Category Archives: Oops

Mistakes I have made.

Even Dyers Impulse Buy

When I first began dyeing my own yarn and fiber, some people thought I would never “need” to buy colored stuff again. Ha ha ha ha. That’s like saying “You cook, so you won’t ever need to buy food at a restaurant again.”

Or, if you want to get really out there, it’s like saying, “You stand up, why would you ever want to sit down again?”

There’s so much to be said for dyeing your own stuff, but every so often you want a break. And, as it happened this time, I found this gorgeous braid for sale. It’s a merino/mohair mix (a blend I’ve never bought before) and the colors jumped right off the screen and grabbed me. (Yes, it was scary, but a good scary.)

Isn’t it pretty? I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. The thought of a hat or smooshy cowl crossed my mind, or perhaps a little shawlette. I could go for socks, as it’s a four ounce braid, but I don’t particularly feel like spinning sock yarn right now. Ha, well, true, I probably won’t get around to spinning this until later this year. Oh, I bought it at FiberFancy, if you’d care to take a peek at some of the other lovely stuff there.

Garbage Bags

To lots of people garbage bags carry negative connotations. They symbolize things thrown away, things unwanted, smashed cereal boxes, banana peels, yesterday’s bacon grease, and other smelly things.

But, for spinners there is a magic about garbage bags because, when found in the right places, they usually contain fiber in vast quantities. Quantities so large, your ordinary bag won’t hold them. Sound exciting?

Well, while in Texas I was given an early birthday present. Two garbage bags full of cinnamon colored alpaca. Oh my goodness. Major fluffy soft.

And I even have a project idea for it! But, before I get to new project time, I have to overcome another project. Remember the indigo dyed merino? It’s decided to haunt me for some reason.

I’m Going Batts!

Alright, everyone. Look out for a really excited spinner. While a good friend is traveling about the country, she volunteered to let me babysit this little beauty for her, and, um, sort of make sure it doesn’t forget how to run.

And I’m making sure! By the end of the first day (Sunday) I had thirteen batts in my possession. And I’ve got lots more fiber to take care of.

A Tragic Day

Those of you with weak knitting stomachs may want to skip the first photograph and move on to the happier things below. The accident you are about to see was inevitable, I suppose. I just wasn’t expecting it quite this suddenly.

My first pair of hand knit socks, the ones knit for me by my sister from my first handspun sock yarn, sprung holes on a dark night a couple of days ago. And not just little holes. One of them is bigger around than a quarter.


So, now I’ve got to learn how to darn socks because there is no way I will just throw away those poor things. I cringe at the very thought! And I hope I can locate the little skein of extra yarn. It’s got to be around here somewhere.

How Many Hats Is Too Many?

I finished yet another hat! This is a gray alpaca version of the first tam I made. It’s knit from KnitPicks Andean Treasure. Baby alpaca, sport weight, great stuff!

Technically this is the second time I’ve finished it, as I had to knit the ribbing twice. The yarn just wasn’t elastic in 2 x 2 ribbing form! That, and it draped so much it would have fit Barney the Dinosaur. Enlarging the rest of the pattern has definite drawbacks. I solved the problem (with help from the knitting sister!) by raveling back — which was painful, but not too scary — and then going to size 1 needles, as well as decreasing a little more. It worked very well, and I had hoped to deliver it to the recipient at church today, but she wasn’t there.

And, lest you think the lack of recent posts means I haven’t been doing anything fiber-related, let me inform you that I have enough material for two posts now. Part B will go up tomorrow.

The spinning front had been deceptively quiet for the last week or so, and I was getting to feel like it was just lurking around the corner waiting for me to come by so it could jump out and trip me into paying it attention.

When Color Thinks For Itself

As yet another fun thing to do, my aunt and I decided to dye some of her blank yarns (purchased from JoAnn Etc. and the Yarn Garden) in various fun shades. The superwash sock yarn (on the left) turned out amazingly well. I love the intensity of the reds. Next to it is a bulky weight single ply that was inspired by fall. It turned out a little less intense, but pretty.

Then there was this yarn. Another two skeins of the bulky weight. Nice? Pretty? I love the jewel-like tones.

But this yarn was supposed to be purple with green and yellow flecks, and a few spots of brown. Do you see purple? Anywhere at all? I see blue, but not purple.
Every so often the carefully mixed dyes decide to separate and become new entities. The “red + blue = purple” combination separated.

So, we had two really good finished colorways and one that was still nice, but unplanned.


After my sock knitting itch relaxed enough to leave me sane, I wound up going to JoAnn to take a peak at the yarn stuff. Look what came home! Some beautiful black Bamboo and Ewe sock yarn. (Two sixty-gram balls.)


I had the perfect pattern picked out for this. I downloaded it from Ravelry and everything, and then I opened it up and found that it was all in German.

Stunned silence.

Thankfully my sister stepped in and found me a German/English knitting terminology translator thingummy online, and I got to work deciphering the stitches. The pattern is in a chart, but the explanation of the symbols is in German. And things have come to a screeching halt.

I really wanted to make these socks. Really really really. But the pattern has defeated me. At least for now. There’s a possibility that it will be released in an English version sometime in the future. I’m going to stash the yarn away and hope for the best.

Natural Experiments, part two

At the end of the forty-five minute simmering of my natural dye experiments, the red was gorgeous and the goldenrod was a beautiful, glistening honey color. The hydrangea leaves, on the other hand, had tanked. It was kind of a pale gray with a tinge of yellow green. Not very exciting.

In the pot:

Natural Experiments

As I walked out on the back porch to drain yet another pot of wool I noticed these flowers. RedFlowersNot the “Oh, that’s pretty” sort of notice, nor the “I need to water or deadhead those” kind. It was the “Red = Color = Dye!” kind of notice. Eaten up by curiosity I ran back inside and grabbed a paper towel. Come to find out, rubbing the flower with the towel produces a shade of delightful pinky-red! Vivid and intense enough to make dyeing with it seem possible.

Needless to say I promptly forgot about wool washing (although I did get the next batch in the degreaser) and switched to natural dyeing. You can imagine my excitement. A whole new world of discovery opened up! In two minutes flat I was picturing myself discovering an as yet untried dye stuff and bursting on the natural dyeing scene on Ravelry with an amazing revelation. My blog stats would soar, I’d walk on air for days . . . and I was getting carried away. I reeled myself back in and did the obvious. I picked the flowers.

A Near Miss

Sweetheart Yarn

Sweetheart Yarn

I finished the lovely pink, merino/tencel yarn! It’s a surprisingly consistent yarn, except for one point about a quarter away from the end when it changes weight. Apparently I started it spinning a lot thinner and forgot. Ah well. It happens.