Sunday, February 18, 2007

Dream of Yarn

I used to collect a type of restaurant ware called "Tepco" manufactured by a company that is now defunct. I came into it via my friend, Louise who had been hunting this hefty form of china along with JS, in her pattern for some time. There is a whole group devoted to this type of china and everyone would scour the antique shows and secondhand stores searching for different collectible patterns. I mainly searched for a pattern with pine cones and needles on it. I used to have this dream of finding a huge untouched stash of "Needles & Pine" in a second hand store and it was mine, all mine. I have enough china now. I no longer dream of Tepco. I dream of yarn. Most of the time, I'm dreaming that I'm in a huge auditorium looking at beautiful and unique yarns and notions with hundreds of other people who feel the same as I do. You got it. Stitches West is next week and my dream is going to be a reality. A flotilla of my extended family and the people they have also taught to knit, will be gathering at my sister-in-laws house in Sunnyvale to consolidate a plan of attack that is rivaled only by the invasion of Normandy. Armed with wish lists and cell phones, backpacks and bottles of water, cups of Pete's coffee and bags of trail mix or candy (pick your poison) we will saddle up the mini-vans and Highlanders and descend on the Santa Clara Convention center where we will proceed to sack and pillage. Ahhh. Life is GOOD!

Please see above a picture of a very small part of my Tepco collection. I also tried out a little more dyeing with some laceweight yarn that I think may be silk (I lost the tag) I have no idea how much of it I just dyed and it reminds me very much of the 60's and tie dyed things. I was trying to keep the yellow seperated from the rest of the colors this time and was able to managed it. I'm not sure that I'm glad I did however. I'm using the cold-dye method again. I lay plastic wrap on a plastic tablecloth, put down yarn that has already been soaked in water and squeezed out until just damp. I used foam disposable paint brushes that you can buy at the hardware store and diluted a lot of the colors I already made up for the last time I dyed. You paint the areas of the yarn different colors and use vinegar in a spray bottle as a setting agent so the dye will "strike" and hold fast onto the yarn. When I did the yellow section (I did it last rather than the suggestion to do it first) I immediately hit the yellow section with the vinegar spray. I think this helped to get the fibers to soak up the color better. At least I like to think that. I also did not saturate the entire work area with dye this time and so there was less waste and less blotting up to do. Cooked 3 hours in plastic in the old used crockpot and you have what I like to think of as "The Summer Of Love" colorway :-) You can also see my progress on Boundary Waters (Row 84). I have continued to have problems casting on the center for circular shawls. I tried with the Emily Ocker's Cast-On method but crochet hooks and I just do not get along. Instead, I did what I know how to do. I used a tatted cast-on method with picot's for the number of stitches needed. Worked like a charm! I also do something they don't tell you to do. I always do the first few rounds at the center in much smaller diameter glove needles than what is requested in the pattern. Easier to manipulate and once you have a few rows on, you go up gradually in size until you reach your desired needle size. Tough if they don't like it. It's my lace, not theirs! I'm still working on WRS but you don't get to see it until the center is all done. If you need a fix, go to missalicefaye and look at her progress on her shawl.

That's all for now. I hope to post pictures of the loot and booty we score from Stiches West!


Laritza said...

The colors are lovely! Who was it that came up with the tatted cast on? Sounds great. One of these days I will make a mini-video of the way I do it. That will be (hopefully) way before the book :D

fleegle said...

I am so envious about Stitches West. Give us a good report and buy lots of stuff we can look at.

Your dyed yarn is lovely...but do you really like variagated yarn for lace? I think I have lost my taste for it.

Jane said...

Dear laritza,

I got that tatted circle idea from an old copy of a burda lace knitting magazine from the 1990's. It works well for me. Video is a great way to teach, I just can't get my hands to do crochet! I like the colors of this yarn but I have no idea how it will knit up. May suck for lace. We shall see.

Jane said...

Dear fleegle,

Ever since the Peacock Feathers Shawl in ther Shafer colorway, Indira Ghandi, I don't know if I like varigated yars for lace either. It tends to detract from the straightforward display of lace knitting mastery. Still, I want to give it a few more trys. I think it may work better with the pastel colorways like my latest purchase of the same Shafer yarn in Margaret Meade. What the heck. If it sucks I'll just rip it.

I can't wait to go to stitches too. I don't think they allow photographs at Stitches West but I can at least show what I got :-)

GPC said...

Dear God not the Tepco! Jeeze will this never end. Didn't you have the cowbiy stuff too?

GPC said...

I love the Mountain Pines Shawl. It is beautiful.

Jane said...

Dear G,

No, it will never ever end! Actually, I no longer collect Tepco, I just still have it all. Yes, I also used to collect "Western Ware" but I gave half of it to my neice, Debbie when she gave birth to little Leo. All their friends who are gay swooned when they saw it because they use it when they serve things at partys on the huge western platters. Apparantly they instantly recognized the collectability of these items if not the actual brand. The other half of the Western Ware I am saving for her brother, Larry, if he ever actually settles down. As for my "Needles & Pine", they can't have any of it until I die.

I like how the shawl came out too. I have to make a new one for you and for Paul for the house, but only if you promise you aren't going to burn your house down in the near future (I read your blog!)


alice said...

I'm intrigued by this tatted cast on! Pictures, please! :) I always have to use small bamboo needles for the first few rounds, or else my stitches just fly everywhere.

Boundary Waters looks just fabulous! Have a wonderful time at Stitches! (I'm sure that won't be too difficult...)

Jane said...

Dear alice,

Ouch! Show you all how to tat? Please beat me with a big stick! It took me an hour to do my first tatted ring without picots becauses I learned from a book and I just couldn't get the ring to close! I'll try to dig up a site that has a video but I can't promise.

I'm looking forward to Stitches but I'm trying to keep my purchases down to things I wouldn't buy unless I get to see them or to items I can't easily get on-line.

kimd said...

I just noticed what you are using to keep the stitches on the needles and I am impressed with your ingenuity. I have moved the bag of those little cord adjuster doo dads from one place to the other several times and have never once thought of putting them on the ends of knitting needles to keep my stitches from coming off.

I thank you for this great little idea and I will now begin shamelessly copying it for my own.

Jane said...

Dear kimd,

I'm glad you like the cord adjuster idea but it's not an idea original to me. I got the idea from Sharon Miller from her book, "Heirloom Knitting". She pushes the cord adjusters down all the way past the needle to the cord to hold stitches in place but since I put my work in a pillowcase and then into a standing caddy for protection, I'm not as fearful they will somehow get knocked off. The other rubber point protectors for the larger needles were always coming off and giving me a heart attack. Feel free to copy Sharon Miller in this to your hearts content and I hope it helps you out:-) Thanks for your comments! It's always nice to hear from people.

Opal said...

I love how the Boundary Waters is coming out. I had never heard of the tatted ring start. What an ingenious method! Thanks! Have a great time at Stitches West. I'll be sitting in a pool of green envy. :-)

Jane said...

Dear Opal,

I think Boundary Waters is looking good though my photography lacks something to be desired. I can never really get the colors to come out right. I'm hoping the varigated colors won't interfer with being able to see the pattern once it's blocked! That tatted ring hint is a good one since I already know how to tat and never learned to crochet.

I'm very happy that Stitches is coming and I will post pictures from our haul. My sister says they won't allow pictures to be taken at Stitches unfortunately. Too bad or I would try to take some pictures.

fleegle said...

If you read Miss Alice's latest post, you'll see that she lost some stitches while photographing the lace for the blog. Me too. I did that yesterday with Dragone. While I was standing there saying Not Nice Things about rubber point protectors, Roy came home with a bag of the cord adjusters he just purchased at a camping store. What a mindreader! What a nice husband!

I am not going blind knitting Spider--I am one of those lucky people for whom black is not a problem.

And which old Burda? I have a bunch of them and I used to tat. Maybe I could figure it out....

Jason said...

I am too new to this to know what tatted cast-on is. But you know, I may have to come back and bug you about this in the future. :-)

Boundary Waters is beautiful with that color. Your dye job is just gorgeous. I don't know. I feel like doing everything fiber-related again. But I think I should remind myself not to get burnout.

Strange, I am feeling a desire to get cones of yarn. LOL

anne said...

the shawl is lovely!
oh mna! i LOVE pine cones and needles on china (also christmas ornaments)! since i am not good about haunting thrift stores, i don't have much but when i see them i snatch them up, too. i don't know what it is about these particular images, but i am quite drawn to them—maybe becasue i grew up in the orth? maybe it is the mysterioua way pine trees whisper?

Jane said...

Dear fleegal,

Oh, the horror! I read that missalicefaye had lost stitches but had no idea you had too! I hope the cord slides help you out. to be sure, you can slide them all the way down to the actual cord for safety rather than leaving it at the tips. As for the tatted cast-on, there was no discription of how to do it in the Burda margazine. It just said "use tatted cast on for the center." I winged it.

Jane said...

Dear Jason,

Don't feel weird. I'm finding that alot of people have never tried that tatted cast on. There were no instructions by the way, just the statement that you could use a tatted circle with picots to cast-on. I will try to post pictures if my sister has time to help me take some pictures.

Jane said...

Dear anne,

You are so right about the pine cones. There is just something about them that I really love. I use them all the time, not just durring the holidays! I'm glad you like the shawl. I have to take a break from the Wedding Ring Shawl from time to time. I will have to show my progress on the other shawls as well. I know I shouldn't knit so many at the same time, but I get bored and then have to knit a few rows on all of them.