What I Want It To Be

(The original sale yarn ready for dying.)

Here I go again . Ripped out what I had started on my second niece’s sweater, I just couldn’t handle the ‘bug guts green’ color any more. (see over there, in the sidebar, under the text entitled “On My Needles”)   The yellowy bug-gutsy green which was so neon that it scared me,  from overdying ‘bright yellow’ over ‘sky blue’ in a very saturated dye bath. What was I thinking? One Autumn Sweater named “Berry Smoothie” for it’s likeness, the other I couldn’t not call  “Bug Guts” .  Also, the deep grey overdyed with spruce is a little too sophisticated for the colorway “Nine Year Old Kid” that I had in mind.

Changing course is good.  It just has just got to be work sometimes.  And that work not always accepting It being what It Wants To Be, nay, sometimes, this year, this lesson learned, the work will be in making it right,  of it being what I want it to be. A mountain of work to save a few dollars from some sale yarn. Risk factor high. I may have to go buy new yarn , in the end, but, I’m giving it my best shot.  Oh, and in the process of taking dye out of some yarn the first time around,  the bleach bath absolutely ruined the yarn, and it seized up… like melted chocolate getting cold water poured into it. After rinsing all that mess out,  the yarn was hopelessly tangled, and I threw it in the waste basket.  However, after a short talk with myself I realized that Waste Not Makes Want Not, and I took it out of the waste basket, dried it out on the line, and then promptly hid it somewhere not to be seen,  in order to avoid embarrassment of my bad impulses.

So here I am now,  untangling that whole mess of yarn.  I will soon be winding into new skeins on the niddy noddy and dipping into a fresh bath of dye, on a Saturday morning, while watching the fog rise from the valley and drinking really good coffee.

My Favorite Mistake

Now this is my favorite mistake .

I ask myself , how many times can I do the ol’  “accidentally grab the wrong needle end and knit backwards into the row the other direction” mistake ??? Obviously more times than I can count.  Yet each time it happens,  I’m a little dumbstruck that I just did it again. Then I laugh, and think to grab the camera and let you laugh too.  I’m glad *somebody* is getting entertained.

This sweater I’m naming “Berry Smoothie” for my eldest niece who asked for ‘light purple, and maybe also pink’.   The overdyed purply pink and pinkish purple,  I achieved on the yarns was by a very light dip in the dyebath.  No saturation what-so-ever.  The story reads this way:

For Purple : Woman dips grey heathered wool into dye, then yells  ” Oh blast !… this is waaaaaay too dark… quick, out with it ….. fast …. and rinse it out  !!!! ”

For Plum :  “Hmm… I wonder if this little bit of Jacquard Pink left in the container is enough for these five 50g skeins?”  Woman dips light blue yarn in dye bath… exhausts the dye-bath to clear in less than one minute.  Oops, not enough. Hence uneven dyeing and ~luckily~ interesting variegation.

Well, at least I did look at the colors on the dye packets, and I did pre-saturate the yarn in a diluted vinegar rinse before the dye bath dip.  Result was delightedly ‘unsaturated’ variegation of color. I normally prefer the ultra saturated dying, because protein fibers do that so well, and so well attain a depth of richness which exudes such sensuality (I think) and is unmatched by non-protein fibers.  A skein of wool (or silk) yarn only needs to look at a packet of dye to change color. Who said I am an Intentional Dyer?  Not me, the intention is never there.  At best I am a Hopeful Dyer.  I think I’ll write a book ” How to spin, dye, and knit completely by accident “.  Best-seller ?  Not.

But really,  I do love the color variegation !

A quick thanks to friends for  the comments of previous post, for setting me straight. I do think I’m going to do work on taking more thorough paper notes, and swatching, in the way of scrapbooking for a project, and maybe virtually too in some capacity ~ incorporating the old-fashioned and modern.  And, I think I will really work hard at learning to write the text for what I just knit (call it a pattern if you will)…. but…. I’m not going to lay down any rules !

Just doesn’t seem that important. I’m over myself today. Thanks friends !

Summer Breeze

It’s particularly quiet on the mountain this morning.

In the summer stillness of Northern California, there is usually no weather to report for months on end. Sometimes there is a breeze. Sometimes a little fog which swells up from the valley in the morning. Sometimes a relentless wind which cracks off dried branches from the trees in the forest and whips off tips of new growth, littering the country road.

The wind whistling through the tree tops is the most eerie up in the Rafters O’ Society, above the towns, overlooking ridges which  overlap , one behind another clear into the next county. Because in the breeze one hears a kind of silence which is felt in the restless sound of the trees quivering. The fact that one hears *only* the breeze, I guess is what makes it seem so quiet.

(Two pensive ravens perched in a dead fir tree, photographed with a zoom from my house, yesterday early evening.)

I do like rain, or even a lot of rain ~ in fact, I love rain.  But for now there’s blue sky. Lots and lots of clear, dry, and very blue sky.  This summer season makes me feel rather despondent, clear through September.  I must hunker down in the shadows.  It’s time to make a good strong pint of tea and stir things up.

In the dusty wild west, where things are a few degrees removed from finery, some of us pioneers, well, we devise our own way of doing things.  I do have a couple of small tea pots, but I have gotten into the habit over the years to brew loose-leaf tea in a canning jar,  sometimes a pint sized (to be pour’d into a pint glass) , but more times than not, I make up in a quart-sized jar.  What is left can easily be put into the fridge for cold tea later, which is a treat in the summer heat.

This really isn’t about tea, or the wind, or the ravens.  Its about my changing course,  about drinking in what nature brings to me, and waiting for the wind in my sails again.  Having  had a house full of family for an epic family reunion I am ready for something cheerfully  rejuvenating.   I am going to shake it loose and default to some good ol’ classic knitting ! So time to finish these…

I learn from my mistakes very clumsily,  like using a machete through the bush, I rip back and then knit forward, rip and knit, rip, knit.

Last night I had to rip back the mindless knitting I had apparently done while at a long break during a gig last weekend, I kept decreasing through the heel gussets (two at a time mistake) and ended up with far too few stitches. So, having fixed that, now I am merrily on my way again.

Amusing


Okay folks,  I really blew it.  So badly in fact, that I’m embarrassed to admit it, but come to think of it, I’m positive it’s a mistake common enough among knitters, but it is quite amusing. Still. I knit merrily along on the first sock using two 16″ circular needles ~ five inches of 2/2 rib in fact ~ and I realized something funny about it when I wanted to start up the second, to catch up to the first. Don’t you know…I had two different sized needles on the sock.  Yup the correct size #3 and then for the second needle, a #2.  Yes, I admit to you total brainlessness, but at this point I’m really laughing because:

I thought I’d start ribbing on sock #2 with the suggested size needles for the pattern , #3’s, and see if they are really all that different.  Either my karma is for me , or against me, hard to tell, because after knitting knit 1.5 inches on second sock, I noticed I did the very same thing, used both a #2 and a #3 in the ribbing…. again !!!! How can this be? I have a needle size measuring tool ! Ha ha…

I suppose it’s better this way, making the two ribbed sections the same. Blow off knitting over, I’m going to just repeat my mistake.  In fact, I’ve fashioned this neat method of knitting 3/4’s of the round with one needle, then switching, knitting 3/4’s of a round again, and so on, thus rotating the different sizes around the sock pretty swiftly. My guess is that is will jsut look like homespun.  Oh, and I will make for dang sure I switch to *both* needles #3 when I begin the foot section next.

I have successfully knit both socks to the end of the rib, but I’m noticing my left thumb hurting a bit. (drat). I am ready to knit the heel flaps !!!!  Last time I did this was the one pair of kilt hose, when Morrie coached me through the eye-of-partridge-stitch last year about this time. This pattern does not call for any particular stitch for the heel, just has knitting pattern instruction… just ” Add reinforcing yarn if desired.” Um…  I need Morrie ! (Morrie, do you have Nancy Bush’s “Folk Socks”? ( Pg.59) And Lizzi ! And Sarah !

Okay though, seriously, my thumb is killing me, and I’ve got to stop knitting. I believe it is from playing a 4hr gig on Sunday which has inflamed the tendons, and now this frantic sock knitting has made it quite sore. Going to put the needles down for the rest of the day.

Can you believe the stupidity ?

I can’t seem to escape these puzzling and stupid mistakes. If it’s not the Mobius Strip of poor joining together on circular needles, or the wrong direction of a twist in a cable, or the two-circular-needles fiasco where one begins knitting on the wrong end of the wrong needle, then it’s got to be this one which is perhaps the most annoying and stupid of them all ~ the picking up and knitting with the tail of the yarn !

I had to put my knitting down, and take a picture of this.
I laugh at myself. You should too.