A Gray Day becomes A Dark & Stormy Night

I have some yarn in shades of blue for Margene in case she wants to start Knitting the Weather, or something, next month... or sometime. I wanted to add some shades of gray before sending it, though, since both Utah and Wisconsin have their share of gray winter days.

This fit in nicely with the Project Spectrum/November:Neutral dyeing.

I made gray; but, because I still underestimate the potency of black in the dye pot, as established yesterday, what I intended as representation of A Gray Day turned into A Dark & Stormy Night.

This is the yarn I declared my love for yesterday. The yarn that I would marry.

Did you do that? It always makes me laugh and think of my sisters, especially Sharon -- she seemed to do it most.

Me: I love *that* -- which could be anything, or maybe not even a thing... the more ridiculous whatever it is, the better.

Sharon: Do you want to marry it?

Yes, I damn freakin' do!


What is it about this yarn?? I guess with the absence of color, it's all about shade and value, texture and sheen, complexity and layering. My boring, neutral, black/gray yarn... It just takes my breath away!

I'll be soon heading back to make A Gray Day.

The end of a couple of things, and also beginning

It's the end of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month)! That -- and by "that" I mean everything November -- went by pretty quickly and also painlessly. Thank goodness. Let's try to keep on that express train right through winter! The blogging was maybe lame at times... one of the reasons the month flew by so fast is because I was busy doing things, and blogging suffers. It's also just different. I don't know. I'm still not ready to give it up. I'm comfortable here, even though it's/I've changed some over the past few years.

It's also, technically, the end of Project Spectrum 5: The Basics. Can I just say? I am amazed... amazed that I've seen this through in a timely fashion from beginning to end. The knitting projects aren't all done yet -- I may even have lost track a bit of that part -- but all the yarn is dyed. And then some! Though I am, arguably, somewhat challenged when it comes to finishing (it's genetic), I really had no problem keeping my enthusiasm for PS going over the last 7 months. I'm delighted to have developed an interpretation of Lolly's concept that worked so well for me.

So, here's the last of it... November is the month for Neutral: Black/White/Grey.

image from www.flickr.com
I wanted to play around with the neutrals, but also aubergine. (Purple is the new black!) (That might have been last year, but whatever.) The group on the left was dyed first with ecru and the middle group first with grey. They were then tied up and manipulated some before being thrown into the purple bath. (That sounds kinky, or like some sort of torture, doesn't it? Ha!) The group on the right is just straight-up black; variations in color there are due to differences in fiber content, number of plies, etc. Close-ups below.

image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
The finished "project" skein, below, turned out much darker than anticipated -- almost black -- because I still underestimate the power of black!

image from www.flickr.com
May I play favorites? Honestly, I think this is my favorite of all the PS dyeing. Wanna see it closer?

image from www.flickr.com
Closer still?

image from www.flickr.com
I love it more and more! The yarn is a merino and silk blend and it is going to have to be a scarf or small shawl. I can't wait to knit it up!

The project part of PS will remain active around here until the yarn's been knit up, and until there's a blanket knit up from all the squares! As soon as these neutral squares are knit up, I'll start to figure out how it all works. I am SO excited.

I did some extra-curricular dyeing on Sunday -- Katie did, too -- and I'll share that over the next few days. Because as much as I love that project yarn, there's another that I dyed on Sunday that I love even more. I do. I love it. I love it so much that I would marry it!


We're dyein' over here!

There was some Project Spectrum dyeing of the neutral variety.

Though now that I look at it, this is extra-curricular stormy-day sky scarf dyeing.

Katie did some dyeing, too. She wanted cobalt blue for a cowl. Yowza!

Better (and more) pics will be forthcoming.

It was a great weekend -- somewhat busy and productive, somewhat relaxing. I can't believe it's already over!!

Let's be square

image from www.flickr.com

image from www.flickr.com

image from www.flickr.com

The fact that these all represent Project Spectrum "Cyan/Aqua" tell me that I'm definitely on the right track -- experimenting, learning, growing! The squares above are knit from the test skeins below.

image from www.flickr.com

The bunch on the right was later overdyed with the following result, which was used to knit the last bunch of squares shown above.

image from www.flickr.com
It was completely unexpected and unintentional to knit that middle group of squares and see this...

image from www.flickr.com
...which immediately reminded me of this:


Hm. I must have Scotland on my mind.

I'm looking forward to the last of the PS dyeing so I can move on to the big project with all the little knitted squares. The intention is a blanket and I can't wait to get started!


Freestyle cables


I finished a cute little pixie baby hat with yarn left over from a recent shawl. I'd sure like to find a baby to model it.

Meanwhile, I've started a new project with the yarn I used to exhaust the dye pot the other day.

It's a cowl with "cables" and, inspired by a long-ago class with Fiona Ellis, I'm freestyling. What the heck, you know? I get to play! It'll be all scrunched up around my neck and I won't have to show the whole thing unless I want to. Bah! Bloody brilliant. And so far, so good!


The Fix and Some Fun



Another little dip into the pot turned this (parts of which I love, but not so much as a whole)...

...into this...

...and I'm happy with that. There are subtle changes, some depth.

A possible pairing.

The pot hadn't completely exhausted, so I threw in a ball of Plymouth Galway. There wasn't really enough dye to create anything super exciting, so I added some gray... a prelude to the last month of Project Spectrum.

Yes, please!

Web-2011-11-01 19.58.38
And now for some fun! Look who's working in my area this week! Angie and I got together last night for dinner and then a little knitting over coffee/tea. We usually have camnesia when we get together, but this time nabbed a barista to take phone pics... with both of our phones!


Dye, try, dye again

I finally knit up the yellow test skeins for my PS Square Project and managed to get them photographed while there was still some light on Saturday afternoon. Observe.

image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
For the first time, I ran out of yarn and had to use some dyed scrap to finish the two mitered squares, above.

image from www.flickr.com
That monochromatic bunch is like sunshine...


...or reminds me of corn on the cob. Happy and delicious!

After all the excitement and activity on Saturday, I had a very hard time getting going on Sunday -- and there was lots to do! Motivation finally found me around noon or so and I ended up doing two loads of laundry; cooking two pumpkins and a squash, and making another lasagna with some of it; glueing a favorite pair of shoes (hoping to get one more winter from them) (man, that's a messy job) (aaaaand I'm not sure that they're suitable anymore for wearing in public); and cleaning up my studio/office!

My room was so bad, I could barely move without worrying about knocking something over and that type of situation is not conducive to anything creative or productive. One reason for cleaning up is that, heading into the dark season, I wanted to get something set up for photography. I finally changed the speedring on my old softbox so that it fits a newer light that I have, and set it all up in a more permanent (and somewhat portable-around-the-house) fashion. There's room! There's light! There are photos!

Nope (close up)

I also needed to fix the Project Spectrum Aqua/Cyan yarn and give it some OOMPH. Smartly, if I may say so, I decided to experiment on the test skeins, even if (or maybe because) they weren't perfect -- that's what they're for!

image from www.flickr.com
So, the fix isn't perfect, either, but it was definitely not a futile exercise.

Stay tuned... more tomorrow... after my dentist appointment.  ; )


To 5th Avenue and beyond

I did a lot of dyeing yesterday. Almost all of these items were still damp, to some degree, when photographed.

image from www.flickr.com

  • Project: Fifth Avenue Cowl (A Cowl for Nick by Margaux Hufnagel) (You want one, too!)
  • Yarn: 100% Merino 3-ply, bulky weight, 250 yards, Make.Do.Dyed for Project Spectrum - Yellow*
  • Needle: US 10-1/2, circular
  • Mods: None!
  • Start to Finish: October 21 to October 24, 2011

So, besides the fact that yellow is just really not my color -- I believe there's a total of ONE "yellow" article of clothing in my wardrobe -- there was far more deep purple than light muddy purple-brown in this finished yarn, making it very Viking-esque (a fact I haven't been able to shake that since it was brought up in the comments). It never occurred to me at the time, just as it never occurred to me that the green and gold border I cross-stitched on my husband's Christmas stocking was Packer perfect; apparently, those worlds just don't collide in my creative mind. Heh.

It may have worked if the proportions were different, but I knit it all up making the final decision to throw it all back into a pot o' purple. It turned out pretty great, I think, "glow-y" and with lots of depth. I really can't wait to wear it, and I promise a modeled shot.

image from www.flickr.com
As I told Ali yesterday, while showing her this yarn, I needed a pale sky blue yarn for the Sky Scarf. She said, "Oh, for a sky like today's?" Um, yeah! I need a pale gray and a white (next month is neutrals) and then I think I'll be set. I still haven't settled on a shape/project.

image from www.flickr.com
Especially when compared to my previous PS dye test skeins, but even without, I doubt one would guess these were all tests for the same color*. The flavor of the month is cyan/aqua!


This is also the first time I dyed the finish/project skein at the same time as the test -- sometime the tester is just too small to really see the full effect. There are parts of this that I absolutely love, and parts that I'm not so crazy about. I'm not sure what this will become.

*It's all exploration and experimentation, at this point, and if I learn something or am further intrigued or motivated, then I'm happy... no, I'm thrilled!


Study this

Not only did I get to visit Silver Lake with Margene (one week ago today!), I was also able to photograph a fresh Different Lines there with Margene as my model! A little overwhelmed was I, what with being at Silver Lake with Margene, and the moose, and the kids, and SILVER LAKE with MARGENE! They're pretty standard FO shots... except, you know, they're at SILVER LAKE! Whew!



  • Project: Different (Different Lines Shawl) by Veera Välimäki, 100% Rain
  • Yarn: Malabrigo Sock (eggplant) from Iris Fine Yarns, Appleton, WI
  • Yarn: Knit Picks Bare Superwash Wool & Nylon, fingering, Make.Do.Dyed for Project Spectrum in a shade of pink that reminded me of Grandma, so called "Virginia"
  • Needle: Susan Bates Quicksilver 6US/4.25mm
  • Mod: Knit one row and cast off in contrasting color
  • Start to Finish: August 31, 2011 - September 26, 2011. Finished while at the Rocky Mountain Knitters' Retreat at Alta Lodge in Utah!

Margene took one of me, too!

I had a great and busy and quite productive weekend -- cooking, knitting, dyeing, harvesting, dyeing some more! Also gearing up for a brand new, twice-monthly Knit Night at the coffee shop beginning this Thursday... Wish you were here!

It'll always be blue to me

This is my Project Spectrum Blue yarn for July.

I learned that a little black goes a long, long way.

I used the yarn to make a project bag... because one can never have too many project bags! I imagine that the base will only get sturdier as it lightly felts with use. The tie doesn't match -- a super-bulky strand of silk yarn -- and will likely be replaced at some point... or not. The bag has been all but finished except for the tie and, yesterday, I just needed it done!

I had the knitted piece with me on our visit to Iowa and I think I did okay keeping "blue" in mind while also choosing to match my *blue* yarn. I cut the fabric so as to make a tall bag -- tall enough for the long straight needles that I prefer.

Current projects in the bag are my Juniper Scarf and Gretel Cowl-neck -- ready to grab-n-go!


Nature calls


I woke up super early the night-before-last and couldn't get back to sleep.

image from www.flickr.com

I determined a little later, given my mood, that not only did I get up a bit too early for a holiday Monday, I must have also done it on the wrong side of the bed.


I'd have taken a nap... if I could have fallen asleep (cruel, cruel world).


Instead, I took a hike. I grabbed my camera, and went down in the woods to photograph the amazing fungi growing on the rotting oak trunk -- it's been catching my eye quite a bit lately. Amazing stuff.

image from www.flickr.com
There are more than a few of these flowers, too, which I can't remember the name of; it forms a long, small seed pod that "explodes" when touched. Very cool.

While mostly orange, there's enough yellow for me to qualify for Project Spectrum -- and dye inspiration. Formulating...

Meanwhile, today is the fourth and final day of a long holiday weekend. I spent much of yesterday helping Ali at the coffee shop -- mostly cleaning a new-to-her 5-foot refrigerated display case, and rearranging the counter area and appliances to fit it in.

I slept well last night.

I think my latest Stripe Study Shawl is going to be a little larger than the first -- the border is taking FOREVER! I still have an inch or so to go, but maybe if I knit out with the group tonight I'll make some progress and even get it done!


A mighty wind...

...blew through here this morning, making the rain "fall" sideways, and it was sorta scary! I was at the top of the stairs, this >< close to heading to the basement. There were 30,000-40,000 people without power, at one point, and some were told it could be Monday before it's restored. We were expecting a storm, but this one arrived about four hours early and was just WAY MORE. I've never seen so many downed trees and branches -- all the way home. It certainly isn't on the scale of Hurricane Irene but, you know, it was sort of like that... we knew it was coming, perhaps we should have been more prepared.

Oh, me.

Everything's fine at home except for some cables at the back between my house and the neighbor's -- either phone lines that neither of us even use anymore, or cable lines that aren't affecting our services. Nothing urgent, but you don't want people or animals messing around...

The rain enhanced the fungi growing on what's left of an old oak stump... another year or two and there will be no trace!

Here's my "Juniper Scarf," mentioned in the previous post. I've not knit much with laceweight yarn... it's so soft and light!

And "Stripe Study II" that I'm loving more and more as I near completion (I'm on the last short-row section).

So. Anything fun for the weekend?

I'm hangin' close to home... making tomato sauce; processing photos from a wedding a couple of weeks ago (I'd REALLY like to finish that up); Ali's making some changes at the coffee shop, so I'll be handy if they need me; I'd like to put the final touches on the Project Spectrum Blue (July) project and maybe get started on the PS Pink (August) project and figure out what color is up for September!

(Just checked as I copied the link... it's YELLOW!)

That's the tip of the iceberg, but plenty enough to keep me busy for a few days, eh?

Along came PINK & Stephen West

...and best-laid plans (continue to) run amok.

image from www.flickr.com 
Originally, I was going to knit all one-skein projects with the yarn I dyed for Project Spectrum and I sort of even planned the whole thing out. I knew I wouldn't do it to the end if I boxed myself in too much, though, so beyond some basic guidelines and scribbles on paper, it was all very fluid... playful and fun, yay!

RED: The first month was pretty normal, though I definitely caught the fever because I was throwing all sorts of extra-curricular skeins and hanks into the pot!

GREEN: The second month took a vibrant and much more colorful route -- a woolly and literal interpretation of "playful and fun."

BLUE: The third month was all about experimentation, so much so that the final "project" yarn doesn't even look blue to the untrained eye. Heh. It's blue to me and always will be! (I had a big red stuff dog once, very much like Clifford, and I named him Blue.)

image from www.flickr.com 
PINK! Pink is... well, pink ain't so easy folks! It can easily be so hot it sears the eye, or a little too Pepto, or too... I dunno, it's just tricky.

Pink #1

Here's my first attempt, using what I thought was a weak solution of red and burgundy. Heehee! It's very happy and definitely not Pepto, though it doesn't always play well with other colors and sometimes makes you want to squint a little (it depends on the light).

Pink #2

The second attempt, using half the strength of the first and with just a DROP of black, is still a pretty strong pink!

Pink #3

The third solution was half again the strength and with a half-drop of chartreuse in the mix. That resulted in a rather soft, pretty, girly pink.

Well, then Stephen West came along with his WestKnits Mystery Shawl KAL. It's been ages since I did a KAL (okay, fine, not counting the Through the Loops Cerasifera shawl I just finished). I've never done a mystery KAL, though, and I found myself completely enchanted... and then thinking about stash yarn possibilities and which color combinations might work and... hey! maybe I could dye yarn to match!

image from www.flickr.com 
There are a few skeins of fingering-weight yarn from each of the first three batches of pink that were overdyed to sort of "dirty" them up a bit -- some are easier than others to pick out in the photos above -- with varying degrees of success (and also pastel green!). I came close to what I wanted, but no banana... I was short on time (this being a last-minute decision) and it just wasn't working to rush (i.e., NOT FUN!), so I found some yarn in Iowa to use for the mystery shawl (MUCH MORE FUN!) and will do something else with my PS pink yarn.

image from www.flickr.com 
I may or may not be thinking about my next Stripe Study Shawl.

* * * * *

Have a great weekend. I'll be making my way to W'loo in order to participate in the Fit City Triathlon (relay) with my sisters on Sunday morning! The event benefits the swim club there. I sure wish it had been a nicer summer up 'til now, I hardly feel as though I've ridden except for events... probably because I've hardly ridden except for events.  ; )  Oh well. I'm just thankful that my very competitive Type A sister/teammates are aware of their ages and limitations! Wish us luck!


1. Blueberries, 2. Sky blue, 3. Navy & sky, 4. Complementary, 5. Lively!, 6. Just beginning, 7. Watering cans, 8. Blue lights, 9. Blue lantern, 10. Blue bottle tree, 11. Blue Squares III, 12. Blue Squares II, 13. Blue Squares I, 14. This is supposed to be blue, 15. There he goes

We finally installed the blue-bottle dragonfly garden sculpture that I bought way-back-when on the garden tour. It's in the front of the house, "landing" on the barberry bush. The barberry is a good theft deterrent. I've never put much visible stuff out in the yard since a cute wooden bench that was in front of the kids' playhouse disappeared... years ago! I'll be sad if the dragonfly flies...

There's so much going on around here. I'm happy to finally put Project Spectrum July:Blue to bed. Well, I guess I still have the project to make... hopefully this weekend. I'm calling it good enough.

Come back tomorrow for pink!

Really, if I didn't have to take time to sleep, I'd be doing fine.


Stripe Study

image from www.flickr.com 

image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com 
It's an interesting color combo, as mentioned a few times along the way, and not the combo I started with! The "Forest" is very subdued and sedate, and the "Highland Holiday" just goes ZING! Let's have a party in the woods!!

Up 'til now, I've knit only mostly one-skein shawls -- and I love them and I'll certainly knit more -- but this is the second in a row, now, that I've knit using at least two skeins/hanks/colorways and I love the larger size! (The first was the recently completed Cerasifera by Kirsten Kapur.) I'll be knitting the larger size of Stephen West's Mystery Shawl in three colors** and I can't wait to get started.

image from www.flickr.com 
One last parting shot. Alison must really love me because she let me wrap that big wool shawl around her neck and then take her outside for photos -- I worked quickly because it was 90F and the humidity was awful! I'm so sick of being hot and sticky. If you have to stay inside because of the weather, it may as well be winter... it's just depressing when it looks nice out but feels awful. I really do love summer, so I'm conflicted... it's been a tough year.  ; )

The westknits Mystery Shawl KAL kicks off today -- in fact, the first clue arrived in my mailbox already last night! I'm very excited as I've never knit a mystery before.

*I used my second-to-last hank of my OMA workshop yarn for Stripe Study; the last is earmarked for the Mystery Shawl, if...

**I can dye the right shade of pink to go with it, and then come up with a third color... which I'm thinking will be either black or gray, or maybe blue. I'll probably buy that yarn because dyeing is hard. Pink is hard! I dyed three test batches yesterday (naturally, because it was hot and humid!) and may yet dive into the surplus test skeins for more experimentation before settling on the final color. I haven't had to do that before! Pink is the Project Spectrum color for August.

Stay tuned!

How'd you do that?

Deirdre left a comment on yesterday's post:

I've been loving all your hand-dyed yarns, and am wondering how you're dyeing them? Big vats of colour? Squirt bottles?

Excited by what I learned at the dyeing workshop that Kate, Ali and I took at Old Maiden Aunt Yarns in Scotland, I was completely energized by the girls' enthusiasm! Project Spectrum came along at exactly the right time, providing both direction and focus for my ongoing exploration.

image from www.flickr.com

At this point, it's mostly all fun and games. I am having a blast playing around and experimenting with color and fiber. That said, I've been trying hard to document and record while playing -- not something I've ever been good at -- because at the heart of it, I'm also learning. 

image from www.flickr.com 
Right now, given my current set-up and equipment, immersion techniques work best. (The lapse in my documentation is evident right >< here in that the most useful photos of my red-dyed yarn are not readily available... and I'm just going to trust that I took them in the first place, and can find them... I'm 99% sure.) All of the reds I dyed in May were dyed using this method; some were over-dyed and/or tie-dyed.

image from www.flickr.com 
A pot full of dye is hard to resist! I put a rubberband around a skein of white yarn and threw it in to see what would happen...

image from www.flickr.com 
And put some more rubber bands on a hank of already-red yarn and threw that in, too!

image from www.flickr.com 
 Naturally, since I'm mostly set up for immersion dyeing, I was hand-painting by June!

image from www.flickr.com 
Mostly, these were done by pour-and-smoosh. My test skeins are small, but I believe I had a couple of these sort of draped in and out of containers each with a different concentration of dye.

image from www.flickr.com 
For hank above, I laid it out on some large pieces of plastic wrap. I poured and smooshed chartreuse on one end, emerald on the other; orange along one side; navy along the other. It was all wrapped up in plastic wrap and then steamed on the stovetop. The steaming could also be done in a dye-dedicated microwave or crockpot, but I don't have either.

image from www.flickr.com 
I continued the pour-smoosh-and-steam method for the blue test skeins, playing a bit with value and hue.

image from www.flickr.com 
I reverted to immersion, time, and over-dye techniques for the "blue" finish skein. I also continued to play with value and hue, resulting in a failure in the "blue" department but pretty much a winner in every other way! For this hank, I threw the whole thing into a bath of burgundy-tinted orange; after a few minutes, I pulled out one end, leaving the rest in the pot. I mixed "a little" black with navy blue (this might have worked better had I used sky blue) and then over-dyed half the hank in this solution.

image from www.flickr.com 
image from www.flickr.com 
Because this is all rather seat-of-the-pants and sometimes my idea changes in the time it takes to pick up the yarn and put it in the pot... There was more navy-black dye than required for the amount of fiber, and that's when I threw in a skein of green Galway to soak up the rest.

I can't believe it's going to be August on Monday!!! We'll be in the pink, which I'm sort of dreading, but I'm going to MAKE IT WORK!


Black and blue, beep-beep

Beep-beep first. This week's Ten on Tuesday is 10 Best Bumper Stickers You've Ever Seen. Ahem. Well, bumper stickers stick better to bumpers than then they do to my brain! I'm not good at remembering jokes, either. I like clever and eye-catching art and graphics, helpful and hopeful messages reminding us to be green and love thy neighbor and let there be peace on earth -- the symbolic COEXIST epitomizes that, pretty much and is definitely one of the best I've ever seen. And humor is always good.

There is one bumper sticker (of many) that Katie had on her first Saab (way back when she was still in high school!) that a) I will never forget and b) I still often quote:


* * * * *

Let's look at some yarn.

image from www.flickr.com 
Last time it was an ant, this time a flying bug -- I don't know why they're always wanting to be in the yarn photos.

image from www.flickr.com 
Darn it. This is supposed to be blue and orange. Do you see any hint of blue? Neither do I!

Perhaps the lesson might be learned now?

image from www.flickr.com 
I rather love it, and I'm sure I'll use it, it's just not what it was supposed to be. I shall try again.

image from www.flickr.com 
Meanwhile, I had a hank of green Galway worsted that I threw in at the end to soak up the remainders of the "dark blue" and I love the subtle change.


Blue on blue

image from www.flickr.com 
Blue on blue...

image from www.flickr.com 
Heartache on heartache...

image from www.flickr.com 
Blue on blue, now that we are through...

I still haven't decided on my Project Spectrum July:Blue project, which also means that I haven't dyed the yarn, but I've knit up the fingering weight dye sample skeins for the Project Spectrum Square Project.

image from www.flickr.com 
One of these days I'll lay them all out in some sort of order to photograph. I know what I'm going to do with them in the end, but haven't taken thee time to figure out the nitty-gritty details yet. I have time.

There was a Garden Walk in the area on Saturday. There was a heat wave moving in and it was hot, but not as bad as Sunday -- this whole week is going to be steamy! I took lots of photos, with a special focus on blue.

image from www.flickr.com 
More to come. Stay cool!


Well, if photographs didn't lie -- and I didn't allow myself to be deluded -- it would be a very nice Stripe Study. As it is, that yarn is WAY more green-brown than it is gold and my shawl looked like poop. I started one way, didn't like it, and tore it out... to start it the other way, didn't like it, and tore it out, too.

I've since begun again using some of my Highland Holiday yarn to stripe and I think it like it -- I like it better -- but it might also be starting to hurt my eyes. I love that yarn I dyed in Scotland way too much to waste it on a project that I don't love. So, I might knit a few more rows to make sure, but I might also rip it all out tonight.

And while pondering what color might actually go nicely with the poopy yarn, I may have found my elusive Project Spectrum July=Blue project.


image from www.flickr.com 
I dyed on Sunday. The blues are either Sky Blue or Navy Blue, and I played around a little bit with value, adding black -- oOops! You don't need much! I also played just a bit with Pumpkin Orange as a complement -- all in varying strengths and whatnot. I wasn't as inspired this time... it was hot and humid... or there's just way too much going on on my world... or I haven't been as successful as I'd hoped in keeping The Blues confined to the dye pot.

image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com 

I shall ponder carefully. I have some extra skeins if further testing is required. On a cooler day. And this time with feeling.

image from www.flickr.com 

Silly ant.

Plum crazy about this thing!

image from www.flickr.com
I'm so happy with this project. I've had in mind a two-tone shawl with this yarn from the moment I unwrapped it nearly a year-and-a-half ago. I've been perusing, pondering, and printing possible patterns ever since...

Within 30 minutes of this shawl appearing on my radar, I'd not only read about and purchased the pattern, but had cast on as well!

  • Cerasifera Shawl by Kirsten Kapur with modification to the ribbed edging *
  • Sundara Hand-dyed 100% Superwash Merino Wool Yarn; approx. 370 yards "Calla Lily" + approx. 250 yards "Ochre Over Lime" *
  • Size US 7 needle (straights throughout, employing a 3rd as needed)
  • Began June 20, 2011 and finished July 4, 2011
  • Dimensions: 55" tip-to-tip wingspan, 22" neck to edge at middle
  • Rav'd here

Kirsten is hosting a Summer Shawl Knit-Along and has a number of beautiful shawl patterns to choose from, should you be so inclined to knit along.

Cast on now and finish by September 23rd -- plenty of time -- and not only have a lovely shawl for fall (or a start on Christmas knitting!) but a chance at prizes in the end.

* Yarn & Edging Details. I began with three balls of yarn -- two in the “Calla Lily” color that were each about 185 yards/50g, and one in the “Ochre Over Lime” that was about 350 yards/100g. (Please note that I did not measure or weigh before I began, so don't know the accuracy of the stated yardage/weight.)

It just happened to work out that I used nearly all of the first ball of “Calla Lily” for the openwork/body part of the shawl and most of the second ball for the Cerasifera lace section. The yarns were the same colorway, but the second ball was a bit darker and I was thrilled that it worked out this way. Measuring the leftovers of both balls, there is a total of 12g left (cautiously translating to about 40 yards total).

I had plenty of the “Ochre Over Lime” colorway when I began the Ribbed Edging section -- enough to play! I loved the ribbed edging -- it's one of the design features that appealed to me most -- and decided to riff on that a bit. It took a couple of tries, but I ended up knitting the K2,P2 edging as written for a few rows and then knitting another increase row, basically doubling the number of stitches, to knit the rest of the edging. I didn't want a crazy ruffle, but the increased number of stitches definitely gives it some movement at the bottom and a lovely softness. This is 36g/approx. 125 yards left, so my rough calculations tell me I used about 225 yards for the edge.


How green was my month?

1. Kick-ass yarn with kitty, 2. Hosta Elegans, 3. Square in hosta, 4. I love this so much, 5. Three, three, three months in one!, 6. Noddy, 7. Green squares on blue chair, 8. Garden phlox, 9. Green on green, 10. All over 'cept for buttons, 11. Roasted Asparagus, 12. PS Salad, 13. PS June Project Sweater, 14. Green, 15. Not Indian Paintbrush, 16. Kick-ass chartreuse, 17. Kick-ass green & blue, 18. My green CHIBI, 19. Untitled, 20. Sugar snap peas, 21. Baby tomato, 22. As goes the rose..., 23. Week 3, 24. Garlic scapes, 25. IMG_7700

image from www.flickr.com
I've been goofing around way too much with the edging of this shawl. I'd hoped to be finished with the knitting by the end of the month, but I'll be happy with doing it by the end of the holiday weekend (which, for me, includes Tuesday).

image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
It is Kirsten's Cerasifera and I'm using some Sundara Sock that I received in a swap almost a year and a half ago. I knew right away that I'd be knitting a shawl with it, I just didn't know which one (or exactly when). I saw Kerstin's pattern, bought it, and cast on immediately -- that was on June 20th; I'm playing around, mainly because I have the yardage, but it's messy. Heh.


How green is my sweater?

image from www.flickr.com 
image from www.flickr.com

It'll qualify for "green" month, right?

image from www.flickr.com 
I tried all sorts of buttons in all different colors... it just had to be orange! I love this vibrant, colorful, little sweater. I’m so happy with the even color distribution throughout the body. The slip-stitch pattern gives the sweater just the right amount of texture and makes it pop all over without getting too nuts.

The pattern is "Boy-O-Boy," found in 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders.

image from www.flickr.com

image from www.flickr.com

The yarn is Knit Picks Bare Superwash Merino (worsted weight) that I dyed earlier this month for Project Spectrum/June=Green on a size 8 (US) needle.

I ran out of yarn. I had enough of the Superwash for only one sleeve. Naturally, there are no "one-skein" guarantees and, while I hadn't formulated one in advance, I was well aware that I might have a shortage at some point and need a plan!

Luckily, I remembered the similarly dyed test skeins from my dying experiments. I have come up with a project for all of the fingering weight tests, but have nothing in mind for the heavier ones. I gathered the worsteds; there are differences in fiber content, but I wasn’t in a position to be too picky about that! 

image from www.flickr.com

Right sleeve front (above) and back (below).

image from www.flickr.com 
I decided to stripe the intended project yarn with some of the make-do/test yarn and, overall, it’s OK. The ends of the sleeves are a bit brighter than the rest. I planned it that way, splitting a more solid color test skein in half (after using a small bit for the "collar"), because it was the only way I could be sure that at least that part would "match." The sleeves became darker as I striped my way to the shoulder and there was some pooling. There's one very dark patch on the back of the left sleeve… but it’s the back of the left sleeve. I’m okay with it.

image from www.flickr.com 
Left sleeve front (above) and back (below).

image from www.flickr.com 
I’m pretty darn thrilled with it. ; )

The thing about green is...

image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com 
image from www.flickr.com 

image from www.flickr.com

It's the perfect backdrop for nature's beauty and bounty.

image from www.flickr.com 
With a cherry on top! Or at the bottom. Cherries are good in just about any location.

* * * * *

Project Spectrum June=Green knitting update: I have finished the body of the sweater and three-needle joined it at the shoulders. I knit most of a sleeve and it became very clear that I'd not have enough for the other. I ripped it, weighed the yarn, and split it in two. My solution to the yarn shortage is to use my worsted weight test skeins to horizontally stripe, while knitting both sleeves a thte same time. There's something of a general stripe effect overall (pattern/vertical, yarn/horizontal) which is working in my favor. The sleeves will definitely be more green but, given the theme, that works too! It's a bit of a mess at the moment, but I'll have photos soon.

Summer is...

image from www.flickr.com
Lime Kool-aid, lush green grass, orange Creamsicles, sailor suits...

image from www.flickr.com
and the swimming pool.

Here's the green -- the color of June for Project Spectrum -- one side of the hank dyed chartreuse, the other emerald green:

image from www.flickr.com
And here's the oomph:

image from www.flickr.com
One "end" of the hank was dyed navy blue, as in my test skeins, and the other pumpkin orange -- a brilliant addition thanks to a suggestion by the brilliant Julia. Interesting, too, because the hank embraces three adjoining months of Project Spectrum -- May=Orange, June=Green, July=Blue.

A different view:

image from www.flickr.com
It's already been rewound again into a yarn cake and I've started the project, a baby sweater from 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders called Boy-O-Boy.


All I need is a baby

image from www.flickr.com
Well, this was a fun and quick knit -- a cute design that I will very likely knit again.

It's a free, top-down pattern called Puerperium; cast on, knit, cast off, sew on buttons, and it's done. I knit it in Knit Picks Bare 100% Merino Wool, DK weight, using 6US needles (straights!). Tied and dyed using the immersion method and Jacquard acid dyes, I first tied and dyed the yarn in Fire Red, then tied and dyed again in a mixture of Pumpkin Orange and Burgundy. This is my May=Red project for Project Spectrum.

image from www.flickr.comKnit with no particular recipient in mind, I'll just add it to Miss Dashwood (among others) in my slowly growing pile of baby knits.

* * * * *

I biked 13.9 miles yesterday -- not as early as I'd hoped, because it took me a while to "just do it," but before the worst heat of the day. It was a warm one. I thought today wouldn't be quite as warm, but more humid, so I did the rest of my June=Green dyeing yesterday. I think the weather has changed and, on the heels of last night's perfect summer evening, today appears to be a perfect summer day!




image from www.flickr.com 
was this:

image from www.flickr.com 
was this...

image from www.flickr.com 
It's not sure what it wants to be next, but I can't wait to see! It was a fun experiment, and definitely one I'll play around with again. Soon. Very very soon.

* * * * *


image from www.flickr.com 
was this:

image from www.flickr.com 
Already-red kettle-dyed yarn left over from a previous project, I tied it and threw it in the pot. Not sure what this will become in the end, either, but I love it.

* * * * *

Most of this...

image from www.flickr.com 
is now a baby sweater, complete with buttons. It's been given a soak and is now drying on the blocking board! Sewing on buttons is one of those things and I wasn't sure I'd be able to do all seven last night, but I powered through. It's adorable. There's enough leftover yarn that I think I can fashion some matching head- or foot-wear -- haven't decided.

* * * * *

This is my only weekend in June without obligation, so I think I'm going to finish my June dyeing for Project Spectrum and choose a project, and maybe even have that complete by the end of the month! A bike ride, some yard stuff... I'm sure I'll find something to do.

So, what's up for your weekend?

1st of June

Hi. I dyed some yarn. In case it isn't obvious, the Project Spectrum color for June is green.

image from www.flickr.com 
As in chartreuse.

image from www.flickr.com 
Or perhaps chartreuse with emerald and navy blue.

image from www.flickr.com 
The array.

image from www.flickr.com 
With kitty.

Oh.my.god. I wasn't so sure, at first, especially about the chartreuse, but now it's LOVE LOVE LOVE. It makes me so happy to look at it. I've already begun to knit it, too. I finished two little squares for the large project last night -- one in each colorway. They're irresistible.

All of the red-dyed yarn for Project Spectrum was done using immersion techniques. Looking for something different, this time I opted for applied color. I'd have painted if a suitable brush had been available; these were done using the pour-and-smoosh method (heh), and then steamed.

The chartreuse makes me think of lime Kool-aid -- summertime -- popcorn and Kool-aid under the maple tree in the front yard. These skeins were dyed in thirds, more or less, using 1%, .5% and .1% solutions.

The "navy" part on the second test batch was also supposed to be a third, but it decided it wanted to be almost half. These skeins were dyed using 1% solutions of chartreuse, emerald, and navy blue. That's a very dark navy blue!

I've one more batch of test skeins earmarked for green month... I'm not sure where to go with it!

The merry, merry month of May!

It was a busy month!

image from www.flickr.com
I missed a couple of days but made them up right away and managed to take a macro (more or less) photo for every day of the month. It's heavy on the red because May was also the first month -- and "red month" -- for Project Spectrum.

image from www.flickr.com
I am very happy. I thought I'd take more photos, but I have a feeling that will increase in future months. I did a lot of dyeing -- and there was a lot of prep for the whole project that took place during this month. I'm very happy with my experiments and am in the process of knitting up my project for the month. It's a baby sweater and will be finished before long!

I had a great weekend! We took a little road trip on Saturday to Saving Grace Salvage Co. in Berlin, WI, and also dipped down to Green Lake before heading home. Boys were waiting! Annie and her husband were up with the little boys -- they're so much fun. I went to the zoo with them on Sunday -- and am sporting a poisonous tree frog tattoo on my left bicep to prove it. Heh. I dyed some yarn and wound some yarn and hung out with my own kids and ate good food and went on a bike ride (the 14-mile cemetery route in an hour!) and cast on a new project and knit in the sun -- because yesterday was not only Not Cold, it was HOT! -- and... it was just a great holiday weekend. The way they all should be.

A perfect (yarn) storm

image from www.flickr.com 
As I photographed my three test batches of dyed "red" yarn, I thought about which I liked best (or what I might do differently) for the project hank, and also about the project I might knit and which yarn to use.

image from www.flickr.com
{ M o r e   W a n d e r i n g   T h o u g h t s }

I realized how much "test" yarn I'll have, if all goes as planned, at the end of Project Spectrum -- and in a wide spectrum of colors -- and found myself wondering what I might possibly do with it all! 

image from www.flickr.com

{ S q u a r e s   C a m e   T o   M i n d }

I have measured, cut, wound and labeled eight full hanks of different fiber/weight yarns into nearly 200 test hanks -- it's a lot of yarn! There's a laceweight, a DK, two worsteds, and four fingering. There is at least one full hank of each for a TBD Project Spectrum project.

image from www.flickr.com

In a perfect storm of inspiration -- color, pattern, shape -- I have decided what I'll do with all of the fingering weight tests. The nature of the PS beast means that this will be worked on slowly over the next seven months and will, thus, be revealed slowly. It will be a blanket made of squares, possibly some mitered squares -- and the whole thing will probably continue to develop, as these things do... 

I am very excited!

What can I say?

I'm a complicated woman. I love red velvet cheesecake brownies AND my red bicycle!

image from www.flickr.com
Okay, maybe not so complicated, as there is a very direct relationship between brownies of any sort and riding my bike! Ha!

The bathroom project is underway. It wasn't intended to be a project and it sure wasn't on the list of Things To Do this year, but shit happens. Haha. Yeah, I can laugh because none of that was really involved. Anyway, it WORE ME OUT! I didn't even DO that much, but being constantly ON all day, in case I was needed, was very draining. That, and the weather -- which is warmer and wonderful, but also more humid and it's so sudden -- didn't we just have 8" of snow a couple of weeks ago? Plus pollen in the air and all that...

I was still pooped all day yesterday, but managed to stop at the bike shop on my way home where I bought a new saddle with slightly more padding. (Yeah, haha... if only my natural padding was in the right places.) The goal is not have to suit up in the padded bike shorts every.time.I.want.to.ride. I'd like a rack and some sort of carrier, too, but man there's a lot to choose from and it's not inexpensive, so I need to think on that for a bit.

So I managed to get the new bike seat home last night before I collapsed. Tonight, I pulled my bike out of the shed and looked (unsuccessfully) for a wrench to change out the seat. We've been surrounded by bad weather all day, saw some rain this afternoon, and it's still threatening -- so I wasn't really going to ride tonight, anyway... and I put my bike back in the shed. The weather doesn't look to be awfully cooperative for the next few days, but I have high hopes for next week when...

Training shall commence! I'll be riding at least 55 miles (and maybe 75) in this year's Best Friends Gourmet Bike Tour in July, and the 14-mile bike leg of the Waterloo Fit City Triathlon in August on a relay team with my sisters! I rode 25 miles on the Gourmet Bike Tour last year and had the longer routes on my mind for this year even back then. I AM SO EXCITED to do the triathlon with my sissas!! Last year, Annie did the run and one of her friends did the swim; this year, Ann wants to swim and our sister Karen will run! Karen and her husband have begun the Couch to 5K training program (I believe *I* sent her the link to that a couple of years ago); and in similar fashion to my buying a new bike seat and bringing it home, Annie went down to *look* at the pool yesterday.

Haha! Red velvet cupcakes will be the exception around here for a while; the other kind of "good" food will soon be plentiful -- CSA deliveries begin in just about a month!