About a week ago, when I finally got paid, I went on a little bit of a yarn bender. It was kind of ugly, really. I could’ve bought another full mattress set with what I spent on yarn (which sounds like a stupid point of reference, except that we bought 14 beds this weekend). Anyway, I’ve already run through guilt, remorse, shame, self-recrimination & acceptance. And then I got my yarn, hurrah! Well, I got some of it. The Webs stuff is still in transit.

From KnitPicks. This shows the best color accuracy.

That includes 2 skeins of the clearance ($2.99/skein) Sock Garden 100% merino sock yarn in Hydrangea, for my imaginary socks (try as I might, I couldn’t get the color right. It’s more saturated & purplier):

2 hanks of the clearance  ($2.99/skein) Sock Memories 100% merino sock yarn in Carnival (in real life, darker, bluer), for my other pair of imaginary socks:

It stripes thusly, sockwise:

6 skeins the clearance (also $2.99/skein) Sock Garden 100% merino in Zinnia (not as retina-burning as here), for either imaginary knee socks or maybe an imaginary pullover vest or something? Maybe a cute striped too-short punk vest to wear over a white button shirt with tails and kinderwhore skirt? For when I lose 20 pounds and am not ashamed to show my tremendous grapefruit skin thighs? (By the way, no one ever lost weight eating doughnuts and 90% off Easter chocolate from Target, especially when that chocolate is a giant chocolate egg with a marshmallow peep inside. I know this, and yet…)

It stripes like this in sock form:

And then 3 skeins of various weights of the dye-it-yourself stuff:

The hanks were pleasingly fat, and the yarn’s soft, classic yarn. Nothing mindblowing, but perfectly nice & suitable for next-to-the-skin use. I might get a bunch of this for the workshop, for practice yarn. It’s $3.99/100g.

So that’s knitpicks. But that’s not all!

I got some teeny (really teeny, like 14-31yds each) little skeins of handspun pure angora on ebay. There should be enough to make someting tiny and striped. I don’t know what yet, maybe some little cuffs or a little fuzzy choker or headband. It’s nice because it’s pretty chunky (3 worsted, 1 sport) for angora, and there are a few lovely, alarming, irregular tufts of fur in the mix.

The last was also an ebay package.

I originally went in for the Briggs & Little, this total grandma wool yarn that I really like. It’s kind of greasy/scratchy, but warms to your touch & becomes very pleasing to knit, then washes up all lofty & nice. It’s very no-nonsense & unfancy, which makes me unaccountably happy. They’re also cheap and come in big, fat 4oz hanks.

They were cheap ($1.99ea), & I bid one one before I realized she was in Canada & shipping would counteract the cheapness factor (which was stupid not to realize, because B&L is Canadian). So I thought it in my best interest to maximize my order. So I got 3 skeins each of the pink, brown & navy, then added 2 skeins of supersaturated colored silk ($6.75/100g), in true red (below) & brick. I am well pleased with the colors. Assuming it knits up like I hope, I’m expecting to make a summer tank of it, maybe red in front & brick in back, or red on top & brick on bottom?

and then a hank of undyed silk, with a mind to dying it. The undyed had a looser texture, sort of a silk version of Henry’s Attic Inca Cotton? Ron said it looked like rag mop, which it does, but I still like it. It was $4.99/100g.

Last is a silk/viscose blend strung with little tiny fake pearls.

This is the only one I don’t know whether I like yet. It’s not as shiny as it looks here, and the little pearls are kind of cheesy. But it might knit up nice. Or if I could dye it and get it blacker, I think I’d be happy about it.

I want it!

Look how pretty! It’s the GorgonianShawl KnitKit (what’s a Gorgonian? a heavy cobweb? some kind of crepe paper streamers? I’ll ask the internet…) from Morehouse Farm.

Sadly, due to my Webs bender last week, I can’t afford it. I wish they sold just the pattern. I’m sure I have something in my stash that would do nicely. Maybe it’s in the new book, that would be much easier to rationalize… That’s how I found it, from a link from the Potter Craft newsletter.

(Oh, apparently a gorgonian is a coral-like sea creature. Pretty. Okay, well named, but now I want to see it in a brighter color.)

Alterknits rug. Ugh.

It took me like a dozen tries of a dozen stitches before I decided that the one called for in the book (garter) was truly the right stitch. I don’t know why I thought I knew better. Anyway, I knit it all up with my pretty pink and orange-dyed tshirt yarn. And about 3/4 of the way through I realized that, while pink and orange make perfectly pretty yarn, a pink and orange rug has absolutely no place in my home. What was I thinking? It’s like all the acid green yarn I buy for scarves and sweaters, knowing how tragically putrid I look in acid green. And yet I can’t resist.

So I finished it and threw it in the washer with another round of RIT, this time dark brown. And it came out well enough. Not as dark as I’d like (think some of the sweatshirts must’ve been 65/30 poly/cotton, because they didn’t take dye well), but fairly pleasing. Except then I threw it into the dryer, where the seams broke and unraveled and made two big holes (which were actually pleasing themselves, but they’d just get worse and worse, so…). While I’m easy-peasy fixing dropped stitches while I’m knitting, fixing them from both directions with two mysterious ends was more than I could decipher.

So I unwound most of it, mended the yarn & I’m starting over. Look at that big ball! Those are my feetsies, for scale:

The good news is that the rug is wonderfully cushy. I heartily recommend one as a use of crappy free tshirts. I used about 6 whole tshirts and maybe 4 sweatshirts’ of fabric, but I used more than just the torso, so my yarn’s irregular. I cut the sweatshirts 1/2″ wide and the tshirts 1-1/5″ wide to compensate for the weight difference. Used 19 needles. (They’re Lion needles. Crappy cords, but they’re very long for circulars and are nice and easy to hold, and light & they knit quickly.)

Anyway, I’m officially putting away the knitting until I finish my 10 Things To Do list, which I’m making up now.

  1. Fix the stupid install so I can get to my mail.
  2. Send out Prom evite already.
  3. Make a no-artist-bio version of press release, just in case.
  4. Address 50 postcards.
  5. Go to USPS.com & see if there are any particularly nice postcard stamps
  6. Call bed guy about bulk discount.
  7. Clean off desk.
  8. Go over Big List with Ron & make a timeline.
  9. Call Penske re: reserving truck for Boeing run
  10. Make list of who needs to get press releases.


Getting fleeced

Some natural-light pictures of the alpaca fleece for the workshop…

This beautiful fiber is actually seconds (Andy’s blanket is the one being saved for competition), but it’s absolutely delicious.

And here is Andy himself:

Pretty cinnamon fleeze from Bronzy:

Miss (or Mister…?) Bronzy, looking quite regal.

Fluffy white goodness from Mr. Carl:

And Carl, wearing his own fleece:

Black with some dark chocolate tips from little pop-eyed baby Ci-Ci:

Look at little Ci-Ci! If you think she’s adorable here, you should see her bald! She looks like a muppet!

Hot chocolate from Hannah:

Miss Hannah:

Velvetly Liana. Interestingly, the blacks were the heaviest. I think they hold way more dust for some reason. They seemed dustier.

Naked Liana, Ci-Ci’s mama, freshly shorn:

Pretty fawn-colored fleece from Tino:

Naked Tino (so! cute!):

And finally, white tipped with a little dusky gray from sweet-faced old Valley Girl “Val”:

And the matron herself:

Hurrah! The gang’s all here:


Whee! Just bought a bunch of alpaca fleece for this fall’s fiber workshop. We’ll be touring a local alpaca ranch (Alpacas at Wildcat Hollow), so I wanted us to be able to spin from the animals we meet. This was my first time seeing alpacas up close and personal, and they’re so fucking cute I could cry. The looked particularly alien and puppety, since they’d just been sheered. There was even a youngster, an adorable black cria with gigantic googly lobster eyes. They all stare at you at once, bobbling their darling little heads on their crazy long necks like those ostrich marionettes. Cute! They even poop cute. They pick a toilet zone & everyone poops in just one spot, which they back up to daintily.

The color in the picture is for crap. I’ll hope for sunshine to get some nice closeups, but here’s what I bought: black from Liana and her baby Ci-Ci; a coarser white/gray from Val, the old lady of the herd; fluffy white from Carl; fawn from Tino; cinnamon from Bronzie; chocolate from Hannah; and white from Andy. Andy’s fleece was seconds, from his neck/legs, because they were saving his blanket (the fleece from the back and sides) for competition. Even his seconds were yummy-soft and nice and long. I also got seconds from Liana, Ci-Ci, Bronzie, Carl, and Hannah. If they’re too short, I’ll buy that Japanese felting book at the Yarn Barn and play with them.

I didn’t get first pick, because I missed the shearing on Saturday morning (we were up very late working), but there was still lots of nice fiber. Not that I actually know anything about it. I just shot for the softest, longest, and my favorite colors.

The owners, Marta & Ed, were wonderful and so friendly. Marta promised to email me pictures, so I can show off what came from who. Besides the alpacas, they have goats (pets), a pair of Maremmano-Abruzzese (I think that’s right–just looked them up and those seem right) Italian sheepdogs, the alpacas’ guardians, and two lovely, sweet Australian shepherds, one old lady and one pup. They were very warm and kind, and they’re going to arrange for some finished yarn to be available (from their remaining fiber and other local ranches) when we tour the ranch, and we might even do a little wine & cheese thing there. The grounds are beautiful and very inviting. Oh! And they may have hooked me up with an angora lady, which would be really fun.

I noticed in the paper that 4H is selling lambs…. that might be another avenue to invoostigate as well.

Red Pajamas!

As part of my RIT kick, I took all my ratty old flannel pajams & dyed them red. So now instead of 4 dumpy faded floral pairs, I have 4 cute red ones!

I did it in a long hot cycle in the machine, with 2 cold rinses & the results were as bright as my stove-dyed ones. But I did use the bottled stuff instead of the powder. I also learned that if you start my machine with liquid (in this case, a bottle of dye and a cup of salt dissolved in a couple gallons of hot water), it will drain out all the liquid before starting the cycle. Pushed start & heard it draining. The laundry’s in the basement, which means all drains empty into this hole in the foundation & then gets pumped up & out, so I ran into the boiler room & watched in horror as all my dye ran right back out. Luckily, I had a second bottle, so I ran upstairs & dumped just the dye & a cup of salt into the washer & hoped that wouldn’t rate heavy enough to drain. It didn’t, and it turns out pre-mixing wasn’t necessary. I do wish I’d bleached out the patterns a bit more first, as you can still see them a bit on 2 of them.

I love red pajamas! They’re all old-timey. They always make me thing of a Popeye-faced hillbilly in long underwear standing on the front porch of his shack with a shot gun. I must’ve seen that in a cartoon somewhere.


I decided (in retrospect) that I wanted to do a different pattern swatch from 365 Knitting Stitches a Year each week this year. I’m going to make 3-4 6″ x 48″ strips of swatches & then seam them all up as a simple poncho. The yarn’s actually a bit less shiny than this, so the stitches fade into oblivion more in real life. Hopefully that means it will be cute & not look like a hideous crazy grandma poncho.

And if that threatens too much, I can always make it into a throw instead.

I didn’t want to block mid-strip, so it’s rolly. From the top, down:

  • January 29, Diamond Panel
  • June 28, Diagonal Seed Stitch
  • Random Bobbles and–I can’t remember what those little warty things are called, but I love them.
  • May 16, Diamond Pattern
  • January 24, Four-Stitch Cable
  • January 1, Basket Rib (originally, I was just going to star at the beginning & go from there, but January 2 was too similar to January 1).

My favorite so far is the first one (from the bottom), the Basket Rib, which reminds me of thermal underwear and which I think would make a really great simple fitted sweater. It’s pretty bulky, but it’s also quite stretchy. And I don’t like baggy sweaters, so unless it’s fitted, I ain’t making it.

I’m a little behind. Week-wise, I’m at the beginning of February. But I didn’t start until March, and I had to order more yarn (I only had 1 ball, which I had bought as a sample). It’s the Webs Berkshire, which looks a lot like Lamb’s Pride, but the hairy part is alpaca instead of mohair, so no itch! The fabric gets softy-wofty and drapier when it’s washed. I really like it. Plus it’s $4.99 for 100g (which translates to $3.99/$3.74 with the Webs discounts), very thrifty! Many yummy colors, including lots of good reds, blues & greens, but no good chocolate browns or khakis, annoyingly.

1 ball made the first 5 squares. And they’re not really all different colors, I just sloppily adjusted the levels on the various squares to compensate for the lighting.