Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Thanks to AgnesB from Knitters Review, I joined the Six Sock Knitalong. I saw her Chutes and Ladders socks on her blog and loved the pattern. So, I joined last week and here are my finished socks. I used Patons Kroy in Windsor Tweed, using US2 Bryspun needles, and casting on 70. I love the way this pattern turned out. If I can ever figure out how, I will put a button to the knitalong on this blog.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

What an amazingly peaceful place to sit and knit; I'm on the deck of a friend's cabin outside of Angel Fire, N.M. They have worked incredibly hard to refurbish this fishing cabin into a comfortable and beautiful place to relax. It is a trek to get there, but absolutely worth the effort. I sat and knitted and watched hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and chipmunks.

It is also about 40 minutes away from Taos, so of course we had to go to get great Mexican food (the best vegetable tamales in the world) and yarn for me. We went to Taos Sunflower, which is on the road to the ski area in Arroyo Seco; what a great place! I saw so many yarns that I have only been able to read about before; they had a huge inventory! I was able to get Lavold's Silky Wool to finally make Branching Out from Knitty, and Lamb's Pride worsted to try felting. It was such a pleasant store - very large and cool and such nice ladies at the counter.

This was relaxing trip - a great way to end the summer before I have to get back in the classroom and face freshmen again.

We took a short trip to a friend's cabin near Angel Fire, N.M. and stopped at this alpaca ranch on the way. This is the Victory Ranch just outside Mora, N.M. where they have one of the largest alpaca herds in the U.S. It was spectacular! You can watch the alpacas grazing, feed them (at designated times), and browse the shop with clothing made from alpaca fiber and, best of all, YARN! I'm on the left in the picture above, with my friend who does not understand yarn addiction, but was kind enough to indulge my passion for yarn. They even had a spinning wheel set up for people to try. They had several different weights of yarn, although not all of it was from their herd, and supplies for spinning. I kept my purchase to four skeins of worsted weight, actually from Peru, because it was a great black/purple blend; I'm going to make myself a scarf when I can decide on a pattern. They have a website under construction,, and will be selling their products online in the future. They also sell the alpacas - I was highly tempted! They had a wall full of the awards their animals have won at various shows and fairs.

Anyway, for those in the area or traveling in the area, this is a great place to visit. We also stopped at a weaving place in Mora, where a group obtained a federal grant and set up a place to teach weaving and get the craft going again in the area. They are currently working on setting up equipment to spin their own yarn also. And, just down the road from the alpaca ranch, is a raspberry farm where people can pick their own fresh raspberries, or be lazy like me and just buy jam already made.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

My niece chose Starburst colors for her socks. The KoolAid used was:
Strawberry Starfruit; Arctic Apple; Blue Berry; Watermelon CHerry; Lemon-Lime; Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade; Mango.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

My faithful helper with winding yarn. He has supervised all aspects from watching my swift when I wound this into balls to inspecting my tape measure as I tied this off and here checking as I wound the final product into balls.

These are pictures of some of the sock yarn we dyed yesterday. Both were done with KoolAid, the top one being:

Strawberry Lemonade, Black Cherry, Strawberry Starfruit, Grape, Cherry.

The bottom was:

Pineapple, Lemon-Lime, Mango, Jamaica, Arctic Apple

I was disappointed with a couple of the darker colors that didn't dye evenly; the grape and the Jamaica are mottled in places. I thought the Black Cherry would be darker; it looked darker on the color chart in the knitty article. Mostly I was very pleased though. It was a lot easier to dye with KoolAid than with Rit.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Here is the great sock yarn dyeing party. My sister, my niece, and a friend from school all helped dye 8 skeins of KnitPicks merino wool yarn.

We did 4 skeins in the watermelon colorway from the book Yarns to Dye For, although I could not find the dye specified, so we used Rit. I tried to match the colors in the book, but the yarn turned out a great deal darker than that in the book. I learned that Rit, even when mixed with a lot of water, makes a very strong color.

We used KoolAid to dye 3 skeins of self striping yarn: I did yellows and greens with one stripe of dark red (Jamaica KA). The Mango KA made a great orangey yellow and the Arctic Apple made a light, almost minty green.

My niece did 7 colors that ended up looking like Starbursts. When the yarn is dry, I will post a picture of it.

The last one was pinks, purple, and reds. The Strawberry Starfruit makes a really nice rose pink.

The hardest part of the dyeing was wrapping the yarn in plastic wrap. Typical Texas Panhandle - we had a constant breeze that kept us cool but blew the plastic wrap.

All in all, it was a lot of fun and I can hardly wait to start knitting the socks. It was worth the time and effort. Tough for me to get through this because I went to a Harry Potter Midnight Sale, read the book - finished at 4:30 am, and then got up at 7:0o am to get going on the dyeing. But, I am already planning the next dyeing party!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Here is a closer view of the straps. Posted by Picasa

Okay, I had problems with the Blogger Image, so here is the picture of the Audrey tank and Elora, the kitten. Posted by Picasa
Finally finished! This is the Audrey tank from Elsebeth Lavold's Sophisticated Lady book. I used KnitPick's Elegance yarn (alpaca/silk blend) in Wild Rose.

I had to make 7 (yes, SEVEN) attempts at this thing before I finally got past all my mistakes. Not all my mistakes - there is an error in the chart for the straps, and I think corrections should be posted on the Lavold site by now. I even cast on the wrong number and had to frog from the beginning of the straps down to nothing and start over.

I did learn to properly do YO. I searched all my reference books and finally found a simple explanation in an edition of Cast On. They said, "just make sure the yarn is in the front" and it worked!

I was very pleased with the straps when I finished blocking. I know they are hard to see in the picture, but I can't get a picture from my daughter without a cat in it. The center, that you can't see, has a broken rib pattern.

Once I finally got past all the silly mistakes, this was an easy sweater to do. I am thinking about doing another one, perhaps in Rowan's Calmer.