Sunday, April 4, 2010

The yarn mines

So many things to update, so little time. It is a basic conundrum that the more things there are to blog the less time one has to do so.

Friday and Saturday were spent in the yarn mines. My family doesn't do Easter, but I have some colorful "eggs" nonetheless. I put each batch of yarn in a bag and steam it for half an hour before rinsing. This way I can be certain that everything gets hot enough to set the dye since crockpots can be a little uneven. I reuse the bags until they spring a leak.

I realized upon looking at the first set that my personal preference for green really came out with a vengeance. I tried to subvert it into other colors on Saturday but, well, it didn't work. I went blue, but even the blue is rather green.

I love it when it's temperate and dry. The first set of skeins is mostly dry and the second set is well on its way. This is fantastic compared to the 4 days with a dehumidifier I was dealing with in the autumn.

But I swear turquoise is the stealth operative of the dye world. No matter how careful I am, drops of turquoise appear all over the place after I've used it. And I was careful with the turquoise. Unlike the multiple times I spilled dye stock, dye powder, tea, hot water, soapy water, and my lunch over the course of the last few days, I made sure to keep the turquoise separate. No luck.

This happened repeatedly. I'd turn around and flecks of turquoise would materialize everywhere. I think it's because it's very strong dye, so when tiny particles of dried stock flake off the lid of the jar and fly around, they dissolve on contact with water and become a giant pain in the neck. Because, of course, once it's got onto the yarn, it's not coming off again. That's the theory, at least. Otherwise it's just leaping out of the jar when I blink.

It was a weekend full of headdesking and problems, other than turquoise sneaking up on me. I lost power twice the first day. First by overloading the power strip and then by burning out an extension cord. Needless to say, I'm running fewer crockpots out of the same power source now. But this is a perfect example of how drastically something like water temperature can affect the result of a dye job. Because this is the same base yarn and the same dye quantities in the same order, and the top one was started in a hot pot, and the bottom one was started in a tepid pot that had been without power for a couple hours.

Unfortunately, I like the green of the top one and the blue/purple of the bottom one. Oops. One good thing about this, for certain values of "good". I now obsessively check to make sure the power is still flowing.

I did have a few successes, though:

The top one on the left is totally my color. It's deep, dusky greens and blues and olive greys, the kind to dream of at night. ... Well, I do at least. The one with it started out as a subtle light gold that was pretty, but marred by the sapphire having decided that turquoise was having all the fun. So out came the blue and into the pot it went again. I like it, but the light shades are quite a bit too subtle for the camera to pick up. Then there's the red/orange/yellow multi which I call Moro. I was going for blood oranges, but it's difficult to get that rich red purple when dipping everything into yellow. Still, I'm pretty happy with what I got. It's more like the colors on the skin of a blood orange than the interior.

There's more, of course, but they will have to wait until they're all properly dry and waiting for their close ups. In the mean time, I need to get my Phatfiber samples ready to mail asap.

But there was another bit of excitement in my corner of the Internet today. The Ravelry BSG FPB group is having a war game similar to Sock Wars and I volunteered to do the design for it. Today at noon was the pattern drop time, so I could finally reveal pictures and activate the pattern for download (which is here if anyone would like it).

The grey mitt is a little different from the final pattern, but it's easier to see the texture on it. Worked in the round, which I forgot to mention in the pattern!

Of course, since I used a slightly less well known technique for the thumb, I then decided I should explain it. Which, er, led to a video. So here's the gusseted afterthought thumb for general consumption. It's worked up on a swatch and slightly different from this tutorial where I learned of the technique.

I'm still behind on all the things I need to get done this weekend, so I'm heading out to the sample mines. But before I go, have a link just because it's fun to do. Or at least I thought it was fun. (That might have something to do with my obsessive nature. And my perfect score) The Munsell Hue Test.

And, because it seems appropriate, have a bunny. :)

Squirrel (the rabbit), enjoys the spring weather after eating all the primroses

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