Saturday, October 6, 2007

I dyed...

Let's make a long story longer...I joined a hand-dyed sock yarn skein swap. When I rooted through my stash for the Knit Picks Bare sock yarn that I knew I had, there wasn't any. I could have sworn I had some, but no. What I did have was several skeins of lace-weight yarn; but these did not meet the requirements. To complicate things, I was laid off towards the end of August, and, since it was unexpected, my finances were a bit awry, so I couldn't just jump on line and order more sock yarn. My swap pal was very understanding, and did say that she liked lace-weight yarn, too, so lace-weight it would be.

Being unemployed does NOT mean that you are not busy. You might have noticed my previous blogs about launching Knit-A-Yarn, and then there was the month of career counselling my previous employer provided - now this is actually a valuable resource, but a month is a bit short, so I've been running off to seminars (very helpful, BTW) on resumes and interviewing and such. If Knit-A-Yarn goes as planned, I won't be looking anywhere else, but it never hurts to have a good backup plan.

Where is all this leading? Just that it took me longer than I anticipated to get around to dyeing the yarn. But today was the day!

I had done some multi-tasking with my homemade swift and used it to rewind the yarn into 4 separate sections, so that I could have four different colors that would stripe. Next I soaked the yarn in a vinegar and water solution, then I put out four strips of plastic wrap in a sort of fan shape, and twisted newspaper to make each section into a cradle for each section of yarn. Then I mixed my Wilton's cake dye in hot water, added it to a squeeze bottle and dyed each section. I used paper towels to absorb extra fluid, to avoid flooding. Note, the horrible green background is the vinyl tablecloth I had the sense to put down.

I'm hoping that once the yarn dries, the shades will be more pastel - lavender, pink, blue, and gray, but subtle enough to to used in a shawl or stole without detracting from the knitted pattern. One can always hope.

Then I carefully folded up the bottom part of each plastic wrap section, sealed in the yarn, and put it in a big bowl. I did open up a little at the top of each section to vent it, because the next step was to stick it in the microwave and nuke it for a minute-and-a-half. Then it sat for 15 minutes. Then I repeated the nuke and sit routine 3 more times...I wanted to make sure the dye was heat set, but didn't want to melt the plastic wrap.

By then it was time to go off to work at Fabric Place for the evening (my part-time job)(they have a very nice yarn dept.). When I got home, the yarn was nice and cool, so I rinsed it out, a section at a time, and then laid it out to dry.

Rewinding it is going to be an interesting challenge, but I'm sure I'm up to it.
On a more literary note, I finally got a copy of "Mason Dixon Knitting," which I've wanted for awhile. I am very taken by the Ballband Dishcloth. So today on my way to work, I detoured through A.C. Moore and stocked up on Sugar 'n Cream. Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Love At First Site

First, a picture:

I fell in love with this yarn instantly. How I found it is part of a longer story, so read on.

Knit-A-Yarn is a Web channel for knitters. I am the Channel Producer. I have been spending almost all of my time working on the content for the site. There will be video PodCasts for your viewing pleasure, a blog (I'm calling it Loose Threads) about what we're doing and how it's being done, a Projects page with links to stuff to do, a Knit For A Cause page with info on charity knitting, and more. I want to have a page called "Goat Herd - for kids who knit." You can tell I have a slightly skewed sense of humor. A big part of what we will be doing will be driven by input from the knitting community. So where does that luscious skein of yarn (Seacoast Handpainted, 100% merino, 560 yards in Truffle) come in?

Part of my mission is to visit all the yarns stores I possibly can within reasonable driving distance to find out what makes each one different or unique. So I started close by - The Knitting Room in Arlington, MA. I almost stumbled over this yarn, because it was part of a display that had been set in a basket on the floor. The colors just drew my eye. I loved the fushcia and the subtle shading into lavender and gray, and the golden browns gave just the right balance of contrast. But I didn't buy the yarn. I was laid off in August and was trying to be financially responsible; but I did talk to Jackie, the owner about the possibility of filming a PodCast (filming is scheduled for Thursday).

When I went back for a location scout with my sister, Melissa, Knit-A-Yarn Executive Producer (my family believes in nepotism), the yarn was still there. I gave it more fondling, but still didn't buy it. There was also a laceweight yarn in the same colorway...

I finally went back last Friday, and almost had a panic attack because when I walked in, the yarn wasn't there! (took a couple of deep breathes), then after some fast searching, I located it. Jackie had rearranged the yarn displays. So now it's MINE! (happy dance).

So come on over to, and let me know what you think!