about the essentials of life...knitting, designing knitting, yarn for knitting...you get the idea...

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I'm a knitter, knitting pattern designer, and spinner. I also dye yarn with both acid and natural dyes.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Blame it on...

Mercury! Yes, as in the planet. Mercury is in retrograde. I'm a Virgo and Mercury is my ruling planet and every time, and I mean every time, it goes retrograde, my life goes to hell. In a handbasket.
Seriously. Lately, everything has been going wrong. Everything I've done has been a mistake. Don't ask about my knitting - I'm making silly technique errors - dropping stitches, splitting stitches, not moving stitches off my needle after wrapping them, silly, silly things that I don't usually do.
My life has been taking a beating as well. Little things - burning the toast, dealing with a possible mouse problem (they're next door for sure), Explorer going wonky and randomly shutting down, losing a stone out of my favorite turquoise ring. Bigger things - the kind that really hurt.
It's getting to where I'm afraid to drive my truck. Why tempt the universe?
So, today I decided that instead of driving to my LYS to look for the yarn I see in my head for my sons' stepsister's Christmas present, I would dye it myself. I had the proper yarn, I had the dyes, already mixed even. A matter of an hour or so of effort and I'd have just what I had in mind.
I should have known better. I spent about an hour measuring and skeining the yarn and setting up my 'studio' on the back porch. The weather was georgeous and I took that as an omen. Wrong again.
When everything was ready, I opened my container of sky blue, dipped my brush and began to paint. Oh, my, no. What was this forest green blob? Where did my sky blue go? How old is this dye mix, anyway? Should have thought about that first. Should have done a test. Should know better by now - I've had a couple of these wish I had a pallette moments before.
So, okay, forest green, not sky blue. There wasn't going to be any beautiful blue/blue-green-turquoise gradual color change. So much for the subtle but clear colors I envisioned for this very trendy 16 year old girl.
How could I rescue this? With the colors I had? Took a look at my pitiful selection. Didn't see anything that struck me as useful. Well, I had forest green, maybe if I mixed that green with some turquoise I'd get something that I could use for some fair isle type dots. So, lacking any better ideas, tried that.
Then remembered that I hadn't soaked the wool. Well, that wasn't necessarily fatal. I remembered reading about a technique that used dry wool, but I didn't remember the result or if you had to process it differently. Oh, well, too late to turn back now.
Cooked my mess up. Let it cool. Rinsed. Yep, just what I was afraid of. When the dye had turned color, the first thought through my head was, oh boy, what are the odds that it's too unstable to set? I kept pushing that thought out of my head. Maybe if I didn't acknowledge the possibility, it wouldn't happen.
But it did. Pale blue rinse water. Over and over. Not admitting defeat, I glugged a bunch of vinegar into my bowl, added some water, put the yarn back in and cooked it again.
Still blue. Quite pretty, in a tidy-bowl sort of way, but still blue.
All right, already, I give up. This was obviously not meant to be. I'll figure something else to do with this yarn - maybe overdye it? Maybe yellow? And handwash with more vinegar and salt. Not for a teenager.
Mercury doesn't go direct until November 15th. Maybe I should just sleep until then.
Of course, Blogger won't let me post a picture!


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