Archive for the ‘dyeing’ Category

Latvian Mittens! Fastest Living Thing! (Zone of Repugnance, don’t worry, no creepies here)

March 24th, 2013 by knitnzu

Or a single mini-mitt, and not quite finished…

A friend and I went down to Portland for a class in making Latvian Mittens. They are quite the art form and have a rich and interesting history, like much knitting.

Here are some photos of everybody’s mittens,
latvian mitts (6)

latvian mitts (3)

Compare mine in orange/purple in the body (red fringe) and another person’s in purple/orange (green fringe). They look so different! She used orange for pattern and purple for contrast, and I did vice-versa.

I yanked some more on the fringe on mine when I got home, and now it’s better!
latvian mitts (14)

Mistakes (shhh!).
latvian mitts (16)

All good, though, as I learned how to make that fringe, and the braid. I’m still a tad fuzzy on the finger end of the mitten… how the decreases and color work to make those ridges of color. But I’ll figure it out.

Latvian Mittens by Lisbeth Upitis. Now I need this!

… and….

Treasure!

Books and dyed yarn samples from Sam Ristich, via his daughter Ruthie. I didn’t know what was in this bag and box until after I got home from the mitten class.
treasure 015

These are fabulous books and I’m so grateful to have them.
treasure 020

And there are loads and loads of dyed yarn samples. I’ve just started to sort them out.
treasure 032

Ruthie gave a talk yesterday for the Maine Mycological Society about fungal spores. It was really interesting, and she did a great job… even used living people to demonstrate fungal spore anatomy!

Most interesting to me was the bit about the fastest living thing on earth, a fungus called Pilobolus (just like the dance company). It lives on horse dung, in what is known as The Zone of Repugnance.

…I must work that phrase into conversation at least once a day…

The spores must get out of the Zone of Repugnance, but because they are so small, air is very viscous to them. So, to get out of the Zone of Repugnance, they have to move really, really quickly.

It looks like they just disappear… but they shoot their spore caps (asci) off so quickly (20,000 G!) that we can’t see it happen. There one moment, gone the next.

More about the fastest living thing and the Zone of Repugnance,

stuff that comes to our house… knitting the sky!

January 6th, 2013 by knitnzu

Stuff that arrived here last week

The boy had been begging for this, and so spent some xmas $$ to get it. He says shenanigans will ensue.
horse mask (1)

DH keeps showing it to the girls, because they were (understandably) rather freaked out by it at first,
horse mask (3)

My mama clearly loves me,
heart (1) heart (2)

Riveting book…
mycology book (1)
(not). There aren’t any pictures!

Beads for the sky shawl when I thought I was going to use only the laceweight,
artbeads
They came packaged so nicely!

knitting the sky!

I joined a KAL (knit-a-long) over at LSG (Lazy, Stupid, and Godless) in Ravelry. We’re all riding a geek high knitting the Celestarium shawl. When I first saw the pattern, I thought “eh, it’s nice enough, but I dunno”, and then I saw that it is a shawl that shows the star chart of the northern hemisphere.

A star chart of the northern hemisphere!

And I knew I had to make this. I’m using that laceweight alpaca that I dyed with the black food coloring. It wasn’t working up quite how I liked with just the single strand, so I am running another strand of laceweight merino (in black) with it.

It is totally addictive. I don’t have any good pictures of it, because it droops while on the needles and it’s hard to capture the color.

The new, too small, beads (I may work these into a lacy border somehow)
sky shawl (2)

Working away on the E charts (there are 4 to get around the circle). There are six charts for F…
sky shawl (3)

I’m looking for a lacy border for this, something that is reminiscent of feathers (but not that feather and fan, no, no, no, not that) or a raven’s wing. I have some old pattern books… we’ll see what I find. I have some time before I’m ready for that.

The cool thing? I can recognize some of the constellations as I do this!

The funny thought? Years from now, archeologists will discover these knitted shawls and think WTF, why are people navigating from a shawl? Didn’t they have GPS and fancy technical stuff???

more maine morning mitts

I only made 2 pair of these to ship out at xmas… special request from a year ago. I still love this pattern for a mindless knit, but I haven’t made many of them this year. The green ones are from my handspun.
Photo 6 - 2012-12-30 Photo 8 - 2012-12-30

Christmas Highlights

January 6th, 2013 by knitnzu

I should have posted this a while back, eh?

Zuzu was sniffing around the tree early, and she discovered a toy wrapped for her. She started dragging it out, ready to open it. We said “Hey, you, we need to wait for the teenager“.

Photo 9 - 2012-12-25

We managed a posed pic of the girls,
Photo 10 - 2012-12-25
Zuzu has her paw in the air… it’s her “I want something” pose.

Teenager got up around 8:30.
Photo 8 - 2012-12-25

Gravy immediately caught some excitement, ran over to the tree, and randomly grabbed some package and started opening it. “Hey, you, wait a minute, that’s not yours“. But she got to help open all the gifts, and had the best time opening Don’s.

Photo 3 - 2012-12-25

Even though he’s 17 now, the boy still enjoys the packaging too…
Photo 5 - 2012-12-25

And clearly loves his fleecy socks,
Photo 6 - 2012-12-25

Don loves the hat I made him… from leftover yarn from that striped mushroom sweater. He’s goofing off here, but he does like it,
Photo 1 - 2012-12-25 Photo 2 - 2012-12-25

Photo 1 - 2012-12-26

It’s the Cathedral Hat from Bill Huntington at Hope Spinnery. Project details on my Ravelry project page.

I’ve started knitting the sky, but I think that needs its own blog post!

more broken black, and a bit of xmas

December 19th, 2012 by knitnzu

I haven’t been able to capture the color of this yarn! It’s darker than it shows here. I should swatch some up, try some beads on it… see if the 6/0 or 8/0 beads work better.

wiltons 009

wiltons 010 wiltons 011

Stuff just keeps getting in the way of knitting, busy season and all, and I think I’m coming down with a cold. I manage to get home from work, get dinner together, and then I’m pretty much done. I’m horrified at the piles of things all over the table (the table that still has the tablecloth from Thanksgiving on it, but with an addition of glittery sparkles from writing the xmas cards).

Clutter. Nemesis.

We finally got the tree decorated. Mostly I just took ornaments out of boxes and got boyo and his friend to do much of it. And my girlfriend. Who I plied with martinis.

They did a fabulous job! Even boyo’s friend, who tells me his mom won’t let him decorate their tree, because he breaks too many ornaments.

tree (40)

It’s a shitty picture, I know. But I think I took maybe 25 pictures, and this was about the best. I have lots of favorite ornaments. These, in particular, amuse me. I’m pretty sure I paid 10 cents for them. They even came in their original box!

tree (4)

We did a bit of shopping this past weekend. Nice thing about having a 17 year old who is interested in getting more clothes? You can go shopping with him and tell him “this will go under the tree, yaknow” and he’s all fine with that. (and yes, he did drag me into Wal-Mart, first time in several years… I had to take a deep breath when we walked out, and blather about surviving the ordeal).

shopping (1) shopping (2)
(he poses with the villain, I pose with the tacky xmas decoration… and then I went out and immediately bought a bunch of silver tinsel garland to make one of these… maybe I’ll do it for Friday’s work party).

We have a new thing at work! The conference room on our floor is gorgeous (as is the rest of the floor), but it is terribly echoey. All that glass, hard floor, 3 windows, hard walls… it was fairly painful to sit through a meeting in here sometimes. We started to think about getting some acoustical ceiling tiles, and then I said “wait a second, historical rehab here, maybe we should ask somebody“, and sure ’nuff, we shouldn’t just paste the things to the ceilings.

So, several months after starting this process, and working with an architect with the state, we have this drop ceiling thingamajig. It lets most of the light through (it is darker) and also doesn’t interfere with the sprinkler system. We had a smallish meeting in there today, and the echo is better. Not gone, but better. We probably need a rug, but we are resisting that notion.

acoustic solution (1)
(there is usually a huge central table composed of 6 small rectangular tables and 2 end pieces, and chairs).

Time for bed!

twisted and breaking black

December 9th, 2012 by knitnzu

Twisted

A small gift for our ahijada in Guatemala (sponsor child, mostly we wired her money).

Pretty Twisted from Knitty. A great way to use up odd bits of yarn, though I think I probably made these longer than they need to be…
twisted (3) twisted (1)

twisted (7) twisted (5) twisted (2)

As the yarn was colorful and textured, I just made the simple versions. Check the link above for other versions on the pattern!

breaking black

Apparently this is the holy grail of dyeing yarn with food color. I sort of followed the instructions at the link, but I wasn’t going to be testing the technique on some 0.2 ounces of wool… I just went for it on ~8 oz of alpaca lace.

breaking black (3) breaking black (5) breaking black (6) breaking black (6)

Starting with plain yarn, then dropping some Wilton’s black on the yarn. I started by using the q-tip as recommended in the link, but then moved on to a butter knife to get more into the yarn. I put some vinegar on it, which didn’t seem like enough, so I added more.

Wilton’s black has fd&c red #3, fd&c blue#1, and yellow 5&6. They “break” out at different rates and adding vinegar assists the colors in “breaking”. Or it was supposed to… I don’t know if I added to much food color, not enough vinegar, or what. Fun things were supposed to happen after half an hour or so. Not much happened after a couple of hours, so I put a bit more vinegar on it and smooshed it around. And then went to bed. In the morning, it looked much the same.

So I got all the dry yarn wet with some water with a drop of soap in it. It seemed to work well for the originally pink yarn, but nothing was going on with the white.
breaking black (16) breaking black (22) breaking black (24) breaking black (25)
That last shot is the pink, after microwaving it a bit… there’s still color in the fluid, so it wasn’t done yet. I thought I might have too much color in it, so I rinsed it a bit, and all the color started coming out. Stop! Stop!

I decided to go into full out experimental mode. I tossed all the yarn into a big pot, rinsed the cookie sheets and put that water (it was greenish) into the pot. Heated it up (boiled it a bit by mistake), and after half an hour added a glop of vinegar, and then after another hour or so added another glop. It sat for a few hours cooling while we went to cut an xmas tree.

It sucked up nearly all the color! The water was very faintly rosy. Here’s the yarn, still wet from the rinse. The true color is on the darker side. It’s hard to tell which was which to begin with, but I think the darker yarn was the pink (on the left in the photos below).
breaking black (31) breaking black (26)

Why this madness?

Because I want to knit the Celestarium shawl! It’s the night sky of the northern hemisphere, with accurate star charts. Here’s the Ravelry page about the pattern, which notes the shawl is an accurate view of the night sky from the North Pole in the form of a pi shawl. Eyelets and beads are used to represent the stars. The center bead represents Polaris.

HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!?!?!?! (and talk about madness…)