Saturday, December 13, 2008

dye madness

I'm beginning to think I bit off more than I could chew by deciding to dye up loads of this handspun in order to have enough for a sweater. After my initial success producing a tiny skein of beautiful blue, I dyed two more in huge roasting pans on the stove, and nearly died from vinegar inhalation. Well, was made uncomfortable ha. Anyway, they turned out very light blue, even though I'm sure I multiplied the numbers correctly, and used an insane amount of food colouring. So I did it again with more. Still light blue. In the fluorescent light of my basement it looked nearly periwinkle and I despaired for a moment. Not that there is anything wrong with periwinkle, but I just knit my Liesl in light blue that has a slight periwinkle air. Luckily, in other light the yarn doesn't look periwinkle, but it's still much lighter than the tiny skein of wonderfulness that I had my heart set on.

So. I let the two skeins sit for a few days while I got used to the sight of them, decided they weren't so bad after all, and set about dyeing the fourth. Over the course of this dyeing, I ran out of blue food colouring, but only after putting enough in - I thought. Anyway, this one turned out an entirely different colour from the last two. I know, dye lots etc.... but the first two that I dyed each in a differnt pot, albeit simultaneously, turned out quite similar. Anyway. I am not sure what I'll do now. I still have a fourth skein to dye, and possibly I'll overdye the rest. I've given up the plan of getting all this done before I move to London, so this yarn may hibernate.

I'm about to get busy entertaining my favourite person who is landing around 4 pm today, so no more yarn griping. Wooooo!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Yarn and guilt

The yarn and the guilt are completely disconnected. First, yarn:

food colouring dye

I made this teeny tiny skein! It's cute, and I'm so excited. Same story as before: I did not spin this lovely handspun, but I dyed it. This is my fourth attempt at finding a good colour for a sweater, and I think this one wins. The picture is unfortunately a bit deceitful: the yarn is darker than this and has very subtle overtones of purple. More like hints. I'm pleased. Dyeing is fun and exciting, although I do think I need to invest in some citric acid because I'm sure breathing in all that vinegar can't be good for me, plus I hate the smell.

food colour dye, blue attempt 4

This time I used the stove rather than the microwave, and I added salt to the dye mixture because I read somewhere that might help. It's not exactly clear if it did or not, but whatever. It didn't hurt, I don't think. I used blue and red food colouring, and I dyed it twice in quick succession. The second time the dye refused to exhaust, so I probably didn't need as much blue that time around. This will make it a bit of a challenge to replicate this beauty for a whole sweater's worth of yarn, but I am plotting and strategizing. All will be well, or at least interesting. I'll start trying tomorrow, methinks.

In other news, I am incapable of spending money without feeling guilty about it, unless it is something mind-bogglingly necessary or useful like groceries. This could be a useful trait if it meant I spent less money; perhaps it does, but it's not clear. Right now I am finding it an awful hindrance to Christmas shopping. I don't need to do much Christmas shopping, but I need to do some, and worrying incessantly about my purchases is not helping. Sigh. Normally I consider "impulse purchases" as being the result of only one or two forays into the shop to examine said item before whipping out the credit card, and maybe I should be happy about this. Occasionally I take even less time, and that's when I really stress out about what I have already paid for. Especially when it is shipping from the states and I'm worried that it won't get here in time but not worried enough to pay more for faster shipping, obviously.

And in other guilt news, I've officially quit chocolate until Dec 13th. That doesn't sound like a very long time, and to be fair I've probably gone without chocolate for longer than that before, but I have been indulging far more than is necessary or desirable lately, and I feel like a total glutton. Wow, I'm uptight. Anyway, it is decided. No chocolate until my festive season starts in earnest when my boyfriend arrives. I'm not sure why I feel the need to impose restrictions on myself in a slightly ridiculous fashion, or post publicly about it, but there it is. Muse muse muse.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


It's December. Which means NaNoWriMo is over.

Photobucket Tada! My novel, tentatively titled Night Shift, is finished, and it is decidedly mediocre. Woo! I plan on going back to do some editing so that I don't feel too embarassed about showing a few people - I promised this story to my cousin, who also attempted NaNoWriMo this year. But for now it feels good not to have to look at it for a bit. Snrk. My vampires are not sparkly vampires. Anyway. That is one more item to cross off my 101 in 1001 list. (Notice how I didn't say "Write a publishable Novel.")

food colouring dye experiment

In other news, I've been doing some experiments dyeing with food colouring. Here are about 2.5 metres each of my initial attempt. The bright cyan one is straight blue food colouring, the light green is green + blue, and the periwinkle/grayish blue is blue food colouring with some cherry instant drink mix added. I like that one the best, although I totally didn't expect it to look more gray. In some light it even looks a little greenish, but I think that's from the yarn's natural colour showing through.

handspun food colouring

Winter means crappy indoor photos, unfortunately. Sigh.

I'm going to try dyeing some more tomorrow maybe, and when this is all over I'll have enough to make something with lots of greenish blue stripes! What I'm aiming for is a dark/bright blue. I'll see what I can manage. Definitely want to get this yarn dyed before I move to London, so I can bring the yarn along and work on Basic Black, which will hopefully absorb my knitting urges enough that I won't be tempted to buy lots of yarn instead of paying rent. Woo!