Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Are you blue?

Last week, I attended an indigo dyeing class at the Textile Center of Minnesota. I've dyed yarn with homegrown indigo before and it never really took. But this time, we experimented with pre-reduced Indigo Crystals that made a much deeper color.

The four small skeins in the back came out of a cold water dye and the darker, larger skein came out of a hot water dye vat. Both yarns are hand spun - I think it might be merino.

I also tried a little merino curls  - carding that up and then spinning it is next on the list! 

The class was full of amazing students - some dyeing fiber and hand spun yarn, some commercial yarns, some even dyeing linens and kimono fabric. 

I can't wait to try this on my own!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mittens are the best treat for Mitten Day

I have only a quick update from back on October 14 - 

Happy Mitten Day!

Yep, I tried to celebrate by making a few pairs of mittens for a charitable group up in Maine, The Children's Comfort Tote Project.

From their Facebook page:

"We are trying to gather mittens for children (ages 3-12) transitioning from the local shelter in Augusta, Maine to new homes. The Comfort Totes will have a new pillow, PJ's, dental care items, a nightlight and other comforting items including mittens, hats and a blanket ( hoping some can be afghans..even donated squares 7 x 9 that we can assemble) Does anyone have time to make some squares or a few pairs of mittens or a hat?

For those wondering WHERE to send items please send
Nancy Bartlett
Children's Comfort Tote Project
65 Lincoln Street
Augusta, ME 04330

For those who are wondering WHEN as soon as possible,
our dream is to have the totes filled before 12/31/13."

Two sizes - one 12 yr. old and one two year old. The larger ones are the "No gauge, no swatch mittens" and the smaller are the "Maize" pattern from TinCanKnits.

I'm also making a pair of sock yarn mittens from "Mittens to Fit" using Serenity Sock Yarn. I'm still a little iffy on these ones. They seem a lot of work for, you know, mittens.

Unfortunately, what's holding me back from churning out mittens is a bad, bad cold.
In fact, late last week I remember groaning aloud and saying to my husband, "How could you bring this home to us?' He had it from work (a week of illness), then I got it (I'm finishing up the week) and now Middle Daughter who lives at home has it. Ugh.

I may have to disinfect the whole batch before I send them on . . .

Thursday, October 03, 2013

National Poetry Day does - Sherlock!

I love reading and rereading the Sherlock Holmes stories but I wasn't aware that there was Sherlock-inspired poetry until I read about here at the "I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere" website. This accompanies the excellent IHOSE podcast and is a fascinating resource for fans of The Detective. 

I'd also heard of National Poetry Day but not this poem. You can also hear a recording of the poem being read aloud here at the University of Minnesota Library’s Media Archive.
It seems perfect for a grey October day . . .


Here dwell together still two men of note
Who never lived and so can never die:
How very near they seem, yet how remote
That age before the world went all awry.
But still the game’s afoot for those with ears
Attuned to catch the distant view-halloo:
England is England yet, for all our fears–
Only those things the heart believes are true.

A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
As night descends upon this fabled street:
A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
And it is always eighteen ninety-five.
                                        - Vincent Starrett  

(October 26, 1886 – January 5, 1974; author of the Adventure of the Unique Hamlet, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes and other writings)