Thursday, May 31, 2007


So, I'm back from France and it was wonderful.

If anyone is actually interested in the 1000 pictures I took, I'll post a link once I get them organized.

I figured I'd talk about the most interesting stuff first.

I didn't get a whole lot of knitting done (does that mean I had a good holiday, or a bad one?) but here are the products of hours spent at the airport, in the air and driving 'round the french countryside.

This was the first pair I finished.
The yarn is Louet Gems Merino, (the one I dyed myself) in a simple 4x1 ribbed pattern.

This pair was Yarn Pirate in Culture Club. It's the Anastasia pattern. I'd been wanting to try it out since I saw it on HeyAwesome! The pattern was easy to remember and shows off the yarn really well.

I love working with Fleece Artist's Sea Wool.
The pattern is the one that came with the skein - Bordello Socks

Just a simple pair of ankle socks. Austermann Step.
Socks and a manicure all at once. Lovely.

As for yarn stores. It was a little disappointing.

Okay, it was more than disappointing. It was tragic.

I found two that weren't their equivalent of Michael's, and even then...not a skein of hand dyed anywhere.

As I said - Tragic.

This store, la marchande de couleurs, was the most visually satisfying. Nothing hand spun or dyed, but quality. Cotton, alpaca, bamboo, merino as far as the eyes could see.

I found the method of purchase awkward, however.

I don't know if you can see the tags, but the yarn (on these huge conical spools) is sold loose and by the gram. That is 350/50 grams. No mention of how many metres/yards in a gram, nor how many stitches to an inch. I'm sure that method works for them, but I'm definitely not used to it. Consequently, though the yarn I bought was beautiful, I don't think I bought enough of either for the projects I had in mind.


Speaking of the yarn I bought: here it is. The 100% bamboo (amazingly soft and silky) in Merlot and some 100% cotton (glossy and gorgeous) in Sienna. The store ships to anywhere in the world, so I can get more, I just don't relish the thought of transatlantic shipping charges.

Anny Blatt is exclusively yarn. They have some decent stuff (like this superwash merino sock yarn) but most of it is novelty yarn. High quality novelty yarn, but furry (or sparkly or bobbley or whatever) just the same. Oh, and I picked up a pair of wood needles to get started on the clapotis (for which I'd earmarked the bamboo), but they turned out to be 1/2 a millimeter too big. Pfft.

In conclusion, while France has many beauties, they are seriously lacking in qualty yarn and the stores to sell it.

The problem is that they neither know, nor care about this deficiency.

The French may be ahead of us in handbags and shoes, but they are ages behind in Knitting as Art.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Au revoir

No posts for awhile.

I'll be back in June with stories and pictures.

Souhaitez-moi la chance!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


So, Frank is coming along quite nicely.

He has fast become my favourite project.

This worries me, as I am fast running out of 'bits'.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Colour Your Wool

So, I've been a bad, bad blogger.

A busy knitter, but a bad blogger.

Anyhow, I've been up to a few things (not the least of which, planning my trip to France).

Naturally, I've documented them all photographically.

Firstly, my DPN's were driving me quite insane, floating as they were at the bottom of my notions bag. Necessity, being the mother of all invention, require I sit down and create some pretty funky DPN organizers.

The coolest part? Connie, proprietress extraordinaire of Pick Up Sticks, decided to stock them!

(Get there quickly, as there are only five left and I don't know if I'll be able to get more before I leave on Thursday.)

I'm working on a few other handy bits, so stay tuned.


I was also lucky enough to go to The Knitter's Frolic.

I managed to control myself and came home with only two items:

A gorgeous skein of Hand Maiden's Mini Maiden (SILK!) and a hand-turned Nostepinde. There's just something about the woodgrain that I find wonderful.


My biggest project though?


Good Lord, I'm in love.

The Process (agonizingly long, but so worth it):

I purchased two 50g skeins of Louet Gems Merino in "Cream".

I decided I wanted the colour sections to be longer, so Husband and I reskeined them together making one huge 100g skein.

I tied the yarn together (no too tight!) every .5 m or so (this keeps it from tangling), then soaked it overnight in a soloution of vinegar (3/4 cup) and water (enough to cover the yarn). Notice the stratigically placed book on France.

The next morning, I mixed my dyes.
1 tsp of the powdered dye to 1/2 cup water.

After squeezing out the excess liquid from the yarn, I laid it out on the kitchen table, putting (good quality) plastic wrap underneath.

I applied the dyes, trying not to spill, or muck up the joins too badly.

I was fairly unsuccessful on both counts.

The plastic wrap was then wrapped around the yarn, placed in a small baking dish, wrapped in aliminum foil and 'baked' at 250*F for two hours.

After the yarn cooled completely and was rinsed under cool water to remove any remaining dye, I hung it outside to dry. This took FOREVER. I am not a patient person.

I'm very happy (ecstatic, more like) with the results. I could not stop petting the skein all morning.

I like how it knits up, too, with a minimal amount of pooling.

I am SO going to try this again.