The Mote Maintains

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Fire, Sky, and Socks

Today is my day off. I somehow managed to work every day since Sunday and not notice. I'm not sure how that works, but I think I'm working Sunday to Thursday this coming week. Guess I better make today count, eh?

Work hasn't actually sucked up all my time, apparently, because I have plenty of new stuff to report. There is yet more hand dyed yarn to show you! I've found that I really quite enjoy the whole process of dyeing, now that I've sort of got a routine. I've also figured out how to get more intense colours with the dyes I use.

This one is called fire:

This one is Sky:

And this one is Gem:

I finally realized that the reason I was getting colours that were more pastel than I liked was because I simply wasn't allowing the yarn to cook for long enough. So I've been letting them simmer for an hour for each batch of yarn, and the results have been much more pleasing. The red-and-tangerine one isn't as day-glo as it appears, but it's pretty intense nonetheless.

I'm going to pick one of these to test knit and make sure that there is enough here for a pair of socks. I'll probably use gem because I seem to end up making purple-green space-dyed yarn in every batch. I guess I like the colours. =)

I've also been working away at this big bundle of pink corriedale roving I bought at Romni Wools. It's slow going on just a spindle, but it's pretty enjoyable, especially now that I've figured out how to Navajo-ply on a spindle. So yeah, this is my very first three-ply yarn. I like the way it looks, although I still haven't figured out how to hide that weird little chaining bump.

I need to go back to Romni, because they seem to be the only place around here with yarn by the cone, and I need something I can easily wind off into skeins for dyeing. I've sent emails to a couple different manufacturers in the province, asking whether they sell direct by the cone, but so far no one's even replied. It's a little discouraging but I'll keep trying. In the meantime I've been knitting socks.

These are the Ugly Socks, so named because they are made from pretty much the ugliest colourway of Regia sock yarn on the planet. This was the only thing I found at the Creative Sewing and Needlework Festival that was even remotely worth bringing home. The pattern is my own variation on kathrynt's universal sock pattern. The rows of eyelets spiral all the way up around the leg of the socks. They actually fit marvellously, and I had only one false start with the first cuff - I cast on wayyy too many stitches the first time and had to rip out a few inches of knitting. But that was just a hiccup, because the rest of the project went off without a hitch. It's nice that something is going right in my life right now...

Now I think I'm going to go find a way to make this day count.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Good Day... Bad Day

Yesterday was a bad day, but luckily today has been entirely the opposite.

Yesterday - Woke up feeling horrible because of allergies, after hardly sleeping for not being able to breathe.

Today - Woke up with a clear head, feeling well rested and kind of happy. Okay, really really happy. Not sure why, but I always know it's going to be a great day if I wake up smiling.

Yesterday - Got rained on. Twice.

Today - So far, the heavens have not opened up to smite me. So far.

Yesterday - I had to admit a knitting defeat. Remember this sock?


Yeah. No progress on this sock all semester. I like the yarn - it's Fleece Artist 100% merino handpainted yarn, and the hand and the colourway are both extremely happy-making, but I can't. do. pomatomus.

This pattern seems to be cursed. While I have seen a handful of finished pomatomi, I've seen even more people who've cast on for this one and then given up. I think perhaps it just demands too much to be a viable sock pattern for me.

For me, socks are mindless portable knitting. They are gap-fillers and time-killers. Charts have to be memorizable, and I need to be able to have a conversation while I'm knitting them. Also useful is the ability to scrutinize the last row and know easily where I am in the chart. Socks that do not possess these qualities will almost certainly be relegated to the frog pond.

That was indeed the fate of my pomatomus. I frogged it yesterday and started swatching for something else - toe-up anklet socks with a short slouchy feather and fan cuff (inspiration from Wendy, of course), because my other issues with this yarn was that there isn't enough of it for full-size socks, by my calculations. So this will do nicely, I hope.

So that was yesterday. Today, however, has been a much better day in terms of knitting! Beth emailed me, letting me know that I'd scored some sock yarn in her birthday blog contest! I'm definitely going to send her some hand-dyed yarn in return, because nothing makes me happier than sock yarn.

And... I have some new handspun to show you! This is a purple merino singles yarn plied with a pink thread of quilter's cotton. I have to say I love the way it turned out - sort of like boucle but not a too-showy, too-nubbly boucle. I haven't checked the yardage on these, but I will whenever I get around to giving it a Eucalan bath to set the twist.


Monday, May 08, 2006

I'm sleepy and a little bewildered right now. I went to work this morning, thinking I had to work the 7-12 shift, but apparently the boss changed the schedule again, so I wasn't using the current one. So here I sit, drinking tea and thinking about going back to bed.

I've started dyeing yarn! I've been experimenting with handpainting, mostly, and the results have been good - good enough that I put in an order at Prochem for some better dyes than what I've been using.

Worsted weight merino wool, about 50 yards

I've been experimenting with handpainting/space dyeing, mostly, and the results have been good - good enough that I put in an order at Prochem for some better dyes than what I've been using. I've even been thinking that I might try to start selling some of this stuff.

More worsted weight merino, 50 yards

100 yards worsted weight merino

Sock yarn! This is probably about 440 yds of wool-nylon blend. I think it's my favourite so far.

So that's one more thing for me to play around with, on top of the knitting and the spinning. I really do like the handpaint and steam set method. Immersion dyeing just hasn't worked for me yet. Now I just need to find a good source for stuff to dye... I might buy a nice cone or two, when I get paid again.