I figure that’s a good title, since it sort of looks as if I evaporated this past month. Now whereas I’d love to tell you I’m just home from some delicious, new foreign adventure, I make every effort to be honest here, so I won’t. Part if my MIA time did involve travel, however. πŸ™‚ And although I had a wonderful time, I was doing pretty much everything BUT lazing about! I spent a couple weeks visiting my older daughter. This used to be something we planned often, but when she moved to Honduras, that became a bit more challenging, and when I went to see her there, the focus was a lot different. I do miss going to Honduras terribly, but it was a real joy to have our old times back again, too. πŸ™‚

Since I just has my wonderful Fiber Adventure Week with so much “playtime,” when I packed for my trip, I took important stuff with me instead. To be quite honest, with what I packed, I could have stayed for 3-4 months before I’d have been in danger of running out of work to do. I had a few grand accomplishments and made some great progress on things. It’s amazing how much more gets done when there’s no internet, pets, housekeeping, and in-law attics on my daily schedule. I could use more time like that!

One huge, but no photo, project was working with my daughter to complete 15 pages in a scrapbook I’d assembled with contributions from friends and family in honor of her 16th birthday. The combination of trying to do both a scrapbook and quilt secretly while homeschooling the girls and the fact that there are a lot of procrastinators in the world kept me from getting it entirely done in time for the big day, and somehow we just never quite finished it. It’s very close to completion now, though, and we hope to see it done by the end of the year. One big sticking point is trying to locate a picture of Fairfield Elementary School, which was in Highland, Ohio. The school has since been razed, and hours of searching have so far shown me no pictures. I can’t believe that NO one has a photo, but whoever it is doesn’t seem to have posted it online, and all local sources I’ve checked have come up empty as well.

The yarn I started spinning during Fiber Adventure Week is plied, washed, and fantastic!I was counting on human imperfection causing the colors to change at slightly different rates in each of the three bobbins of yarn, with the hope being a very gradual shift in color over the length. This both worked and didn’t work. The imperfections exist, the shift is gradual, but it was a little bit TOO imperfect, and I reached the end with very unequal leftover singles, leaving me very little solid black yarn. I think I’m going to write to Kimber (Fiber Optics) and see if she can make me a bit of solid black roving.
I ended up with12 ounces, 860 yards of 3-ply yarn, about 11-12 wraps per inch, so roughly sport/DK weight. It’s soft and smooshy and absolutely gorgeous, and I’m SO wanting to cast it on right now! However, I’m trying very hard to be good. Perhaps it needs to be my reward for when I send in my completed Master Spinner homework…

Speaking of which, I spent hours making mini yarn skeins and then started the dyeing portion of that homework. Her stove was giving me fits, though, and I had a few unfortunate occurrences. I finally decided to pack that project in for when I was at home, and I’ve not looked at it since I came back.Β  Hopefully I’ll feel better about it for having been distanced from it for a few weeks now. No pix at the moment. I’m sure I took some, but must have missed them when I transferred things after I got home.

My other really big milestone was finishing the first panel of my Burridge Lake Afghan. I was “only” six weeks behind schedule when I did that, and I’ve not made up any more time since. I’ve only done one and a half repeats of the center panel so far, and it’s supposed to be entirely done by the end of June. I’ll just say now that it’s not going to happen!

I did some other spinning, some knitting, listened to 3-4 audiobooks, put a lining in my first felted bag, looked at all the scrapbooks the two of us have created, had some great food, slept well nearly every night, finally got to hear her chorus perform live, was taken out for Mother’s Day, and traded what turned out to be a totally dead sewing machine in for an entry level Bernina. In other words, it was non-stop action – the sort of which I wish I could manage all the time! I had a grand couple of weeks, despite most all of it being “work.” πŸ™‚

Then I came home.

It seems that as I was leaving town (and the internet), MyPhotoAlbum announced that they were closing the site at the end of May. I had so very much info stored there and nowhere else… Several years ago, in fairly rapid succession, Yahoo photos and Epson’s photo site both closed down, leaving me in photo-shock. People warned me away from free photo sites, saying that they are very unreliable, and that I should go to a paid set up. Enter MyPhotoAlbum. I spent untold hours setting up beautiful albums and moving all my doll stories to the new location, rewriting as I felt necessary, and when I was done, I was extremely pleased. I absolutely loved that site. In the past three years, hundreds of people have enjoyed my picture albums and stories. Now suddenly, that’s going to be gone as of midnight on Monday. It was obviously a priority for me to salvage all my captions and pix from the site, and it took many hours over the past two weeks to accomplish that job. At this point, I don’t know if I’ll ever put them back online. Twice burned; twice shy. And it’s so much work to get it all set up. On the other hand, I do so love sharing the stories… Anyway, I just thought I’d mention it here in case anyone wants to see the albums one more time before the site closes. There’s a link in the sidebar here.

I have a lot more pix I could take and much more to share, but we’ll have to see how things fit together. I’ve been really busy washing fleece and working on my MSP homework, have some new toys, found new treasures at the in-law’s… loads of things I can share, assuming I can finagle the time. πŸ˜‰ Hopefully the next post won’t be a month coming… πŸ˜€


Paas vs Dudley; Dyed in the Wool

Yeh, I’m still subjecting Corriedale roving to Easter egg dyes. Yesterday I made several local retailers happy by clearing out some of their dye kit inventories. It’s a much better deal to buy them the day after than the week before Easter. Egg dyeing kits must be quite the racket. After pulling several dozen kits apart this afternoon, I came to the conclusion that there are pennies worth of manufacturing cost and dollars worth of income. I have a quart zipper bag stuffed with stickers and such, another such bag housing “clear” crayons and the dippers, and the dye tablets are in labeled bags sorted by kit and brand. Takes up a whole lot less space than all those air filled cardboard boxes with a small, thin bag of stuff rattling around inside.

So what to do with the odds and ends? The egg dippers in the Dudley kits are very solid wire, and I could use some weaving hooks of various sorts. I bent one to test drive, and if it doesn’t do what I need, I can bend it more – or start over again. I sure have a lot of blanks! The Paas dippers appear to be copper and more flimsy, so they will be used otherwise.Now, about the dyeing… Everything I dyed during Fiber Adventure Week was done out of the Dudley kits I bought at Goodwill, but I have a stack of Paas kits, too. I wondered greatly how the colors compare between the brands, so I dyed each of the 9 colors in a Paas Classic kit solid. It turned out to be an interesting comparison.

Left to right – teal, blue, purple, red/strawberry, pink, leaf green

The Dudley are above and Paas below on the group photo, and in the yellow and orange photo, the Dudley is the smaller sample (dark orange and the yellows are the same), since I carded the main roving into the gradient rolags last week. Over all, the Paas colors were lighter and gentler, not showing as much of the neon bright that I saw in the Dudley. However, the actual color appears to be precisely the same in most of those, and several were even identical in intensity, so I’m suspicious that what I’m seeing is simply a matter of less dye, and that if I used the Dudley colors in a larger pot with more fiber, I might see the same effect. If that’s the case, that would be one point in favor of the Dudley kits.

The 9-color Dudley I used had a nice brown that I really like, but the Paas has denim, and I like that one, too. That’s one point for each of them.

orange, yellow, green

denim, red, pink

teal, blue, purple

And the Paas kit gets a point of its own for color integrity. The purple dyed almost perfectly solid without any major effort on my part, but I never have managed to get Dudley to do that. The shade of purple is different, so the red/blue balance is also different. You will also notice that the teal from the Paas kit really IS teal instead of the bright green I got with Dudley.

That means there’s a tie – strong points for both kits and some variations that make both of them worthy acquisitions. If you are seriously interested in dyeing decent teal and purple, and you like the denim as much as I do, go for the Paas kits. If you want to dye more fiber with the same size kit, you might find the Dudley kits to be better. Personally, I’m buying whatever I can find clearanced. I’m having too much fun playing with these. πŸ˜‰

One more quick note… My brilliant friend, Joy, went into Easter egg dyeing with her preschooler this year very prepared. She bought ready to dye sock yarn, and they used their excess egg dye to hand-paint the yarn, finishing it in the microwave. Sure beats dumping all that great color down the drain! You can access her blog through my sidebar or view the post by clicking here. Thought some of you might want to copy her great idea next year… πŸ™‚

Fiber Adventure Week – Blog Candy Time!

I just spent some time reading back over the lovely comments you all have been leaving for me over the past week, and I wanted to thank you for the compliments, kind words, and encouragement. As much fun as I had, I think it was enhanced by sharing with you all, and it was great knowing that there were so many people out there reading the posts each day. I love blog stats. πŸ™‚ I’m really wondering how many of you noticed I managed to twice publish my post without putting the pix in and hand to go back to add them…

So, I’ve been rounding up treats! I thought about putting together just one big package, but decided it’s more fun for everyone if more than one person gets a something, so I have lots of smaller packages instead. πŸ™‚ First, though, I want to tell you how to get into the drawing. It’s easy, but if you don’t follow the rules, you won’t be included!

  1. Look back through the Fiber Adventure Week/Weekend posts and scroll down this entry to see the prizes.
  2. Post a comment at the bottom of THIS entry answering these questions:
  • If you could have come to my house and joined me for ONE activity, which one would you have chosen and why?
  • Were you encouraged to do a special project this week? What was it? (This is an extra credit assignment. πŸ˜‰ )
  • What candy do you want to have the most? Prioritize first, second, and third choice.

That’s all there is to it! Post and answer the questions, and your name will go into the drawing! Since this is a holiday weekend, I know many of you will be busy for the next few days, so I’m going to make the deadline for entering the drawing next Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at midnight EDT. That gives you 4 days to see the post and enter.

I’m going to show you all the candy options, BUT the actual number of recipients will be related to the number of entries I receive. For every group of up to 3 entries, another winner will be chosen – up to the point that I run out of gifts. So if there are 1-3 entries, one package goes out, and if 4-6, there will be 2. 13-15 would mean 5, and so on. Hopefully that makes sense.

So without further ado, does anyone want one of these?

  • About 18.5 grams of hand-dyed, soft yellow and green mawata (silk hankies). Should be enough to make a little pouch or similar sized item – or to just play and learn. Remember, although you can spin lovely, fine yarn with this, you can knit straight from the hankies as I showed in a post a few days ago. I’m eager to start on my part of the stack. These are really pretty in person.
  • A small stack of mawata (silk hankies) and a 6-color Paas Classic egg dyeing kit. Again, this should be enough silk for a small project.
  • My second rug mug, entirely handmade from braided wool roving in sand, brown, and teal blue. Sorry, my first one is not up for grabs, but I think I did a better job on the second one anyway. πŸ˜‰
  • Six ounces of Corriedale roving and a 6-color Paas Classic Easter egg dye kit. Dyed and spun, you can do a lot with this much, but it is also enough to make at least 4 rug mugs.
  • A skein of unbranded, worsted weight wool yarn, ready to dye and a 6-color Paas Classic Easter egg dye kit. Best estimate is that this is about 220 yards, but that IS a guess! It might be fun to weave with this on a small loom after it’s dyed, but of course, it’s great for knitting or crochet or whatever else you love, too.
  • No photo for this one, but you can look on Ravelry (link in sidebar) to see them all – one download copy of your choice of my individual patterns or $10 off the Concerto Tutorial book download.
  • Lifetime supply of Easter stickers and egg wraps and such. This is just a small sampling of what there is. Nope, I don’t have grandchildren… πŸ˜‰

Okay, I think that’s it! I need to get this published and go check on my dye pot! Thanks again to you all for joining me in this incredibly fun week!

Fiber Adventure Week – Day 7


Sigh… So today closed the main event, and I have to go back to being a little more normal person – sorting attics, cleaning toilets, answering email, listing items to sell… But this has been SO much fun! I feel lots more energetic, and I’m surrounded by great projects started and begging my time, so you’ll be getting progress reports from time to time as I work on them. And I already have ideas bouncing around for my next event. All I need is time… πŸ˜‰

Day 7 of Fiber Adventure Week started with the weekly Knitogether, a small group of local ladies I taught to knit, and one tagalong husband, who endeared himself even more deeply to us this week by bringing a pie he’d made. Yum! This is the first time we’ve had snacks, as we meet at the library. Gathering in the back room instead of out front wasn’t such a bad price to pay for such a treat. πŸ™‚

Not surprisingly, I slipped quickly into overdrive when I got home. I had about 4 days worth of stuff I wanted to do, and only one in which to do them. After I started a dye pot going, my first order of business was some fulling (aka felting). I really wanted to see what I could expect from the square I wove a couple days back, and since I was going to be filling the washer with hot water and agitating anyway, I decided I should go ahead and toss in my second Angela’s Fabulous Felted Bag, which I’ve christened “Needlenut” in honor of the spruce and hazelnut colored Wool of the Andes Bulky I used to knit it. I’d been holding back on the fulling part, because I needed to have one when the rest of the group gathers to do theirs, but my third is close enough to being finished that I figured it was safe to wash the second.Huge and floppy going in…And a nice sized, firm tote in the end. This one had an artistic nature. I worked and worked on it, but that top edge just refused to felt up as tightly as the rest of the bag, and I have no idea why – unless it’s been considering the overloaded appearance of my oft used first bag and thought a wide fill top was in order. πŸ˜‰ I finally decided to make it a design element and shaped it prettily. It’s different. πŸ˜‰ I love these bags! It will take a couple days (or with the amount of rain we’ve had lately, a couple weeks) until it’s thoroughly dry, then I’ll shave the areas that need it, clip ends, cut a board for the bottom, and go shopping for lining. Happy me!Although the bag took 3 full cycles, the square took literally a couple of minutes to reach one version of perfection. This is the same yarn I’m using on my current triloom project – Cascade Eco + – and I dearly love the way it came out of the wash. However, I’m going to have to watch it VERY closely when I full it. My square is exquisite for a throw, I think, but it wouldn’t take much more to turn it into a yurt wall.

Dyeing kept me very busy on Day 7. I found a lovely new way to make beautiful colors with Easter Egg dye, but I took step by step photos of the worst possible pot. They just don’t show enough to make it worth posting them, so I’ll just give you the quick details and then show what came out of the pot that has me grinning so broadly.

  1. Pick two colors that you think would be interesting together.
  2. Put 3 ounces vinegar, 4 cups of hot water, and one tablet in the crockpot. Turn it on.
  3. When dye tablet is dissolved, add 1 ounce of wet wool.
  4. Dissolve the second tablet in a half cup of hot water and soak another ounce of wool.
  5. Watch the first pot. The moment the dye is exhausted – or a couple seconds earlier, randomly add the second color solution. I used a syringe to shoot part of my color in so I knew it was clear through, then I drizzled the rest over the top.
  6. This might happen instantly, or it might take a couple of minutes, but watch your pot again. You’ll see the dye starting to strike and the water beginning to clear. Immediately put the second hunk of wool on top of the first and push it down into the water – but don’t stir. There should still be color in the water, but not nearly as strong. Your top wool will be much lighter than the bottom one, and the color won’t be entirely set in the lower one, so some will drift up into the upper one. Some of mine benefitted by me flipping the top wool over after about the first 60 seconds. Past that, I didn’t touch it. I didn’t want to spoil the mottled color effect.
  7. Simmer for about an hour, cool, rinse, and enjoy your two beautiful creations!

And this is just how I did it in my very little crockpot. You know by now that I hope you consider this just a jumping off point. Play! After all, that’s what I’m doing! πŸ˜‰First used yellow, then brown second. I almost chickened out of doing this one, but I’m really glad I didn’t!First used hot pink, then used orange. Subtle color shifts, but not so subtle colorway!First used strawberry (lighter pink), then purple. See? I finally managed to get a primarily purple dye job out of an Easter egg dye kit! πŸ˜€ Interestingly enough, the red part of the purple tablet struck at such lightening speeds that absolutely none was left for the top roving, and it came out a gorgeous pastel blue! This was the first one I did, and I didn’t have my technique quite down at that point, so the results might be slightly different if done over – though I doubt it would make a whole lot of difference. Even with 2 ounces of wool in the pot, there was a little bit of leftover blue dye in the pot.And this is my very favorite! I’d not mind having a LOT of this set. πŸ™‚ Dyed electric blue first, then teal (which, remember, looks more like grass green). See? I actually got something that LOOKS like teal in this bargain!

I reserved just a bit of the yellow dye and still had the chartreuse (so called spring green) tablet, and I decided to test drive dyeing some of the mawata I bought Monday. The first big discovery I made is that silk might be a great candidate for Kool-aid dyeing; it stinks when wet!!! 😦I’m rather surprised at my results, as silk usually dyes brilliantly. I suspect I may have needed more vinegar? Or there’s a magic trick I have to discover somewhere that needs to be used when dyeing silk. I have lovely silk, but I also washed a lot of dye down the drain rinsing them, and they left enough dye in the pot to turn another ounce of wool this beautiful pastel yellow.While dye pots were simmering, I was doing some other little projects. I braided and sewed another mug rug (Yeh, I haven’t sewn the second braid yet, but…), then steamed the 2 that are finished. Nice? πŸ™‚ I did a lot better job on this one, I think. This is a good thing, since ultimately I’d love to make a rug…And after watching Judith MacKenzie spinning from a mawata on the Luxury Fibers DVD, I was curious to try doing it. Definitely an interesting and fun experience, and not so hard as I’d expected, even though I was using my Peruvian spindle instead of my otherwise occupied wheel. It takes a LOT of twist, and the fact that I achieved a reasonably consistent yarn pleased me greatly.Because of the nature of mawata, spinning from them doesn’t create the quintessential sleek silk yarn that comes from reeled silk or even tops. There are built in slubs and inconsistencies, but they make a very pretty, strong, fine yarn with relative ease. Out of just one layer of silk hankie, I spun 3 yards of 2-ply yarn at approximately 36 wraps per inch. How fascinating it is to compare the appearance of this yarn with the project I’m knitting unspun straight from the hankies. It was a good experiment, and I want to do more of this, but next time I’ll use either my wheel or a little heavier spindle.I wondered if I could finish my first Fiber Optics roving tonight, but it was not to be. I did make good progress, finally reaching the first of the black. I’m still enjoying this project for the most part, but whereas the first half of the roving spun like butter, somewhere around halfway, I began to be plagued by nepps and rough spots. That’s slowed me down a lot, as my goal – and initial success – was a fine worsted spun yarn. These irregularities are enough to throw off the balance of this still newbie spinner, but I suspect I will still be pleased enough in the end to forget my current irritation with the roving. I guess that’s one benefit of not being good enough to even imagine perfect spinning yet. πŸ˜‰I only got to watch the first DVD of tonight’s review set, but WOW! Deborah Robson’s Handspinning Rare Wools; How to spin the, why we should care is destined to be another of my favorites. I’ve always been drawn to the unique and unusual rather than automatically being part of the flock, so when I started looking at fleeces, I quickly found myself more drawn to Racka and Black Welsh Mountain than Corriedale and BFL. I also have a collector’s nature, so love to gather variety instead of getting into the rut of having one or two favorites. This DVD set was made for me, I think! I’m really enjoying the breed stories and watching her spin some of the challenges she’s explaining within the fleeces. And she’s full of wonderful ideas for using some of the “sturdier” wools – ideas I’d not come up with yet. This is another video set that’s going to get some regular use. I’ve not explored it yet, but there is some sort of printed material on the disks as well. I’m curious to see what it might be.And tonight, one last thing. My audiobook this week has very fittingly been Bellwether by Connie Willis. It was very enjoyable – a little predictable, but quite the pleasant read, as it was written with a sense of humor. Personally, I’m rather amused at the science fiction designation on the book. It’s fiction, and the primary setting is a science lab, but that’s as far as the connection goes. If you find yourself looking for a light, enjoyable read with a gentle romance interwoven with a few laughs, in a not so ordinary background fabric, I’d recommend it.

And so, that’s the end of my week – and the beginning of who knows what next! My next post will have the details about how you might win some blog candy… and prizes are, not surprisingly, related to this past week of my adventure. πŸ™‚

Fiber Adventure Week – Day 6

Don’t forget – Blog Candy this weekend!!!

Oh, did Day 6 of Fiber Adventure Week ever whiz by! It definitely didn’t play out as I’d planned, and now I’m feeling a little frustrated as I look at Day 7 and try to prioritize what’s left on my list. I was on the phone a very long time yesterday, so although my hands stayed very busy, it wasn’tΒ  necessarily the way I’d expected them to be employed.

I got a lot of work done on my triloom weaving, which is a perfect occupation while talking. Now that I’ve doubled my tool inventory by adding a hair pick to my crochet hook, I’m finding it much faster and easier to even and beat my weaving. πŸ˜€ Along with pretty much everything else, this is NOT going to be a finished project by the end of the week, but I knew that from the start. It’s actually only well begun, but that’s enough. πŸ™‚The dyeing was sadly lacking today. I couldn’t think through what I wanted to do with my next kit while I was chatting, so the only thing I did was finish up the last two pots from yesterday’s dyeing. The dusty rose was achieved by mixing the last quarter of the brown with the lighter pink, which I believe they are calling strawberry. It’s a nice color, and I’m happy with it. As for the other… I decided to try the purple solo again, this time knowing more of how this obstinate color worked. Well… it’s better than it was the first time, but it is still multi-colored. There doesn’t seem to be enough red/pink in the tablet to color the entire roving, so it’s gone quickly. There’s oodles of blue, though, and even the areas that get the pink tones are a lavender blue. Camera has even more issues with the pink tones, so this isn’t an accurate color rendering for the purple.Another good phone time project was deconstructing the other of the sweater twins. I now have a total of 22.5 ounces of 50/50 Shetland/merino wool to play with.I did some finger twisting to see what this would look like if I did some spinning. It’s 3 strands of fine 2-ply as it is, and I spun that into both a two and a 3-ply – the 3-ply technically being 18-ply, I guess! It’s a mighty enticing bit of yarn done that way, and I’m thinking I may cave in. πŸ˜‰I’ve been collecting an assortment of small looms, but other than doing a couple of little squares on a Weave-it style loom, I’d not done anything with them yet. Tonight I decided to try out the 12″ square as a bit of a fact finding mission to see precisely what I can do with it and decide what I WANT to do with it. This lovely loom was made by BigFam15 on Etsy, who has satisfied my idea saturated brain by producing looms on special order in the exact sizes I wanted. I’m also impressed with the value and the great service. πŸ™‚I was weaving each row for a while, then I realized I could simplify things for myself by creating one of the sheds permanently. I moved the yarn on every other nail down, and the remaining ones to the tops of the nails. VoilΓ ! Now I only have to pick every other row! πŸ˜€ That really sped up the work!I wove this by pulling a loop through the shed to the nail on the opposite side, so it was effectively weaving double stranded, though easier to keep smooth. It also saved a lot of wear and tear on my weft and eliminated the need to add new pieces as I worked. Ultimately, I didn’t cut off the yarn until I was done, warp through finished project. The resulting square, woven with Cascade Eco + is smooshy and soft, and it has a nice drape. In short, it’s just perfect. πŸ™‚ Since the yarn has a lot of bounce to it, the square came off the loom at 11″. It would be a lovely texture for an afghan just as it is.I did play around with the square for a while after I finished it last night, but I didn’t accomplish anything remotely satisfying, so it’s back to “just as finished.”It seems that I saved my favorite Judith MacKenzie DVD set for last. πŸ™‚ Tonight I watched the 3 disk set Spinning Luxury Fibers, and my head is what is actually spinning! This set has enough material to keep me in learning mode for years, I think, and it contains a lot of bits and pieces of things covered in the other sets, too. If I was allowed to keep only one of the 4 of hers that I watched this week, this would be the one. It’s the one which will stretch me the farthest and serve me the longest, and it had the most information that I didn’t know. She covers numerous ways to play with silk, using the entire first disk for that topicΒ  (hmmm… I could have an all silk FAW someday…), then goes on to camelids in the second and down fibers (qiviut, cashmere, bison, etc.) in the third. Now, whereas this is the “one” I’d keep, it’s definitely not the “one” for a newbie spinner to buy. This is the one to add to your collection once you can comfortably spin wool and are ready and eager to explore more territory.

Fiber Adventure Week – Day 5

For some reason, hitting the midway point on anything – event, vacation, etc. – seems to make the time suddenly being to fly, and that’s how I’m starting to feel about my Fiber Adventure Week. Perhaps this is magnified by this posting being done much later than expected. I’m well into Day 6 as I write this, having been on theΒ  phone literally non-stop since I got up. I love my bluetooth! Hands free to weave and knit while I visit with friends and family or take care of business. πŸ™‚

Don’t forget… Blog candy coming this weekend!

Day 5 started out with what has been my least favorite activity of the week, though it was quite needed. My trunk has become a bit of a storage unit, primarily for fleece, and I couldn’t find a thing. In fact, I wasn’t even sure what was out there in the jumble, and I needed to do an inventory as I start into working on my MSP (Master Spinner Program) certification.It looks a lot better now, I have a written inventory, and I even found a few treasures I’d forgotten about. πŸ™‚The day I raided the Easter egg dyes at the Goodwill, I’d also gone yarn shopping – in the sweater department, of course. πŸ˜‰ The big white sack in the photo is full of some really great yarn, and it cost me next to nothing. While I was folding them (The guy at the check out had stuffed them unceremoniously into 2 large sacks.) so they would fit into one bag, I was drawn to the amazing twin sweaters I’d discovered. They’d both been worn. One was a medium and the other a large, and they were near each other on the rack, though not side by side. This is the first time I’ve ever found litter mates, and that was exciting! Obviously,Β  it takes ridiculously little to excite me. πŸ˜‰ I checked the seams and found they were chain stitched rather than serged, so that meant they would deconstruct just fine, and the best part was that they were a lovely shade of 50% merino and 50% Shetland wool – and less than $5 total. Any wonder why they came home with me?I have a stash of sweaters to ravel, but I’ve not done any for ages, so I decided pulling apart twins would suit for a FAW. In less than an hour, I had the first one apart. These are exceptionally nice for pulling apart, as even the raglan sleeves are shaped with knitted decreases clear to the top instead of being cut and serged. I had well under 10 yards of “waste” yarn from short bits at the very tops of the shoulders, and that was it. I wrapped the longest of these on a nifty cardboard tube I spotted in the bathroom trash, so I’ll have them for seaming if needed later.

Fifteen minutes later, the sweater had become 4 yarn cakes, weighing in at just over 11.25 ounces. I don’t wash the sweaters. I’d far rather wash the yarn so that it can relax and fluff. I’m holding off on this stuff, though, as I’m toying with the idea of respinning it. My finger spun samples were enticing, and I don’t think this fiber is reaching its full potential as three laceweight 2-ply strands knit together. It doesn’t seem to have the energy that it should, so why shouldn’t I add some? πŸ™‚My next bit of business left me annoyed! Remember the A&W mug full of run off dye from the day I wet finished Nechama? I’d never gotten around to dumping it down the drain, though the other 10 or so gallons of it was long gone from the washer. Since I had the roving out, and since the crockpot and vinegar are on the kitchen counter at the moment, it was sort of inevitable that the mug of grape colored water would find its way into the crockpot…And look what I got out of it! I could just kick myself for not tossing a fleece into the washer when it was filled with this stuff! What a waste… sigh… But, yes, I’m glad I tried it. It’s really a beautiful color – and the perfect dye project for a day when I had already recycled a sweater into yarn. I never EVER thought I’d be recycling dye from a commercial yarn. πŸ˜€The rest of my dyeing for Day 5 was really exciting for me! Don’t get me wrong; I love the beautiful, vibrant colors I’ve been achieving with the Easter egg dyes, but I’m not normally a neon/brights sort of person. Besides, I do like a good challenge. πŸ˜‰ I decided I really wanted to see if I could use the exact same dye tablets to produce colors that were more my style. So, I popped open the third kit (Anyone have a use for a bazillion Easter stickers and egg wraps?) and went to work. Without using any dyestuff beyond the tablets in the kit, here’s what came out of my pot.Needless to say, I’m thrilled with the results! Thought you might want to experiment a bit – with wool, eggs, what have you, so here are the “recipes.” I did dissolve the tablets in a half cup of water today. First and foremost, I wanted to be sure I knew what colors I actually had, and secondly, I wanted to have some control of how much went into the mix. The pictures show the blended results along with samples of the solids I dyed. On my monitor, at least, the group photo above seems a little bit more accurate for the actual shades of the finished roving.The olive green was precisely the color I was seeking, and I could have quit right then and been happy. I used the tablet that was apparently considered teal, but just looked like the more green of the two greens, and about half of the orange.I was hoping for burgundy from this, but I’m pretty happy with the deep rose. I used all of the brighter pink and about half of the brown to achieve this color. I’d have tossed in some blue, too, which is probably what this needed, but I had other plans for that.This was probably my biggest disappointment, and not because it’s not a beautiful shade of green, but because the dyepot exhibited the precise shade of teal I was trying to make, and utterly gorgeous. I tried every trick I could think of, but there was some blue that just refused to strike. I still think it’s pretty amazing to see a color like this come from chartreuse (spring green) and electric blue. πŸ™‚And my last color was another bit of perfection, so I started and ended with totally satisfactory results. This pot was dyed with a yellow tablet, the other half of the orange, and half of the remaining brown – in other words, about a quarter of the brown. (That would be your clue that I’m not quite done with the blending experiments. πŸ˜‰ ) It came out a gorgeous golden shade, and I’m delighted! All in all, this was a very satisfactory part of the dyeing experiments. πŸ™‚

So, I have this ever growing pile of Easter egg dyed roving, and I want to use it somehow, but the bright colors mean I’m going to have to put some thought behind how to use them in a way that will make me love them long term. Tonight, I tried out one of my ideas, and I ended up with something else that made me a very happy person.This was my brilliant, sunshine yellow and the sherbet orange solids I dyed a couple of days ago. If you’d like to try making this gradient spinning project, here’s how I did it.

I broke the rovings into 6 equal pieces and lined them up side by side. I tore one of each color in half and put them in the center, holding back the other half of each. (Save a piece of this for samples for your dye records!)Next, tear off a small piece of the second yellow and replace it with an equal sized piece of the second orange. Continue this along the row until you have an even progression along the row, augmenting a bit with the reserved pieces as needed. If you are really feeling precise, use your scales. I decided to just wing it this time around – unusual for me, actually.I love to hand card, and these were small amounts, so that’s how I blended my strips. I tore them in half lengthwise, blended the two colors, then split those two little batts in half and blended half of each together to make my colors even. I (bravely) prepped these to be spun woolen. It’s important to keep these in order as you work. You’ll likely find that you can’t really see a difference from one batt to the next. I had two places where there was too great a jump between colors, and in those places, I took one finished batt from each side of the line and carded them together. Sorry I forgot to take pix. I was having so much fun watching this magic happen that I totally forgot about the camera.I’m really looking forward to seeing how these look spun up, but I’d like to improve my woolen spinning before I try them, so I needed some way to keep them in order. I strung them like beads on a strong sewing thread, running one up each side and tying them together. I can now roll the bundle up and handle it easily, and they will be ready for me when I’m ready for them. πŸ™‚

Even with all this, I still found time to spin, and I’m well into the dark red now. My bobbin is pretty smooshy, and I’m getting very concerned I won’t be able to get all four ounces onto one. I really don’t want to break this single, and I’m a new enough spinner that I don’t really have a lot of good storage options for larger spinning projects. Doing 12 ounces for one spin when it has to all become singles before it’s plied is really pushing my resources if I don’t put all 4 ounces on a bobbin. :S I didn’t do much on the other ongoing projects – one pass on the triloom, and one hankie into the mawata project – so no pix for those. However, I did watch another Judith MacKenzie DVD set – Popular Wheel Mechanics. As I’m coming to expect from her, I found there was much to learn on this set, but I did find myself a little bit annoyed, too. It’s just my opinion, but I don’t think this set should be as expensive as the others. It was sponsored by several of the major spinning wheel manufacturers, and there were more than a few times that it felt more like a commercial than a class. Perhaps that was even more annoying to me since I own Kromskis, and they apparently didn’t buy into the program. The infomercial feel got in the way of the enchantment I’ve felt while watching her other DVDs this week. Yes, I did find it very fascinating to see how even small adjustments on a wheel can dramatically change the yarn one can spin on it, but I found it tiring to hear repeatedly about what a wonderful thing Ashford or Louet or whoever had done when they did this or that to the wheels they manufacture, or to hear that “on a Lendrum…” I’d have been a much happier student if the advice hadn’t so often felt “breed specific” and had been stated in more generic fashion. Too much of the presentation felt like it didn’t relate to me, even when it actually did if I turned on the mental filters to remove brand names. I hope Interweave isn’t going to make it a habit to do this in their DVDs.

Fiber Adventure Weekend – Day 3

I think today was too short. I lost track of time and was up way too late, not the least bit sleepy. I was trying to decide what to do next when I caught sight of the clock and gasped in horror. How I hated to go to bed! However, I’ve also made an executive decision. I’m enjoying this far too much to stop just yet. I have a big list of things I want to play with yet, so… drumroll, please… I’m changing this to a Fiber Adventure WEEK – 7 full days – AND…

At the end of the week, there’s going to be some blog candy to be had! Work for you? πŸ˜€ Total amount of candy to be disbursed will be based on the amount of participation. I’ll be posting details later in the week, but for now, you just may want to think about which activities or projects look like the most fun to you…

What was on the schedule for Sunday? Well, first, I managed to convince myself that laundry was a fiber project, though not so very adventurous. Since the decision to wash clothes or not was directly related to whether I could attend Monday’s meeting of the Dayton Knitting Guild and canvas my LYS, Fiberworks, for stash candidates, you can probably guess what I decided. πŸ˜‰ Then there were my continuing large projects, of course. I had a nice chunk of phone time, so the knitting on my newest Angela’s Felted Bag made some great progress. However, I forgot to take a picture of it before it saw Monday activity, so just use your imagination for this one. πŸ˜‰ I didn’t get a whole lot done on my triloom weaving, as my back was bothering me some, but still some progress.And the spinning is coming right along. The deep orange is starting to give way to red now, and I’m eager to see the full changeover soon. I would love to be able to fast forward to see the finished yarn, but that’s a while in the future yet.And a little bit more dyeing, as I finished the last three solids from a Dudley’s Easter Egg dyeing kit. I didn’t go beyond this today, because I’m plotting what comes next. πŸ˜‰I’m a bit baffled by the color names listed on the back of the package. The best I can figure, the green is teal and the neon chartreuse is the green. Who knows which is the pink vs. the strawberry… But the colors are fun, and I’m full of ideas. πŸ™‚A very important project for today is part of an ongoing adventure. I have cotton seedlings started, a total whim. I have no idea if I can actually grow and harvest cotton here, but I’m giving it a try! I started them indoors a few weeks ago, but I have no plant lights and not the best conditions, so despite them having their little heads above ground for several weeks, I’m still not seeing the first “real” leaves, and they (along with all my other seedlings) have really been struggling. Today I put 5 of the 8 into pots, hoping this will be better conditions for them. The weather was pretty, so they got a little sunshine and fresh air as well. I need at least one more pot and more soil, so I can get the rest of the cotton potted. I’m not sure any of my other seedlings will survive at all, and there’s probably going to be a lot of direct seeding in a few weeks as I start over. It’s been so sad to watch them struggle indoors. 😦My biggest adventure today was knitting from silk mawata (aka silk hankies). The evening that Tyg died, I was online noodling around on Etsy, and Wooliebullie had just listed a 42 gram package of hand-dyed mawata, colorway “Broken Heart.” I sort of felt like she’d put them there just for me, and I bought them without hesitation. Though I’ve bought several silk cocoon hankies in the past, I’d yet to actually do anything with them, and since this is a Fiber Adventure Week, what better time?! πŸ˜€ It’s turning out to be a fascinating process, and I’m enjoying it a lot. That would be why I didn’t get as much weaving done today as I’d expected. πŸ˜‰ If you’ve never worked with this fun fiber presentation, I’d definitely recommend you try it at least once. It’s a great way for a non-spinner to still be able to produce their own one-of-a-kind yarn, with no equipment required!

  1. Put on lots of hand lotion, even if you don’t think your hands are rough. Trust me on this!
  2. Peel of the first ethereal layer. Don’t do this in front of a fan…
  3. Poke a hole in the center of the silk.
  4. Put your hands in the hole and stretch the center out to the border.
  5. Decide how thick you want your yarn. You can stop without doing anything else, or you make it thinner by working your hands around the circle and stretching the fibers apart as you go. You will need to have your hands farther apart than you’ll probably start with, and you’ll have to pull harder than you expect. Silk is a very strong fiber! Plan to go around the circle several times, thinning the thickest spots and being careful not to break the ring. Remember, you don’t have to achieve perfection. The variations in thickness add character to handmade yarn.
  6. When you are satisfied with your yarn, break it on one place.
  1. Wind it on something – fairly tightly. This isn’t absolutely mandatory, but it does make a whole lot easier to manage. I’m putting mine on my nostepinne. You can prepare several at a time if you’d like.8. Knit! You don’t need to do anything else to it if you don’t want to. The fiber is so long that it makes a perfectly solid yarn and a lovely fabric with a nice hand

I’ve chosen to stretch my hankies until they are pretty close to 3 yards of total fiber, and I’m knitting on size 2 needles. The fiber is fluffy enough that it actually also worked on size 8 needles, but I found it challenging to work on circulars with it. It didn’t like jumping the hump, and I finally ripped it out. The size 2 needles are the largest metal DPN’s I could find on short notice, so they won by default, and I’m liking the fabric I’m achieving with them, too, so it’s a go. πŸ™‚ The photo above shows 5 filmy hankie layers knit into a tube with a cast on of 40 stitches on US 2 needles. It’s already over 1.25″ of knitting.

Also, there are other ways to attenuate the silk fiber, such as pulling the hankies from the corners, but I like this circular method. It seems easier to keep the thickness uniform this way. And if you like, there is absolutely no reason not to spin, and even ply, the hankies before knitting them. I’ve not tried it yet, but it seems like spinning them might produce a little bit more luster, but that’s just a theory, and you’ve seen how my theories have been working out lately. πŸ˜‰ Anyway, if you knit, you definitely need to try silk hankies at least once, just for the experience.While I was spinning and working with the muwata, I watched The Gentle Art of Plying by Judith MacKenzie. What a pleasure that was! This is a DVD I will watch again, and I’m definitely keeping this in my library, as it suits my tastes and needs well. I love the way she shares information and methods, then reminds us that there are always exceptions to even some of the most basic rules. She also is good about giving the “whys” of things, something I truly value in a teacher. I have at least one more set of DVD’s by her, and I’m really looking forward to watching them now. πŸ™‚

Okay, that’s all for now! Don’t forget to stay connected. Blog candy coming soon! πŸ™‚

Fiber Adventure Weekend – Day 2

And the fun continues! What a shame I can’t do this EVERY weekend… but I have to say that the house is a total wreck with so much equipment out all at the same time. I’m having a blast, though. :o) You want to know what I did on Saturday? Okay, here goes!

First of all, the triloom project is moving right along. I’ve woven half the pins now, which, although not half of the weaving work, is a landmark point anyway. I’ve also reached the point that I feel like I’m just going to burst if I can’t take it off the loom to see what it really looks like, but I’ve got a long way to go before that can happen. :SThe spinning continues to be utterly delicious. I think I could be stranded on a desert island, and if I had my wheel and about 50 pounds of this stuff, I might not even notice. :o) I’m anticipating the pleasure of working with the finished yarn almost as much as I am enjoying the current spinning. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but I’ve spun through the papaya and am into a rich red orange. Scrumptious!Today’s dyeing adventure was another theory busted, though I can’t call it a total loss, as I have some more pretty fiber to play with now. My concept was to try to create a gradient dark to light by VERY slowly lowering the wet roving into the dye bath, using the same Easter egg dyes I was using yesterday. I put 4 cups of hot water and 3 ounces of vinegar into the pot, dissolved the tablet, and wet down 1 ounce of wool. I then spent about 4 minutes doing the “slowly lowering” part. Despite the good effort I made, the first one came out the same color from end to end, so the rest I put in without wasting the 4 minutes. πŸ˜‰ It was a good exercise to do these as solid anyway. I’m not sure what to say about the purple, though. I did it precisely as I did the others, including stirring it just as I put the wool into the pot. The water LOOKED blue, and the whole time it simmered, I thought it WAS a blue pot. I was most definitely surprised when I pulled out the roving and found it multi-colored! Still have 3 colors to do. Since it’s only one tablet per pot, even though I’m cooking them for just 90 minutes, it’s still taking longer than yesterday’s process.When my daughter called on Saturday evening, it was the perfect excuse to pick up my current Angela’s Fabulous Felted Bag. This is the third one this spring, and a definite addiction. The first is finished except for the lining, but since the sewing machine died, that’s going to take a while longer. The second is knitted, and I’m waiting for the rest of the group so we can have a fulling party. This will be a new adventure for them. Meanwhile, I’m well onto my third and have yarn for two more. Yeh, I like them – a lot! BTW, the actual colors foiled the camera, even outdoors. Whereas the burgundy isn’t too far off, at least on my monitor, that is NOT tan! It’s mustard, and I think it’s a lot prettier than the tan, even if it does work…Probably the scariest and most adventurous thing I did today was pulling out my circular sock machine – CSM. It’s not been touched since last May, and then there were people who actually understand the little beasties around to help me every step of the way. Although one of my annual goals includes making two pairs of CSM socks, that wasn’t today’s goal. Today I just wanted to actually use it successfully all on my own. The project I had in mind was to take 4 balls of Knit Picks bare sock yarn and turn them into two blanks for dyeing. It turned out that I had a few obstacles to overcome, the biggest of which was that the machine wouldn’t crank. 😦 I don’t know a whole lot more about sock machines than I do about overhauling a jet engine, so trying to avoid total panic was the first step.I finally figured out that the little metal piece sticking up – the V cam – was not supposed to be like that, and I wondered if it wasn’t supposed to be under the butts of the needles. So, I pulled out some of the needles, dropped the cam down, then replaced the needles… and voilΓ ! It worked! Now I realize that in the world of sock machines, that was a pretty minor fix, and scarcely worthy of an Einstein award, but I have to say that I’m seriously proud of myself! It’s my first solo trouble shooting success, and I’m quite pleased. πŸ™‚

With a little more effort, along with the dregs of my oil, which appears to have evaporated (can oil do that???), I got the machine cranking fairly decently, though it’s still holding stitches at times and not knitting as nicely as it was last year.And a little while later, I had 7 yards of not-so-perfect-but definitely-good-enough-for-the-planned-purpose tubing knit. Now I need to find out what sort of oil I have to go buy. I can’t do socks on it without that.

Last but not least, I watched the DVD How I Knit by Rita Buchanan while I was cranking out my tubes. It was light and interesting, but not as in depth as I’d expected from it being a 2 disk set. It also isn’t very good training toward my MSP certification. Buchanan obviously loves what she’s doing, and she makes beautiful yarn, but she works rather freely and organically, openly ignoring some of the rules and techniques and even terminology that I have to learn to manage in order to complete my lessons. A large part of this set is also a bit more simple than I need. It was nice to watch her make yarn and to see some approaches that are different than I’ve seen with my limited exposure to other knitters, but I’ll probably tuck this set on the shelf for a while right now and look for something a bit more technical. I’ll try to remember to post what I find.

Okay, that’s it for Saturday’s activities. There’s one more day to go yet, and I’m eager to get with it!

Fiber Adventure Weekend – Day 1

It’s terribly rare that I have an entire weekend off, and so close on the heels of my retreat, perhaps it will seem a bit greedy, but I’ve decided I don’t care! I’m having a Fiber Adventure Weekend – a first of it’s kind event. So far, I’m having a blast. The only thing missing is having a lot of you all here with me! And just for the record, this feels a whole lot different than the retreat of two weeks ago. πŸ™‚

So, what happened here on day 1 of my FAW – Friday? Lots of fun stuff! And true to the event name, there has been a lot of adventuring going on! First up was dyeing. About 6 weeks ago, I stopped by a Goodwill store and much to my pleasure, I discovered they had egg dyeing kits – and check out the price! – and with NINE color tablets each! I limited myself to just 5 of them…I have several ideas of things to try with them, the first being a concept I thought might produce a gradient end product. Not wanting to spend the entire weekend hanging out at the microwave, I got out my little crockpot, for which I actually have two liners – one for food and one for dyeing. Convenient, eh? πŸ™‚I sorted the color tablets into 3 groups of 3 each, because my crockpot is a bitty baby sized thing and can only hold 3 ounces of fiber. I’m showing the groups in case you happen to like the way this comes out. I had – and still have – no idea what color is produced by pretty much any of them other than the bright orangy one being yellow, of course.A few months ago, I got a great deal on some corriedale roving, so I have a very bountiful supply and have been using it freely in playful pursuits. I pulled off 3 strips of it weighing 1 ounce each and wrapped each strip around 1 of the color tablets, making the tablets the “hearts” of the balls. My vision was of the tablets dissolving and oozing color through the ball of roving from the inside out, and by the time it reached the outside layers, it would be nearly used up while the middle remained dark.The dry balls were packed in my crockpot and covered with water and 1 cup of vinegar. I turned the pot on high and left it for 3 hours. After everything was cooled, I removed the balls and discovered that there were bright, undyed areas on the outside layer along with areas of intense color, often showing samples of more than one color I’d used. I was pretty eager to see the inside of the balls!. I rinsed them and eagerly opened them up, and I was tremendously surprised by what I saw! However, first you get to see the second and third pots at the end of their stewing time… πŸ˜‰

And here’s what my roving actually looked like!Yeh, it was a huge surprise! The darkest areas on every single strip of roving was on the OUTside of the ball!Β  But remember, this is a Fiber Adventure Weekend, not a professional dyeing workshop. πŸ˜‰ And there are some really pretty combinations here. I’m trying to think through all the options of how I might spin these now…

Just so I’d have something that was relatively comfortable and predictable, not to mention the loom was still up and tempting me mercilessly, I started a new triloom project using – GASP! – a single, solid colored yarn, Cascade Eco + in a yummy burgundy.It comes in 8 ounce hanks, which are too large for my very average ball winder, but just as I started to moan about having wind by hand, I realized I could use my ball winder to go as far as it would, then finish the rest by hand. Whew! I’m using it double stranded on my 7′ loom from Dewberry Ridge.The next project on the schedule has been dangling for a couple of months. Back when I snow-dyed the one and only time this past winter, I grabbed some of that corriedale roving and gave it a quick baptism in the run off dye in the wash tub, then finished it in the microwave. This gave me some interesting, soft colors and kept me from feeling like I totally wasted quite as much of the excess dye. I quickly envisioned making batts using the soft brown and soft green along with some white silk noil and dyed wool nepps, entitling my creation “Snow in Spring.” It was beautiful in my mind! Of course, I’d sent all of a couple ounces of fiber through my drum carder the entire time I’ve owned it, so I qualify as totally clueless. The night I thought I was going to whip all this up is the night I’d discovered that they don’t call it a petite for nothing. I divvied everything up so that each batt had 2 ounces of fiber, and I quickly found out that my little machine choked to death on half that much. Oops! By the time I discovered my “few” batts were actually going to have to be about 25 batts to use up what I’d dyed, I was done in for the night, and the stuff has been in the tote untouched ever since.First step on Friday was to weigh some of the components down into smaller, even quantities. Next, I started working on the somewhat compacted corriedale I’d dyed, turning into fluffy fiber again. Then I spent a LONG time learning more than I thought I didn’t know about carding, but by the time I tried the third stack of fiber, my education was sufficient enough that I produced a usable batt – half the size of even my greatly reduced version. This would mean a total of 50 little batts from the fiber I dyed. Methinks this is going to take a while… so… before I committed to the other 44, I figured I should spin what I’d just made to see if it’s worth it. (Chanting Fiber ADVENTURE Weekend…)In the spirit of being a good girl, and because I HAVE to learn to spin woolen as well as my much enjoyed worsted if I’m going to pass my Master Spinner Certification, I spun one each way. Suffice it to say, I have a LONG way to go before I master woolen spinning! In my defense, this was the first time I’ve been able to spin since the beginning of November, this wasn’t easy fiber to spin, I’ve only spun a few yards woolen in class, and that reduced me to tears, AND lumpy, bumpy yarn has never been my forte – even when I spun my first skein. I really didn’t need to label which was which, did I? πŸ˜‰ It’s pretty awful! But anyway, what do you think? Make up the rest of the batts? And does anyone have any tricks to keep the nepps in the fiber instead of raining into my lap as I spin?

Having struggled through that adventurous (ahem…) little exercise, I thought I deserved to do some spinning I would really enjoy. πŸ™‚ I bought 3 of these rovings from Kimber Baldwin – Fiber Optic – on Etsy a week or two ago, and I still had them out where I could drool over them a couple times a day. They were the perfect victim! πŸ™‚Talk about a delicious pleasure! I’m loving spinning the merino/silk blend in my comfortable “fine and smooth” mode! I’d only spun a silk blend once – a few yards in my MSP class – and I think I’m horribly addicted. It doesn’t hurt that the colors in this roving are so utterly awesome, either… I’m pre-drafting, because I’m spinning the entire roving through in one gradient swoop from beginning to end – and then I’m doing some playing that I’m hoping looks more like what I envision than the egg dyeing did. Now back to work! Day two is in progress, and I don’t want to miss too many minutes! πŸ˜‰ Can you believe I didn’t knit a single stitch all day Friday? Hmmm…

My Eagle Has Landed

Actually, it was done over a week ago, but weather and life have prevented pix until today, which looks like a gorgeous spring day, but has a definite bite in the somewhat stiff, but irregular breeze.I dearly love this sweet little shawl! I love the yarn I dyed for it. I loved knitting it, simple as it was. I love the way it looks finished. I love that it took barely a week from dye to done. I love the way it settles gently on my shoulders and stays there as if it loves being with me. I love the way it makes friends with so many people it meets.And to think… it’s lemonade! It was born of the painful mistake I made in grabbing two different species of yarn when I was knitting my snow dyeing blank. I was near tears when I discovered what I’d done, and now it feels like an error that planned itself. πŸ˜‰This is the darker of the two skeins from my Triumph and Tragedy post two weeks ago – the wool/nylon blend ball. I’ve since named the colorway “Alaska,” since I recognized where the feeling of familiarity with the colors was born. The pattern is Eagles Rest by Stephanie Rodger, and it can be purchased for a very modest price on Ravelry – a price perfectly reflecting the simplicity of the pattern, and well worth the small investment.One of the things I love about this garment is that it snuggles delicately around my shoulders and stays there. I’m currently just flipping a little half knot into the tails, but it’s become such a special member of my wardrobe that I’m in the process of obtaining a special little gift for it. Shhh!!! It’s a secret! πŸ˜€I had my Eagle done and blocked in 6 days, and I loved every addictive, relaxing moment of the knit. As much as I adore brain-bending knitting challenges, somehow this shawl fit my current mental set just perfectly, and I could barely put it down. The extremely simple lace design was built just right for a busy yarn like my Alaska dye – a rare find indeed! I very strongly suspect I’ll be tapping this pattern againΒ  someday, perhaps with a finer yarn or longer skein, which is a very easy adjustment with this pattern.

It honestly feels strange to say this with so many lovely, complicated lace shawls to my credit, but my little Eagle shawlette is one of of my very favorite pieces, and it’s definitely a recommended knit!

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