A few years ago, K and I were chillin’ in the mother-in-law apartment she lived in at the time when, suddenly, we heard the most God-awful noise coming from outside: screeching, chittering, yowling, thumping, shrieking. We crept outside with a flashlight, sure we would find the dismembered corpse of something strewn all over the yard but, instead, discovered that the commotion came from two raccoons happily and noisily doing The Wild Thing about 20 feet up in a tree. Not being experts in raccoon relations, we assumed everything was going well, until, quite abruptly, the female raccoon fell, indeed, plummeted out of the tree. She landed with a soft thump like an overstuffed pillow and then, without skipping a beat, leapt up, shook herself off, checked her face in her makeup mirror (really) and raced back up the tree to her mysterious masked paramour. You go, bro’!
Knitting Knews – Attack of the Giant Ball of Yarn
I thought I’d share with you a picture of my curiously large ball of yarn. The quarter on the side of the leaf should give you an idea of the size.
This is a skein of hand-painted super-bulky wool yarn in scrumptious southwestern colors which I purchased originally to knit a scarf for K. However, as is the annoying wont of some yarns, it felt wonderfully soft in the store and yet scratchy at home (how do they do that?!). Unfortunately, it was too scratchy, in fact, for K's sensitive skin. (Of course, this is the same person who once had an allergic reaction to acrylic yarn. Hives, the whole works! It's extruded plastic, fer Cripe's sake!)
Since the yarn cost me a wallet-lightening $30, I’m compelled to find a use for it. I'm leaning toward using it to knit a “magic scarf” for myself. As I understand it, to make a "magic scarf," you knit in stockinette stitch until the scarf is only a couple of feet long and cast off. As you cast off (using some kind of unusual cast-off technique I’ll have to research), you drop every other stitch. Then you pull and stretch the scarf until all the cast-off stitches run down to the cast-on edge. Ta-da! A long, loose, lacey scarf! I’ve never knit one of these before but it sounds like so much fun! And it sounds like the type of “instant gratification” project that I, ever the if-it-takes-longer-than-two-weeks-to-knit-I-won't-knit-it knitter, would gravitate toward.
Last weekend the red baby socks finally went to the new mommies. I was rewarded by the sight of one of the mommies returning to the gift bag again and again to pull out the socks to have just one more look. That's why I do this!
Dye Garden Dyegest – Argh!
Now that I have gathered together all of the equipment I will need to mordant my yarn, I can’t find the Henry’s Attic yarn! As soon as I have all the pieces together I need, I’ll do the mordanting, take plenty of pictures, and report to you.
I’m seriously starting to eye the marigolds; they quiver with fear whenever I walk by. They each have about five blossoms on them, and as soon as the middle, original blossom shows even the faintest hint of fading, my garden clippers will be going snicker-snack! If I’m not ready to use them at that exact time, I believe I can freeze the blossoms until I have enough to make a dye bath.
Apropos of Nothing
For reasons that I won't burden you with, I had a mini-meltdown yesterday. But how can a girl go on feeling sorry for herself when this is what is waiting for her at K's?
I need some serious epicurean help! At this moment, in my refrigerator, I have two little plastic cups of chocolate pudding and some old Monterey Jack cheese. Period. Last night for dinner, I had a tin of mandarin oranges, which I ate with a sad little plastic fork. Sigh.
I am such a bad cook that K and I have a theory that it takes at least four days for me to make a meal: One day to decide what to cook (which is a traumatic exercise in itself); one day to locate and buy the ingredients; one day to actually make the meal (which leaves my kitchen looking as if a tornado blew through); and one day to clean up (which is not necessarily the day after the meal has been consumed). In short, I’m good for, at a maximum, one meal a week.
On the other hand, if K had in her refrigerator only the same pudding and cheese I have, somehow she’d manage to make a luscious stir-fry of peppers, onions and marinated barbecued chicken strips on a steaming bed of jasmine rice, and her kitchen would be immaculate when she was done. I have no idea how she does it...
Knitting Knews – Good News, and My New Yarn
First things first: A big thank you goes out to reader Janine who belongs to the same guild I belong to and who reports that the bag of Philosopher’s Wool was found! She described the mysterious disappearance/reappearance delightfully, saying the yarn was “the victim of mischance rather than miscreants.” Phew! I just hated the thought of petty theft casting a shadow, no matter how small, over such a wonderful and complete monthly “escape.”
As promised – although it does not do the yarn justice – here is a photo of the yarn I bought. The litany: Schaefer Yarns, 100% merino, 280 yards per skein, heavy worsted weight, hand-dyed in shades of aquamarine, teal, cobalt blue, and navy, color name "Miss Priss."
Dye Garden Dyegest – Shopping Success!
Below is a photo of my new $9 dyeing paraphernalia, procured by haunting our local Deseret Industries and St. Vincent de Paul’s thrift stores.
The natural-dyeing reference books say it’s important to dye yarn in either stainless steel or enamel pots because the alum in aluminum pots may affect the color of the dye. Experienced dyers can use aluminum pots to their advantage but I'm still inclined to go absolutely by the book, having dyed, as you know, a grand total of two balls of yarn (with Kool-Aid, no less). Also, someone on one of the lists I belong to said that when you are experimenting with dyeing small batches of yarn, a practical idea is to put a variety of dyes in different mason jars, put a few yards of yarn in each jar, and then immerse the jars in simmering water in a larger pot.
The reference books also warned to always use pots with lids since some of the natural dye products can be a mite odoriferous.
With all this information under my belt, I procured:
Neither K nor I have children but we’d like to think that we occasionally get a glimpse of what it’s like to have a teenager on days when our Frankie goes from looking sweet, poised and angelic like this:
To looking like this:
Knitting Knews – Guild Meeting
In about November of last year, I joined the local knitting guild, and I continue to be glad I did. One day of the month, I go from being convinced I'm the only person since the Big Bang who has any interest whatsoever in knitting to being surrounded by 60 women and one teenager who want to talk about nothing but. And talk we do! The decibel level of the high-pitched chattering in that room can be quite remarkable at times.
Last night's event was the annual "stash weeding." Guild members were allowed, nay, encouraged, to bring and sell all their extraneous patterns, yarns, kits, books, magazines, needles, yaddayaddayadda, and sell them to other members of the guild. I'm not much of a "stasher." In fact, my stash occupies one small plastic garbage bag. However, last night I ran smack dab into a "must have" – six 280-yard skeins of hand-dyed merino wool, in cobalt blue, teal and navy. I'll take a photo this weekend of my beautiful new acquisition and post it next week.
The only low point of the evening was that someone -- a buyer or a seller, I'm not sure which – left a large bag of Philosopher's Wool in the parking lot for the proverbial "few seconds" and it was stolen. Sadly, I'm inclined to think the absconder was someone from the guild since I doubt very much your average passerby would be overcome by the temptation to steal a bag of yarn. When you can't feel safe at a knitting guild meeting, where can you feel safe? Oy.
Dye Garden Dyegest – Still Twiddling Our Thumbs
The weather here has not been cooperative. Just when we think things are warming up, the days go gray, rainy and cold again. Oh, and very few of the sunflower seeds germinated. Sigh. Well, in an attempt to keep myself occupied, I shall resume my quest for crappy pots to dye in. Stay tuned.
NOTE: Due to the holidays, my next posting will be Wednesday, May 28.
The knitting forums and blogs I frequent often contain discussions about the relationship between cats and yarn. While those tales are often charming and interesting, I believe my sister can lay claim to the mother of all feline/fiber encounters.
My sister has always been very handicrafty, from painting pictures on small river rocks as a child to doing Asian scrollwork painting as a teenager to quilting as an adult. At one point, her handicrafting journey took her into the realm of tatting, a way of making intricate lace by knotting very fine cotton thread. Here is a web site with some examples of tatting and, in fact, here is a picture of some of my sisters tatted edging, which I still have after all this time! The picture makes the tatting look a little yellowish but it's actually the same white it was when my sister originally made it.
Although many years later, I still remember her tatting bobbin flashing in, out and around, and the yards of beautiful tatted edging growing and then spilling from her lap, what I remember most is the day her cat Aristo discovered her tatting stash.
Aristo was a very mischievous, bold and confident cat. In fact, the first time I met him, he walked out of his crate, jumped into my lap and bit my nose. This was also the same cat who, quite on his own, decided that the bathtub was his Safety Zone. If he did something naughty enough to compel my sister to chase him, he would immediately race to the bathroom, jump into the bathtub, skid to a stop and sit down because somehow he had gotten it into his little cat brain that there was a special Feline Force Field around the bathtub that protected him. My sister did her best to disabuse him of this idea but I don’t think it ever really took.
So, you can imagine what happened when this slightly demented cat discovered my sister’s unprotected basket of lace, bobbins and thread. By the time my sister came upon Kitty Ground Zero, her apartment looked like a spider web on steroids. Ultra-fine white thread was festooned throughout every room. It snaked across the carpet, into and out of each bedroom, and wound up, down and around every piece of furniture, every knick-knack, every lamp. And to be perfectly clear, Aristo had gone around the apartment not once, but manymanymany times with wild cat glee, so the thread was well and truly tangled.
If you had been a fly on the wall, two seconds after my sister entered her apartment, you would have seen Aristo tearing down the hall in the direction of the bathtub.
Knitting Knews - Progress!
The first half of the Oat Couture sweater is finished. Here is a picture of my efforts. Although the color is slightly off here from the yarn's actual cobalt blue color, I think this picture does a good job of showing the detail.
Dyer's Dyegest - Past Dyeing Experiments
Last year K's mother gave me some 100% wool fingering weight "dirty beige" yarn that cried out to be dyed so I thought that would be as good a time as any to experiment with Kool-Aid dyeing. However, I had a challenge that most people don't have. Since I grew up overseas, I had had little, if any, exposure to Kool-Aid. So, rather than starting with the obvious questions like "How much yarn do I use?" or "How long do I leave the yarn in the Kool-Aid?," I had to start with questions like "What aisle would Kool-Aid be found in?" and "How do they sell it? Packets? Canisters?" and "Is it expensive?" My friends, who understand some of the challenges I have in learning at age 43 what most people learn at age 4, came to my rescue and helped me procure some Kool-Aid. And here are the results:
The small beige ball is is the original color. The reddish yarn was dyed with Cherry Kool-Aid and came out a beautiful slightly variegated pumpkin color. The greenish ball was dyed with a combination of grape and blue Kool-Aid and came out a nice, also slightly variegated, greyish-teal.
Thank you to K for making me such a fun picture!
I am out at a seminar all day May 19, so I can't post to the blog. To give you a small "flower fix," here is a photo of some of the beautiful pansies growing in K's yard. In the background is one of her beautiful lavenders.
Enjoy the other entries, leave a comment, and see you all back here on Wednesday!
I was recently voted Employee of the Quarter at my job, an amusing story unto itself which, alas, I cannot post publicly. Suffice it to say, K refers to my place of employment as the “Island of the Misfit Toys.” Oh, the stories I am itching to tell...
When you are voted Employee of the Quarter, your photo is taken so it can be displayed above the name plaque (oooooooooo, coooooooool!). Earlier this week I was given the stack of photos from the photo shoot (a lot less glamorous than it sounds: an employee with a battered camera; an atrium; a dusty, creaky, state-issue office chair to pose on; and me, with grey roots showing). As I thumbed through the stack to select which one I wanted to use, something about them seemed familiar. Eventually I realized that during the course of the shoot, I had managed to take on the aspect of every one of the Seven Dwarves: Dopey, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Grumpy, Doc (I look slightly bitchy in this one although I think, really, I was just trying to suppress a yawn), and finally, after an entire role of film, Happy.
I’m about three-quarters of the way through the front of the Oat Couture sweater. Here’s a photo of an earlier stage which, through a wrinkle in the space/time continuum, is going to end up being an accurate depiction because, I’m frogging* right now and will eventually end up right back where the picture shows!
This really is a wonderful, fun pattern. I’d recommend it to anyone just starting out knitting. (I know: If it’s so easy, why am I frogging? Hey, it’s not for nothing I picked the 18-month size!)
*For my non-knitting readers, in knitting lingo, “frogging” is when you undo your knitting by pulling the yarn out. Pulling --> ripping --> rip --> rip it --> ribbit --> frog sound --> frog. See? (Another method for undoing knitting is to "tink." Two points to you if you can figure out the etymology and meaning of that term!)
Dye Garden Dyegest
The marigolds are all in bloom. In fact, if I were to lop off all the blossoms now I’d have quite the handful...and some very naked marigold plants and a POP (Pissed-Off Partner). The sunflowers, which started coming up about a week and a half ago, now look like a row of tiny green linebackers. While we twiddle our thumbs and wait for things to move along, here’s a photo of the beautiful blue birdbath in place. It quite sparkles in the sunshine! A very good buy.
I just noticed you can see some of the sunflower bambini in the picture. If you look in the dirt just to the right and to the left of the birdbath stand, you can see two little green soldiers. The other plants in the picture are asters (for fall color, not dyeing), the marigolds, coreopsis (the bushy green things) and hollyhocks.
I nurse a special loathing in my heart for “weavers,” drivers who race through traffic, recklessly and rapidly switching from lane to lane, in order to get that one precious millimeter ahead of everyone else. However, I recently had the delightful pleasure of being on the same road as the Worst Weaver in the World. When I first saw the driver, he was about ¼ of a mile ahead of me doing what weavers do best, speeding, weaving, startling other drivers, and squeezing his car into minute spaces between other cars. This particular driver, however, was so determined to switch lanes as often as possible that he didn’t bother to check whether the new lane was going slower or faster than the old lane. Thanks to the vagaries of traffic, he switched from a faster lane to a slower lane so many times that he ended up going…backwards. By the time I reached the place where the driver originally was, he was behind me, having gained nary an inch and, in fact, having lost some yardage. So many wrongs in life were righted at that moment... Hallelujah!
A hello goes out to reader Vanessa who says she, too, has tinnitus. She says she has gotten used to it and really doesn’t “hear” the sound very much. The human mind is an amazing thing. Even I have recently begun to fall asleep without R2D2, a smallish miracle, in my book.
I attribute part of my departure from my tinnitus-driven “Dark Place” to a quirky little “amulet” sent to me by my sister to cheer me up. Have a look and see if it doesn’t make you break out in a big ol’ smile or at least a grin. At the very least, the side of your mouth will twitch.
If you're a knitter, please send some positive knitting "vibes" my way! I have decided to venture out of my sock safe-haven, do a little slummin’ again, and knit – gasp! – a sweater! I will be knitting the Oat Couture Fisherman’s T-shirt in the size for an 18-month-old baby, using this yarn, which is Cascade Cherub Collection DK, 55% nylon, 45% acrylic:
Dyer’s Dyegest – Gathering Supplies
Does this picture look familiar?
If you also read FiberRavenSoiree, under Sheila's May 7 entry, you will have seen a very similar photo of alum and cream of tartar, purchased at the very same store (athough Sheila's photo also contains a bag of gross crunched up cochineal bugs. Euuuuuuuuuw!) Now, if Sheila and I could have just gotten our acts together and shared one bag of the darn alum!
Now I’m on the hunt for cheapo enamel or stainless steel pots to do the mordanting and dyeing in. Any suggestions anyone? Sheila?
Apparently a colony of bees has set up housekeeping in my compost bin. I discovered my new tenants when I took the lid off the bin and what looked like a pile of damp, inert, decaying leaves and twigs started making a sound like a buzz saw. I put the top back on, and the noise stopped; I took the top off, the noise started again. I continued to do this until the thrill wore off and then, lacking any more scientific method for figuring out what was making the noise, I kicked the bin. Hoo-boy! Unhappy bees, some sporting tattoos, military hair cuts and steel-toed boots, shot out of every hole in the bin. Since the last bee sting I received landed me in the hospital, I decided that perhaps I was being a little too incautious and retreated to the safety of the flower bed I was weeding. Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that I am an animal fanatic, to the point of ludicrousness. I save every spider in my house and put it out, no matter how ugly or large. I save every worm I come across as I garden (see addendum below). I have been known to dangle precariously off my spiral staircase to rescue a hornet that is braining itself on a skylight. This particular colony of bees, however, reduced me to my five-year-old-boy-in-knickerbockers mischievous worst and, I must confess, I went back quite a few times to kick the bin. The first two or three kicks, the bees swarmed just as they had the first time, all atwitter; the next two or three, they just buzzed, no swarming; the last kick, they just let out a loud, collective “HEY!” and subsided instantly. Apparently they had formed a committee and decided that I was just a trifling annoyance, not a threat to their entire civilization. I feel quite slighted.
Addendum: My insistence upon saving every frickin’ worm I come across frustrates Miss K to no end because it makes me a veeeeerrrry slow gardener. While she’s busy weeding, spading, raking, fertilizing, seeding, watering, composting and staking an entire bed, I’m picking up my fifteenth worm, digging a hole for it in a safe place, putting the worm in the hole, filling the hole with dirt, and gently patting the dirt down. One day we were discussing a new flowerbed she was going to make and a look of consternation must have crossed my face when I realized she was going to be using her ever-so-sharp cultivator to till up the dirt. She patted me consolingly on the shoulder and said, “Don’t worry about the worms. I won’t be cutting them up, really. I’ll just be making them lots of new brothers and sisters!” Oh, yes, and she’s got this bridge in Brooklyn I might be interested in buying…
Finally, a picture of the Lorna’s Laces Gold Hill sock (Numero Uno) for K. As I mentioned before, this Fibertrends “Railroad Tracks” pattern is mahvelous. It has ribbing from cuff to toe so it fits snugly, has a tailored unisex stitch pattern, is easy to knit, and the pattern contains instructions for fingering through worsted weight yarns.
Dye Garden Dyegest
Our list of dye plants does not include the dyestuffs that are freely available to us without our having to plant them. These "other" items include black walnut trees (two beautiful specimens of which can be found in K’s mother’s yard), madrona trees (which are found in abundance around here) and alder trees (one of which K has growing in her yard). Earlier this year, I gathered up about three cups of alder cones from K's tree. They will be the first item we will try to dye with. That is, once I manage to remember to buy the &*^%$# alum!
Below, a picture of the alder cone stash. (The color of the plant the basket is resting on is pretty much spot on. Is that chartreuse amazing or what? Oh, K says I have to tell you what it is, preferably using the foofy Latin name. Okay, here goes: one foofy Latin name — Euphorbia rubra).
I recently developed permanent tinnitus (ringing) in my right ear. I would describe the sound as sharp fingernails being scraped along an infinitely long chalkboard. I went through a horrible period of depression (what K and I referred to as “My Dark Place”), fueled by weeks of little sleep and the inability to accept that the condition was permanent. To help myself sleep, I bought a little machine (dubbed “R2D2”) which theoretically makes soothing natural noises to lull you to sleep. My report: The three “running water” sounds make you want to pee right then and there, without the benefit of a toilet; the “white noise” option sounds like someone is running a vacuum cleaner on the floor above you (uh, yeah, very soothing); and the “wind” option gives you nightmares. Rather than use the sound of a warm breeze whispering gently through tender new spring leaves, they used the wind sound from a horror film, that creepy, tormented, hollow, rising and falling moaning sound. I say the only noise they left out is the one that sounds like sharp fingernails being scraped along an infinitely long chalkboard.
(Epilogue: I am no longer in My Dark Place. And, to my utter astonishment, I now fall asleep to the vacuum cleaner sound. Who knew?)
If you want to drive yourself crazy, try doing some “knitting math” on a project. To torture myself, I applied knitting math to a pair of Lorna’s Laces socks I knitted last month, using 72 stitches and a checkerboard lace pattern. The results: For every checkerboard repeat I did, I knit 1008 stitches (14 rounds x 72 stitches). And there were 11 repeats of the checkerboard pattern which makes a minimum of 11,088 stitches, not including the cuff and toe. So, for a pair of socks, I knit at least 22,176 stitches. My wrist and elbow just ache at the thought. And I wasted time doing these calculations why?
Dye Garden Dyegest – A Dyegression
For K's birthday, I gave her a gecko stepping stone mold from this site. When I read the 4-page, double-sided, 8-point-type instructions that came with the mold, I was thoroughly taken aback, but K attacked this project with gusto, regardless of the fact that it requires cement, cement dye, muriatic acid, some mysterious liquid called a releasing agent, and 4 days to complete one gecko.
Here is a picture of the mold:
Here is a picture of the mold filled with concrete with some red concrete dye in it or, as K calls it, a gecko mud pie:
And, ta-da! Here is a picture of three geckos, all of varying colors, interlocked together. The one in the lower left corner is the one shown in the "mud pie" picture. I post this picture especially for my sister in San Diego who found the gecko stone link in the first place! Hi, sistah!
Only I could:
Lock myself out of my car;
With the car running;
With my house locked;
With my house keys inside the car;
With no cell phone (which I don’t have anyway);
With no emergency key outside the house because I didn’t put it back the last time I used it;
With the phone number to my roadside service in my purse, which was inside the car;
On a day when K, who has the extra car key, was at a meeting so I couldn’t reach her;
In the morning, when all the neighbors within a five-mile radius were at work;
On a rainy day;
In the House That Jack Built.
Yup, that was the start to my day. How was yours?
Knitting Knews – The Moose Hat Saga Continues
Apparently the moose hat is now being worn by a penguin. Go figure.
And now I have to take back everything I said about my co-worker’s not reimbursing me for the yarn to knit the moose hat. To her credit, when I gave her the hat, she did offer to pony up. But because I didn’t really care, and the $2.00 I spent so didn’t break the bank, I said ne’mind and said I probably only used up 10 cents worth of the yarn anyway. Well, today she dutifully appeared in my office with 10 cents! And her S.O. has offered to bake me a berry pie when the wild berries are ripe, bless his moose-lovin' little heart. It's time for me to just hush my mouth.
Dye Garden Dyegest — A Small Triumph!
I am pleased to present to you our very first dye garden flower. Is this marigold a beaut, or what? (How am I possibly going to pick these beautiful things and boil the crap out of them when the times comes? It's starting to feel like pig-slaughtering day...)
K, thank you for taking such a beautiful photo.
To spruce up our dye garden, we ordered this beautiful birdbath from Gardener’s Supply Company. Through the miracle of on-line UPS tracking, I know it’s supposed to arrive tomorrow. A lovely thing, non?
For my birthday, K took me to one of those “paint your own ceramics” places. Little did we know we would come away that day with a new expression, “throwing a Molly.”
Soon after we started painting, two young mothers came in with their respective three-year-old daughters and a child in a stroller. We knew things weren’t going well when, ten minutes into their painting session, the mommies were left doing the painting and the girls were wandering abstractedly around. After a few minutes of this, the girls proceeded to get (a) thoroughly bored and (b) thoroughly wound up. Soon, one of them, whose name by then we had learned was Molly, decided it was Time To Leave and started yanking single-mindedly on the door of the shop. It was too heavy for her to open, so she commanded the other girl to help her and they both started hauling on the door. Eventually they realized they couldn’t open it, which thought was immediately followed by the horrifying realization that they were trapped in a hellish dungeon where children were forced to paint. Molly then proceeded to go into a frenzy of rebellion. First, every time the child in the stroller sat forward, Molly would push her back. Sit up. Push. Sit up. Push. Sit up. Push. You could almost tap your toes to the rhythm. Then Molly started repeating everything the other three-year-old said:
“Can we go home now?”
“Can we go home now?”
This culminated with Molly repeating everything her mother said:
“Molly, stop it.”
“Molly, stop it.”
“Molly, cut that out.”
“Molly, cut that out.”
“Molly, stop pushing the baby.”
“Molly, stop pushing the baby.”
“Molly, I mean it.”
“Molly, I mean it.”
“Molly, you just wait until we get home!”
“Molly, you just wait until we get home!”
We had to hide our faces in our hands, we were laughing so hard. It was the most devious, insidious and spectacular temper tantrum ever.
From that day forward, whenever either one of us has started to get a little fractious, the other one will say, “Hey, don’t throw a Molly!” Sure makes it hard to stay mad...
I 've finished the first Lorna's Laces Gold Hill sock for K. Lordy, but it takes a long time to knit a sock using LL! However, I pride myself on having graduated from worsted weight yarn, size 3 dpns, and 48 stitches, to fingering weight yarn, size 1 dpns, and 72 stitches.
I also pride myself on never having succumbed to SSS (Second Sock Syndrome). Every sock I’ve ever knit has been dutifully provided with a loving mate. Although, the truth be told, lately I’ve taken to alternating between two different pairs of socks, Sock One of one pair, Sock One of the other, Sock Two of the first pair, Sock Two of the second. Sigh...I suspect this is “gateway” behavior for eventually committing the SSSS (Second Sock Syndrome Sin).
I had plans to take a photo of the finished sock this weekend but the weather wouldn't cooperate. I just couldn't see putting my newly knitted sock on a wet sidewalk in the pelting rain to take a photograph. Maybe in my next posting?
Dyer's Garden Dyegest - The Honeymoon is Over
We are unable to find madder anywhere in either plant or seed form. It looks as if it will have to come off our carefully crafted list. We weren't able to find safflower plants or seeds locally either so K ordered seeds from the Abundant Life Seed Foundation. She also ordered indigo larkspur (which is mentioned online as a plant that can be used for dyeing) and cerinthe purpurea (not for dyeing; more for show). A photo of our treasures:
Occasionally, K and I like to “pretend” house-hunt so when, a couple of days ago, the urge came upon us yet again, we got in the car, put the top down, and went tooling around looking for “For Sale/Open House” signs. One side trip took us up a long driveway to a somewhat larger-than-average house. We looked at the house, looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and spent the next ten minutes blithely wandering from room to room, tramping up and down the stairs, rolling our eyes at the self-aggrandizing photo-portraits on the walls, and peering in the bathrooms. Finally, we said, feh, we weren’t particularly impressed. It wasn’t until after we left the house and drove down the driveway that we saw the sign that said the sale price on the house was $1.2 million dollars. Gulp. In retrospect, I think that sign was posted where it was, half-way up the driveway, to encourage riff-raff like us to turn around right then and there. We were never supposed to have made it to the house. Of course, we took some satisfaction in knowing that even if we had $1.2 million dollars ($1.2 million dollars more than our combined incomes), we’d still think the house was ugly (or “OOOO-gleh” as my hair stylist says).
I finished the little Santa cap for the moose. It has rather an obvious seam up the back but so did the original so I say I do good work! I gave it to my co-worker who perched it delightedly in her hand the way it would sit on the moose’s head, and proceeded to wander around the office carrying it just that way. Below, for your entertainment, a picture of the old hat followed by a picture of the finished product (the picture sizes obviously hugely out of whack). Advanced, intarsia and Fair Isle knitters are only encouraged to look if they need a laugh. Beginning knitters, you will appreciate the effort that went into this, my first hat.
Dye Garden Dyegest
I purchased the undyed yarn this weekend, about 560 yards of Henry’s Attic Montana merino for $10.14. The wool is so soft, so inviting, so screaming out to be dyed! I waffled between buying the Kona, which is superwash, and the Montana, which is not, because I wasn’t sure how the superwash process would affect the taking up of the dye color. Finally, I decided to play it safe and go with the Montana. If anyone out there can tell me if the superwash process would affect the dyeing process, I'd be interested to hear...
Below a close-up-ish photo of the yarn, plus another of the yarn and the progress in the garden. The "tee-pee" the yarn is on is just awaitin' to hold the tendrils of the apricot sweet peas whose seeds have been planted around it (for decoration and pure enjoyment, not for dyeing).
Can you see the spot where the sprinkler doesn't q-u-i-t-e reach?