Monday, February 10, 2014

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

Fire burn and cauldron bubble

One mis-colored sweater take, and
 In the cauldron boil and bake

  I was, as you can see, extremely bold yesterday. I used the rest of the original jar of dye and followed the instructions as carefully as ever a person could.

  Isabel supervised and provided literary references and occasional assistance with the stirring while I dealt with laundry and squabbling boys. She thought the entire brew looked suspicious, which is what brought us to Macbeth.

 Nate was hoping it might be soup.

 We encountered a temporary setback in the form of free-range enamel, which peeled off the repaired pot, floated around the dye bath, and had to be fished out.

I was sure I would end up with black paint specks gummed to my sweater, but the paint bits (mercifully) turned out to be brittle rather than sticky once they dried. I am still shaking them out of the sweater, but at least they are coming out.

Here is the new and improved sweater.  I promise that the brownish tinge is less obvious in real life.

And here's the original, just for comparison you know.

I can see, especially in the glare of the Ott Light (or is it Ott Lite? Marketing language boggles me) that, as much as we have succeeded in removing the sweater from the jaundice category, all color issues have not been resolved. They have, however, been sufficiently masked that I can wear the sweater, possibly even outside the house.

Ah, but by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes!  Have we noticed anything else about the sweater? Let's compare the amount of chair that shows behind the "before" sweater with the amount that doesn't show behind the "after" sweater.

 Uh oh!

 This, my doves, is why we wash our swatches. The sweater is now relaxed and much softer, but also several sizes larger than anticipated. It is possible that the change is payback for the insults -and the half hour of boiling in a stinking green witch's brew-- endured by my poor sweater. Or, it could be the natural result of wetting a very sproingy yarn that has been knit into a pattern of well-documented stretchiness. All of which would have been known by me in time to adjust the pattern accordingly had I washed my swatch. Although I suppose that means I would have had to knit a swatch in the first place. But who has time for such fussiness when there are Garments of Unusual Dimensions to be fashioned?

With this winter's extended cold snap, the urge to knit sweaters is still strong and it won't be long before I cave in (again) and cast on (also again, since that's where I thought I was originally going with the handspun used above) for another Central Park Hoodie.

In the mean time, I am working on some mittens for The Games That Shall Not Be Named (also known--heaven help us--as the Ravellenic Games).  The mittens will be a lovely and warm replacement for the pair I lost in December, although they are entirely unsuited to the Olympics since I can't follow the chart and watch the competitions at the same time. But, they are moving right along and I might just pull out the emergency backup knitting to keep me company while we watch the recap at night.

And now it's time for me to make good on last week's claim that I would conquer Florida law today.  And time to make coffee, because this Florida thing is not going to happen without a little outside help.

p.s: Anyone know what this might be???  Can we say "swatch"?  Can we say "swatch that has been washed and dried and labeled with purl bumps indicating the needle sizes"?  Maybe-- just maybe-- this is proof that I am not entirely incapable of learning from experience.  I hope my knitting teacher is proud of me!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Um . . . Ew.

Sometimes, the best thing is knowing when to give up, even if temporarily.  I'm very good at that when it comes to work, for example, which is why I'm sitting here tapping away at a blog post rather than trying to make sense of sovereign immunity in the state of Florida.  Basically, my head is just not in that game and I figure my discourse on Florida law will probably go a whole lot faster, and maybe even be a whole lot better, with a fresh start on Monday morning.   Not that I haven't been known to slug it out with a stubborn statute well past quitting time, but Friday afternoon  rarely brings out my work ethic.

With knitting projects, I'm not as good at quitting.

A while ago, I bought a fleece and spun it into yarn.  It was a pleasantly springy yarn, but also one that, in spots, had a yellow tinge reminiscent of bad teeth.  In a fit of wild and unjustified optimism, I decided I could fix the problem by dyeing the yarn, possibly unleashing in the process a hitherto unsuspected genius for color.  The results were certainly unexpected.

 Not wanting to get all judgmental on my new yarn color, I chose to believe--despite what might fairly be labelled abundant evidence to the contrary--that the true beauty of the yarn could only be appreciated in the final piece and so, rather than re-dyeing immediately, I thought I would knit the stuff up and see how things went.  Also, I am somewhat resistant to admitting defeat.

The results are now in:

and I'm truly sorry that you had to see that.  The only color that I like is the gila monster-like striping on the upper left sleeve (which is realistically enhanced by the --ahem-- rustic quality of the yarn), and that's really something I like only in comparison to the rest.

The cat has issued her firm opinion on the matter. I'm truly sorry that you had to see that, too.  Truth --and my cat -- can be a nasty little bugger.

The good news is that I'm almost done knitting.  I just have to bind off the second sleeve and work the i-cord around the v-neck.  After that, it's back to the dye bath.

It can only get better, right?