Friday, January 26, 2007

Winding Up That Big Skein!

Today, we got to wind the big skein back into a ball! It was a lot easier than the original winding though it did take just as long.

I again anchored one end of the skein to the ironing board stand but this time I anchored the other end to Guido!

After some fiddling around, I set up the ballwinder on the coffee table and started winding.

Susan came by about half way through and got some really good pictures of us in action (see Guido way back there?).

Eventually, the ball got really big!

So big that I had to take it off the ballwinder and start another.

Finally, it was wound up. Look, it blocks out the sun!

Later this afternoon, I got it wound into regular sock skeins.

Looks so mild mannered like that, doesn't it?

Sock Club people-Your yarn is all ready to pick up! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Adventures in Dyeing or The Really Big Skein-Part 2

Okay, so we survived the winding and it was time to dye!
Here is the skein set up to go.

You actually apply the dye with a sponge paint brush to the dry yarn.

It gives you more control over where the dye goes and reduces how wet the yarn gets.

I still had to blot it with paper towel to keep it from being too soggy.

I changed colors every 3-4 yards.

It is my goal for each color to be about four rows long though the red and the light green will be a little shorter since I was running out of room.

This way of applying dye takes quite a long time. I thought it would take me about 1 1/2 hours to get this done and it ended up taking 3 1/2!

Finally, though, I did get to the end of the skein.

I had it all wrapped in plastic wrap by then but decided to tie each color in it's own plastic bag for steaming. After all that work, I didn't want one color bleeding onto another. I think I would have cried.

Anyway, into the steamer for 45 minutes. That is more than the usual half hour, but again, I wanted to be sure it was well steamed.

Then I rinsed it,

spun it in the washer and hung it up to dry.

It is almost completely dry today. Guido and I are going to wind it into a ball tomorrow morning. I may lay it over the radiator tonight to make sure it is bone dry. I've found that if this yarn is at all damp, you can't get a correct weight on it.

Sock club people-your yarn should be wound off and ready to go this weekend! I can't wait to see how it knits up!!

Everyone else (hi Taylor!)-I just updated my Etsy site with the other yarn that I dyed on Tuesday. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Adventures in Dyeing or The Really Big Skein-Part 1

You know how you hear about something sometimes and just have to try it? For spinners, it is usually boucle. For dyers, it is self-patterning yarn. So, I decided to try some for the next installment of the Sock Club. A friend was kind enough to loan me Yarns to Dye For: Creating Self-Patterning Yarns for Knitting. This is a really great book with wonderful suggestions that I'm going to be using in my regular dyeing as well. I liked it so much, I've ordered one for myself.
Anyway, the first thing you need to do to make a yarn self-patterning is to wind the yarn into a really big skein. In this case, 50 feet around! That's from the kitchen door to the front of the shop and back (using the chair as a spacer).

This is not something you want to do alone! Fortunately, my friend Katie, fellow fiber-holic and all around great gal, agreed to help me.

It took us a while to set up. You have to have things to wind around that you are sure won't move or slide. I had already decided to use my fabulous milk can

but Katie thought of using the base of my big ironing board closed in the kitchen door.

Around and around we went for almost two hours. The pull of the skein is really something. I ended up anchoring the can to my spinning wheel to keep it from tipping over and the ironing board stand would have slid right away if it hadn't been hooked in the kitchen door.

When it was all wound, I tied it every yard or so and then chained it like a big crochet chain to keep it from tangling.

That seems to be all Blogger will let me do right now. I'll try to post the dyeing part later today.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Another One

Okay, now I'm hooked on the You Tube experience. Here's another video of my favorite silly dog.
Knitter, dog owner and all around good egg, Julia, describes this behavior as Cannonballing. Wanda essentially runs madly from one end of the house to the other occasionally getting distracted looking out the window of the shop. When the camera jiggles up and down, that's me laughing.


Here's my first experiment with video and the use of You Tube. Thanks, Balissa!

Here we have Wanda and her complex relationship with the vacuum cleaner. Notice that the vacuum cleaner isn't even on.

Friday, January 12, 2007


I'm getting better here, though I have some really spectacular bruises. Thank you everyone for your kind wishes and helpful hints.

I went to the chiropractor this morning and got all adjusted.

Here is my chiropractor, Linda Slak, getting ready to fix me.

I decided that I'm not going to dye yarn next week mostly because I can't face winding skeins with my sore shoulders. I'll dye yarn the week after. All of you Sock Club people, I've got something special cooking for you and I want to have all my wits about me when I do it!

BTW, I was playing with the new camera yesterday and got a cute picture of Susan, shop babe extraordinaire, with her latest project.

Her lace attack continues!

I'm trying to find a way to upload the videos I've been taking but haven't managed to do it yet.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Lookie! Pictures!

Here is a picture of the completed entrelac scarf with the beginnings of the second entrelac scarf. Notice the sleeping dog on the right. I swear that dog leads a tortured life.

Fall Down, Go Boom

Well, what’s been going on since I last wrote? For starters, I’ve been sick since Christmas night. I’ve had that stinkin’ cold that hangs on for weeks and am just starting to feel better. Since I was feeling better this morning, I decided to start cleaning up the disaster area that is my kitchen. We won’t talk about the bedroom. It may need to be cut off and thown away at this point. To this end, I got out my kitchen stepladder in order to put away some things including a wonderful bread maker that my friend Katie gave me. Unfortunately, while I was carrying the bread maker up the ladder, I caught my slipper toe on the step and fell. I’m okay though a little bruised and sore. There are a few advantages to being fat. One of them I’ve noticed over the years is the cushioning it provides when I fall down. You always have to look on the bright side!

The bread maker is not doing so well. I broke the hinge that holds the lid on. Fortunately, I think I can still use it and if not, it shouldn’t be too hard to get a new lid.
So, the first thing I did after figuring out I was pretty much okay was make a chiropractor appointment. I’m fairly sure my left hip and shoulder as well as my neck are going to need some attention. The next thing I did was pick up that bread machine and get back on that ladder (without my slippers this time). Gotta get back on the horse that threw ya’. I did get the bread machine successfully put away as well as some other things.

In other news, I finally got a new camera yesterday! I went with a Canon Power Shot A630 which I got from Newtonville Camera. I was really pleased with their service and knowledge of their products. Plus, I like to keep my money local as much as I can. Thank you to everyone for your wonderful advice and recommendations. I felt like I went in with a much better idea of what I wanted than I would have otherwise.

I just tried to upload some pictures but Blogger doesn't seem to be doing that right now. I'll try again later.

I did finish the sweater on 3’s. I gave it to Jess the day after New Year’s. I thought it was a bit small for her but she refused to give it up. If (when) I make her another sweater, I’m going to make it a bit bigger with longer sleeves and some short rowing in the shoulders. She tends to hunch a bit and the sweater was riding up about an inch in the back. I think I could have done a better job but she just loves it so we’ll call it good.
That’s it from here today. I’m going to go see about some lunch and probably some Advil. Have a good day everyone!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all! I’ve just finished my annual shop inventory! Woohoo! It didn’t seem that bad this year, which may have something to do with the fact that I didn’t go out last night. Last year, I stayed out quite late and was very tired the next day (no, not what you’re thinking. I was chanting with the Buddhists). This year, I went to bed at about 9:30pm and woke up perky and ready to deal.
I’m also almost done with the sweater on 3’s (thanks to renting the entire first season of Alias on DVD). I just have to sew up the rest of a cuff, block it and put on the buttons. This is a good thing because I’m seeing Jessica tomorrow.
I had one of those funny, serendipitous things happen with the buttons. A couple of years ago, this glass artist was in the area cold calling shops to try and sell her buttons. Unfortunately, I don’t carry buttons here since I don’t have the room. I loved her buttons so much, though, I bought a set for myself. I dug them out the other day and if I had dyed the sweater yarn to match them, I couldn’t have gotten it closer! Just one of those things!
Anyway, I’m really glad to be getting done with that sweater. It is beautiful and everything. Also, I’ve found myself using a lot of tricks I’ve learned over the years to make it really well made but, jeez, it’s time to work on something else! I did get the socks and sweater done for Christmas. I even got the sweater for Little Niece finished up (it's amazing how I will just stop working on something when I'm soooo close to getting it done). The socks fit the nieces and the sweaters look really cute on their respective recipients. Little Nephew did a very good job picking colors. Just for fun, I’ll have to get him to pick some colors for other things.
So, now I’m looking forward to riding the train and knitting entrelac on my way to see Jess (I’d almost take a cross-country train trip just so I could knit and watch the world go by). I’ve got about half of the first scarf done. When I do the second one, I’m actually going to write down the pattern for everyone. Entrelac is really floating my boat lately. I’m so easily amused.