Seaming Made Simple

On Saturday, May 25, I’ll be teaching a class at Penelope Craft in Amsterdam – Seaming Made Simple.  If you’d like to learn everything you need to know about successfully putting your sweaters together, beautifully, be sure to sign up!

It’s a 3 hour class which will be mostly hands on practice.  You’ll have to make some swatches ahead of time, so be sure to ask about homework!

You can sign up at Penelope Craft, Kerkstraat 117, Amsterdam or on their web site.

There are a lot of other great classes planned for this summer.  Here’s the first few months’ schedule.

I’m also teaching Sock Design Studio on June 8th.  In this class you’ll learn how to make socks fit YOU, how to design your own socks using your favorite stitch pattern, and how to design socks for others.  What things do you need to take into account when designing socks?  Do’s and don’ts.  Hints and tips.  It’s going to be amazing.  I’m VERY excited about it.

Hope to see you there!

Dyeing Day

On Wednesday G. came over and we did some dyeing.  I did yarn, G. did fabric.  I did indigo and she did cooking pots of madder and weld.  Above are the results of my first ever indigo dyeing.

Left to right: 2x 100% merino wool, sport weight, 2 dips; same yarn that was previous dyed with weld (nearly 3 years ago!) and over dyed with 1 dip in indigo; 2x Cascade undyed sock yarn, superwash; 2x 100% silk lace weight.  I was really curious how the different yarns would dye differently.  It’s true what everyone says, superwash yarn takes up dye, even natural dyes, much faster and deeper than non-superwash yarn.  The silk came out beautiful too!

I started out in the morning making a jar of indigo powder, an alkali and a reducing agent, which turned it from blue to a greeny-brown.

Then I filled a plastic tub with hot water and more of the same chemicals.  Then gently dipped the glass jar into the tub, without disturbing it, and poured the contents into the tub under the water.  All of that was to avoid getting any oxygen into the mixture.

It smelled foul and looked green.  Perfect!

Meanwhile G. was busy mordanting fabric and stirring up her pots of color on the stove.

Then I started dipping my yarns, sliding them in and out of the tub gently, watching the magic of the green yarn turning blue before my eyes as it hit the oxygen in the air.  Presto!  In no time I had this:

I then dug into my bag and pulled out a skein of yellow wool that I had dyed almost 3 years ago.  Funny, that day was also with G., dyeing in my back garden.  I decided to take that skein and throw it into the indigo and see what kind of green I would get.  Not bad actually.

Here’s my yarn after a second dip and with the newly green skein.  G. is in the background showing off her bright red madder fabric.

And here are some of G.’s results.

It was such a fun day!  I love this stuff.  I love the chemistry and the mystery and the magic of dyeing.  I can’t wait to do it again.

And that might come sooner rather than later.  My indigo vat is now blue, which means it still has indigo in it, but has become oxygenated.  I need to put some chemicals in it again and it should turn green again and be ready to dye some more.  I think I’d like to try some simple tie-dyeing on t-shirts.  Why not?  Isn’t that back in fashion?


I had a very nice Saturday, day 10 after The Fall.  In the morning I made the above Flourless Chocolate and Pear Cake.  I followed the recipe exactly and it came out perfect.  You can’t really tell from the photo, but there are big chunks of pear in there.  And no flour!  I highly recommend this recipe.  The only thing I did differently was to add the chocolate fondant on top.  Had to.

After making the cake, DB and I went to Amsterdam.  I had to see how tired the trip would make me and how confident I would be to do it on my own this coming week in order to get back to work.  AND it was the grand opening of Penelope Craft‘s new location at Kerkstraat 117, Amsterdam.  There would be cupcakes! And yarn! And knitters!  I had to make the effort to go.

We went by bus, then train, then tram, then a two block walk to the shop.  I didn’t even think about taking photos at the shop, which goes to show how tired and spaced out I was.  I sat and knit with friends and pet some yarn and picked up a couple of skeins of super giant fat yarn to make demo materials for the class I’m going to be teaching there.  It was lovely to be out and with my peeps.

When we got home I kind of collapsed on the couch, fell asleep for a while and was woken up to the delicious smells of DB’s spaghetti.  We then spent the evening watching episodes of Justified, season 4.

All in all, a great day.

All the Colors of the Rainbow

That’s what my physical therapist said to me yesterday afternoon – “you have all the colors of the rainbow”.  He was talking about my backside.  Purple, blue, almost black, yellow and a kind of sickly green, covering my left butt, heading up my back and down my left leg.  I’m so tempted to post a photo here, but honestly, putting a photo of my ass on the internet is going just too far.

Exactly one week ago, Thursday morning before going out to work, I fell from the top step to the bottom landing near the front door.  Remember these lovely newly painted stairs?  Those.  The ones that look long and steep.  As Sheldon Cooper said, “Ah gravity, thou art a heartless bitch”.

To add insult to injury (literally), I ended up getting TWO trips to the hospital in an ambulance and spending the night there for observation.  The first trip was after the fall (I managed to crawl to where my mobile phone was and call for help), strapped onto a gurney as if my back was broken and I really thought my hip or back WAS broken.  Turns out nothing was broken and DB and I came home in a taxi.  The second trip was later that night after I tried to stand up and passed out several times.  DB called the night doctor, who came and found I had very low blood pressure and a bruise and swelling bigger than she’d ever seen before (and she was no spring chicken either).  The ambulance guys tried to get me to walk to the ambulance but eventually had to throw me onto the gurney like a sack of potatoes (so says DB, I was OUT) because I just couldn’t stay conscious while upright.  Sheesh.

I was better the next morning and came home and have been busy healing since.  Yesterday was my first venture outside since falling so the Fysio didn’t even get to see the swelling at its worse.  It’s getting better.  Every day I can move a little more.  The coloring is busy moving down my leg and up my back.  A friend said it reminded her of when her grandmother fell out of a moving car.  Yes, I sent her a photo of my ass.  I do have some good friends, and very close family, that have been privy to my privates.  At least the black and blue parts.

You’d think in this condition I could console myself with knitting.  Wrong.  Until Monday I couldn’t find a position comfortable enough that allowed knitting.  I was mostly laying on my right side.  The last couple of days I’ve been able to sit long enough to do something entertaining.  I finished re-knitting the neckline of a sweater that I’m designing.  I’ve started “teaching socks” for a class I’m going to be teaching.  I’ve knit a few rows of a beautiful brioche shawl.  Luckily I had already finished, and given, the baby blanket I was working on.  I’ll get photos posted here in the next day or two of that project.

For now, I’m trying to keep moving, keep taking pain pills, keep getting over this stupid accident.  Last night I woke with a start from dreaming the fall again.  I hate that.  I hope it stops soon.  Also for now I’m going up and down the stairs in bare feet – no more slippery slippers on my feet.  And this weekend we are planning to get some anti-slip stuff to put on the stairs.  More photos to come!