Friday, January 26, 2007

11 days? Really?

I've been wanting to wait to post anything until I got my photos up on this site, but I'm feeling neglectful, so I feel compelled to write something. I really can't believe that it has been 11 days since I last wrote. It certainly hasn't been 11 days since I knit!

One of the things that has taken up my time over the last 11 days has been: dealing with the dye in my mom's scarf. I made my mother a scarf out of this beautiful red/variegated w/ other colors yarn that is half silk, half wool. It is Ellyn Cooper's Yarn Sonnets' Hand-dyed Yarn in Chinese Poppy. I bought it because it was so soft (and beautiful) and I wanted her to have something nice against her neck -- not a scratchy wool job. The first thing I noted about this yarn as I was that it turned EVERYTHING red as I was knitting with it. What do I mean when I say everything? I mean it turned my fingers, my finger nails, my needles, even my freaking jeans red as I knit with the stuff -- !?!?! But, it was so nice looking that I did it anyway.

I gave it to my mother and she has been wearing it. The problem? You guessed it -- it turns all her stuff red too. So, I started a search online to figure out what to do about this dye -- how to set it, etc. What I found was a lot of information about setting dye in wool roving or dyeable yarn that one dyed at home. I didn't find anything on setting dye in yarn that one has bought. This is probably because I have selective blindness and don't seem to be able to find things that are right in front of me sometimes, but as of this posting, I still haven't found what I was looking for.

I did remember having heard about using salt water and using vinegar for setting dye, so I decided I would use them. I bought both items (didn't have either in my house, remarkably (long story)). I read first about the vinegar for setting dye and read that it was good for acid-based dyes. I have NO idea whether the dye in this baby is acid-based, so I chickened out. And, besides, who wants to smell like vinegar? So, I decided to do salt water instead. Which I did. Did it work? I don't really think so. What I ended up doing was soaking the scarf in cold water, dumping out the bright red water, and doing this with clean water until the water that the scarf was in was considerably less red (after about 4 baths, I think -- the first one being a saltwater bath, so that MAY have affected it, for all I know, but I'm not sure).

The sad thing is that while it seems to have worked, it does seem to have washed out the color some. This shouldn't surprise me, I suppose, but I am still bummed out over it. If anyone out in cyberland has recommendations for how to get dye to stick/wash out without washing out the color, that would be awesome. The color is not terrible, though, so I don't feel like I ruined the scarf. I do feel like maybe I was lucky, though, and COULD have ruined the scarf. Who knows? So, as I said, this has been one of my recent adventures in knitting....

Monday, January 15, 2007

Adventures in Babyknitting...

Bad pun. Well, my newest adventure has been in trying to get yarn to do the Pocket Dreams blanket from the Vogue Knitting Baby Blankets book. I have been trying to find an affordable-ish yarn that was washable and had good colors. The blanket is shown in the book using Cleckheaton yarns. They are apparently from Australia and not so easy to find. When I did find them, they did not have the colors that were used in the book. So, I picked the usual baby colors -- the parents of the baby allegedly do not know the baby's gender (I question this since all of the things that they registered for were for boys, not unknowns, but maybe it's just a subconscious thing?). I got my yarns from Patternworks. I was going to go with Knitpicks, but the yarns that fit the gauged that I wanted were a) unwashable and b) very bright. I love the brightness of the yarns and used them for the Wild Stripes blanket from Knitty, but it didn't seem right for this one. Plus, this mother seems to like calmer colors in general and I wanted to make something for her that SHE would like -- not just me.

So, here's what happened: 1) I went to the Patternworks website and it was down for repairs. I waited until 12AM, when both the site and I were ready, to order the stuff! 2) I tried to figure out their ordering process whereby you put the color's number into the box to get the site to recognize which yarn you want -- don't allow any spaces or anything and don't used the color's name. ONLY use the number associated w/ the color. 3) The first color I wanted was out of stock, so I was very nervous that this would happen with all of the colors. Thankfully, it did not. But, it did change the color combination. I got all the colors I wanted otherwise for the most part -- except that I chose an orangey color to take the lilac's place and the website wouldn't recognize the number. It said it was invalid. Go figure. So, instead I got a greeny-color. I didn't get overly pissed off because I decided it was karmic. I had hemmed and hawed tooo much about the color and decided that this was the Fates deciding for me, so I went with it.... 4) I paid and all was fine. It wasn't a horrible experience by any stretch, but it was not quite as smooth as I would have liked.

I look forward to getting my shipment!! What is more fun than getting a box full of yummy yarn?? Yay!

On another note, in looking for a link for the Vogue book, I found the comments of the other purchasers of that book and they have scared the bejesus out of me!! They talk about how messed up the directions are, etc. Yikes. I often find directions to be frightening, but so far have been okay with this book. Of course, I've done ONE pattern (that I'm not yet done with). Although I have not had big problems with the pattern that I am working on, I do fully agree with their sentiment that the designers have not thought through very thoroughly what these things are going to look like in the end. Are they meant to be used??? Mine is intarsia (as many of them are) and it is a HUGE freaking mess in the back. I have been sweating this, actually. If they lay the blanket down somewhere and never use it, no problem, right?? But, I am giving serious thought to putting a backing on it so that all of the threads will be covered -- so it doesn't look so ugly -- and so that it might be less inclined to pull apart after being used/washed once. I am sooo convinced this baby's gonna fall apart. I have spent a lot of time on it, too, so that would be a big problem. I'll let you know how that goes. And, gosh darn it, I need to be photographing this thing.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tried and True

Hot damn! I tried my new scarf today -- the one by Karen Bauer, I believe. Holy cow. I have never worn something that I've made and I've made a few things. It was a beautiful day today. My new gorgeous scarf (gorgeous not because of me so much as the Noro yarn itwas made of) was so warm and perfectly fabulous today that I can't even stand it. Hooray for my multidirectional diagonal scarf!! Yay. :)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Debbie New/Yarn Harlot

Well, I got to post my first comment on the Yarn Harlot's site today. Yes, today is a proud moment. I am now officially as geeky as they come -- I say that word "geeky" with love, of course. Similarly, I use the word "nerdy" with love.

Anyway, Ms. Harlot did something fabulous--showed me Debbie New's work. I thought I was so cool because I worked in a yarn shop in MA for a short while and learned SO MUCH about knitting that I had it all figured out.... Well, no, I never really thought that, but I thought that I had at least heard of all of the major designers out there. NOT SO. Debbie's stuff is gorgeous. It really takes knitting to a new level -- that of art, rather than simply craft. Of course, the debate on what is art and what is craft is an enormous one and one I am definitely not suited to tackle, but I think I'm using it right this time. Holy cow! Here is her book: Unexpected Knitting (I'll say!).

I am sooo excited about finding this knitting community online. I had no idea it existed. There is so much out there for me to learn and I can't imagine ever getting to the bottom of it all! But then, what fun would there be if I did?

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

not much accomplished

Well, not a lot of knitting done in the last couple of days. I've been off with everything for a couple of weeks now, it seems. I've been sick or finding other ways to not get things accoplished and this has pretty much left me in limbo for a while. I am hoping for a reprieve soon. Blech.

One good thing that happened today is that we may have found one way to dig ourselves out of this limbo zone that we are in. We moved into a house that needs a lot of TLC at the beginning of September and besdes sometimes finding a few small fixes for the house over the past few months, we have been more successful at avoiding the problems with the house by doing random things than we have at getting the problems fixed around here. I don't want to imply that nothing has gotten done around here, but not as much as we would have liked -- we're all so darn overwhelmed by how much there is to do! Today I think we came to a compromise that might help us get somewhere, though, and the decision was mainly to try to do less. I should probably take a lesson from this. I'm sure this relates to knitting somehow....

Thursday, January 4, 2007

oh, colds

Yes, I have been hit by the lowly cold -- the most common of viruses, and for me, one of the most potent. Damn. I am tired of being sick and tired. Blech. I even went to Joanne's today to get a crafting fix (thought it might help with the cold) and I nearly passed out. Whoa.

I am still knitting along -- when I can hold my head upright -- the scarf w/ the Noro Kureyon. My mother has seconded my feelings of vexation with Noro. She had never seen their yarns before and nearly passed out at how beautiful, b0th texturally and color-wise, their yarn is. She was wishing very much that they had a softer yarn. She claims to still like the one that I made her for Christmas (yes, a sad, sad bit of knitting for holiday), but she does get that crazed look in her eye when she gets around my stash of I'm not so sure I should believe her.

AND the baby blanket. Not getting too far with that baby. Besides being sick, I've been watching too darn many movies w/ subtitles lately!! NOT good for knitting. Just can't do it -- especially with the baby blanket where you actually have to pay attention to the design. Uff.

What I wonder is: how many baby blankets can one reasonably do in a year without going crazy? I have one more I wanted to make for a friend and another friend who is having . . . gulp . . . twins. I was thinking about making something for her. If one has twins, does one get two blankets?? Probably, right?