This and That

I dyed the yarn as planned on Tuesday and I have to say I’m quite pleased with the colors.

Unfortunately, I managed to strain my back again in the process.  Different part of the back than the previous strain and I know exactly when it happened.  I was fishing the blue-green yarn out of the dyepot and it came up in one big clump.  Instead of dropping it back in and poking around until I found the 3 separate skeins I just lifted the whole mass up to let it drain.  This meant I was holding several pounds of weight as high as I could reach while leaning forward a little.  Very bad idea.  Fortunately, it’s not a very bad strain and it already feels better.  But it does mean knitting is off the schedule until late next week.

It’s annoying to lose all that knitting time but honestly, I probably wasn’t going to knit much early next week anyway.  My husband and I share a birthday, which falls on Tuesday.  He took Monday – Wednesday off from work.  We’ve not yet made plans but history tells me I likely wouldn’t have a lot of knitting time while he’s home.

I’ve been filling my time going through old (mostly Victorian) knitting books on pdf.  I’ve transcribed/translated some d’oyleys (doily) and counterpane squares as well as a few stitch patterns.  I did a whole set of stitch patterns that had no pics.  I’ve no idea what they will look like but they’re all pretty simple.  It’s amazing how many of these old books have no pics at all.  You just knit and hope it comes out ok.  Even large items, like sweaters, petticoats, waistcoats don’t have pics.  That’s an awful lot of knitting to do on trust and hope.

Of course, photography was still pretty rare at that time and I imagine drawing knitting was a specialized skill, plus it probably added cost to print either one in the books.  It’s just interesting to me that back then people thought nothing of knitting from a pattern without a picture of any kind and these days, if there’s no picture or a bad one, no one wants to knit the pattern, no matter how amazing the pattern may be.  Even the colors of the yarn in the picture can affect someone’s willingness to knit a pattern in today’s world.

I use the word pattern a bit loosely in some of these cases.  Today’s patterns are detailed and exact.  Clothing patterns are graded to allow you to make the size you want.  Those old pattern leave a lot up for interpretation and usually are just one size.  It’s up to you to alter it to fit.  Keep in mind that there was no pic so you don’t know what it’s supposed to look like.  I’ve no idea how one would do it.

Still, for all the flaws and differences, it’s quite fascinating to see what people were knitting and a challenge to read the pattern and try to imagine what the item should look like.


TdF 2017 final

I spun a few extra days and then plied for about a week to finish up all my TdF yarn.  It’s pretty impressive now that I see it all together and done.


  1. 144 yards of super bulky brown CVM
  2. 535 yards sportweight Polwarth
  3. 127 yards of sportweight Hampshire. Spindle spun but only half of it during TdF. I never got to the darker purple that’s in the pic.
  4. 527 yards of sportweight Merino. The carded waste in the pic got tossed. It was horrible when spun.
  5. 240 yards of sportweight Cormo. There’s a lot more of this fiber to spin. I just didn’t get any more than this prepped before TdF.
  6. 48 yards of super bulky Corriedale combing waste.
  7. 215 yards sportweight Corriedale, plus another 310 yards spun pre-TdF and plied during my massive plying session after TdF. I have more of this fiber already spun for a total of 1504 yards. And that’s not even half of this fleece.
  8. 642 yards of sportweight Shetland/Corriedale lamb.





The last 3 of Corriedale skeins were also solar dyed. They started out that paler purple and I tossed them in a big pickle jar with more purple dye and left it out in the sun for a day. Easiest dyeing I’ve ever done. When the jar was finally in the shade I brought it in, rinsed and finished the skeins. The dye did break and/or dye unevenly but I like it. These skeins are different than the rest so I may use them in different projects or maybe use the uneven skeins to spice up an edging on something made using the more uniform skeins. I have much to ponder about using this yarn.

I’m thinking of dyeing 3 skeins or the Shetland/Corriedale lamb teal and 1 skein brown (leaving the last skein to be dyed later for whichever color I may need more of) and knitting a Hap style shawl. I haven’t found a pattern I like so I’ll probably design it myself.

My wheel has been in use for all but two of 32 days straight and on those two days I spindle spun/plied. I hadn’t touched my knitting in two months until yesterday (because of prepping in the month before TdF).

It’s definitely time to knit.  And ponder what to do with all my new yarn.

Looking back over the list.  It seems that my default weight is sport, no matter how hard I try to get it thinner to make fingering weight.  I think it’s part me and part that my wheel just won’t let me go thinner.  I can’t adjust the uptake enough to go thinner.  Part of that is the warped wheel and part is that it’s double drive.  It’s a fine line between too much uptake to spin thinner and not enough tension on the band (which causes the wheel to throw the band off every 10 seconds and I’m not exaggerating.)


A FO and reclaimed yarns


No WIPs but I did finish the last of the three Jacob Shawls.  From getting the fleece to finishing this shawl took me about 2 years.  All natural colors, no dye.  Simple garter stitch shawls.  This Jacob wool is a bit coarse. I wouldn’t wear it against my skin.  The yarn is rustic and uneven but the shawls are still quite pretty.  They’d look good as decor in a rustic country style.

That’s been mostly the only thing I’ve been knitting on for the last few weeks.  I’ve been plying a lot of yarn from sweaters and I thought I’d show that off.

I had two Merino sweaters in very similar shades of plum.  I plied 2 strands from each sweater together to make a 4 ply fingering weight.  I got about 1400 yards.  I paid less than $7 total for the sweaters.

I had some leftovers from one of the plum sweaters so I plied two strands together to make about 500 yards of laceweight.

The last one is 4 strands from a silk sweater plied to make 960 yards of light fingeringweight.  Silk is tricky to ply.  Unlike wool sweaters I plied directly from the sweater pieces.  Unraveling cobweb weight silk into cakes is just asking for massive tangles.  This sweater cost $0.49.


Last is a dyeing experiment.  I was actually trying to dye yarn that only had a small amount of wool – the rest was undyeable fibers.  It failed completely leaving me with a pot of dye.  So I grabbed this yarn.  It’s sportweight (not plied) from a 62% nylon 26% angora 11% lambswool sweater (nylon dyes just like it’s a protein fiber).  I dumped it into the pot dry and it was also too much yarn for the amount of dye/water/space in the pot.  It instantly turned a pale pink (the dye in the pot is supposed to be a deep raspberry.)  That just wasn’t acceptable so I spent the next few hours experimenting.

I mixed up dye in different shades of magenta and blue and started dumping it in the pot, directly onto the fiber, stirring it around to get different areas.  After awhile I was noticing bits that were still pale pink so I started pulling the skeins out of the pot, pouring dye directly on the light spots and then dumping the skeins back into the pot.  Then it seemed like the colors were too contrasty so I pulled the skeins out of the pot and added a lot of the deep raspberry color to the pot and dumped the skins back in.  I wanted to blend the colors together more and not have them contrast with each other so hard.

I ran out of time for the day and stopped for the day.  I wasn’t sure I was done yet but I knew I could always experiment more another day.  As the yarn dried I could see more and more colors appearing.  It’s a very layered look, with colors blending and spotting and just being wild.  I think I really like it and I may not dye it anymore.  Then again I might.  I need to look at it for awhile before I make a final decision.


FO Friday


Lady of the Blue Forest in my own handspun and dyed CVM.

It’s still on the blocking board because I don’t want to go into the unheated cubby to get the dress form out and put it back.  It’s cold in there.  I’ll wait til I finish the other shawl to make it worth braving the cold.  You can see where I started a new skein – it’s darker,  But it almost looks like it’s on purpose and probably won’t be that noticeable while being worn.  And I can always overdye it later.

I’m pleased with it and it’s the first finished object with this year’s fleece.  I’ve not yet weighed it and figured out yardage.  I have a skein and a half leftover from the 3 that I dyed .  I’ll try to get it figured out this weekend.  It’s not like I’m going anywhere.  We’re about to get snowed in with a foot of snow here in Wisconsin.


Dharma Acid Dyes Part 1

The first thing I must emphasize is that I am not scientific about this.  I don’t really measure and I don’t keep great notes. And my camera is not a fan of purples so colors are somewhat off. I mixed up dye solutions of 1/8 tsp dye to 1 Cup of water and poured splashes of that out into jars, about 1/8 -1/4 cup of solution for each dye.  I also added a splash of vinegar and did all my heating in pint canning jars in the microwave.

Yarn is 8-10 yard mini-skeins of the grey CVM handspun that I’ve showed before.



These are the colors straight from the jars so are the most saturated possible colors.

  1. Cherry Bomb – a lovely red with a raspberry tinge.
  2. True Turquoise – Lighter and bluer than I expected.  And seemed a bit fiddly in getting it to strike.  May need more acid than the rest.
  3. Aubergine – Deep purple with a brown tone.  Really gorgeous in person.
  4. Oxblood Red – not as deep red as I would have thought.  More old blood.
  5. Berry Crush – deep, lovely violet.  A very rich color.
  6. Bright Aqua – Bright blue-green.
  7. Teddy Bear Brown – solid dark brown.  I actually can’t wait to pair this with the aqua or turquoise.


Next I started blending.  Just pouring colors together or adding a pinch of dry powder to the liquid.  Again, no measuring.


  1. Berry Crush/Bright Aqua – dark lilac.
  2. Aubergine/True Turquoise – Just lightened the Aubergine a little and took out the brown tones.
  3. Cherry Bomb/Teddy Bear Brown – Rich wine.
  4. Cherry Bomb/Turquoise – Struck unevenly.  Still quite pretty


  1. Cherry Bomb/Aubergine – Quite similar to the last one, just more purple.  It seems that Cherry Bomb may have broke in both of these.
  2. OxBlood Red/True Turquoise – I confess that the Oxblood confuses me.  It doesn’t blend like I’d expect.
  3. Berry Crush/Teddy Bear Brown – Plum
  4. Aubergine/Bright Aqua – Dark Blue-purple
  5. Aubergine/Berry Crush – A richer, slightly redder version of the last one.


  1. Berry Crush/True/Turquoise – Lilac.
  2. Cherry Bomb/ Midnight Blue – Gorgeous deep wine.  Makes me think of Vampires
  3. Oxblood red/ Midnight Blue – Dusty Purple
  4. Bright Aqua/ Deep Magenta – Sort of a cross between raspberry and plum


  1. Berry Crush/Midnight Blue – This is what I think of when I think of purple.
  2. True Turquoise/Poinsettia – Red with hints of raspberry
  3. Berry Crush/Brilliant Yellow – Burnt Orange, which I like, surprisingly, as I don’t usually like orange
  4. Cherry Bomb/Midnight Blue – Wine red with bits of blue-purple.  The Cherry broke again
  5. True Turquoise/ Deep Magenta – Purpley magenta


  1. Oxblood Red/ Brilliant Yellow – Almost Pumpkin pie orange with hints of yellow.
  2. Bright Aqua/Poinsettia –  Light Burgundy


I had a family thing this weekend and took my box of knits along.  This is the box of things I’ve knit because I wanted to knit them but have no use for.  One person can only use so many hats, cowls, shawls, etc.  Or they didn’t turn out to be something I liked.  I sold a few things to assorted relatives.

I’ve decided to spend a bit of this money on more acid dyes (and save the rest to buy fleeces next year.)  I like Dharma acid dyes.

I already own:

  • True Black
  • Deep Magenta
  • Peacock Blue
  • Brilliant yellow
  • Royal Purple
  • Deep Maroon
  • Midnight blue
  • Emerald Green
  • Poinsettia

I’ve decided to buy:

  • Oxblood Red
  • True Turquoise
  • Teddy Bear Brown
  • Berry Crush
  • Cherry Bomb
  • Aubergine
  • Bright Aqua

I’ve got a dyer’s notebook with the colors I already own plus some mixes of them on white fiber.  I currently don’t have any white and I usually dye grey or overdye colors anyway.  I’ve decided to take the leftover singles from plying Patrick the CVM and ply them into mini skeins on a spindle.


I always have leftovers from one single when I ply.  I was going to ply these all together into one skein after I finish spinning the whole fleece but I think this is a better use.  I’ll have more soon once I ply the pile of singles I’m currently accumulating.

Planning and Dyeing


The grey skein is what the yarn looks like before dyeing.  I’m not using it in the project.

So I finished several things over the weekend leaving me with no everyday knitting.  I spent some time in my queue but couldn’t quite find anything.  Then it occurred to me that I don’t have to finish spinning all of the Patrick the CVM fleece before I start using it.  I had already picked out 3 patterns for it, 2 of which I already own.

Lady of the Blue Forest and Sing a Song of Sixpence

I could do one or the other with the yarn I had done but not both.  I really like the multi colored Sixpences but didn’t want to dye that much yarn.  I’m not set up to do long color repeats so I’ll do single color small skeins.  But that meant re-skeining and then dyeing a bunch of different colors and I just didn’t have the time or energy for that.  So Lady won by default.  I took a look at the finished projects for it and decided to go with….yeah, blue.

Now I’m not very scientific about dyeing but I did note down some things for those who like numbers.  252 grams of fiber.  1/4 tsp dye.  1 gallon (or so) of water.  I kettle dye on the stove.  Dharma acid dyes – Midnight Blue.  3 TBSP of vinegar when the yarn goes in at about 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bring the temp to 180 and add 3 more TBSP vinegar.  I generally end up taking it to just about 200 before turning it off and letting it sit.  This time, it wasn’t exhausting so I brought it back to 200 for a minute before turning it off.  After 15 minutes or so the water was clear.

Yarn was dry late tonight so I caked it up and will cast on tomorrow.

Expect a FO post on Friday.  I found some things that have been long finished but in need of blocking so did that since I had my blocking board out anyway.  It all needs to dry before I take pics.