Yarny Days

No, the above photo is not spaghetti with some weird tomato.  That’s yarn in a pot of dye.  Results coming up later in the post.

Ginni came over yesterday and we dyed yarn all afternoon.  I wanted to try some natural dyes and she wanted to come along.  I had never tried natural dyes before and was really curious to see what would work and what wouldn’t.  I’d spent a lot of time looking on the internet, and also reading a book or two.  I thought I had found flawless recipes and had all the needed ingredients.  You just never know what will happen with naturals dyes, as we found out.

As you can see above, besides seeing Ginni, we had only 1 big pot and 1 smaller pot.  We had to be really organized to try the 3 colors we wanted to try.  To prepare for the day I had mordanted 4 skeins (they were all fingering weight, 100% wool) with alum and cream of tartar the day before.  They would be used to dye with logwood and madder.  My recipe book said that to dye yellow with black oak I didn’t need to mordant ahead of time.  Ha.

We boiled up the logwood (held inside a cut off piece of stocking) and then cooked up 2 skeins of wool in it.  We let it cook, just below the boil, for about an hour.

Second we tried the black oat.  We did a 1-pot deal with the mordant and dye all in one pot.  This was not successful at all.  The yarn looked nice when we took it out, but it also all washed out afterwards.  Pfffff.  We should have mordanted ahead of time so that the dye would stick to the yarn, not to the mordant in the pot.  Next time.

Then we cooked up some madder.  Wow did that impress with the amount of dye solution produced and the resulting color!  We dyed 2 skeins in madder and then with what was left of the bag of madder we poured in more water, some alum, and 2 more skeins of yarn.  This one we let sit overnight hoping that would help the resulting orange to stay in the yarn.

Ginni got experimental with a few skeins and tried logwood exhaust overdyed with madder exhaust, which came out a lovely salmon color.

Here are the results:

From left:

2 skeins Logwood, pre mordant in alum and cream of tartar
2 skeins Madder, same mordant as above
2 skeins Madder, lower temp, no pre mordant, alum in the pot with the dye
1 skein Logwood exhaust overdyed with madder exhaust
1 skein Madder exhaust, no pre mordant
3 skeins Black Oak, which washed out, only the slightest change from undyed

I’m really happy with how this all came out, except for the yellow of course.  The colors are muted and old world-y and lovely.  Once I get them caked up I’ll post more photos.  I already have plans for the purple, red and orange together.  They’d make a lovely brioche vest.

Yarny Nights

It’s been warm this week.  We’ve had a couple of summer showers, but mostly it’s been warm and sunny and beautiful.  I’m so glad I’ve had this week off work and could fully enjoy it!  Above is a photo of Utrecht, taken Tuesday night.  It was MUGGY and warm that evening but still it just wouldn’t rain.

I went to Utrecht Tuesday night to visit the Stitch ‘n Bitch group there.  Carla invited me and told the group I’d be bringing Yarns Apart yarn to show.  Everyone was very welcoming and it was a gezellig evening.  I’d be happy to go back again, all the way from Haarlem.

The next evening I went to a knitting class taught by Chris Bylsma, organized by EFN and hosted by DIY Textile School.  What a lovely lady she is!  Also very knowledgeable and wonderful teacher.  I’d take another class from her in a minute.  The usual suspects were there, which made it of course another gezellig evening.  How many gezellig evenings can you stand in one week?

Lyra, row 51

I promised photos of my progress with Lyra, and here’s photo number 2, up through row 51.  I had to slip most of the stitches onto a smaller but longer needle in order to get this photo.  Just for you dear readers.  Now I have slip them all back.

It’s really looking like something, isn’t it!  I wanted to wait to take the next photo once I was finished with this set of leaves.  As you can see near the far edges, the next set of leaves have been started.  Again, I’ll say it, this is not difficult at all to knit.  It’s just becoming a little tedious (ugh!  already!).  Well, what is tedious are the mesh stitches, between the leaves and what will also be between the flowers to come.  The mesh involves double yarn overs and making 2 stitches from them in the next row and THEN knitting them together with normal stitches after that.  They don’t want to cooperate.  I’m using lace needles too.

I’m really loving the yarn I’m using.  This is 50/50 cotton/cashmere from Colourmart.  It’s 2/28 nm in case you want to look it up and buy some.  It’s lovely and soft but feels strong at the same time.  I’m very happy I chose this to make Lyra out of.

Now I’ll put this project away for the evening.  I’m heading out to Utrecht Stitch ‘n Bitch tonight.  I owe Carla some yarn and I’m taking more to show around.  While there I’ll be working on my brioche sock (number 2).   I hope, with all the fasting and cleansing I’m doing, that I have enough energy to last a few hours there!  The headache is gone and I’m feeling much better.  It feels good to fit into my newest pair of jeans too!

Being Clean is NOT for Wimps

Sorry, no photo today, and you’ll thank me for that.

Saturday I started a colon cleanse.  This involves taking tablets at night that ensure you poo regularly and often, and drinking loads of special clay that pushes everything out of your colon and absorbs the stubborn crud from your system and gets rid of it.

Sounds simple, right?  I thought, well no big deal.  I can do this.  Ha!  They say in the instruction booklet that you may have a “crisis of cleansing” which involves feeling really bad physically for a while.  My “crisis” involved a massive headache, nausea and vomiting.  And that was day 1.

Poor Andy.  He came over Saturday afternoon to get help with his new computer and I kept running to the toilet and trying to concentrate.  We made it through his check list and after he left I went to bed.  With a bucket.  DB has been so sweet and supportive of this crazy adventure.  He’s insisted I do practically nothing these days.

Luckily I was smart enough to realize I couldn’t do this and go to work.  DB and I both have this week off work.  I can’t help but make plans for things to do, so I’ve got a list of “projects”, but most of them are at the end of the week.  This coming Saturday is the Yarns Apart open house which is my major project this week.

So, about this cleansing.  I’m supposed to do this hard core thing for 5 days.  THEN I have another kit full of powders and potions for cleansing the liver, gall bladder, gut (again), lungs, etc.  That kit is for 3 weeks but at least during this part I can EAT.  I won’t be eating everything though – no dairy, no sugar, no meat.  You know what the side benefit of all this is?  Yes!  Loosing weight!

I’m not going to write here what brand of kit I’m using.  I will wait until I’ve finished  it and give you my final verdict before endorsing (or not) any product.  I will say that it is 100% herbal stuff and all the ingredients are explained.  It comes with lots of info and instruction.  The 21 day cleanse looks like a little chemistry set.  Cool.

I’m on day 3 of the colon cleanse now and am living on organic apple juice and raw carrots (and the clay).  The headache is ALMOST gone.  I don’t feel nausea anymore.  But I do feel tired and a bit weak and don’t want to stray too far from a toilet.  In the last 5 days I’ve lost 3 kilos, which is quite a lot of crap!  I don’t think I’ve lost any fat yet, but that should come.

I’ll keep you posted about progress, both the good and the bad.  And I promise no gross photos. 😉

Knitting News

I have, finally, started a Lyra (the link is a flickr search result).  This is currently the most well known of Herbert Niebling‘s designs (sorry, the only link I could find was a commercial one to a book for sale – i wish there was a wikipedia page about Niebling, a German man who designed lace patterns in the 1930’s – 40’s).  There are 186 Lyra projects listed on Ravelry and I’m sure there are lots more in the world.  I’ve admired it for the last 2 years and bought the pattern about a year ago.  I just had to find the right time, and the confidence, to make it.  Now that I’m up to row 31, I realize that it really isn’t hard at all!  After making brioche lace, this is a walk in the park!

The yarn I’m using is 50/50 cotton/cashmere that I bought from colourmart.  It is wound on a cone, which is really handy.  The color is not really good in the photo above.  It is a little bit lighter green and not a solid color but a very very slight heather look.  It’s fantastic to work with and looks really nice.  So far I’m really enjoying knitting this although the start was pretty tricky.  I tried several cast ons and finally managed success with a turkish cast on over the 8 stitches instead of making an open ring of stitches.  I think it looks more organic anyway.  I will be glad though when it is big enough to fit onto just one needle.

In other knitting news, I finished knitting the lace tank from Vogue Knitting Summer 1991.  It’s now blocking.

I only need to sew it up and then pick up and knit rolled edges around the neck and arm holes.  Almost done!

I have also finished 1 sock of a pair I’m designing.  Sorry, can’t show you.  I’m going to submit the pattern for publication once they are done.  I’ll also be looking for a test knitter – but more on that later.  All I will say is that they are knee-socks in brioche stitches.

Another Pause

Last night we had a very exciting thunder and lightening storm.  The wind howled and the rain fell in buckets.  I love these summer rains.  I stood in the open back door just taking in the smells and sounds.  The cat laid at my feet, doing the same.

This morning, early, we headed to the beach.  Everything smelled so fresh and new!  Even though we got to the beach around 9am, there were already a lot of people there, although not as many as two weeks ago when it was boiling hot outside.  Today there was a karate club meet up at Parnassia.  They warmed up by running along the beach, and I snapped their photo (above).

Unlike the beaches in Northern California, nothing much washes up here after a storm.  The best I could find was a jelly fish.

In California, and all along the Pacific Northwest, after a storm you can find lots of interesting stuff like huge logs of redwood worn smooth by the water.  Or smaller pieces of driftwood.  You can also find moonstones and agates and pieces of greenschist.  I used to love walking the beaches around Humboldt County after a storm.

Here, the North Sea is not very wild.  It’s like the rest of the Netherlands as far as nature is concerned – tame as a guinea pig.

There were a lot of dogs at the beach today.  Dogs everywhere.  Dogs peeing on sand castles.  I saw a dog pooping in the shallow water.  Dogs playing, dogs running.  If I had a dog I’d bring it here too.  It’s really dog heaven.

The above photo has quite a few dogs in it and I wasn’t even trying to get dogs into the picture!  They were just everywhere.

I didn’t run today, but DB did.  He’s doing really well with his running and I’m really proud and happy for him.  He’s really enjoying it and that’s nice to see.  Me?

I have to take another break from getting back to my old running self.  You remember that shiny new bike I showed you a few posts ago?  Well.  I fell off it last Saturday.  I bruised several ribs.  For 3 days I could hardly move.  Now, one week later, I’m able to go to work, but don’t ask me to move much.  About the only movement I can make without pain is, luckily, knitting!  I hold my left arm still and only wrap yarn and move needles with my right hand.  Perfect.  Whew what a relief! 🙂

Anyway, this kind of injury takes a long time to heal.  I was happy to just walk a short way on the beach today.  The only part of my new bike that is damaged is the seat and I hope to go this coming week to the bike shop and get a new one.  But I have to be able to ride before I do that.  I’m not sure if I’m ready yet.  Today I managed to iron a few pieces of clothing, so maybe by the end of the week I can manage to get on a bike.  And I WILL get back on.

At this moment I’m watching the Tour de France on tv.  If Lance can fall and fall and fall again, and get back up and ride 50 more km in the mountains, I should be able to get to town and back.

New Lace Yarn

Today I received another shipment of Madelinetosh lace weight yarn.  This is 100% merino in just gorgeous colors!  Look at this rainbow!  I have in the shop 20 different colors of lacey goodness.

Each skein is 950 yards / 868 meters which is plenty for a large shawl.

I would also like to announce that I’m having an open house on 24 July, in Haarlem.  I’ll have all my shop yarns available for you to touch and ooo and aahhh over.  The open house is from 13.00 – 18.00.  The perfect day out?  Head to the center of Haarlem, known for the best shopping in all of the Netherlands, and afterwards come visit Yarns Apart and refreshments.

If you would like to come to the open house leave a comment here and I’ll email you the address.  Tot dan!