Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Publish or Perish

Ok, so the title of this post is meant to be a really bad pun on dyeing.  I may occasionally be guilty of awful puns; I blame the geology degree.

It was a pretty good weekend.  I even managed to have a somewhat relaxing day on Sunday in which I only knit for some of the day.  Otherwise, some very exciting firsts happened:

I published my first pattern:

Double Heart Dishcloth
It can be found here, as a free Ravelry download or from the links on my brand new Patterns page!  Seriously, download one even if you don't need one; just to make me look good.

It actually is a kinda fun, quickie project and the cotton yarn it's made of is dirt cheap.

I also swatched for my Joji Locatelli Even Flow sweater.

Mmm . . . swatches
I have to admit: I hate swatching.  I want to just cast on and go!  That is why so many of the projects I do are items that you don't need to swatch for or that (like socks) you can measure your gauge as you are knitting it.  I know that you are supposed to swatch on pretty much everything, but I find it very boring.  

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that I would be more annoyed to knit an entire sweater only to have it not fit.  And judging by the fact that my swatch on the recommended needles didn't match the gauge in the pattern, it is time well spent.

Then, the most exciting news:

I am teaching myself how to dye yarn!

I started with food dye on some cream colored Cascade Eco Wool that I had lying around and came up with this:

My first attempt
Not too bad for the first time.  Of course it leaves plenty of room for improvement though. 

This was done with just water, white vinegar, and McCormick food dye.  Apparently if your dye bath is too acidic, the red will be taken up into the yarn faster than the blue and instead of getting a purplish-blue, you get red splotches with blue around them.

In order to prevent this from happening again, I have ordered pH paper from the internet.  When in doubt, apply science.

Finally, tonight I may go check out the Black Hills Fiber Arts Guild meeting.  I don't necessarily feel like going out and talking to people, but I think I have to remember that it is never as scary as it feels before hand.  And I have baked an apple spice cake to take with.  How could I go wrong if I'm bringing a cake?

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Very Busy Week

I have been working very hard in the last week.  Mostly because I am trying to spend more time working and less time dwelling on the traumatic past.  I guess this is the productive stage of grief.

I have been thinking lately of actually getting a job, but life is funny, and it seems to be easier said than done.  Out here in the Black Hills, the economy is very focused on tourist season.  It is very, very easy to get a job here between May and September, but it is almost impossible to find a job in winter, especially if you are looking for something non-professional.

So, here I am, with nothing to do but focus on my knitting and fiber projects.  And in a turn that I could never have predicted, I have the time, the support, and the space to really go for it.

First, the projects that I have finished:

A River Runs Through Mitt
I finally finished making the second mitt of A River Runs Through Mitt from Darn. Knit. {Anyway} at the 2013 MN Yarn Shop Hop!  I even wove in the ends.  Now I just have to give them a good wash and they will be ready just in time for cooler weather.

Double Bump Dishcloth
I tried my hand at dishcloth knitting with the Double Bump Dishcloth.  Amazingly, this is my first dishcloth.  It was fast, really fast, and kinda fun.  I worked this one up because I wanted to make one with someone else's pattern before designing my own.  I am currently planning out a 3-class, beginning knitting class that teaches the basics though a dishcloth pattern that I designed.  I will keep you all updated as to when and how this class might happen.

The black bamboo/silk socks from hell.
I really don't mean to whine about knitting.  I love knitting, and I love knitting socks, and I really love a challenge.  But these stockinette, black, size 1.5 needle socks really seem to be kicking my butt.  The stockinette is boring, the yarn can be hard to see, and there are quite a few stitches.  And just to make it harder, I was trying to make these socks for my husband just before he passed away.  But I believe that the project is worth it and they will be beautiful socks when I am finished, and I will be able to give them to my dad.

The good news with these socks is that I finished the first one this week and started the second.  The bad news is that I still need to pick up tiny black stitches along the heel of the second sock.  Oh well.  All projects have their frustrating points and I'm sure they will turn out beautifully.

A sweater finally?
I have also decided that I am going to make a sweater with the sport weight Wool of the Andes that I have had stashed for an age.  I picked up the pattern for Even Flow by Joji Locatelli.  I'm thinking of casting on today.  Wish me luck.

Finally, I submitted my first design proposal this week.  I have been designing a cowl and I pitched the pattern to a magazine.  We will see if anything comes of this.

Otherwise, for future excitement:
-  I will be working on networking in the Black Hills fiber arts scene.
-  I am signed up for a wheel spinning class next weekend at Fall River Fibers and my mother might be joining me in that adventure.
-  I am teaching myself how to dye yarn with food dyes.

Just some things for readers to look forward to.  I have assigned myself a posting schedule of Tuesday and Friday every week, so please tune in!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Check and Check

The shawlette is now officially finished and blocked and so is a hat for my brother's birthday!

I really enjoyed making the shawlette. The rhythm of lace knitting and reading the fabric as I knit was both relaxing and challenging. I particularly enjoyed how much it challenged my problem solving skills. 

I know that sounds like I am being sarcastic but I assure you that I am not. I have been working on solving missed stitches or incorrect stitches without ripping back and it was very educational to do this kind of fixing with lace. (I believe that this method of correction is called "laddering down".) One of the things that I find most fascinating about knitting is the geometry of it all. The series of knots that you must do to turn what is essentially a line into a 3 dimensional object. 

The hat was a quick project for the yak yarn I have in my stash as a present for my brother's birthday. I used the free Rinsessa-pipo pattern found on Ravelry. I really liked how easy this pattern was and the decreases at the top are very clever. The pattern goes all of the way to the point. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I have almost finished my Ashton Shawlette! Not bad for my first shawl. Lace is fun; it is nice and rhythmic and never boring. 

I did most of the work while I was in Virginia last week and I will finish the knitting here in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, I won't be able to block it until I get back home to Custer and that won't be until the 16th. 

I did end up switching to a circular needle. It was just too many stitches for the straight needles. But I was lucky enough to find a lovely little yarn shop in Alexandria, VA that carried Hiya Hiya circulars. 

While in Virginia, I also picked up some new yarn that will hopefully end up in a designing project. 

As for myself, I am feeling ok. Sad sometimes and happy others. I am starting to be a little tired of traveling and I find that I am getting anxious to be home and working on projects. But I will enjoy it while I can and get the most of it.