Stash Enhancement

After a period of losing local yarn shops, San Francisco got a new shop over the long weekend!  Woo!  Firebird Yarns…right on Haight Street…a great location for tourists and locals, alike.   I can’t wait to see how things develop there.  I hope the shop continues to grow and sticks around for long time.

It hit a lot of current trends…indie dyers, gradient yarns, mini skeins, speckles galore!  All things I like.  The indie variety was impressive…Loft Twenty Two, Houndstooth Fiber Arts, Hula Hut Yarn, Mad Science Yarns (great color names here–tesla coil, genetically modified berries, perfect mad science names!).

And now, here’s my plea to those indie dyers…please, please, please expand your offerings beyond superwash.  There is a market for non-superwash yarns, especially considering how many of those superwash yarns are labeled ‘hand wash cold, lay flat to dry’.  That’s not how superwash works.

With that in mind, the shop did have one special yarn, non-superwash, sheep raised in Texas, milled out in the Sacramento Valley.  It’s a great color too, so I had to buy a skein.  It’s a bulky single ply with a bit of thick and thin happening.  No idea what I’ll do with it, but I’m sure it’ll be good!  It’s a nice soft yarn!


Of course, I can’t resist a good speckle so I picked up a skein of Hula Hut Yarn too.


I’ve got a good collection of green yarns now, this could be my next cast on!  Perhaps at the end of the week, after my job interview.  I’ve got 48 hours left to prepare…so it’s all work until then!  I’d say ‘wish me luck’ but this is definitely the type of situation where you make your own luck.  I’m feeling good about my presentation but I’ve still got lots of fine tuning to do.  What I really need is two days of distraction free focus.  (that might be where the luck comes in!)  I’ll keep you posted!  :)




I couldn’t resist, once I frogged the unfortunate project, the yarn just jumped back on the needles!


And so, a new Hitchhiker was born!  There are almost 25,000 Hitchhikers on Ravelry?!?  That’s a lot of garter stitch!  This is my 10th Hitchhiker, so obviously, I get the fandom!  The Hitchhiker is certainly worthy of all it’s praise.

That said, I still love discovering new ways to modify the pattern.  My last Hitchhiker incorporated a row of eyelets on row 8.   I’m taking that modification one step further this time.  I’m beading each K2tog from row 8 on row 1.


Rainbow on rainbow action!  I’m loving it!  Of course, I’m still setting myself up for problems down the line.  I’m most certainly going to run out of beads before I run out of yarn.  Oh well.  I can’t get more so I’m knowingly accepting this problem.

I’ve also created a right side and a wrong side–or at least a beaded side and a side with no beads.  I’m okay with that too.   In the end, anything is better than curling stockinette.



The uncooperative black hat is taking a swim while it waits to be embellished.  The hat train is slowing but there are still more hats to knit!  Next up, a white hat to balance things out.  It’ll only be a white hat part of the time though.  It’s UV active yarn!


It turns purple in the sun!  Nothing is too gimmicky for me!  It’s called Abracadabra from Skacel and I love it!


I haven’t decided what my design is going to be.  I’m just excited for a hat that’s all white inside and magically has a purple design on it when you’re outside!!   I like the idea of a traditional design, something fair isle or maybe a Norwegian star motif!  First I need to stash dive and find a nice white background!  You know, any excuse to pull all the yarn out!

A Little Dye Project


After Rhinebeck, the fiber fun continued at Mom’s house!  She had one skein (~1100 yds lace weight, Merino/Bamboo blend) left to dye so Monday morning we set out to dye it up!  We made a few little mini skeins for experimenting, soaked them in citric acid…


Picked a few colors…


and away we went…


We started with just purple…


Notice how Mom’s technique rinses clear!  No bleeding, no excess dye, no mess!  I’ll save the rant for some other time but seriously, this is the way it should always be!


Of course, I wasn’t content with just one color.


Green and, eventually, Orange wiggled their way into the plan.  At some point over the weekend, I was bitten by the Halloween bug.  It didn’t itch or sting but the effects seem to be growing.  Neon Green yarn at Rhinebeck was not enough.  This is the sample I decided upon…


I knew what I was doing, I made the crazy clown barf decision with willful defiance.  I have no one but myself to blame if it doesn’t work out.  LOL!  So we set to work…


To prevent the colors from bleeding into each other, we applied the dye with a thickening agent.  It was messy and squishy and it took a while.


I can see why hand painted yarns are so expensive!  It was labor intensive!


Roll it up and into the microwave it went!

wrapped up

After it cooled, we rinsed it and this is what we were left with…


I love it!  I have a few ideas for it!  It’s so fun!  I’m gonna admire it for a bit…I have a feeling it will be wound soon!

Celebratory Stash Enhancement

I spent the last day of Funemployment treating myself to some new yarn.  I took a day trip down the Monterey peninsula to Monarch Knitting in Pacific Grove!  I’ve heard good things and there’s nothing better than a ‘destination’ yarn shop.

As usual, I did not plan ahead.  I impulse bought.  I think I did pretty good at it though.


Quince & Co was one of the big draws to Monarch for me!  I’ve seen all the lovely patterns but never worked with the yarns.  The first four skeins are Tern, 75/25 American Wool/Silk, Fingering Weight, 2 Beach Glass and 2 Wheeler Bay.   I think they’ll become Asunder from North Bound Knitting.

The last 5 skeins are Chickadee, 100% American Wool (I love that!), Fingering Weight, 2 Peacock, 1 Audouin, 1 Caspian, 1 Nasturtium.  No idea what they’ll become but I love the colors!  The whole lot could become something really fun, I definitely have a theme there with my colors.

There’s one other skein that came home with me, it may (fingers crossed) be the solution to my ooops-i-didn’t-buy-enough-yarn problem.  It didn’t make it into the picture though.  I hope you like suspense because I’m not showing it to you!  (yet)

I took two other pictures, this one of a cute pillow they had.  If it had been a kit I probably would have come home with it!


and I found a pocket I really liked on a sample!  This could become the model for my Rhinebeck pockets!


Here it is!  I found it on Ravelry, and turns out the model is one of the helpful gals who works at Monarch!

Synthrapol Saves the Day!

I was annoyed last week when The Cotton Candy Cardi  bled!   This week, I’m full on boycotting Tosh!  (Not that I actually had plans to buy Tosh this week but still…)

My Mom is a tie dyer, she dyed me some yarn and sent me home with a little bottle of stuff called Synthrapol.  I promptly stored it under the bathroom sink and forgot about for 18 months!  Another tie dye friend reminded me of it during last week’s incident.  What the heck, why not try it on the second skein I had?

Of course, this mean re-hanking it.  With zero help from Rocky.  As usual.


Into the sink (already prepped with a teaspoon of Synthrapol) it went…


Mom assured me, even if the water turned pink, the magic detergent she gave me would prevent the dye from resetting onto my yarn.  Tie dyers use it because keeping whites white is a big part of a successful tie dye so it should work for me too.   I had no reason to distrust my Mother at this point, but I was still skeptical.  After all, she’s the one who convinced me patchouli came from the musk gland of a raccoon.  I can’t even tell you how many times I argued with people about that because my Mother told me so.   She’s never told me crazy laundry stories though.  So I just waited.  The wash water did become quite pink!  The photo doesn’t do it justice!


It was hard to tell while the yarn was still wet, if the Synthrapol had done it’s job.  It was looking good though!


and here it is dry, along with the already knit sweater…vibrancy in tact!!  Yay Synthrapol!!   It’s much easier to tell in person of course and in reality, the difference is slight.  They’re both still pink and blue.  Yes, I am splitting a few hairs here.


BUT…MadelineTosh is the type of luxury brand that shouldn’t have these issues so I’m boycotting them this week.  One easy wash, with Synthrapol and no bleeding.  It’s a bit outrageous that dyers cut corners in their wash and rinse process when an easy solution exists.

And now…what to knit with it?!  I’ve got linen stitch on the brain…

Cast On Contagion

Just yesterday I was patting myself on the back for not starting a 10th project.  Then I promptly planned a new shawl and decided I could start immediately, as long as I was just swatching. Then I remembered I’m traveling tomorrow and decided that I needed to cast on a Hitchhiker, it’s the ultimate in travel projects!  And I’ve got the perfect yarn picked out!


Jojoland Rhythm, with it’s gradual color change, its easy enough to travel but fun & colorful enough to scratch that knitting itch I’m bound to get!  Problem solved!  I don’t even need to carry the pattern because I know it by heart.  Success!  Success that stimulated the yarn receptors in my brain.

And that’s when the contagion hit.  Suddenly I’m planning three more projects and thinking maybe I’ll cast on one for today and one for travel.  One more can’t possibly hurt, right?!  I happily bathed the yarn Gremlin, that’s when things got out of control!  Photos were taken for text message consultations.


I was up late, sifting through yarns, making sure I had the correct needles available.  I just don’t know what came over me.  I had the perfect plan and yet I could.not.stop!


Patterns were perused, colors were shifted and swapped, it was great!  I was going to be able to knit all the things in one short weekend, the most productive weekend ever.  I was pleased with the new plan (and clearly delusional!) That was about the time the whole affair collapsed under it’s own weight.  Phew!  That was a close one!  and now that I’d had a few hours of recovery time, I have one sensible plan and I’m going to stick to it!  It was the obvious solution all along…


I’m going to cast on a full sized sample for a shawl I started designing back in the fall.  I had good success with a couple mini-samples.  I took notes.  I’d even picked the yarn and wound it.  The only thing I haven’t done is cast on!  It ticks all the boxes… already one of ‘the 10’ on my needles so no penalty for too many projects, mostly garter stitch for easy travel, two skeins of MadelineTosh Pashmina so I won’t be running out of yarn and it’s on the ‘work’ knitting list, the pattern can’t be published without a sample!  The colors, Chicory and Fjord are amazing…I can’t wait to see how they look together!  Now to cast on, quick, before I get distracted again!