Dyeing Days

There has been an explosion of color chez UDS.  Above is 2kg of fiber dyed during one day.  The day before I dyed 2kg of rainbows.

I’m being very systematic about this – dyeing with only one method and one or two types of fiber in one day.  Before dyeing I’ve pulled off 105g pieces to dye and soaked them overnight in water.  I’ve also bought a small centrifuge machine to spin all the water out of the fiber before laying it to dry.  That makes a huge difference in drying time!

This might sound like work but I really love doing it.  I love seeing the colors emerge and how the fiber feels after dyeing (SOFT!).

I’ve also been busy spinning up 150g of Blend A to make a shawl.  I finished the spinning and plying last Wednesday, gave it a good soak and let it dry. It’s not perfect spinning, but pretty darn good for a beginner.

I’m going to make “Love on the Edge”, a shawl pattern by Monique Boonstra.  (Ravelry link) I don’t know if I will have it finished in time for MidWinterWol, but I will do my best to have it on display.  Here is Monique’s version.

Meanwhile, the dyeing continues.  More color will be posted in the coming weeks.

Also in the meanwhile, Fall has arrived and I’ve taken a few photos of local color.

Mad May Indeed


Over on the Ravelry group Madelinetosh Lovers, Mad May is in full swing.  Lots of people are knitting with Madelinetosh yarn with the aim of finishing a project within the month of May.  I started a project but I clearly won’t make the deadline.

Above is one finished sleeve.  I knit nearly all of it on my trip from Amsterdam to Bangkok.  I’ve also started the body, knit in the round, but I’m only about 3 inches (7.5cm) along.  I’m here in Thailand, on business (photos taken in my hotel room), and have been working a lot and not having a lot of knitting time.  I only have one day off while I’m here (today) and I’m going to spend 4 hours in a spa getting rubbed, scrubbed and pampered.

Anyway, back to the sweater.  This is a mashup of 2 sweater patterns.  I liked parts of each so put them together in my own kind of concoction.  I’ll detail all that out when the sweater is finished and I know which of my modifications really work.

Here are some closeup photos so you can see what the lace really looks like.  The yarn is Tosh Sock in color Lettuce Leaf which I’ve been hording for quite a long time, waiting for the perfect pattern to come along.  I guess I had to make up my own.

And, yes, you read correctly, Thailand.  The place that has just been taken over by a military coup d’etat.  Luckily I’m not in Bangkok, but in Chiang Mai, up north where life is still peaceful and people just go to work and go shopping and carry on with their lives.  As long as the airports stay open…..

Old Lace


This morning my mom and I went to a pre-estate sale that is organized by the church she goes to.  Families hire the church to organize estate sales when they don’t want to bother dealing with or selling off their dearly departed family member’s belongings. Mom got to go to the pre-sale, for church members only, to pick through the good stuff before the rest of the public gets a look in.

And look what I found! This knitted tablecloth.  It’s knit with cotton and has been starched, although the starch has worn off some and it’s not very stiff anymore.  There are a couple of snags in it, but otherwise it’s in excellent condition.

It was covering a round table in the dining area of the house.  One lady there tried to tell me it was crocheted.  I said no, it is knit.  She said you can’t knit that kind of stitch.  I said that I guarantee you it’s knitted.  I still don’t think she believed me.

This looks like a Niebling, or a Niebling contemporary, design.  Looking around the house at the other things that were for sale, it would not surprise me at all if this was bought in Germany.  It’s so hard to guess at how old it is.  It’s not yellowed or in bad shape, but it doesn’t have a new feel to it either.  The cotton used is not like cotton that you find in shops these days.  It’s more like very heavy thread than the crochet cotton we can buy now.  I’m going to look through Ravelry and see if I can find a pattern that matches this.

Anyway, I paid all of $8 for it.  I think I will repair the snags, wash and re-block it. I’ll post photos of it here when that is done. I don’t have a table it will fit.  I might just wear it as a shawl!

Picked up

I started this table cloth/doily back in November.  And then I put it down to get some Christmas knitting done.  This past week I finally picked it up again.

This is a Niebling pattern called Frühling (Spring), which is fitting to work on this time of year.  The yarn is 50/50 cotton/silk that I bought from ColourMart. Once I get through the big leaf motif that is partially knit, the pattern shifts into flowers and leaves.  What you see above is through round 117.  If I knit the entire thing, it will be 369 rounds!  It is meant to be made on even smaller needles (I’m using US0/2mm) and fits a large round table.

I think I’m going to stop after round 245, which is also organized in the chart as a good stopping point, at the top of the first group of flowers.  That will be plenty big enough.

By my reckoning, if I can manage to knit 2 rounds per day, on average, I can finish it by the end of July.  As it grows each round takes longer and longer! Even now it takes me 40 minutes to knit a pattern round.

It’s really not as complicated as it looks.  It’s just knitting after all.  Just follow the chart. Once you get the hang of the mesh pattern with its double yarn overs, the rest is a piece of cake.  Pay attention to it, and you can even predict the next stitches and how it all flows together.  I’m enjoying knitting it quite a lot!

Follow Your Arrow

I just finished my Follow Your Arrow KAL shawl. We got 5 clues and each clue had a choice between 2 different patterns to follow, giving you a possible 36 different shawls.

I chose option B first, then A, and so on, to make a BAAAA shawl.  On the group forum on Ravelry you can see all the different variations, some in 2 colors.  So fun to see all the different shawls made from this one pattern.

The yarn, you’ll remember if you’ve been following along, is some that I over-dyed a couple of years ago and I’m thrilled to finally use it! It’s not as soft as merino but that is just perfect for this kind of shawl.  You want it to have some body to it and not just flop around, which it would do with super soft yarn.

Full disclosure and true confessions – when I soaked the shawl to block it there was SO MUCH dye that washed out! I honestly don’t remember my after dyeing care of this yarn but clearly I didn’t rinse it enough. I know I wanted to make sure it would over dye completely so I must have used a lot of dye. I’m just surprised I let it dry and wound it up without completely rinsing it. I guess I shouldn’t complain about Madelinetosh yarn bleeding if I can’t even keep my own yarn from bleeding!

You can see on this blocking photo the orange from the previous shawl blocking and the green at the points of this shawl from dye bleed. This bed sheet is going to become a work of art all its own.

I’m really happy with the end result and will wear it a lot I’m sure, although I don’t have a lot of green clothes. It will go well with black and white for sure.  Now I’m off to cast on something new….

Hup Holland

This is the small shawl I made for the Ravellenic games. It’s a Ravelry-wide KAL (knit-a-long) with events named cutely like Olympic events. Lace Luge, stuff like that.

This shawl is in a lovely Dutch orange called Citrus. The yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light.  The pattern is Frambuesa by Julia Trice.

It was a fun fast knit and actually I would recommend it for a first lace project for new lace knitters.  It looks a lot more complex than it is – which I think makes for a really special lace pattern – looks impressive while being easy to make.

I only had one skein of this yarn, but I have a fair amount left over. I could probably have made it a bit bigger but I followed the instructions exactly. It wraps twice around my neck like a very pretty cowl/scarf.  Maybe at some point I’ll have a photo of me wearing it, but with timing, weather and other priorities I just didn’t manage it.  These photos were taken with the shawl hanging on the hedges in front of my house.  At least it wasn’t raining!

Trunk Show @ Penelope Craft

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting Joji Locatelli. Joji is the knitting designer who’s pattern I used to make my Neon sweater. Her designs are clever, fun to make, fit perfectly and are beautiful as well! Joji was in the area visiting family and came to Penelope Craft to have a trunk show.

She had with her her latest designs and also those from Veera Välimäki.  The two of them joined forces to create a group of patterns, self published as “Interpretations“.  We got to see the samples and even try them on, which was really nice of her to let us do.  Joji was so friendly and I really enjoyed meeting her. I think she’d be a fun person to hang out with and talk knitting.

I couldn’t resist buying a couple of printed patterns that she had on hand.  I bought “Laneway” and “See You There”, one from each designer.

I also couldn’t resist some of Malia’s new Madelinetosh shipment. I know I KNOW! I don’t need it! But just look at it! How could I resist?

(Sorry for the lousy photos. It’s so dark and stormy today – no good light.)
The Jade and Firewood colors go so nicely together.  I think I will use them to make a shorter version of “Laneway”, with shorter sleeves too.

After hanging out for a while, four of us left and walked down the street to a Mexican restaurant and drank margaritas and ate nachos. What a great way to end the afternoon! I came home to dinner ready and Olympics on the tv. Of course, after drinking margaritas I didn’t dare try to cast on that lace shawl again. Instead I went to bed early.

This morning I was awake at 7am and decided to get up and turn on the tv to the Olympics, make some coffee and cast on the shawl.  This pattern starts at the bottom edge so you have the longest part to do first.  It gets smaller as you go along and work up.  So far so good now!  Here’s a photo.  Again, terrible light.  It really is a very bright orange, not so red as here.  It goes well with the orange everywhere on the tv while watching the ice skating! Hup Holland!


Little Birds

bird out the window

I was going to show you my progress on the lime lace project today, however, that project is in time out.  I’m mad at it.

Saturday morning I was working on it, starting a new pattern round.  The stitch count didn’t work. There was something wrong.  I counted, then recounted, and counted again.  Only after knitting and tinking 12 stitches, 4 times, did I see that there was a very small notation at the beginning of the chart on row 83.  “1M.Z.”  Oh. What the heck does this mean?

I remembered reading on Ravelry that on some rows you have to shift the start of the round 1 stitch ahead or behind.  I guessed that I needed to move 1 stitch backwards (zuruk) and indeed, once I did that, the stitch count came out perfect. On I went.

However, moving these stitches around means moving the stitch markers and somehow, I have no idea how, I dropped the stitch marker, went to reach for it, and pulled the stitches off the needles and dropped 3 stitches. And they fell. And fell.  This is at the mesh section.  You know, with double yarn overs and ssk and k2t stitches making a mesh.  I tried to recover and knit it back up, but it looked bad and I was not happy.

I tinked back 3 rounds. That took well over an hour.  Then proceeded to drop 2 more stitches and tinked back 2 more rounds.  And then when I tried to start knitting again nothing looked right.  It was, by then, 9pm Saturday night.  Screw you lace knitting.  I obsessed over this thing all day and couldn’t face it anymore.

I put it down at the end of the couch and there it has sat all day.  In time out.  It’s been a long time since I’ve gone a day without knitting, but today is a break day.  Tomorrow will be better.

The above photo was taken out of our living room window this morning.  Isn’t he pretty?

Taking Shape

Fruhling row 71

I’m up to row 71 (out of 370) of the Frühling pattern by Herbert Niebling.  Now that I’m able to put it on an 80cm (32″) round needle, I can see how the pattern is developing.  Like all lace knitting, it doesn’t look great until it is finished and blocked.  Still, you can see there are leaves and netting designs.

Niebling patterns are often intimidating to knitters.  They look so complicated and difficult.  The truth is, they are very detailed, with large charts, but the knitting itself is not difficult at all.  It just takes patience and determination when the boredom sets in.  So far I’m not bored at all with it and I really look forward to sitting down and working on it!

I’m able to read the knitting pretty well at this stage.  The leaves grow, the netting between remains basically the same.  It’s hypnotic and addicting knitting.  This is a present for my mom.  Surprise Mom! 🙂  I decided that since it’s going to take me so long to make, she (and you dear reader) might as well enjoy seeing it grow.

I think this will become my Sunday knitting post for a while, tracking the ever growing Niebling lace.

Dahlia is Done

I finally finished this sweater!  I started it ages ago – almost two years ago – and put it into time out a couple of times.  All the stockinette was just so boring.  You see, the back lace part was the only interesting part.  The rest….

… is all just plain knitting.  Ho Hum.  I like it, but it’s strange to wear.  I have only worn it once so far, to work for a whole day, and it felt like it was constantly about to fall off my shoulders.  Most of the time I wore it open, like this.

The yarn is fantastic and feels wonderful and soft.  It’s Madelinetosh Pashmina, sport weight, 75% merino, 15% silk and 10% cashmere, color Duchess.  The pattern is Dahlia from Interweave Knits, Fall 2011.

It’s basically a rectangle with 2 holes for sleeves.  There’s no shoulder shaping at all, which is why it feels so weird.  A shawl with sleeves.  I will wear it more, for sure.  I just have to figure out how to get it to stay where I put it!