Monthly Archives: April 2006

The Great Dye Adventure!

Yesterday, Becky came over to visit.

Great Gran and Becky on my Porch

If you look closely, you can see the cat in the window.

I say that so casually! We’ve actually been planning this since March – and I had been trying to think of a good reason to invite her over for much longer than that. In my head “come sit on the porch and knit and maybe we’ll have some lunch” wasn’t a good enough reason. I came up with “Soon I will be in the midst of the SYAC and sad about my lack of new sock yarn*, so whaddya think about coming up to dye some with me?” She said yes! So yesterday, Becky came over to visit.**

Becky is my first knitblogger to turn from Imaginary Friend into Live-and-in-Person Friend. I warned her about the driveway and about the stacks of bricks (you know where YOU can go Brick Man) and about how I Cleverly Crop my house picture so that no one can see the Terrors of the Yard, lack of furniture etc. etc. I did not warn her that I am flaky, babble/am shy in turns and in general have no awareness of my surroundings most of the time. I thought I would save that for a surprise.

In case anyone is wondering, Becky is NOT a “troll masqurading as a fat, grey haired knitblogger”. She is cute, sweet, fun to hang out with, has a great laugh and really isn’t all that grey haired! If I were making Song of Hiawatha, I would have grey hair, too. The parts of it that I hadn’t torn out.

I’ll spare you Dyeing Details, you can google for those if you want to try it yourselves.*** We mixed our dyes and then used squirt bottles and sponge brishes to apply them to the yarn.**** After one hank of that nonsense, we switched to the soak-each-end-in-two-colors method. Then we wrapped them up in plastic wrap and stuck them in microwave for 6 minutes. The results?

4 hanks of dyed superwash

From front to back: mine, Becky’s, Becky’s, mine.

Our conclusions? We are very happy that there are many many other people who hand-dye yarn and are willing to sell it to us for the low low price of $20. Dyeing is hard work!

Becky has also ruined my Granmother (What? Of course Great Gran was there). All Great Gran wants to talk about is the Flower Basket Shawl that Becky brought for show and tell (the purple one that she dyed with Kool-Aide). Luckily Becky has some great pattern notes to help us get through this thing. I have to order the yarn so that we have it when my Mom is here next and start collecting Kool-Aide packets to be sure we have enough. I guess I know what our next KAL is. I haven’t even finished a hand towel.

I know that I have left a TON of stuff out! But I am late for my haircut so I will have to update later. Becky, thanks so much for coming and for saying “the next time we do this” several times while you were here! There should absolutely be a Next Time – just give me a call.

Becky has a much better account of the day over here. I can’t believe I didn’t show her any of my knitting and completely forgot lettuce for the sandwiches!

*I ordered the dye-your-own before April 1!
**Some hand-dyed yarn for Great Gran (she’s taken it home – I haven’t got a picture) and a felted box (a la MDK) for me! How cool is THAT?!
***I didn’t take nearly as many pictures as I planned…I’m so sorry, Esther!
****I heart superwash. You can do all kinds of bad things to it and it still looks like yarn.

Hand Towels KAL

My Mom really zipped along with her linen hand towel from Mason-Dixon Knitting.
This picture is from Day 5 of our KAL. It’s finished now and she says it looks wonderful in the guest bathroom. Mom would like you all to know that she Wins Again. Boo-yah.


I just want to state once again that I Do Not Have a Sock Yarn Problem. I don’t. M may think I do, but he is mistaken. I am a member of the SYAC for one reason and one reason only: Abigail promised me stars. I get a gold one on the first (I’ve already downloaded it, I’m ready). I have made a commitment and I am very stubborn (Very Stubborn). I am going to make it to July without buying any sock yarn.


We have a new Mexican place. The fellow who opened it moved here from CA (where he had moved from Mexico) and makes the greatest tacos in the history of the world. I love that we have better (and more “authentic”) Mexican food here than we did in Atlanta.

Toes and Bears

one bobbi bear ahahah

One down. Three to go.

The Most Urgent Bear is finished in surprisingly little time. When I counted up the TV shows I watched making him, the total came out to around six hours. He was really fun to make! I think I am going to make the other bears (I used to need two more, but now I need three more – what is up with all these babies?) on smaller needles. My gauge was right but he looks too stretched out when he’s stuffed. Mom put his face on – I will have to do the others myself. The pattern is “Baby Bobbi Bear” from Blue Sky Alpacas. They also have a a “Bobbi Bear” who is 20″ tall.

finished atyourown risk sock

To make your toe:

Knit to within 1.5 inches of your total desired sock length, ending with round 6 or round 14 of the pattern. Then shape the toe as follows:

Round 1
Needle 1: k to the last three sts, k2tog, k1
Needle 2: k1, ssk, k to the last three sts, k2tog, k1
Needle 3: k1, ssk, k to end of needle
Round 2
Work all stitches evenly (no decreases).

Repeat these two rounds six times (48 stitches remain).
Repeat Round 1 six more times. (24 stitches remain)
Knit the 6 stitches from Needle 1 onto Needle 3. Break yarn leaving an 8 inch tail. Graft (kitchener) live toe stitches together. Weave in ends.

Now, you can taper the pattern down the toe by dropping one set of hay-stacks from each end on each successive repeat (by repeat, I mean rounds 1-8 and rounds 1-16; by haystacks, I mean the big, loopy stitches). For instance, if you have ended the foot on round 14 (with 5 haystacks across the top of the foot), work rounds 1-6 with only the 4 middle haystacks. At the same time, work the toe decreases as indicated. If you want to plan ahead and create a more noticeable taper, begin dropping haystacks on the repeat before the end of the foot. There is enough length in the toe for one more repeat. This is not as hard to do as it is to explain!

You know what you do when you finish the first sock, right?

cuff on my noggin

Cast on for the second! And wear it on your head to celebrate.

You can print out the complete pattern for the HayStack Socks here. Please let me know if you find any mistakes!

Why are there so MANY?

The mailman was good to me and brought me a Treat from KT (the one in VA not the one in AZ)! She met Ann and Kay in Actual Person and was sweet enough to get me a signed copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting (which she even wrapped before mailing)!

my name in other people's handwriting

Look! My name! Written by Famous Knitters!

Thanks so much, KT, you absolutely rock (16 days)!

Let’s take a moment and review a record-breaking (for me) collection of Works in Progress.

honeydew top un-named orange socks 4th counterPane square
MDK hand towel 2-up red socks another dishcloth

From left to right we have: the Honeydew Top (almost finished with the waist decreases), the At Your Own Risk Socks (about to the toe), the 4th square of the Epic Counterpane, a Moss Grid Hand Towel (from MDK), those red socks, and another dishcloth. I have been trying to come to terms with this — Oh for crying out loud. I just realized that I have another one: my first LL socks in Black Pearl. I had to hide them from myself because they are all I want to work on and I have Project Spectrum commitments. It is Unusual for me to have this many In Progress things at a time and I find it a little bit upsetting. I have spent way too much time justifying the situation. Wanna hear? Of course you do:

  • The Honeydew Top is my big project. I only have one so that’s OK.
  • The socks are for Project Spectrum, technically they are a “small project” so they are OK.
  • The Epic Counterpane is already going to take a billion years to complete so shouldn’t even be figured into the list of “what I am working on” so that’s OK.
  • The linen hand towel is because my Mom is visiting. The hand towels are Great Gran, Mom and my current KAL. It can’t be helped so that is OK.
  • I think the 2-up red socks are still too big (I might hate them). They don’t have to be finished until July. That is not OK, but I am going to live with it.
  • Dishcloths are now “Knitting for Places Where My Knitting Might Get Dirty.” You gotta have at least one of those in case you have to knit in a sewer or something. So that’s OK.
  • The LL socks (not pictured) are my travel project (they are on circs). Gotta have a travel project. So that’s OK.

And all of that is great. Unfortunately, now there’s this:

Bobbi Bear and his parts

That’s Baby Bobbi Bear from Blue Sky Alpaca.

I’ve got to make baby presents. You can’t make them sweaters when they are born at this time of year. And their parents know I knit. Why don’t I just make booties? I really don’t know. I. Just. Don’t. Know.