Friday, April 3, 2020

Another Week

It's been another week of ups and downs, but we made it to Friday. Yesterday was a productive day, so today I'm willing to cut myself some slack.


The only priority for today is making a grocery list, so this seems like a good way to spend my time.

Here's an idea that might help you cope as we move through the uncertain days and weeks ahead.  I've started keeping a diary.  Some days I write more than others, but I make sure to jot down at least a few sentences each day.

The pandemic situation is changing so rapidly, and the days become a blur.  The diary helps me organize my thoughts and keep track of what happened when.  This way I can keep it all straight.  At some point in the future, I'm sure it will be interesting to read and reflect on everything that's happening.  For right now, the diary helps me get through the days.

This week's color inspiration comes from a time that seems so long ago . . . a time when I could hang out in a coffee shop and do a little knitting.


The subtle brown shades of a latte.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Down the Ravelry Hole

I finished a couple more projects (pictures coming another day), and now I have a full blown case of startitis.  This morning, with another loosely structured day before me, I settled in with a cup of coffee, a simple hat and Ravelry.


I came up for air just long enough to make lunch and check in with the family.  Then it was back to my project list and endless possibilities.  

I do need to accomplish a couple things today.  I've stepped away from Ravelry, but now the ideas are swirling.  It's harder to make decisions in these challenging times, but I'm determined to settle on a couple new projects.  Distraction is necessary for survival, and knitting is my preferred form of distraction.

Last Saturday I hosted Knitting Hangout.  It was great fun to chat about knitting, so I'm doing it again this Saturday, April 4.


The hours are 2:00 - 4:00 Eastern.  If you want to get in on the discussion, send an email to info@dirytwaterdyeworks.com.  I'll forward the link.  If you participated last week, you'll automatically get the link for this week.

Bring your knitting and check it out!

Monday, March 30, 2020

No Limits

My days have a different rhythm right now . . . an ebb and flow that's artificial yet reassuring at the same time.  I'm sure many of you can relate.  

The other day my daughter commented that it would be easier to deal with pandemic restrictions if we knew when businesses could open again.  "When will Charlie (our governor) announce a date?" she asked.  I had to agree with her, but unfortunately it's not that easy. 

Dealing with uncertainty from day to day is stressful and exhausting, but that's where we're at.  Casting on new projects is one way to cope. There are no limits.  During challenging times, cast on with reckless abandon.


Meditate.  Once you get this cowl up and running, it's very meditative. The pattern is free right now.  Hurry to snag your copy.  The offer expires at the end of the month.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Fingers Crossed

While I continue to chip away at the list of household chores, I've also been knitting.


The Early Blossoms.  This project has been humming in the background for a while.  I'm trying to get the contrast sections out of one mini skein.  I'm closing in on the final section of stripes and the last insert, so I'll know soon enough.  I have my fingers crossed.

A quick reminder that tomorrow is the Knitting Hangout, 2:00 - 4:00 Eastern.  Come and go as you please.  If you'd like to join us send an email:  info@dirtywaterdyeworks.com.  I'll forward the link.

This week's color inspiration . . . 


Always remember there are brighter days ahead.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

New Routines

In these pandemic times, I often lose track of the days.  I wake up and have to think long and hard to recall where we are on the calendar. When the ebb and flow of our daily routines are gone and when the activities that distinguish one day from the next no longer exist, the days become a blur and blend into one another.

It's very unsettling when work and family life are upended.  After spending a few days without focus and purpose, I'm desperately attempting to establish new routines.  Each day I pick one neglected household project.  Yesterday it was a closet.  Today it's a kitchen shelf.  

I'm not going to set myself up with a full day of household chores because I know it won't end well.  I'll burn out, and then I'll struggle to do anything around the house.  For me, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to tackling household jobs.

Then the rest of my day falls into place around work.  There's not much dyeing going on these days, but there's still planning and paperwork. New opportunities and fresh ideas take time.

And there's knitting.


I have a couple new patterns to cast on, but I'm also spending time with one or two projects that have been lingering.  How are you coping?

Monday, March 23, 2020

Knitting Hangout

Isolation at home can be challenging.  As knitters we always have plenty of projects to work on, and time with the family is priceless. What's missing is time with our fiber friends.  I'm usually out and about at fiber events on a regular basis and am really missing contact with other knitters.

In an effort to stay connected with fiber friends, I'm hosting Knitting Hangout this Saturday, March 28, 2:00 - 4:00 Eastern.  Come and go as you please.


There's no set agenda.  We'll be talking about yarn, colors, patterns, techniques.  Feel free to share questions, ideas, suggestions.

Send an email:  info@dirtywaterdyeworks.com.  I'll forward the link to join the hangout.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Shiftalong

I like to stick to my blogging schedule, but I decided to go with a Saturday post this time around.  It's been a crazy week (how many more times will I say that!?!), and I've been scrambling to pick up the pieces.  I'm sure many of you are in the same boat.

In the midst of all this chaos, it felt very satisfying to finish at least one project.


Shiftalong.


This pattern features slip stitches with contrasting colors to highlight the texture.  The design has a nice relaxing rhythm, and it's always good to have a hat on the go.

This hat is definitely on the slouchy side.  For those who like something a little more close fitting, the pattern can easily be adjusted.


I used a Half Pint Bundle in Juniper.  These fingering weight bundles have just been listed on the website.  They're perfect for socks or any project that calls for half skeins.

I grabbed these flowers on a mad shopping dash . . . my best impulse buy of the week.  This week's color inspiration . . .


Yellow cheer.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Shifting Gears

Life is very unpredictable right now, but I can always count on my knitting.


Since I won't be on the road for a while, I'm turning my attention to new kits and creative ideas.  This hat has a nice rhythm.  Good for these troubling times.  Stay tuned for more details.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Hitting Pause

Ever so slowly the rhythms of daily life are being altered.  Over the weekend I had to email the students in my weekly knitting class.  It was time to hit the pause button.  The space we use is closed for the foreseeable future.  No class as we weather the storm.  I knew it would come to this, but that doesn't make it any easier.  

In times of crisis we rely on community support to get us through.  That community could be a church or a garden group or a book club.  I've taught many knitting classes over the years, but the dynamics of this group are extra special.  Just when we need that weekly connection the most, it's not there.  No, class hasn't been cancelled.  It's on pause. We'll have class again when the storm passes, and we'll have a deeper appreciation for the sense of community we get from knitting together.

A quick update.  Since our busy spring schedule has been turned upside down and there won't be as many opportunities to shop in person, we're offering the following Stay Strong Discount.

10% off orders over $50
15% off orders over $100
20% off orders over $150

Note that this offer does not include gift certificates and Yarn Knot subscriptions.  See website for additional details.

Finally, we've updated the website with a couple items.


Undertone Bundles are now available in several colors.


Flecks have also been added to the website.  Colorful bits add fun and texture to your project.

Keep knitting and stay strong!

Friday, March 13, 2020

Rolling with the Punches

Flexibility is the key to surviving so many things in life.  These days it's an even more valuable life skill.

The Knit North Yarn Crawl scheduled for next week has been moved to June.  Next week the shops will be holding a mini crawl instead - Yarn Love Weekend 2020.  I'll still be at A Garden for Knitters on Thursday and Friday.  If you're able to get out and about, stop by.


I'll have kits, bundles and new samples on hand.  These times are incredibly challenging for small businesses, and we appreciate the support.

If you can't get out, I'll be running some promotions online.  More on that next week.

Talk about timing.  Today the Boston Marathon was rescheduled, and this is my color inspiration for the week.


Brighter days ahead at the finish line.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Keeping Busy

I woke up to a new day, but the outlook hasn't improved.  It's like a twisted version of Groundhog Day. 

There's no sense in dwelling on it.  My response to the continued uncertainty is to keep busy and keep moving forward.


That includes a lot of knitting and dyeing.  Maybe I'll add baking to the list and try a couple new recipes.  How are you coping?

Monday, March 9, 2020

Coping with Chaos

These are trying times on many different levels.  When the news is changing at such a frantic pace, it's hard to see even the glimmer of a silver lining.  It's a struggle to be hopeful and optimistic.  It's a challenge to remain calm and centered.

In response to the chaos, Clara Parkes has launched The Daily Respite.  She calls it, "a shared experiment in self-soothing."  I enjoy having some good news in my inbox for a change, and you might too. Check it out.


Today I'm reminded of an Elizabeth Zimmermann quote.  "Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises."  That's just what I intend to do.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Dotted Rays

The mohair monster is finished.


Dotted Rays.


Garter stitch and simple short rows create a squishy fabric with interesting texture.


This is a substantial wrap, but because of the short row wedges, the rows never feel endlessly long.

This pattern is written for different weights of yarn, but I was inspired by the Espace Tricot version.  I made the small size and used Lillian Singles held with Shimmer - both in the Sea colorway.  I used two skeins of each yarn and bumped up my needle size to US 8.


I hit a little snag on the bind off and ran out of yarn with twenty-four stitches left.  I had some leftover yarn that was close in color and used that to bind off the remaining stitches.  You have to look closely to notice the difference.  The pattern is flexible enough that I could have bound off sooner and avoided the game of yarn chicken.


This project is surprisingly portable, mindless and relaxing.  I highly recommend it.

This week's color inspiration . . . 


Early evening light.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Thrilled

With one project fresh off the needles, I'm itching to cast on something new.  To be honest, I'll probably cast on more than one, but I'm still in the midst of some color decisions.

This one is ready to go today.


Starting a new project is always so exciting.  I'm thrilled.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Ideas and Colors

I'm settling in after a weekend full of ideas and inspiration.  There are some valuable perks that come with being out and about for events. Believe me, it's not all fun and games, but I won't go into that now.
One of the most helpful perks is seeing so many gorgeous knits in person.  It's wonderful to look at pattern ideas on Ravelry, but seeing them knit up can be a game changer.  

I came home from Farm Fiber Day with a list of ideas, and today I'm playing around with colors.


Thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth yesterday.  It was great fun all around.  Now back to playing . . . 

Friday, February 28, 2020

Colorful Kits

Here's a quick update on Undertone.


I posted a while back when I finished this sample.

Since then I've been busy.


Now there are kits in a variety of colors.  They'll debut on Sunday at Farm Fiber Day.  Coming soon to the website.

Looks can be deceiving.  Yesterday I went for a walk, but I didn't last long.  The gale force winds were too much for me, but I did manage to capture this week's color inspiration.


Dramatic blue and white.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Mohair Monster

First of all, how about a little knitting update.


I've been working on this mohair monster behind the scenes.  This is Dotted Rays, and it has become quite unwieldy.  I started with a shorter needle and swapped it out for this one.  It won't be long, and I'll have to graduate to an even longer cable.

Yes, that means the stitch count is increasing, but due to the magic of short rows, the number doesn't feel overwhelming.  See all those little holes (they remind me of Swiss cheese)?  The short rows make the holes.  The pattern is surprisingly entertaining, and I may have stayed up way too late on more than one occasion.

I'm using the Lillian Singles base held with a strand of Shimmer.  Two skeins of each should do the trick.

A quick reminder that Sunday is Farm Fiber Day at Russell's Garden Center.  We'll be there with an awesome group of vendors.  Look for us in the same area at the top of the ramp.  We'll have a full selection of yarn and bundles including a couple new things.  Stop by to see the latest.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Amidst the Chaos

When things get crazy, it helps to have a simple knitting project.  It can take the edge off and have a soothing, calming effect.

At the end of a chaotic week, I needed a project that wasn't going to require too much effort.  Since I didn't already have such a project on the needles, I cast on this little number over the weekend.


Yes, it's a hat.  I'm still hooked on them.  And yes, that's mohair because I haven't had my fill of the lovely fluff.  I started with a provisional cast on followed by a simple beaded rib.  Perfect for the moment.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Skift Hat

In case you were wondering . . .


I finished my Skift Hat with yarn to spare.  Ten grams to be exact.

This pattern comes in two sizes, and I made the large.  The yarn is Lucia DK in Cool Waters.  The color is hard to capture, but this shot is pretty accurate.  Classic ribbing makes for an easy fit.  The cable pattern adds a nice detail.  These days a hat is my go-to project.  Time to cast on another one.

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Race Is On

It's the season for hats, and these days I always have at least one on the needles.


This is Skift Hat.  I cast on the other day and have been knitting here and there in between other projects.  It all adds up, and now I'm close to the crown.  

The interesting challenge with this project is the yardage.  According to the pattern, I'll need a second skein.  That seemed reasonable when I started because the hat has a folded brim.  Now that I'm closing in on the tiptop, it seems I might need only one skein.

Right now I think I have enough with this skein, but I know from experience that the yarn goes quickly at the end of a ball.  I can't wait to find out.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Things to Come

I've been testing a new set of mini skeins.


The test is finished.


Stripes amuse me to no end, so I blew through this project.  Changing colors added to the fun.


The pattern is Undertone.  The yarn is Lucia DK Fog paired with a Syrah Gradient Bundle.  Kits in a variety of colors are in the works.

This week's color inspiration is another one from the greenhouse.


An orange splash to brighten the day.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Absolutely Necessary

You know those projects you can't put down?  I'm working on one. Today I had planned to go grocery shopping but instead convinced myself it can wait until tomorrow.  Besides it's a good excuse to really use every last edible item in the fridge.  

Dirty clothes, dirty dishes . . . they'll still be dirty tomorrow so they can wait.  And so it's been with all the work on my to-do list.  Something had to meet my definition of absolutely necessary for me to interrupt my knitting today.  So far taking the dog out has been the only thing to meet my criteria.


I've been playing with a set of DK weight mini skeins.  Since this picture was taken, I've blown through another skein in the mini collection and have moved on to the next one in the sequence.   

In case you're curious, the pattern is Undertone.  The dog will need to go out again, but until then I'll keep knitting.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Garter and Stripes

There's a certain satisfaction that comes with meeting a deadline, and I finished this one with time to spare.


Gulf of Maine - Light.

This was a special request gift, and I knew it would be a hit.  Garter stitch and stripes are a couple of my favorites, so this was a hit for me too. The yarn is Lucia DK in March Sky, Pumice and From the Bog.

With that I'm off to pull together some patterns and yarn.  I've earned it. Two finished items in a matter of days means I can cast on at least a couple new projects . . . maybe more.

Friday, February 7, 2020

August Hat

Happy Friday!  If you're looking for a quick colorwork project, take a look at August Hat.


The colorwork motifs are easy to follow and are set off by Latvian braids.  This hat is warm and cozy, and it fits like a dream.  The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn.  I used Norma in Paprika and Fog.

The weekend is here, and I have a little experiment brewing.


More to come . . . 

This week's color inspiration is a lineup.


Bright shovels.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Temptations

This is the current state of my active knitting projects.


I'm bouncing back and forth between these two, making progress along the way.  The colorwork hat is almost finished - just a handful of rounds left.  Last night I was tempted to work past my normal late night cutoff, but instead I did the adult thing and went to bed.  Only because I had to get an early start this morning.

The next temptation is ready and waiting.


This is the sock club installment that went out last week, and I would love to cast on.  Maybe after that hat is off the needles.  If you have the itch to work on socks, come join us.  There's another shipment going out later this month.  You'll find all the details here.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Finding Focus

I'm on a knitting deadline due at the end of the week.  Originally the deadline was so far in the future that I worked on the project casually. Fast forward and now the deadline is right around the corner.


This past weekend was designated for deadline knitting.  I worked on 
it . . . along with another project, a little bit of dyeing and an extended Ravelry search.  There's still plenty of time.  I always find focus with an impending deadline.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Serenity Cowl

I need balance with my knitting projects, and it helps to have a variety on the needles.  I need something that's effortless and doesn't require a lot of thinking . . . good for social knitting and easy on the go.  And then I need a project that makes me work.  It might require some math and a chart or two, but at the very least I have to pay attention and count so I don't screw things up.

This one fits the effortless category.


Serenity Cowl.

Once you have this project up and running, you don't need the pattern. It's very intuitive, and the design is flexible enough that you can make adjustments to fit your needs.

The yarn is Flecks in Winter Blue.  This blend is coming soon to the website.

I want to make a quick plug for an auction running on Instagram. There are all sorts of fiber related items up for bid and proceeds will go to organizations dealing with the ongoing crisis in Australia.  Follow the link and take a look.

I captured this week's color inspiration last weekend at the greenhouse.


All the pinks.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Listen to the Nagging

Yesterday I wound this yarn for a new project.


After I looked at the pattern, I decided to make a couple small modifications.


Halfway through the construction of the Latvian braid, I started to rethink the modifications.  I had added a purl round right below the braid, and the effect wasn't quite to my liking.

I knew this slight change was going to nag me and that it wouldn't go away.


Since I'm a well-seasoned knitter, I ripped back right away and got rid of the extra purl round.  It was inevitable.  Better to do it right away.  No sense in knitting another twenty rounds and then ripping.  Now I'm satisfied.

Pro tip:  It's better to rip out at the first sign of trouble.  It'll save you knitting time in the long run.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Boston Streets

Today the hat parade continues here on the blog.


Boston Streets.

This pattern is a basic ribbed hat, but it has a couple interesting design elements.  The brim is extra thick and includes a section with cables and texture.


The yarn is Lucia DK in the Acorn colorway.  Ribbing creates a very elastic, cozy fabric, and this hat will easily fit heads of all sizes.  The folded brim adds a layer.  If you're looking for a hat with extra warmth, this might be the one for you.