broke the heat record for San Francisco by 6 degrees! Dang! I think it may be a while before I actually wear these socks for longer than 2 minutes.
Les chausettes:
Yarn - Hill country yarn instant gratification merino sock yarn in aqua.
Needles - US size 5, baby.
Pattern - Took the pattern from Nancy Bush's Heelless Sleeping Socks and applied it to a basic sock pattern.
Result - thick and warm! Too too warm!

Natasha begs to be included more in this blog. She has gone so far as to convince J to carry her around in his shirt, so as to look extra cute and force me to take her picture:

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

something old, something new, something borrowed, and a blue sock

I had this horrible dream last night that I was suddenly getting married, like, right now (well, right then, in the dream) and had done almost no preparation. J and I are getting married next spring, which is the opposite of nightmareish, but in my dream it was like there was suddenly a time wrinkle between now and next spring that resulted in the actual wedding planning being skipped but all the guests and everyone showing up. Oddly enough, in my dream, my biggest worry seemed to be that my dress was wrinkled. Clearly I have my priorities straight.

Anyway, in other news, I've started knitting with that Hill Country Yarns instant gratification aqua merino sock yarn I mentioned a few posts ago. I realized on Saturday that I had not bought nearly enough yarn for J's sweater, and I got so depressed that I decided I needed to put that away and start some socks. Here it is in all its blueness, so far (also a gratuitous shot of my freshly pedicured toes, which is a rare state for them to be in):

The pattern is just a basic sock pattern, and I took the decorative pattern part (which is just a rotating P3 K1 which makes that swirlyness) from the Heelless Sleeping Socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks.

Here's a close-up that shows the cool striations of the yarn:

It is knitting up very quickly (size 5 needles!), and is very thick and squooshy in a comforting, wintery sock kind of way (unfortunately, it is actually real summery weather here in San Francisco, for once) .

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


The back of J's sweater is almost done. For some reason, I always fool myself into thinking that the body of the sweater is like 90% of the whole thing and the sleeves will take but a few moments to finish. I keep trying to remind myself that I am NOT almost halfway done with this sweater, but less than a quarter done. Factor in the seaming, and I'm probably 10% done. Sigh.

I don't know why my camera makes this yarn look so orangey-red. It's really brown. The color is called cinnamon which I think is an accurate description.
While I'm knitting this sweater, I keep thinking of all the things I would like to make for myself out of this (Knitpicks Merino Style) yarn, in some more girly color. Like this, without the silly symbols on it; this sweater sort of reminds me of the hourglass sweater but with a less annoying neck. It's hard to remember that I have so many unfinished projects sitting around that I. MUST. NOT. BUY. ANY. MORE. YARN!!!
Since my last panicked post I have made myself sit down and write a list of what I am going to do with most of the yarns in my stash. Granted, I have just written "some kind of scarf" after most of the yarns, but I feel better now. And Marie has kindly lent me a very cool looking cabled sweater pattern (that I will probably do as a crewneck instead of turtleneck, ick) for my Rowanspun DK. Hooray!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


That Cashmerino Chunky sweater turned out to be very short-lived. I got about 2 inches into it, realized that I had used up almost an entire skein, and then realized that the skeins are only 70 yds each instead of the 120 I somehow had in my head. So now I have no idea what I'm going to do with 420 yds of very chunky yarn. Grrr.

I have just recently realized that I have 3+ large boxes of stash accumulated and only one part of that (6 skeins of Cascade 220) is actually earmarked for a project. The rest of it just haunts me. And I'm really really trying to use it up, but it always goes like it did with the C. Chunky, where I'll look through every single pattern I own, then look through all my yarn, then try to pair one yarn with a pattern that it isn't really suited for but I convince myself I can make it work, then start swatching or knitting, and then a few hours later realize that I'm fooling myself and that particular yarn will never work for that pattern. Another problem is that I have such random amounts of most of my yarn. 420 yds. of cashmerino chunky??? What was I thinking!?

I think it's a hopeless cause, but I will turn to you, dear blogworld, for suggestions. In order to not overwhelm you I will just present the case of 3 of my yarns, that I may actually have enough of to do something larger with. Here they are:

The one on the left is good-ol Rowanspun DK. I have 10 skeins of it, so over 2000 yards. I might like to do some kind of cabled sweater with it but I seem to be having a hard time finding a cabled pattern for dk weight yarn.
The other 2 are some random yarns I picked up many years ago at this insanity. The middle one is 50% wool 50% acrylic and is fingering weight, I think, the label just says 2.5-3, next to some pictures of needles, which I think must be US sizes since it doesn't look thin enough for a 2.5-3 mm needles. Although I could be wrong. There's no telling how many yards of this there are. But I have 10 skeins, so again probably over 2000.
The last one is the most mysterious. It just says "lino" on the label, which means linen. No yardage, no weight, no gauge suggestion, no nuttin. But it looks very thin to me, I'm thinking fingering or less. I have 5 skeins of this one. But they're pretty hefty skeins.
I don't think I'll be too depressed if I can never figure out anything to do with these last 2, since I think they were probably like $5/bag or something like that.

Maybe I should just give up and give my stash to goodwill or something, and start over with the promise that I will not buy any yarn without a project in mind (or rather, with a project written down, since I did have a project in mind when I bought the Rowanspun but that idea is long forgotten).

Anyway in happier news, I started this sweater for J in Knitpicks merino style:

The main color is the brown and the stripes will be green. I have to say this yarn is amazing, especially given that it is only like $2.30 per skein. The resulting fabric is so soft and smooth and fuzz-less, it's like the anti-alpaca.
I understand the boyfriend sweater curse now, I think it could be due to the fact that the knitter will invariably want to show the boyfriend the progess of the sweater every ten minutes: look! it's half an inch longer now! hold it up against your stomach again so I can see how it looks. no, feel it! it's really soft! doesn't it looks nice?

Saturday, July 01, 2006


I've been on a bit of a buying spree recently. Even J, who is normally so accepting/oblivious, has noticed how many knitting-related packages have arrived at the door in the last few weeks and has wondered whether I might think of knitting some of this yarn I keep buying instead of just buying more. Silly boy.
I think this trend might have something to do with the fact that J and I opened a joint bank account a few months ago. Now, it's not so bad as you're thinking, it's not like I'm suddenly spending all of his money on yarn. We have each kept our own separate accounts and deposit half of our paychecks into the joint account and half into our private accounts, and then we pay for all the joint stuff like rent and utilities and food out of the joint account. The end result of this is that I've realized that that stuff is pretty much the majority of the money I spend, except for gas, and so now I've got all this discretionary money piling up (well, slowly trickling up) in the other account, and I'm like wheee! I can spend it on whatever I want!
Anyway in a good stash busting attempt I finally found and cast on for a pattern to use these 6 balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky that I've had sitting around for a very long time now. It's from some back issue of Vogue Knitting, I forget which one:

I think I'll probably make it 3/4 sleeved (or maybe even less, since I'm not sure how far 6 balls of this stuff is going to go) and add in some waist shaping. And I changed it to knit on circular needles. I feel like mods like this are things I probably wouldn't have attempted doing not so long ago, but now I feel a little more confident in my knitting abilities. Although the Stich and Bitch Nation book has some complicated formulas with Zs and Xs and Ys and gauge and waist and bust measurements for how to add in waist shaping to a sweater, and I'm like, eh, I'll just throw in some decreases and increases where I deem appropriate. So we'll see how that actually turns out.

Now on to the goodies. I ordered this combo pack of Hill Country sock yarn, which is normally $15-$20/skein (you only need 1 skein per pair of socks), pretty standard for hand-dyed sock yarn I think, BUT they have this combo pack of 3 assorted skeins for $25. What a deal! The drawback is they send you random colors. But I thought I would try my luck. And I absolutely love the colors they sent me, even better since I don't think I would have picked these out myself but now that they are in my grubby little hands I love them.

Aqua Instant Gratification merino sock yarn (knits up on size 5 or 6 needles so it will be a very fast pair of socks):

Yellow Sweet Feet merino sock yarn (standard size 2 needle sock yarn). I love solid color hand-dyed yarn because it has such subtle variations in the color. Both the yellow and aqua skeins have some very slight lighter and darker spots that I think look so pretty. It probably hasn't come out in these pictures.

And a mystery (no-tag) orangey-red and white striped yarn (it looks very similar to the yellow one so I think they're probably the same kind):I also ordered Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan and Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush from Knitpicks. Knitting Nature has some really kooky but really awesome looking patterns in it. Well, some are awesome, a few are incredibly weird looking.
Speaking of Knitpicks, I've been obsessively flipping through their catalog recently and eyeing different lovely colors of cheap yarn. Despite the fact that I'm really sick of the current Somewhat Cowl I'm making, and can't ever work on it for more than 30 minutes at a time, I still find myself thinking of the 2nd one I want to make in Knitpicks Shine yarn. I'm trying to convince myself that I'm sick of the current one because it's alpaca and the little fuzzies are driving me nuts. Maybe I should let J hold on to my debit card for a while...