Tag Archive: merino

Knit For Your Life!

So I’m nuts. I want to finish my sweater project before the nineteenth. I see many late night efforts in my future.

As you can see, it’s grown quite a bit, and I’m now into my third ball of yarn out of nine. I’ve had to make a conscious effort to knit tighter once I got to the easy part, because the garment was expanding when it wasn’t supposed to. By now I’ve gotten down to the waist decreases, so it feels like I’m making more progress faster. I have a feeling knitting sweaters with heavier weight yarn could become addicting. They’re so quick when you actually take the time to knock out four or five rounds at a time.

New Year’s Dash In The Pan

Alright. So. First off I would like to know who the wise guy is that made me think I had started last year’s New Year dash the day after Christmas? And who kept me from doing some simple math? I was happily prospecting on the amount of spinning I would get done, and possibly even complete spinning all the fiber you see below (carefully selected from the dozens of applicants) when someone casually mentioned the fact that the New Year was a mere six days away.

Crash. Bang. Shriek of car brakes. WHAT?!?!?!??!?

Last year I took ten days. Started on December the twenty-second. There I was, December twenty-sixth, thinking I would get even more fiber spun then last year. Ha ha ha. Ha ha.

What The Cotton Didn’t Do

So before my aunt left we ran an indigo vat and dyed some cotton yarn. The yarn was a pale creamy yellow when we started, and now it’s sort of a silver gray. We dipped it twice. You can see it in the middle, there. What on earth happened? IndigoStuff

The only thing I can think of is that the yarn didn’t have long enough to presoak (but we gave it a couple days of soaking!) or perhaps it had some sort of chemical in it, which would be odd because it was supposed to be organic cotton. Queer.

And to make things queerer, take a look at the picture. All these yarns were dunked twice. The one on the right was actually dunked three times. Notice anything odd about the color intensity? The brightest yarn (on the left) is a) superwash and b) soaked longer than the one on the far right. They’re both merino wool. Apparently the length of soak time does effect yarns… but the cotton soaked every bit as long as the superwash!

Battle of The Spinning Wheels

Ta-da! All two pounds of fiber dyed blue and dry. Now we come to fun part. Spinning them. And spinning them ASAP.

At the time, I wanted to have all this yarn spun up by mid-October, and I still do— (I hear the rustle of calendars as you look at the date. I can dream, can’t I?) It didn’t seem so difficult at the time, but the trouble was that my usual loyal, supportive G. P. Adams & Co wheel was full of silk. And I did not have time to finish spinning that project before I began the indigo. Therefore it was time to try out the two antique spinning wheels that my father bought. Scary scary. Two unknown wheels and a deadline. I started with the one that treadled best. IndigoMerinoonWheel
This poor wheel had literally come to us in pieces and had been put back together by my grandpa. On its maiden voyage (ha ha) it behaved well for a while, then began throwing a fit. And throwing its drive band.

When that didn’t deter me, it decided to snap the single at any and every opportunity, and if it could snap the single about two inches after I had rejoined it, that was even better! Well, I couldn’t sit around and deal with it so I put it in the corner to think over its attitude and got out the other wheel.

So, I’m Learning . . .

Lesson Number One – Don’t stop blogging for any length of time because it becomes increasingly easy to put it off as the mountains of material pile up. Or because of colds. Or because of a busy schedule. But, that will change.

Ahem. I, me, myself, the fiber lover, hereby promise to keep up with blogging. You need to get all over my case if I go more than a week without updating. But, hopefully that will not become necessary.

Alright, now, let me see, what has happened since my last post? When was my last post? Oh goodness, twenty something days ago? That’s three weeks!


Well, to begin with, I finished my socks. As soon as they were done I was promptly assailed with a cold, during which I felt like laying around and knitting dozens of socks . . . but, I had no sock yarn. I now see the positive sides of having a stash, even if it’s a small one. The concept of spinning all your own yarn does not work when you’re too tired to even look at the spinning wheel. I had to grin and bear it, knowing that a visit to a yarn store was in the works.

Twice As Blue

I realize you all might get bored with my constant forays into indigo, but this one was so astonishing in proportion that I can’t help blogging about it. I’m used to two, maybe three hours in the kitchen maximum with a pretty small amount of fibers to be dyed. Throw all that out the window and make room for two pounds of roving and an almost six-hour-long indigo run! There’s the mega bag of roving on the kitchen counter.

Yes, things got a little crazy. (The house smelled rather strongly afterward.) But things went pretty well. I had to dig up a five-gallon bucket to be able to keep enough fiber presoaked, and then I strung up a makeshift clothesline inside to give me enough drip-drying space.

Round Two

Hello, world! I still exist. :) Last month was absolutely nuts with traveling, housesitting, visitors, and a cold, so I’m just now getting my feet back under me. But before I went off to Colorado for a writers’ conference I got to do another indigo vat!

IndigoLite And if there’s anything scarier than doing a natural dyeing pot, it’s doing it for the second time. Because things can go differently. And this second pot of indigo decided to change whatever could be changed. The indigo didn’t dissolve as nicely, the bloom took longer in forming, and the actual vat decided to get oxygen in it a couple times. I tell you. It was crazy.

Well, it still behaved fairly well. Although it seemed a lot stronger than I’d planned. I wound up with a nice medium chunk of fleece.

Dye Dye Dye

I finally got a chance to dye those last couple of yarns. The lace weight merino became a kettle-dyed cherry red. As it was cooking I kept peeking into the pot to see if it was the perfect tone. It took it a while, but we finally nailed it. I think it sums up the word “luscious.”

Then I was going to dye the superwash sock yarn with browns and greens the way I normally do (pouring the dye over the top), but I really wanted a softer look. LimeKettleDyed
I decided to kettle dye the yarn green, then hit it with the brown once it was done. Halfway through the cook time I pulled the yarn out and instantly decided that adding brown would be like adding garlic to an ice cream sundae. Both nice, but together—no. Thus, the superwash has remained a beautiful limey green.

Nice Try

Blue and Cream

Silk tennis ball, anyone?

Behold my first attempt at creating a center-pull ball without the handy winder. I spent most of Saturday spinning the blue silk roving while sitting in on an all-day seminar, and the last thing I thought I would do was finish it. And, what do you know, I finished it after all. A good hour before the end of the seminar.
I had brought along another roving, and my drop spindle, but I didn’t want to try using the drop spindle because I was tired. The silk was between me and spinning time, so, I used the shaft of my drop spindle as an impromptu ball winder and spent the whole rest of my time there making this.

And, once I got home, I realized that I’m going to have to carefully unwind that whole ball onto two thread cones. If you do center pull with silk, the silk tends to collapse as you pull yarn out of the middle, resulting in tangles. I knew that, I just forgot it. It’s going to be a bit of a hassle, but I’m hoping the love of the colors will motivate me.

Crochet Frenzy

I’ve been crocheting away for the past week or so, working on the merino sweater, and now I’ve finished the body piece! It fits quite well, and I’m excited to see how it will block.

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