Wednesday, 1 June 2011

lazy blogging

I am doing it again - thinking I should blog about things, but then not making the time to do so:(( bad habit....
I have been busy with lots of things, but it's one of those times, where I do stuff all over the place, but hardly ever finish things to show:(( looking on the bright side: the weather is finally picking up, at least for a few days we have sunshine predicted and higher temps going with that as well. high time, the last two weeks we barely made it to 10-12 deg. C - more like late autumn than the start of summer! you can see it outside too - 4 weeks ago everything seemed to be too early for the time of year, but the cold weather has set plants back to their normal levels again. I saw the first elderberry bushes with flowers - a sign for us that summer is here.
the garden is a jungle just now - esp. "nice" if you try to reach the tunnel after a shower and get drenched from the wet leaves that grow too close to the entrance:)) my punishment for not cutting back the hydrangea that grows there! on the other hand - half of europe is complaining of drought - you can't have it both ways!

anyway, I did some textile things, too. I don't know where all that yarn went, but I finished winding my last bit of sock wool from the large 3.5 kg cone. I know that I dyed a bag full and I knitted a few pairs, but surely not that many? does anybody know what happened to the rest of my yarn? I have no idea, honestly.... I had some coffee that smelled (and tasted!) quite stale, so I threw it in the dye pot to boil it up. this is the result:

I put the skeins around a dowel again, the light colour was only dipped into the liquid briefly, to take the contrast of the naturally white yarn out. the medium colour is from the coffee dye bath. I tried to deepen it more, but the contrast didn't turn stronger. so I decided to cheat in my "cafe latte" yarn and overdyed part of the brown - with cutch. now I do like the contrast though I am not terribly fond of brown (socks)....

I also have to mordant more fibres and yarn; I have 4 skeins of sock wool left, each with 100 g, but I think I'll have to get in some more or I'll run out of yarn to dye very soon! not good right in the middle of the dyeing season:)) I do still have some very fine pencil roving, but it's not very stable and I would have to spin it up into a singles yarn first. it comes in flat balls, which I don't want to dye as they are, so I'll have to put a bit more work into that first.
I am also spinning along with the black merino, which spins up nice enough, but is rather boring. I don't yet know which pattern I'll work, but it is going to become a shrug of some kind. I finished the first 1 1/2 skeins, but I don't think I'll need the whole pound. so maybe I'll start knitting before I have spun all of it after all.... decisions, decisions:) I am spinning on the louet, because I have several other things on the bobbins of my lendrum. and some solar dyed superwash fibres on the second bobbin of the louet, so that I have to wind half of the black merino onto a ball before plying. too much choice on the wheel makes me careless with my work, I think! but it's tempting to put a bit of colour on the wheel in between all that boring white and dreary black. I am going to sit and spin on sunday of our summer festival this weekend, and I think it's nicer to look at when there is some colour going on during spinning! good excuse to get the drumcarder out again, isn't it? I prefer to spin my "comfort yarn" at shows like this, because you have to talk to people a lot and can't concentrate terribly well on your spinning. that's why I don't usually take fibres for special projects to shows - I prefer to just let fibres "run onto" the wheel, never mind a few lumps and bumps here and there!

and then there's the new addition to our household - meet Elvis:
Elvis is a baby penguin - a present from my friend I received yesterday. he looks very cute, with a fluffy tummy, grey (large) feet and small beady eyes - and he was called Elvis because his black head looks like the king from behind:)) I also received the book behind Elvis - lots of colourful patterns in "Fearless Fair-Isle Knitting". when I checked the pattern close-up I realized that the sleeveless hoodie on the front cover is done with only two yarns: cheating fair-isle with multicoloured yarn:)) I still like it though - I just found online that I can get the Crystal Palace yarns from several suppliers in the UK as well! very tempting, but maybe I should finish a few other projects first.
I also ordered the design book by Shirley Paden - I think it's time to do a book review or two very soon... if I can't finish anything else I can at least dwell in new books:)


Delighted Hands said...

Who needs an excuse to get out the drumcarder!!! I like the beige yarn-the color variations look pleasing-will be nice socks. The penguin is so cute! Looking forward to many fair isle projects inspired from the new book!

Ash said...

Hi. Love the 'coffee'yarn. I've finally, finally been brave enough to start knitting a pair of socks - knitting in the round has eluded me for so many years for some reason! I'm intrigued with your dyeing using a piece of dowel - how does that work then? and I don't think it is possible to ever put the drum carder away mine just has a cover over it ever ready to jump into action - hence I definately have too many projects on the go at once - good isn't it! :)

Woolly Bits said...

Cindy - ok, I don't need an excuse - but unfortunately it has to be fixed to the kitchen table, so I can't just leave it in place there:(( and Ash - you can have too many projects on the go, even withouth a fixed carder:)) the "dowel dyeing" is easy:
choose a dowel (or wooden spoon etc.) that's larger than the diameter of your dye pot. wind your yarn skein (top would work too) partly around that dowel, so that only part of the skein hangs into the dye pot. dye normally. you can choose only 2 different shades - or as many as you want really. just let some of the yarn/top on the dowel come down after the first dye bath and dye a second time. simple, but effective. you can choose different dyestuffs, or a second bath in the same. with some like cochineal you can get very dark colours, when you leave the batch you dyed first in the following dye baths! I don't usually go for more than three dye sessions, but that seems to be enough to get a bit of life into sock yarns:))
good luck with the sock knitting Ash! I am sure you'll be glad to have started it once it goes smoothly!

Judy said...

I love the soft colors of your "coffee yarn"! Give Elvis a squeeze for me-what a neat gift.

Hello from Idaho,

Sandra said...

ey, du hast nen pingu bekommen. will auch. aber ich hab ja schon genug von denen als kuschelmonster :-D hehe.
i'm the penguin-freak :)