Wednesday, February 08, 2017


These cute but slightly scary little dudes were blocking our path when we went grocery shopping yesterday:

They were rather grumpy that we wanted to walk down the sidewalk because they really didn't want to walk in the snow! Standoff. I was going to cross the street to go around but eventually they growled at us as they climbed up a nearby front staircase out of our way:

Poor things. I think they need me to knit them some mittens for their cold feet!

Whilst we are awaiting the latest in the storm queue (this one could be snow, rain, ice or any combination thereof) I have a couple of fun things to report. First off I finished spinning a couple of the skeins of Licorice Allsorts yarn, washed and dried and wound into balls, and cast on for my version of the Ebony sweater. Of course I'm calling it the Licorice Tunic Vest instead. However, I'm a little concerned about my first efforts. I'm feeling the cable cast-on might be a little tighter than it should be. It's a very firm cast-on and this version has the twist in it as you place the stitch back onto the left-hand needle which makes it even more inelastic. On the other hand I don't need the hem to flare either. I'm going to wait until tomorrow when I'm fresh before I reassess and decide whether or not to frog the back hem and start again. I'm only an inch and a half into it so now would be the time if I need to do that rather than wait until I have half the piece knit already. I considered knitting this in the round but realised that not only was that going to take too much pattern fiddling for my wee brain but the side seams will help give this garment some much-needed structure. Plus there's only one half of the hem to frog if I must.

I'm sure you want to see the results of the snow dyeing experiment. The wool was flipped over onto plastic wrap, bundled carefully and cooked in the microwave (4 2-minute sessions each with a short cool-down between). The sock yarn came out kind of so-so:

I could have done better with regular dye painting or low-immersion techniques. There was a lot of excess dye in this so took quite a bit of rinsing to run clear. Obviously my elderly dyes still work, huh? The Corriedale sliver was more successful I think:

I'm calling this colourway "Late Winter Fields" (aka mostly mud with patches of snow.) I had wound 2.5 metre or so lengths doubled, thinking that a thicker roving might be easier to handle. The benefit occurred to me after I was hanging them to dry - the two strands could be pulled apart and I would have a fairly closely matching set that each group could be spun up in the same orientation and then plied together. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. But not until I'm finished spinning the Licorice Allsorts, OK?

After the snow had melted I ended up with two pans full of "sludge" dye. With acid dyes, these are still functional - unlike Procions that once they interact with the soda ash they are only good for a few hours. So I located my last two 100g balls of white sock yarn (Lion Brand Sock-Ease) and dyed them in the mixed mud. The one dyed in the first (sock yarn) leftovers is a lovely deep brownish burgundy:

And the one dyed in the Corriedale's leftovers is a dark brownish-taupe:

Thom has dibs on that one for socks immediately! The colours are semi-solid since I was not at all careful to get an even coverage. They were microwaved as well to set the dyes. Yes there is a lot of brown here! I love it.

And that's not all. I fell off my yarn diet and succumbed to a recent Craftsy sale. They have an exclusive brand of yarn, sourced in Peru, called Cloudborn. I got enough of the Highlands fingering (100% wool) in Espresso Heather to make an Isabel cardigan (pattern by Amy Miller). This long cardigan has a dipped hem in back and takes a ginormous amount of fine yarn. So I cheated. This stuff is lovely:

Yeah, I could have chosen another colour but I got this one. It will get lots of wear - guaranteed! There are a whole 495 yards of this quite soft 2-ply in a 100g skein which is amazing. I still need the better part of 6 skeins. Good thing it was 50% off, huh?

And that's still not all. I decided to try out the Cloudborn Merino Superwash Sock Twist (80% superwash merino/20% nylon) in Antique White and Charcoal Heather:

2 skeins of each and they of course can be dyed because you know how I can't resist that! I hadn't ordered yarn from Craftsy before and it was a very painless exercise even with the border and all.The prices were shown to me in Canadian so no shock there and I was given a tracking code to follow. It ended up a day later than it should have because Canada Post wasn't delivering Monday but that was reflected in the tracking. This positive experience is sure going to make it hard to resist the next Craftsy sale! Reminding myself that I need to knit a lot first though. Uh-huh.

Well, enough adventures in yarn for the moment.

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