Knitting and a Movie

This is yet another knitting blog

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Oxalis stricta

Called Wood Sorrel or Gaukasúra, when I was little we used to eat the pods of this plant. They are sort of lemon-flavoured. (Isn't it amazing what random things one eats when one is small?)

I decided to try to try dyeing with it, here's what I got:

At first, I didn't like the beigey colour, but it kind of grew on me over time, there is something fun and old-fashioned about it.

For colour reference, here it is next to the Polygonum perscicaria yarn (the more green one) and goldenrod yarn from a few years ago (the gold colour).

I took out some dye books from the library this week:
Natural Dyes Plants & Processes by Jack Kramer
Craft of the Dyer: Colour from Plants and Lichens by Karen Leigh Casselman
Create Your Own Natural Dyes by Kathleen Schultz
The Investigative Method of Natural Dyeing by Frederick H Gerber

Most of them had pretty much the same standard info as other natural dye books I have read: information about madder, information about indigo, etc. The one by Karen Leigh Casselman I found to be the most interesting; I think I would like a copy of it myself. She lists many different dye plants (including acorns!) and how to use them, and what kind of lightfastness she got from them.

I've also been "steeping" some copper pipe in ammonia for a couple of weeks, this is an old dye called copper penny blue. I plan to overdye one of the yellows with this at some point.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Harry Pottering Along

I finally finished clue #1 of the Mystery Stole. Now I am just three and a half clues behind. I thought I would make some headway this week, but I finally got my Harry Potter book.

Yesterday when I was getting my coffee I saw a lady pushing a baby carriage down the sidewalk with a bird cage inside and a grey parrot perched on the handle.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

April Cornell

The other day, I was cooking supper and was wearing an April Cornell dress and spilled whatever I was cooking (it involved grease) all over my pretty dress. So I decided I needed an apron.

I found this free "pattern" (it's more like a set of instructions). I happened to have some pretty stash fabric that had been intended for some gift project that I never made years ago, so I sewed myself an apron.

I'll take some closer photos later once Ingi installs the nice hook thing we bought in New Hampshire from the League of NH Craftsmen. But right now he's sanding and refinishing the floor in the above photo.

Now, back to April Cornell. There used to be this shop at the mall near me. I loved their sort of vintage-style clothes, nice soft cotton fabrics, retro designs and fabric, it was a little pricey but nice. So one Christmas (a few years ago) my mother gave me a gift certificate for them. When I finally got around to going to the mall (I avoid the mall like the plague), the shop was gone. So after some sleuthing, I discovered that they were filing for bankruptcy! I was extremely miffed, it was basically like they robbed my mother, selling a gift certificate when they were planning on filing. So I joined the case as a creditor. A few weeks ago I got a letter, saying the case was dismissed, and went to their website and saw lo and behold they have a new internet presence. So I called and asked "What can I do with this gift certificate?" They converted it to an electronic one, and I bought some stuff. I may return the dress I ordered, I'm not thrilled with how it fits, it's kind of too big. Anyway. I'm still happy to get my Christmas present from a year and a half or is it two and a half years. And I am happy that they are still making clothes.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

New Hampshire

Last weekend, we went up to Concord, New Hampshire to see Okkervil River play. We stayed in the fabulous Centennial Inn. It is a beautiful Victorian, redecorated in a classic modern style. Our room was beautiful. The food was excellent, and reasonably priced. The bathroom had Gilchrist & Soames soap, shampoo, AND conditioner. And of course, the concert was fun.

I had joined the Mystery Stole 3 Knitalong, but I didn't have any shawl yarn. So I decided to order Kauni Effektgarn (the theme is black, white, or grey, so I chose the black and greys colourway). I ordered it from Astrid's Dutch Obsessions. Astrid is amazingly sweet, she has great customer service. And she gave me chocolate in the order, this is always a plus.

Anyway. The KAL started 4 weeks ago, but my yarn had not yet arrived. Saturday we stopped at the post office on the way out of town, and what should be there but:

What choice did I have but wind it in the car (yes, I was only a passenger). The people driving by must have found me very entertaining.

Now I had a yarn basketball. This is like I don't know 200g of yarn or something.

The design called for optional beads. I wasn't sure about wearing a beaded shawl, but I never tried knitting with beads and wanted to try it out. I started it in the hotel room while Ingi was resting. I wasn't really thrilled by the look of the rough natural-looking wool with the beads. He even said "It looks too fake." So out went the beads.

Now I have 4 weeks of shawl to catch up on. I am almost done with the first week's clue.

Sonja has another samprjón coming out, so I have all kinds of projects in process and in the wings. I have another almost finished project with the Polygonum Persicaria stripey yarn to show soon.

While we were in New Hampshire, I bought an Yma Sumac record. It's from the 50's, but it's still playable. That woman has an amazing voice.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Weed Play

I had these weeds growing in my yard, they reminded me of Japanese Indigo and I thought maybe I can do something with them:

As a Girl Scout, I always won the plant identification contest, I enjoyed poring through books to find the match. So I used Google and identified these as Polygonum Persicaria, in English smartweed (among other names: Redshank, Lady's thumb, Heartweed), in Icelandic flóajurt, in Norwegian hønsegras. (It's really interesting to me how sometimes weeds have so many names, this one even has two different Latin names, the other one is Persicaria maculata.)

Lots of sources said you could dye with these, and it would be yellow, including a Norwegian site given me by someone on the Natural Dyeing list which said the Vikings used this. (Too bad it's not THAT closely related to Indigo!) I also found in one of my books that it suggests drying them and then making a solution and letting it ferment... so I have dried some of the plants (240g) that I picked to see how that goes. But these ones I tried fresh. First I made the dye solution of 288g of fresh plants (stems, leaves, and flowers), by bringing them up to a simmer and simmering around 2 hours.

Then I tried two things. I was going for variegated yarn, so I put 1 Tbsp baking soda in one jar, and left one alone. I stuck one end of my skein (86g) in one jar, the other end in the other jar, and put the jars into the dye bath. I didn't get so vibrant a colour, because the yarn was crowded in the jars. I would love to hear a better solution for this. Anyway, the baking soda end came out more golden-brownish, and the regular end came out more greenish, and here's my swatch:

I then tried a skein (78g) just straight into the dye bath, like normal:

It's definitely a deeper yellow than the Lily of the Valley one.

All yarn here is mordanted with alum (I mordanted while dyeing). Both skeins I cooked around 2 hours, I believe, and let soak in the bath overnight. I'll post again when I try the dried leaves.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Into the Way Back Machine

We went to an antique store the other day, and I found this vintage knitting book from the 1970s.

It's pretty cool, some of the stuff is dated, but there are some nice articles on basic design and fitting, and some stitch patterns (with samples in colour) and tips on crochet and embroidery. I'm kind of excited to have this good basic reference, especially with crochet, which I am still not good at. There is this beautiful crochet stitch called Solomon stitch, which is a sort of lacey flowery thing, and I don't quite get the explanation from reading it, but I want to try and figure it out. There is a gorgeous shawl in that in the book. There is also a very cool crocheted Fay Wray sort of hat.

I needed to make a blanket square for a group project, so I tried out one of the knitting stitch patterns. This one is called Travelling Rib, I really like it, It uses a stitch I never heard before, TwR (knit into the front of the second stitch on the needle, knit into the front of the first, slide both off), paired with TwL (knit into the back of the second stitch on the needle, knit into the front of the first, slide both off.) Excuse the low light image, but I like the pattern it makes.

The square is knit in Red Heart Super Saver acrylic. Garniğ er rosalega hræğilegt. Şetta var ekki mín hugmynd. Şegar ég hreinsaği şağ, var şağ jafn gróft og áğur. Teppiğ er fyrir ungbarn. Oj oj oj oj!


Friday, June 29, 2007

White Coral Bells

I have a lot of lily of the valley growing in my garden:

So I decided to cut it up and put it in a dye pot:

I cooked it and let it sit overnight. Then I strained out (and discarded) the leaves and put yarn that had been mordanted with alum into the pot. I cooked that for a couple of hours, until it looked ready, then I left it overnight. I washed it out in the morning, and let it dry:

Now I have some pretty yellow sock yarn. Not sure yet what I will use it for.

NOTE: Lily of the valley is highly toxic to eat. I used all separate non-cooking utensils for this project. Some people on the Natural Dyeing list even said not to use it at all, but it's only poisonous for eating, not for touching or breathing. I didn't use gloves to handle it, but I probably should have and then I wouldn't have been so paranoid about washing my hands after.

Today is the first day of Mystery Stole 3. I downloaded the pattern, but have not yet got the yarn I was going to use, so I have to wait. I am SO IMPATIENT! Signups are open for another week if anyone else wants to join it.

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