Thursday, March 30, 2006

Springtime is time for...

taking a close look at what remains of last year's garden. Hosta leaf and Cottoneaster berry.

And the promise of this year's growth: lilac leaf buds

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Slow News Day

Did you ever live in a small safe city where they didn't have enough news to fill the 11 (or 10 CST) p.m. broadcast? We used to love to laugh at the news in upstate NY. We had our pick of Syracuse or Binghamton and both gave us many Onion-esque lead stories. Once the Syracuse station had a live reporter interviewing folks at a NY Thruway rest stop and verifying that (GASP!) people were speeding on the Thruway! One great story that baffled us, "Syracuse loses, no riot." The reporter on the scene was in an area adjacent to the University reporting that the streets were empty and there was nothing going on.

That's kind of what it feels like Chez SABLE lately. At least on the knitting front. Ok, there was Last Saturday Knitting this past weekend. And we had a new face.

I finished my mystery project. More about that in a few days.

I'm almost done with my Dad's birthday socks. His birthday was yesterday, and I told him the gift would get mailed in the next few days. We're all pretty casual about timing the arrival of birthday presents in my family. And we called and sang Happy Birthday loudly and off-key.

I did finish reading A Thread of Grace, but not before the book group. I highly recommend this book. In a nutshell, it's about Italian and other Jewish refugees resisting the Nazi occupation in northwestern Italy from 1943 until the end of the war in Europe.

I think I'll be ready to flash some stash on April 1. Certainly, not a comprehensive inventory, but it'll give you all an idea of just how sick I really am.

I should make some rapid progress on a few dormant WIPs in the next couple weeks. I'm also trying to get a quick submission done for a deadline on April 15.

Patience is a virtue.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Preparing to Flash

Today The Little Emperor and I earnestly began photographing stash for this year's Flash Your Stash Along. I know that these photos are more like mug shots than carefully crafted artistic portraits. Let's just say with a stash this out of control, I'm tempted to not even try! I recently listened to Franklin's essay on Cast On about why one should fear one's stash, so I guess now I'm nervous about going down there. Still, nothing bad happened. Yet.

I decided to start assembling a draft of the blog post, so that I'm not scrambling at the last minute on March 31. This year, I am posting pics right in the blog, instead of linking to the album, so be forewarned: April 1 will be a very photo-intense post. Get your internet service upgraded if you don't want to be waiting all day. I'm trying to keep the pictures fairly small, but with enough detail.

In other news
The Mystery Object is nearly done. My dad's socks have been idled while I prioritized the Mystery Object. Stirring up all that yarn stash always leads to lots of fresh knitting ideas. The difficulty is focusing enough on one of them to make it happen, instead of getting lost in the world of possibilities.

My book group is reading Mary Doria Russell's A Thread of Grace. I just started last night, but I expect it to be a fascinating read. Her prose is exquisite! More on that later. I'm a woefully slow reader, so I'll need to give the book a lot of hours this week, and probably will not post much.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Slip stitch

Here's a sample of the newly dyed yarn, in a slip stitch with another recycled yarn. The teal is from a merino sweater that I got at the Goodwill. The yarn is more like 8 or so very thin wool threads used together, but not plied. It makes it a bit prone to splitting, but I think the effect is worth the effort.
Have a closer look:

I'm still not sure what this will be, but I'm thinking a cardigan a la Coco Chanel. I checked out Jean Frost's Jackets book from the library (again) yesterday. I love her work. Of course, it's not like I have anything to dress up for in my life, but maybe that will change?
BTW, the color balance is more accurate in the top picture.

Friday, March 17, 2006

ReKAL Pr0n!

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Here's the yarnographic shot of the yarn we dyed last night! Doesn't it look luscious?

BTW, I got a total weight on my yarn: 360 grams, which is probably about 720 meters, give or take a few. Now, how to use it?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Recycled Yarn to Dye For...

Yesterday I had a few hours without my children and went to the Digger's Outlet, a real bottom-feeder kind of thrift shop. This is where St. Vincent's sends all the stuff that didn't sell in the regular stores before giving up on it. From here, the clothes get baled and sent for recycling or possibly overseas. The books get pulped and, as a former used bookseller, I'm telling you that most of them deserve it. Everything is sold by the pound. Clothes are $1 a pound. Books are a quarter a pound. Household stuff, 50 cents/pound. There's often okay furniture there, sometimes better stuff than they put in their stores.

Ostensibly, my mission was to find wicker for our porch. Or rattan. I'm not too particular. But of course, I had to paw through the bins of clothes a bit. I came away with three sweaters to recycle and a pair of shorts for my husband. Total with tax $1.88.
Here is the first sweater:
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A bulky knit, very soft wool, 5 stitches/2 inches. Pale seafoam blue-green. It isn't a color I can wear, but the yarn was cuddly. The sweater was a little dingy.
I frogged it last night and today. The yarn was actually two strands of light worsted/DK weight yarn. Here's some of it after a little wash:
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I started thinking that I wanted to dye this yarn. I've never used real acid dyes, like the professionals use. I've used Rit and Koolaid and had fun. I wanted to get a nice range of rich greens and blues, but Kool aid doesn't produce that. Then remembered the Wilton's Cake Decorating Food Coloring options. After dinner, I went on a mission and came home with Royal Blue, Juniper Green, and Moss Green.

My assistant and I soaked the yarn in vinegar and water. I put a little water in my big thrift shop enamel pot and set it on the stove to heat. We put two of the large hanks, half the total yarn, in a glass pan to contain the mess. I had squeezed out excess water/vinegar. Then, we made a solution of water and Royal blue coloring and poured that over the yarn in stripes. Then, we did the same with the Juniper Green. An interesting thing happened! The Juniper green separated as it sat on the yarn and we got a muddy reddish color from it in places.
Here's some yarn before steaming to set:
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Then I used some tongs and put the damp and striped yarn into the steaming pot and simmered gently while we colored the other two big hanks, sort of the same.
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I spun out the excess water in my washing machine and here's the yarn drying on the line in the basement:
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Tomorrow, I hope to get some nice artistic shots in natural light. But I'm pretty happy with the results. What my assistant and I found particularly interesting was the range of colors we got from just those two food colors. There's a vivid purple, a bright turquoise, some muddy browns, nice blues and greens. Who would have thought?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

This one's for Zib...

Yarn Pr0n!!!
These are all poor abandoned yarns that I found at my local thrift shops, and saved from a life of neglect and sorrow.
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Image hosting by PhotobucketThis is the tag on this hank. I think it's someone's handspun and one of the fibers is Alpaca.

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Here's a little yarn menage a trois: truly yarnographic!

F is for...

Ferns and flowers. These are some pictures I took last summer, when I was just getting to know my camera. I hope to get some new fern pics this year, but it's a little too early right now.
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(Ali, make sure you let me know if you want the full size images for your collection!)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What a mess!!!

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I dumped my knitting bags out for a little look. It had been a while since I straightened things up, untangled my projects, took stock. Yikes. I think I need to buy a box of ziplocks! Rest assured, when I put it all back, things were in better order than they started out. In the full size version of this photo (which you don't get to see), one can pick out several dormant projects, which will be back on active status, once the priorities are dealt with.

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Here are some current sock projects. The green Wildfoote ones are for me. Nearly done, but on hold while other projects take priority. Then there is one grey sock from the Regia Silk. Have I mentioned how much I love this yarn? These socks will be for my dad's birthday later this month. Next, a little teeny bit of a sock from some KnitPicks cotton sock yarn that Terby destashed on me a couple months ago. She said she just wasn't happy with it, no matter what she tried. Maybe I'll have better luck?

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This is a sample of the Mystery Project for release around April 1. Tune in for more details later.

Monday, March 06, 2006

What do I have to show for myself?

What have I been doing with my time lately?

Knitting socks for Dad's birthday later this month. Knitting a surprise for a free pattern, a designer trio from Wendy, Wendy, and me. And sketching and planning. Precious little blog-worthy knitting. If only I could knit in my sleep: think of the progress I would make. I could do all the long, repetetive boring parts in my sleep, freeing up my waking hours for the exciting stuff.

Today, I registered The Little Emperor for kindergarten! Wow. This was fairly painless for me, in terms of time and form-filling, because he was already in the school system computers. He was in a speech therapy preschool classroom last year and at the beginning of this year, so I had already done all the stuff with verifying birthdate, social security number, immunization records, etc. All I really needed to do was tell the school secretary his name and sign up for two appointments. Piece of cake. I'm very excited about fall. The last time I finally had a kid starting kindergarten, I went and got pregnant right away. Believe me, that's not happening this time.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


My very kind friend Wendy B and I were chatting the other night and I mentioned that I want to make my Dad some socks for his birthday, which is in late March. He's had some hard stuff happening in the last week, and he's not a very emotionally open kind of person. Wendy said she had the perfect yarn and put it in a box to send for me to use. She packed a few other goodies in there, too. A handy little case for small items and some lollipops for the kids.
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This yarn will be perfect for my Dad's socks. I'm so touched that she did that! Thanks Wendy.

Now, hum along:
Here's the mail, it never fails,
it makes me want to wag my tail....
When it comes I want to wail

For those of you who want to know more about Steve and his life since Blues Clues, see Steve's Web Site. Listen to his music. Watch the video. It's actually interesting stuff.