Friday, October 2, 2015


A cold wind scrapes the branches against my windowpanes, which means there is much knitting happening right now. I am up to my ears in wool. I have to tear myself away from working on this pullover, inspired by my conversation at the Fiber Festival with the brilliant indie yarn dyer and knitwear artist Jill Draper, and her installation art piece, the Each Stitch sweater. I feel kind of hopped up on this project. I think about it all the time. Knitting as art. Oh, deep happy sigh. Here's the very messy working chart I made from Jill's instructions. Ten points and a gold star if you can tell where the words I chose are from:

The stripes-in-every-color pullover is flying off the needles, too, because it is plain stockinette and because the color changes keep me interested well past my bedtime. I'm knitting both sleeves at the same time so I don't have to keep track of where I may or may not have decreased, gah, I am no good at that. This might end up being one of those things I made for the sake of making it, or maybe it will go with every single thing in my closet and I'll wear it every day. Somehow, it doesn't even matter right now.

In natural dyeing, I had a little bit of fun with some black beans--you wouldn't believe the huge array of beautiful colors that can be achieved (probably temporarily, it turns out) with them: bright indigo, navy, red, green, lilac, pink, black--crazy. Have a quick search, you will be amazed. I soaked beans for 24 hours and then strained the dark and cloudy liquid into five big jars. The beans went into a soup pot for dinner, and mordanted yarn went into the dye--I left the sediment in because I was hoping for gray, and other grayed colors--somebody out there said they got a color they called "zombie" and I aimed for that, with success. I also got greenish yellow (far right) by adding washing soda to the dye, and pink (second from right) by adding vinegar. Sadly, it looks like color from black beans is probably fugitive, so I don't have my hopes up that these very pretty silvery gray/pink/yellow skeins won't fade, but right now they look like Miss Havisham's wedding dress, which is perfect. My results are very pale probably because of my lack of experience with pre-mordanting. There is so much to be learned. It was a fun science experiment, and the beans were delicious, too. It seems to be all about the process around here right now.

Thank you all for your lovely anniversary well-wishes and sweet comments. It's so good to be here with all of you. Doc wore his gorgeous kilt and kilt hose to the Fair and looked like the Prince of the Realm, drawing much admiration from the knitters. He carried the bags and waited patiently while I felt up every skein of yarn in the place, and bought me this amazingly beautiful hank of handspun shetland wool, absolutely the smooshiest piece of magically spun fiber I've ever felt, because he totally gets me. On the label is a picture of the sheep who grew it. Swoon! I think I will never knit this into anything, because I want it to be just like this, smooshy and perfect, for all time. That's just fine.