Category Archives: dyeing

Happy New Yay!

My friends. Here we are. It was certainly a year. I had a lot of good personal stuff but man there was just so much horrible public stuff that I can’t say it averaged out anywhere close to a good year. I hope your 2016 was as un-horrible as it could have been and that your 2017 sees you remaining generally safe and intact. That’s all I’ve got at this point in history, but let’s check back later and see how we’re doing.

 

On New Year’s I slept through midnight so as not to have my 3rd new year migraine in a row (sleep schedule is a huge migraine factor for me). The plan was a success, so so far 2017 isn’t seeming too bad. Fingers crossed.

 

Anyway, let’s have a look back, shall we?

 

2016 RECAP

I counted up my Ravelry projects and it said I finished 16 things in 2016. That seemed really low, considering I feel like I knit constantly, and then I remembered I also made a bunch of hats for the Etsy shop, got my first full-time job in years (with an hour commute), and took 2 classes in Spring and 3 in Fall. So I probably did kind of alright, actually.

 

I made it to 11/17 pairs for my ’15-’16:17 plan. One pair was finished in 2015 when I actually started the project, and one that I finished in 2016 was actually just to fix a problem with an old pair. So, that still evens out to 11. Call it 11.5 if we include Only Child of the Regiment, 10.5 if we only include ones I remembered to photograph. Either way, I think this might actually be my best year of socks yet?

 

 

Aside from my blanket-turned-pillow, everything else I finished last year was a shawl. I think I have officially become a Shawl Person.

 

 

Anyway. Let’s talk about the future.

 

2017 GOALS

My primary knitting goal for 2017 is not to set any knitting goals for the first 6 months. This was the first year in a long time I’ve actually had some money to buy knitting supplies regularly, and it was really strange trying to get back into the habit. (I have a pretty great local place though, which helps A LOT.) Being able to buy yarn again and having the space to store it has, interestingly enough, mostly just made me really really really want to finally knit up everything I already have and clear it all away. This is an unnecessary but not particularly un-admirable goal, so I’m trying to go with it for now.

So, I’ve got some backlog to get through and some knitalongs I’d like to knitalong with that are focused on knitting what you already have, so I’m delaying the start of my shinynewknitting year to July 1. And OK, I guess I’m starting off the future by finishing out the past, but that’s probably not the worst approach, really.

To that end, here’s my progress on my Independence Yay list since my last post:

1  Life-long Blanket: I’ve added 3 or 4 more squares. Not to the end of my squaring-off goal ’cause I ran out of new yarns. I’ve got some swaps on the way to help fix that, but I am so open for more if you have minis to trade. Comment, find me on Ravelry, I’m around.

2 Secret Project #1/’15-’16:17 #8: Done, and I promised details last time and then I didn’t take pictures or anything. I started some socks in 2010 when I was making my first attempt at a pair of socks/month. I got through the first one and it was way too big, which I didn’t realize till partway through the second one. I didn’t want to rip and redo, so I posted on facebook to see if anyone wanted them, since it would be easy to just finish up the second one and move on with my life. Which basically means I set them aside immediately and have owed my friend Stephanie a pair of socks for 6 years is what I am saying. I could not remember what mods I made after so many years and I wasn’t sure they would actually even fit her, so I ripped them out and knit some slippers just like these. So, picture those in green and a bit bigger and you’re good. Also let’s take a moment and praise my motivation to actually weave in the ends, wash & block, and mail these off like right away rather than making her wait another 6 years.

3 Shawl – Done.

4 Francis Revisited Revised: Nope.

5 Conference Call Socks: These are in my bag of “do something with these” socks. I don’t know what I’m going to do with them, though.

6 Secret Project # 2: Considering this one officially on hold till July at least.

7 Possible Mittens: Still no clue where they are but the hat they were being made to match encountered yet another dye-bleeding-from-another-project mishap, so I think I’m just crossing these off the list and they will be ripped out if they are ever found.

8 Scrappy Scarf: I added a bunch more teeny yarn ends to the ball during my last yarn organization/swap prep session, but no knitting progress.

9 Ugly Knee Socks: Pretty well decided these are not going to become anything but a ball of yarn again.

10 Secret Project #3: Yes, I solved my problem with this. No, I didn’t go on and actually finish it.

11 Muriwai the Third: Knit another skein into it. Well, I kind of had to, since there were like 80 other yarns tangled around it and I couldn’t extract the thing any other way.

A photo posted by Aoife Stone (@yarnandsass) on

 

12 Worsted Weight Scrap Blanket: Sadly, no.

13 & 14 Mismatched 2-at-a-time Socks/’15-’16:17 # 10 & 11: Oh god I don’t even want to talk about it.

15 Kiemurakukkaset: They don’t go with my new coat, but I still do believe that I will finish them.

16 Nether Garments: I know where they are.

17 Stripey Sweater: PROGRESS! I’m actually almost done with the body. I am super pumped about this.

 

A photo posted by Aoife Stone (@yarnandsass) on

 

18 Former Sweater, Future Pillow: Nothing new to report.

19 Gray & Yellow Shawl: It’s in a bag with all its yarn and needles.

20 Myrtle: Also on hold till July. I’m sort of in flux right now, body-wise, so anything that needs to fit something on me that isn’t a foot or a head is a bad idea right now. (The stripey sweater was knit to be roomy in the first place, so that’s the only one that’s safe to continue.)

21 Gray & Teal Scarf: Let’s no longer pretend this will be a thing.

22 Problem Socks: In that bag I talked about. Actually, I think everything in that bag might get turned into 2-at-time toe-up ankle socks (knit to the right cuff length! I swear!) and the leftovers set aside for a future scrap project.

23 Mending: DONE as previously established.

24 & 25 Mystery Projects 4 & 5: 4 is officially in progress, 5 is still a dream for someday.

26 ’15-16:17 #9: Good & done.

27 Wild Card: I have felt no urge to reach for this, oddly. Or maybe not oddly since I’ve obtained a ton of yarn and started a bunch new things that weren’t on this list so my wandering eye has been more than satisfied lately.

 

SPEAKING OF WHICH

 

A photo posted by Aoife Stone (@yarnandsass) on

 

Do you guys know about Mad Color Fiber Arts? I lurve her. She has this ability to get super bright colors and also put completely different colors right up next to each other without everything turning brown and weird in the middle. This yarn is one of the few things I miss about New Hampshire, even though I didn’t make it out to the store that stocks her stuff all that often. You can buy it online, of course, but I find pawing it all before deciding makes a big difference, so I haven’t bought any new stuff from her since before we moved. Dan was back in NH for a bit in October though and he returned with a skein + mini of Stalwart (75/25 Merino/nylon) in “Resistance is Futile” and a skein of Trance (80/10/10 MCN) in “Whose Side Are You On” so that I might have both Borg and Avengers socks. Because he looks out for me. Christmas brought 2 skeins of Sidekick in “Mermaid” and “Orchids and Amethysts” from my mother in law. This one’s a Targhee/nylon blend, and I have never knit with Targhee so I’m really looking forward to knitting these up. I’m thinking a shawl, since I am now a Shawl Person.

 

My Christmas presents from Dan included a skein of Knitted Wit Victory Fingering in “rock candy pink” and I’m so excited about it that I’m alternating with the Borg socks so I don’t have to sit over here pining away for it. And finally I went and helped count inventory at the yarn store yesterday and got paid in a gift certificate — which is a more than sweet deal, let me tell you, especially since 2 hours up to your elbows in alpaca yarn is almost payment in itself — and I grabbed this dying kit from Louet. One of the goals I’m not setting yet for 2017 is to take up dyeing a bit more seriously, and this seemed like a good little boost in that direction.

 

My goodness, folks. There’s a lot going on here, yarn-wise. Here’s hoping it’s the same for you. As for me, I’d better get back to it. It probably won’t learn to knit itself.

1/17.333333333333333333…

The last pair of 2010 is the first pair of 2012.

Pattern: 48 sts, 2*2 rib, then stockinette, afterthought heel, stripes matched to within a few inches of yarn
Yarn: 100% Fine Cormo Wool from 2010 NH Sheep & Wool dyed by myself and Dan
Needles: 2.5 mm KP Harmony 40″ circular
Started: November 28, 2010
Completed:
January 22, 2012

At two weeks into the year and 21 rounds into the first sock it was clear that Kristi would not be the first of my pair-every-three-weeks goal. I set Kristi aside for the week and worked on finishing up this old pair that had been waiting patiently for more than a year. Thicker yarn and bigger needles than I usually use for socks, along with some new-sock motivation from the chilly weather we’ve had lately, made for an easy lunch break project.

I did intend to finish these last night so I could officially say I finished them within the first three weeks of the year, but it was not to be. You know how sometimes you think you’re going to finish a sock, make twice-baked potatoes and salad with toasted almonds and homemade dressing for dinner, then do an hour of yoga before getting 8 full, peaceful hours of sleep, but instead you get home after a full work week and grocery shopping and you just make angel hair and Newman’s Own Marinara, then play Mario until you can’t keep your eyes open? That was last night.

But they’re done now, and I still have most of a day to get started on my socks for the next three weeks (if I can decide on yarn today, which is not guaranteed even a little bit). Of course, I’d also like to spend some time today working on my spinning – I started up the merino/bamboo/nylon for my sock yarn and it sure is lovely – and maybe do that potato/almond/salad thing after all, though I also have a pot of soup started, and I need to make some kitchen space for an afternoon cookstravaganza I have planned for tomorrow, and…and…and….

No worries. I’ll settle on one of those things eventually. All that really matters is my feet are warm.

Helper Kitty

I think Zoe was sad I didn’t get to include a white stripe in my yarn like I wanted to so she thought she’d add one for me.


She’s so good to me.

This stuff’s been drying for several days, actually dry for most of them, but I just got around to skeining it this morning. Turned my hands bright pink, so I don’t know whether I’ll be making those Jaywalkers any time soon after all. It is resting in a freezer bag in the sock yarn drawer until I formulate a plan. But it sure is lovely.


The first of the birthday yarn knee socks is up to the ribbing. Ribbing stretches way more around a calf than an ankle, huh? I keep knitting and knitting until the ribbing looks ridiculously long, only to try the sock on and see about 2/3 the height I had disappear. But I will get there. I just have to be strong.

I also really want to finish up the bath mat, but visions of the next sweater are starting to dance. There may at least be a gauge swatch in my near future.

Big Blue Blob

I’m enjoying my time until I have to start my next sweater by catching up on some unfinished projects.


This has been my main project this week. Eventually it should be a squishy, soft, and I hope not slippery bath mat. Right now it’s a giant pile of detail obscuring, dark blue cotton I can only manage to knit around 6 or so times in an evening before I give up. Maybe another week and this will be done.

The toe I was reluctant to discuss in this post is now a toe, foot, and heel.


This is my birthday present yarn from last year, Socks That Rock mill ends in a purpley greeny blue, on its way to becoming knee socks. I have two skeins and I’m working from the smaller one first, knitting toe-up to get the tallest socks I can. I love this yarn. It is so delicious. I need more of this yarn, just spread around the house in convenient squeezing locations.

Dan & I did a bit more dyeing today as well. Our methods aren’t terribly slick yet, sadly. We’ve tried this twice and neither yarn has come out like we thought it would. Today we were going for light pink, dark pink, white, & black stripes. The black turned very purple (and we were rinsing green out of it for about 20 minutes), the dark pink went sort of brown, and the light pink has bright orange polka dots. We skipped the white section entirely because I put the wrong stretch of yarn in the jar with the black dye so there really wasn’t much choice if we still wanted stripes. I wasn’t crazy about it at first, but it’s growing on me as it dries.

I Spent My Xmas Money & It Was Awesome

My in-laws went a little wild with the Xmas check this year, so I went a little wild with my half.

This is what my work looks like when it's all cut out for me.

I thought about buying a spinning wheel, but in the end that felt like making a commitment that spinning would be my main hobby for the next several months, and I’m not quite there yet. On the other hand, I have wanted to set a goal of knitting a sweater every two months next year, and that right there is 6 sweaters’ worth of yarn, and then some.  Moving mostly leftish to rightish through those stacks, we have:

  • Cascade Eco+ (green) for the Drops 103 jacket.
  • Cascade Eco (gray) for owls by Kate Davies.
  • Berroco Pure Merino DK for a hat for Dan.
  • Addi Lace 1.75 mm 60″ circ. I’ve been wanting to try needles smaller than 2 mm for thinner sock yarns like Berroco Sox and Trekking XXL but I bend the wood or bamboo ones too much to make the investment worth it. I haven’t knit with any metal since I first started knitting due to ongoing wrist and shoulder issues that made it too uncomfortable. I’m hoping these are thin and light enough that I can work with them.
  • Rowan Felted Tweed for Bonny.
  • Harrisville Designs New England Shetland for Plain and Simple Pullover.
  • Berroco Peruvia Quick in Brown, Black and White for Winding Path.
  • Berroco Seduce for Apocalypta.
  • And my all-time favorite sock yarn, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select Semisolids in Azure.

This entire purchase was greatly helped by the fact that my sort-of local place has a frequent buyer stampy card discount coupon system, which cut a big chunk out of the cost for this lot. I even had a bit left over to pick up some canning jars for my next dyeing project and a top-whorl spindle on Etsy to start spinning lace weight with!

Dan had big plans for his half of the check as well, and we had a restaurant gift card to dispose of, so we headed out early this morning for what turned into about a 7-hour trip: bank, breakfast, yarn store, comic book store, Game Stop, other comic book store, finally home to pile everything up on the floor and stare at it slack-jawed and giddy with exhaustion. I hit the yarn store prepared, with all the yarn I needed for everything I want to knit in a spreadsheet. It seemed like they hadn’t completely restocked after the Xmas rush, so some adjustments needed to be made to the list, and I had to mix a few dye lots (though I ended up mixing accidentally on the Felted Tweed; hoping that can be worked out with a quick call in the morning), but I managed to get most of my biggest wants checked off the list. Even being prepared, it still takes a LONG time to pick out all that yarn, but seeing as the biggest splurge we ever allow ourselves at one time is maybe $50 if we’re doing really well that month, it felt really strange and fun to have some stress-free cash to blow. And now I can start saving up for NH Sheep & Wool in May, since I can’t see why I would have to buy any yarn between now and then.

Merry Xmas to all, and I am heading back to my big-ass loungey pillow to pet my yarn some more.

Snowed In

I wasn’t entirely convinced we were going to get a blizzard, since the weather reports couldn’t quite make up their minds. In New England we always say that’s a New England thing, but I assume it’s the sort of thing that people anywhere say is an Anywhere thing. Our last Xmas celebration was scheduled for 4 yesterday about an hour’s drive from where we live. Checking the weather starting Saturday night, the chance of snow by 4 went from 50% to 30%  to 70%. It actually started around 5, I think. The drive home was slow slow slow but safe enough. Today was going to be gift certificate spending spree day, but that has been put off until tomorrow (which I guess will be sunny?). The power grid’s a wee bit shaky out here, so in case this is meant to be our third winter in a row with a major outage, I’ve got the heat cranked up and the Kindle and cell phones charging. Batteries, flashlights, blankets all nearby. Dan’s mother managed a Yankee Candle long enough that I think we’ve got about 8 more winters to go before we’re in danger of running out of candles (though power outages around here do end up smelling like freshly laundered apple pies sprinkled with pine needles because of it).

Right after Xmas is the best time to get snowed in, though. I’m prepared for a day of playing with my presents, both yarnwise…


…and otherwise.


Top photo, clockwise from bottom left: Reversible Knitting, Knitting Without Tears, New Pathways For Sock Knitters, and The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning; Sereknity Yarn & Fiber Impulse, color Campfire w/matching stitch markers (love. my. husband.); KP Risata in Waterslide; KP small sock blockers; Namaste notions case.

Bottom photo: Big-ass u-shaped pillow for to lounge about on (good sister, getting me just what I told her to!); new Farscape graphic novel (yay for Farscape graphic novels! it’s like I can pretend the show’s still on!!).

Oh, yes. Today there will be lounging and reading and sock knitting and maybe even swatching for the next big self-striping dye experiment (gonna make me some pink, black, & white Jaywalkers if all goes to plan). And Mythbusters on Netflix. There must be Mythbusters on Netflix. Oh, yes, indeed.

The Results Are In

One of my favorite things about yarn, one of those things that just fascinates me to no end, when it comes to color specifically, is the difference from how it looks in the skein…


…to how it looks caked…


…to, finally, how it looks knitted up.

I wasn't going to start these socks until after the Xmas knitting was done, but once I started writing this post I just had to see the stripes.

And that’s not even taking into account how fun it is to watch the colors zip by when you wind the cake off the swift (a sublime pleasure which I graciously allowed my husband with this particular skein).

This yarn is a sport weight 100% cormo wool I bought at NH Sheep & Wool in May. Maybe not the best choice for socks – I feel like if I pull from the center of this cake, the socks will be felted before they’re knit – but I’m aiming for cushy, warm slipper socks. I’m working on 2.5 mm needles for a nice, sturdy fabric. They should go quickly, but I must finish another Xmas present or two before coming back to these.

I think I might be a bit hooked on the dyeing thing. I find myself thinking wistfully of Wilton cake dyes and canning jars while I should really be doing other, more productive things. This is why I resisted dyeing and spinning for so long – with the amount of free time I have right now, one hobby always gets neglected. (Just ask my cello, or my City of Heroes subscription.) But then, there are those skeins of Knit Picks Bare I’ve picked up recently, and of course this:


The random number generator gods smiled upon me over at The Evolving Sock Knitter and this is what I won. A book on natural dyes and a skein of KP Bare sock yarn to play around with. Oh, the plans being made in my head. And I do have that vacation coming up at the end of the year.

Sundays Are For…

A sink full of soaking socks.


Setting up for a new project.


Stupidity.

Yes, I did spend an hour winding (and tying and marking off in sections for stripes) a skein of yarn 217 inches long THROUGH THE BACKS OF TWO FOLDING CHAIRS. Yes, I did.

Second tries.

 

Much better.

Steaming.


And soon-to-be self-striping sock yarn.


Also for skipping the cooking and ordering pizza. I have to say, this is not a bad way to spend a Sunday, and thanks to the wonder of Press’n Seal, our kitchen table looks exactly as it did this morning.

Our hands are another story.