Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Really Bad Eggs.....

So, yeah, a holiday happened over the weekend. We were led to believe that this equinox marks the beginning of spring but - ya'll, we were deceived. Spring came in with very high winds, butt-freezing cold temps, and a howl that lasted for two days straight. Holidays are a sort of metamorphic exercise in our house. We change our traditions, practices, etc. based on how we grow and change as a family. I'm trying to get used to the fact that my Things 1,2, and 3 are no longer 'little' and include them more in the planning of our holidays.

So, when I asked them the other day if they thought they were 'too old' to dye eggs - they emphatically said 'yes!'. Now, some years we did eggs the fun way and chipped holes on their ends, blew their slimy innards into a bowl for quiche, and painted,decorated, and stuffed them. That was wild fun. So, what to do this year? I have to admit, with the beatin' we've been having this winter, we were all too tired and mistrusting to put that much effort into egg decorations. Then, they suggested we just dye up our own yarns with the egg dyes. HAVE THE MARTIANS INVADED? Where is my family? I felt that tingling of hairs on the back of my neck something like I imagine how Gretel felt when that old hag beckoned her to look in the oven.
really bad eggs
But, after researching some of the equinox meanings and activities and realizing that it is the beginning of the cycle through to the winter holidays, we devised a plan: We would all dye a bit of sock yarn in our own colors and that bit would be the color strand in some turkish stockings from this book which I would knit and gift to them in December. Hmmmm, is it just me - or do they get to play with the dye and I'm knitting 4 pairs of turkish socks by December? Ah, well, we had a blast! The colors that resulted were eye shockingly bright and washfast. They are as follows in clockwise order starting at the top (purple stuff):
handspun (on a spindle)yarn by Thing 1 - 12 o'clock
bright yellow, green and orange sock yarn by thing 1 - 2 o'clock
blue/green/purple sock yarn by thing 2 - 4 o'clock
hubster's 'throw all the color pills in and see what happens' sock yarn - 6 o'clock
same ole, same ole - mermaid colors done by me - 8 o'clock
thing 3's wildly tropical mix - so pretty 10 o'clock

After that came the inevitable fall from the height of all sugar highs and then it was done. More snow came. More wind. The we went for a snowy, icy, slip and bust your butt walk on Sunday - all together so there were plenty of witnesses to laugh when someone made that funny 'whoooa' noise that all humans seem to make when they fall. We're such a close family.

yellow roses handspunI did find some time to knit. I finished this headband for Thing 1's birthday next week. It was maybe once a calorimetry pattern but I've changed the pattern itself as well as the stitch patterns to such an extent that I can't even describe how I make it....my hands know what to do so my mouth just doesn't argue and my mind, well, you know, it always welcomes and opportunity for a break. it's from the rose yarns I did a while back, remember?

gypsy sock yarnThen, there must have been some tension because after I spun up this sock yarn, I needed to fly the ole freak flag so I made some coiled yarn. You can always tell when I'm trying to escape. First, I will try the most assured way - taking on a challenge that requires total concentration - like a 15 wpi sock yarn of our 'gypsy' batts and a strand of silk plied together. Don't even blink - because this yarn is spun sooo completely uniform that I'm worrying I may be turning into a prude. When following the rules and being a good girl ends up being futile (and it almost always does) I will then bolt around and do something completely the opposite. It may not be an exercise in sanity and personal health....but it sure is cathartic!

tangled up with a gypsySo, there are many good places where wise people will tell you how to make a coiled yarn. This is, quite obviously, not one of them. I will tell you, though, how I made mine. I don't like an 'all over' coil - I prefer a random coiling both for ease in knitting and the finished look.

I spun 2 singles of about a sport wgt. The outer strand, the one that will 'coil' around the other, should be slightly overspun. Then, when you ply them together, hold the inner strand more tightly, and allow the outer strand to ply around it, gently pushing the plied portion forward (creating a short coil) every now and then as your tastes abide.

The sock yarn was really done under the gun. Almost literally, if by gun you imagined that it was part of a challenge. Our new farm group on Ravelry (creatively named, Enchanted Knoll Farm - heh! I surprise you with my imagination, I know) blasted off with the first of many spinning challenges for the weekend. Sock yarn was the theme as we just launched our sock batt spinning club in the store. I was geeky enough to not mention it last week because I didn't want to seem to be a fiber pusher but as a few people have mentioned that I should, there - I did it! Oh, man, this winter would have been soooo much harder to bear if I weren't so closely grasping my inner child and amusing myself with humorless kidding.....