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!