Friday, September 28, 2012

Just In Time

Fresh from the dye pot.

And not quite dry.  A little damp around the edges isn't going to stop me.  This worsted weight yarn is going to Vermont this weekend.  I'm delighted with the prospect of working with a heavier weight yarn.  I've been in the fingering / sock weight zone for so long now.  This yarn has instant gratification written all over it.

If you're headed to Vermont Sheep and Wool this weekend, stop by and say hi.  You'll find me in the Vendor Pavilion.

Ever since my kids were little, we've gone berry picking - blueberries, strawberries, raspberries.  As the kids have gotten older, the summertime ritual has continued.  This week we made our last trek to the fields for this year.  The raspberry crop hasn't been very good this time around.  It's been too hot, I think the farmer said.  While the raspberries weren't plentiful, they were still colorful.  My color inspiration for the week.

Last of the season.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Last Stop

Last but not least . . . the final stop on the Holla Knits Blog Tour.  I had the good fortune to work with Allyson again on her latest edition of patterns.  The Holla Knits pattern collection features designs in a wide range of sizes and highlights both commercial and indie dyer yarns.

When working on a project like this, there's always some back and forth discussion - design features, yarn weight, color options.  In the end we settled on this combination.

Sexxxy Librarian.

A vest is the perfect choice when you need a little something for warmth but don't want the extra weight and bulk of a sweater.  This design features several nice details.


And a cowl.

The yarn is Dirty Water DyeWorks Edna, colorway Celery.  Edna is a DK Polwarth wool / silk blend.  It creates a gorgeous knitted fabric - perfect for vests, sweaters and so much more.  I've promised myself that as soon as the fall rush is over, I'm casting on with Edna.

To celebrate the Blog Tour I'm giving away a free copy of the Sexxxy Librarian pattern.  Leave a note in the comments and tell us what you're knitting this fall.  You have until October 2 to enter.  The winner will be announced on October 3.

As a bonus I'm offering free shipping on all orders.  Visit Dirty Water DyeWorks to see the full lineup of yarn and kits.  Simply enter "Holla Knits" in the comments section of the shopping cart, and your shipping charges will be refunded.  This offer is good for 2 weeks and expires on October 10.

If you haven't done so already, be sure to visit all the other stops on the Tour.

Sept 10th: The Sweatshop of Love 
Sept 11th: I Knit 2 Purl 2 
Sept 12th: Wooly Wonka Fiber 
Sept 13th: Stash, the Knit Picks Blog
Sept 14th: Knits in Class
Sept 17th: The Owl and the Bee 
Sept 18th: Periwinkle Sheep 
Sept 19th: Knitting Vortex 
Sept 20th: Roman Hills 
Sept 21st: Under the Red Umbrella 
Sept 24th: Springtree Road 
Sept 25th: Magical Grammar 

Monday, September 24, 2012

And So Much More

I spent a lovely weekend at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival. The weather cooperated, and the rain held off until evening.  As always the customers were delightful, the event organizers were helpful and the other vendors were full of fun and inspiration.

Sheep and wool festivals are interesting events.

Of course there are animals.

And plenty of yarn.  Sometimes I think this is how I travel.

But then there are all the little extras that make these events so special - things that you usually don't find in your local yarn shop.

Colorful fiber balls sold by the dozen.

Knitting needles with a theme.

Cupcake soap decorated for the season.  I have a frosting phobia, so I'm in awe of the swirls and details on these little soaps.

This one smells like coffee.  Yes, coffee-scented soap.  My favorite.

For those with a sweet tooth.

Many flavors of fudge.  I must confess that several of those flavors came home with me.

And there are many more extras - everything from vintage buttons to cider donuts.  Sheep and wool festivals . . . animals, fiber and so much more.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Just in time for weekend travel . . . 


This is one of those projects that's been lingering, so it feels good to get it off the needles.

The design is made up of three distinct sections, each with something interesting going on.  Slipped stitches play an important part in Catkin, and there is never more than one color in play on any given row.  The overall effect is colorful texture.

Catkin offers a fun opportunity to experiment with color combinations - different combinations have different results. 

Endless possibilities.  I'm tempted to experiment and make another.

The yarn is Dirty Water DyeWorks Lillian.

Colorways Pumice and From The Bog.  The pattern includes buttonholes.  I made them but so far haven't found the perfect button. Maybe I'll find something this weekend.

The farmers' market is winding down, and the colors are shifting as leafy greens give way to earth tone roots.  In a final burst of color the jalapeƱos provide my color inspiration for the week.

Bold in color and taste.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Warning Signs

This coming weekend I'll be on the road to Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival.  Last night strong winds and heavy rain moved through this part of the world.  After getting all that wet out of the system, I'm hopeful that Mother Nature has delightful weekend weather in store for us.  I could be wrong about that.  I haven't checked the weekend weather forecast, so I can still be optimistic. No matter what the weather, it promises to be a fun, fiber-filled weekend.  If you're attending, stop by and say hi. Look for me in Building 32.

I've been putting in long days getting ready for the fall shows - dyeing yarn, labeling skeins, assembling kits.  I feel the to-do list goes on and on.  I'm a bit short on sleep.  I should be careful when I'm sleep deprived because my mind can start to wander.  I start having thoughts like . . . I think it would be nice to have a new knitting project for traveling.  Or . . . I would like to have something seasonal on the needles.  I should know better, but I didn't heed the warning signs.

I feel a new sock coming on.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Welcome Back

I'm happy to announce that Paula is back.  Paula, 100% Superwash Blue Faced Leicester, was out of the lineup for a couple of months due to supply issues, but over the summer I worked out a solution.  I missed Paula and am thrilled to have it back in stock.

Avocado, Gourd, Autumn Red.

Blue Faced Leicester is one of my favorites - a strong, sturdy fiber with a bit of luster.

Moody Blue, Storm.

As a bonus these skeins have a bit more yardage than the previous ones.  I'll also be adding a few new colorways to the Paula collection. They'll be available at the fall shows and will eventually make their way to the website.  Needless to say after dyeing all this BFL I have several new projects in mind.

The latest edition of Holla Knits was released last week, and there's a Blog Tour to celebrate.

Sept 10th: The Sweatshop of Love - entire collection & New Girl pattern giveaway
Sept 11th: I Knit 2 Purl 2 - Devon Cardigan pattern giveaway, and subscriber exclusive yarn giveaway
Sept 12th: Wooly Wonka Fiber - Devon Cardigan pattern giveaway, free shipping when you order a sweaters worth of yarn
Sept 13th: Stash, the Knit Picks Blog
Sept 14th: Knits in Class - Bombshell Shorts pattern giveaway, subscriber exclusive discount
Sept 17th: The Owl and the Bee - Sexxxy Librarian pattern giveaway, and subscriber exclusive yarn giveaway
Sept 18th: Periwinkle Sheep - New Girl pattern giveaway, subscriber exclusive yarn giveaway
Sept 19th: Knitting Vortex - Jilted pattern giveaway, subscriber exclusive yarn giveaway
Sept 20th: Roman Hills - Jilted pattern giveaway, subscriber exclusive discount
Sept 21st: Under the Red Umbrella - Bombshell Shorts pattern giveaway
Sept 24th: Springtree Road - Henri pattern giveaway, 2 skeins Praline DK giveaway
Sept 25th: Magical Grammar - Henri pattern giveaway, subscriber exclusive yarn giveaway
Sept 26th: Dirty Water Dyeworks - Sexxxy Librarian pattern giveaway, free shipping on all orders with coupon code 'Holla Knits'

I should have mentioned the Tour last week, but it's not too late to jump on board.  Tour stops include more information on the current edition of Holla Knits from both the designers and the dyers.  As a bonus many of the stops includes giveaways and specials.  Be sure to check it out.

Friday, September 14, 2012


When I'm dyeing, I have a system for taking notes.  I keep track of weight, colors, amount of dye, depth of shade, time, technique.  All this information is important, and I use it to replicate colorways.  Over 99% of the time I can repeat a colorway based on my notes.  There may be slight variation from dye lot to dye lot, but the basic colorway remains the same.

My notes are extensive with plenty of detail so I can reproduce colorways on a consistent basis.  Once in a great while I have problems duplicating a colorway.  It doesn't happen often.   Since it hasn't happened in a long time, I was probably long overdue for a dyer's dilemma.  

This colorway has me stumped.  Not too long ago I dyed up this sample.  After giving it a test run I decided that I was going to use it on a regular basis.

I dyed up some more yarn based on my notes.

This is definitely not the colorway I had knit up.  I thought maybe I had made a mistake in the mixing so I actually dyed this formula a second time with the same result.

I went back and consulted my notes.  I had a couple of ideas written down for this colorway and had circled one of them.  I had dyed the circled one twice, and it was wrong.  Maybe I had circled the wrong one.  So I tried the uncircled option.

That one is wrong, too.

This is the kind of conundrum that drives me crazy - the last thing on my mind when I fall asleep and the first thing I think of when I wake up.  I've exhausted all formulas based on my notes.  Maybe I was sloppy and didn't write down the recipe I actually used.  I've tried several new recipes in an effort to capture the desired colorway, but that approach hasn't worked either.  I'm beginning to think the colorway I'm trying to achieve is a fluke.  Maybe there was something in the water or other conditions that I'll never be able to duplicate.

The hardest part?  After looking at the knitted swatch so many times, I've become rather attached to the elusive colorway.  So I've been knitting to take the edge off.

I'm hoping that with a bit of distraction the solution to this puzzle will be revealed, and it feels good to be making forward progress on at least one pending project.

Signs of the season are starting to make their way into the house. This pair caught my eye - the color of one striping in the other.  My color inspiration for the week.

Yellow tipping toward orange.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Like A Lake

One of the best perks from running this little dyeing operation is that I get to meet knitters - many, many knitters.  Young knitters, old knitters and everything in between.  New knitters, expert knitters and everything in between.  Novice knitters just getting started, trying to keep a knit stitch straight from a purl stitch.  Accomplished knitters who can knit intricate lace with closed eyes.  In the knitting world these differences don't seem to make a difference.  We are all knitters.

Knitting is like a lake.  Knitters near the shore are testing the water. Maybe they know someone who knits.  It can't hurt to try, and they can get in and out of the water quickly.  Knitters further out in the water have become more and more immersed in knitting.  They spend hours on Ravelry, join a weekly knitting group and make plans to attend local fiber events. As you go further out, you venture deeper and deeper into knitting.  Those furthest from shore are consumed with knitting.

The nice thing about knitting?  No matter where you are in the lake, it doesn't matter.  Shallow water, deep water - knitters help each other out.  We are all knitters, and no one will drown.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Piling Up

Last week I ramped up my dyeing schedule.  I figure if I keep myself crazy busy with yarn in and out and in and out of pots, I won't have time to dwell on the fact that my first event of the season is just around the corner.

So far my strategy of channeling stress into production has been working.  By the time the weekend rolled around, I knew I had to move the freshly dyed skeins on to the next step.

Dyeing is only one part of the process.  After the skeins are dry, they have to be tidied, twisted and labeled.  My goal was to get all the skeins ready for labels.  

I thought I was successful until I discovered another basket of skeins I had tucked away for safekeeping.

The process continues.

In the knitting department I finished this little project.

Simply Soft Cowl.  The yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash Paints.  The ball band has gone missing, so I don't know the colorway.  It had an interesting effect with this stitch count.  This cowl is destined to be a class sample, but I would definitely make it again.  I think it would make a great gift, and I would put it in the quick knit category. Thinking ahead . . . I have a feeling that this year most of my holiday knitting is going to fall under that category.

Friday, September 7, 2012

New Routine

It's the first week of September, and I've made an attempt to shift gears to a new routine.  Many move seamlessly from summer to fall without a hitch, but for me it's been a slow transition - a two steps forward, one step backward kind of week.  

I'm trying to get my family on board with the reality of my schedule for the next couple of months - many hours of dyeing mixed with several weekends of travel. In an effort to utilize my resources I've put them in charge of meal planning and preparation.  The one rule is that they have to actually cook.  No running across the street for pizza.  We have meat eaters, a vegetarian and a vegan all under one roof, so it's sure to be an adventure.

As I stumbled my way through the week, I had knitting in tow.

Swatching.  I'm in love with this new yarn and can't wait to start the sample.  

At one point mid-week I had thoughts of casting on a new sock.  I don't have a sock in progress right now and feel rather lost without one. 

But I resisted and put my energy into this sample instead.  Secret of Change is a simple garter - short row - eyelet combination, but it's kicked my butt a couple of times.  Just another reminder that simple can be challenging.  After two sections I think I have the hang of it and am ready to march forward.  

My color inspiration for the week washed up on the beach.  It caught my eye, glistening in the sun.

Bright green and reddish brown surrounded by gray.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


The other day I was working on Sharktooth and picking up steam.  The end was in sight.

I was on a roll and didn't stop until the shawl was off the needles and blocked. Momentum can be a powerful force.

The center motif.

Twisted stitches against a garter stitch background.  Sharktooth is all about texture.

More twisted stitches along the border.

Finished with a picot bind off.

The yarn is Dirty Water DyeWorks Lillian, colorway Yogi Bear.  This colorway is perfect for the season.

Tightly plied Lillian has great stitch definition and enhances the twisted stitches in this design.  Sharktooth is ready to hit the road and will be traveling to all the fall festivals.

Monday, September 3, 2012

False Hope

It's a long holiday weekend - the last chance to catch my breath before the flurry of fall activities.  This has been a weekend without plans so the pace has been relaxed.  Three days of unstructured time make me optimistic that I will catch up on some of my work.  I use the term "catch up" loosely.  I'm satisfied with any movement in the direction of forward progress.

The reality is that I've added more items to my to-do list than I've crossed off, and I've thrown other things into the mix.

Peaches by the box - three boxes to be exact.

There's nothing like eating fresh peaches in season, but there are many delicious things to make with peaches.  Peach cobbler has been a big hit.

Followed by gingered peach sauce.  And I think I promised peach pie for today.

I finished one knitting project.

And started a new one.  This project is even on my to-do list, so I feel like I'm making progress.